Wednesday, January 30, 2019

By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
Max & Donna were married on Oct. 8, 1955. By the grace of God, they will be celebrating their 64th Wedding Anniversary on October 8, 2019. This article was carried by the Cry of His Coming Magazine, 1981. Max Solbrekken's book, 'The Sanctity of Marriage' was published in 1969 and 'Helpful Hints for a Successful Marriage' in the 1970s. His new Book to be released soon will be a compilation of all the above, including 'Christian Marriage: One Man and One Woman'!

   “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
- Jesus Christ. (Mark 10:6-9)
   It is a serious thing to break the commandments of God. The Scripture tells us that “The carnal mind is enmity against God”. (Rom. 8:7) 
   “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God! whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”. (James 4:4)
   St. Paul warned the Christian Church to clean up their act and be sanctified because they were starting to act once more like the Gentiles (heathen) they once were. They had accepted the Gospel message but their lives were still undisciplined and impure just like the pagan.
    In fact the great Apostle said, “It is a shame to even speak of those things which are done of them in secret”. (Eph. 5:12) He warned, “Because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them”. (Eph. 5:6-7)
    Because of which things? “But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 
     "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (Eph. 5:3-5)
St. Paul states emphatically, “Be not ye therefore partakers with them. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them”. (Eph. 5:7, 11)
    In his letter to the church of Colosse, St. Paul continued on the same line admonishing and warning, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 
  "For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them”. (Col. 3:5-7)
    The pagan lived in debauchery and sin, but the clear-cut message of the epistles and writers of the New Testament was to straighten up and remove oneself from this cesspool of carnality. Since we are saved we do not live as the Gentiles who know not God!
     Even today - take the pagan religions for example and the way they treat their women - like the mud on their feet! Only Christianity has lifted the women out of a place of inferiority in this world and given them a place of dignity and honour among men.
    St. Paul makes it very plain that in the Christian way of life we must treat our wives properly. “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it: That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
    That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself". (Eph. 5:25-28)
    Christianity respects the wife and makes it very plain that a man cannot have more than one wife! Western civilization has put this principle into effect by passing a law against polygamy. Muslim and other pagan countries have no such law; women are abused, and often men have from four to over twenty wives in large harems.
   The Mormon cult subscribed to this pagan practice in order to satisfy the lustful cravings of their founder and other early leaders such as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
     St. Paul wrote, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife”. (1 Tim. 3:3) “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well”. (1 Tim. 3:12)
   If a man loves his wife like himself, and if he has Christian convictions he will treat his wife with dignity and not discard her like an empty cigarette package after she has borne his children and helped him build his career!
    Some men trade in their wives for a newer model just like they do with their automobiles - the same is applicable to women to a lesser degree.
    Jesus said concerning divorce, “In the beginning it was not so. God made Adam and Eve as male and female.” God made only male and female. Perversion is man-made and the product of sin and the devil.
    God blessed them and it was only because of the hardness of their hearts that Moses allowed them to divorce one another, which only proves another point which I have also found to be so true:
    Broken marriages in many cases are the product of one or two hard hearts! Hard hearts that will not communicate and will not bend at all. Jesus was not in favor of divorce and I am certainly not in favor of divorce, generally speaking.
    There are exceptions to the rule as Jesus clearly pointed out when He said, “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery”. (Matt. 5:32)
                     WHY NOT HEAL THE MARRIAGE?
    Even in the case of fornication, I believe there is sufficient grace in God to forgive and restore if there is genuine repentance on the part of the one who is guilty. The Bible says, “Love covereth a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
    When the Pharisees brought an adulterous woman to Jesus they challenged His theology and His willingness to adhere to the letter of the law, but Jesus in His great wisdom salvaged the woman’s life and soul: He answered them thus, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”. (John 8:7)
    Then Jesus said to the woman, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more”. (John 8:11). 
   Just because there has been unfaithfulness in the marriage and problems have arisen that have broken hearts and brought the marriage to the brink of disaster, even though confidences have been shattered, that still does not justify divorce in every case.
    Why not get God on the scene to solve and salvage as well as rejuvenate the marriage, rather than be hard hearted and say, “Now I have my rights; I want a divorce: my partner is guilty of adultery and as a Christian I am entitled to a divorce”. Try a little common sense! What happens after the divorce?
    Life isn’t going to suddenly be a bed of roses. Much better to salvage the marriage with God’s help and some good old fashioned advice from the preacher!
                     WHAT ABOUT ANNULLMENT?
    Now, don’t read me wrong. All marriages are not solvable, and some marriages are better off dissolved for all concerned, unfortunately, but many that are doomed to fail can be saved if both partners are willing to but give it an honest try with faith in God.
     What are some cases that can be annulled or dissolved legally in the light of the Scriptures?
1. Homosexuals, lesbians, other sexual perverts and deviates. I have dealt with homosexuals who have been married to beautiful girls. We have prayed together and God has saved and delivered them, and they have received grace from God to live a normal married life.
     Just last year (1981) a man who was delivered by God’s power over 10 years ago from the demons of homosexuality was married. He had been bound for 20 years when Jesus set him free. Thank God!
   Then there are the others however, who do not desire deliverance. They love their perversion and have broken the hearts of normal, clean, pure young ladies who trusted them with their love.
   In such a case, if the homosexual husband does not want deliverance I recommend a quick divorce, because such being the case the marriage was not an honest transaction. There is a statement that we ministers include in our wedding ceremony - It reads like this:
      "If either of you know of any impediment why ye may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony, ye do now confess it. For ye be well assured, that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God’s word doth allow, their marriage is not lawful”.
     In such a case when a man or woman has been deceived and married to a pervert, or an impotent, senile person, the victim should go immediately to his or her pastor, receive counselling and guidance.
     If the case is deception and there is no change, an annulment should be arranged, or a divorce if necessary. As I see it, there is no need for the innocent person in such a case to agonize through years of torment. Scripturally, there is a way out - divorce, and with no restrictions regarding remarriage!
   In the case of a good marriage gone wrong - that’s a cow of a different color; try to salvage the marriage. The former love can come back and you also have something to build on; also in many cases children are involved.
     Try to save the marriage! If you can’t, then separation or divorce are the only recourse left. In a case like this I cannot see, according to the Scriptures, where either party can remarry.
     There are however preachers who feel strongly that the innocent party can remarry, quoting the words of Jesus, Except it be for fornication” a reference not only to the right to divorce, but also the right to remarry.
   The best would be, do not divorce. Forgive your partner and restore him or her. And, if you must divorce, do not remarry, but seek God for His grace and power to live a holy life and give your time to God and your children.
    There is one more thing however, in Old Testament times when a woman was taken in adultery she was immediately taken out and stoned to death. Men seemed to have been exempt. Certainly in such cases there would be no problem with remarriage, for the innocent party.
    In the same way some feel that the guilty party is spiritually dead and the innocent party is then free to remarry. Remember however, the words of St. Paul,
    “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth, but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband, so then if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from the law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man”. (Rom. 7:2-3)
    What about those who have already messed up their lives? You cannot unscramble scrambled eggs, and in many cases you are unable to rectify wrongs performed in a mix-up of marriages, divorces and remarriages.
     Many people hear our programs over the radio or see me on television and attend our crusades; some of them from unsaved homes, and many have messed up their lives, then they answer an old fashioned altar call and are converted.
     They receive the Holy Spirit, are baptized and become burning witnesses for Jesus. Oftentimes they have been married and divorced and remarried - some two or three times! What do you do in cases like these?
     Since the Holy Spirit has accepted them and Jesus has added them to His body, the Church, who are we to reject them? We have no right to turn them away since Jesus has not turned them away! We must receive them, believing that God has in fact done a work in their lives as He did in ours!
     St. Paul warns in his letter to the Romans, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 
     "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and who he justified, them he also glorified”. (Rom. 8:29-30)
     If God has called someone and saved that person we have no right to criticize or lay upon them a heavier burden than we could bear either, or which Christ would ask them to bear!
      Notice the words of the Apostle, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? 
     It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us”. (Rom. 8:34-35)
    If God has justified someone, we must stand with God! The Scripture states that God gives the Holy Ghost to those who obey Him. 
     Often He fills people with the Holy Ghost, whom we wouldn’t; people who we personally feel are not ready to receive the Holy Ghost; yet God fills them before we have a chance to ask them to rearrange their lives!
    We should let God do His business in the way He so desires, instead of trying to do everything our way. “We are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” (Acts 5:32)
     If a marriage is failing we should try to salvage it. If a man or woman is divorced and remarried once, twice or whatever, I believe they should remain in the married state they are in. 
    I do not believe people should try to reconcile themselves with spouses two or three marriages before; that causes nothing but confusion, especially where there are children involved.
    If a family accepts Christ, regardless of how many times they have been married in the past I believe they should remain as they are and not disturb the children, but bring up the family to serve God and live for Jesus as a unit. 
   If people are taught that they should go back to their first husband or wife in many cases it is not possible, and even if it was, it would involve the breakup of possibly one, two or more families, which would cause more trouble than you are trying to rectify.
     The break-up of a home is no more right in a case like this than any other case. We cannot sacrifice the lives of precious children to the whims of some stubborn, pharisaical, senile old preacher who sits cloistered behind the stained glass windows of his church, or in a monastery somewhere!
    When you get into the mainstream of life and begin to reach souls, lives and families for Christ you see the common sense of the Holy Scriptures as they are applied to real life situations!
     St. Paul said, “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. 
    "Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called”. (1 Cor. 7:17-20)
    Marriage, divorce and remarriage is a most complex subject and I believe there has been given unto us a bit of leeway in giving direction to people in awkward positions, since St. Paul uses his own philosophy and expounds his own views a number of times. i.e.: “But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.” (1 Cor. 7:6)
     “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:12) “But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 7:40) 
     On very important issues however, St. Paul made it clear that he had a definite commandment from the Lord! “And unto the married I command, Yet not I, but the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:10)
    Very definitely, when a Christian is married he cannot do as he pleases! He has certain responsibilities which he cannot dodge.  
    “Let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband, and let not the husband put away his wife”. (1 Cor. 7:11) If you will notice Paul says this is a command from the Lord! (vs. 10)

No. 1 - God is against Divorce! It is not God’s perfect will. Only one ground for divorce - adultery or fornication - even then it is better to reconcile, forgive and forget in order to save the marriage and the home.
No. 2 - If you are married to an unsaved person you must stay with them if they want you! (unless of course they are beating you or threatening to kill you, or unfaithful to the extent of bringing social diseases upon you; disrupting the children’s mental health; homosexual, extreme alcoholics, extreme mental illness)
    Every case must be judged on its own merits or lack of merits. Love your partner and lead him or her to the Lord.
No. 3 - If you leave your husband or wife for any reason other than adultery or fornication (I unequivocally add perversion, like sodomy, lesbianism and homosexuality) you are unable to remarry.
No. 4 - Some theologians teach that the innocent party in a divorce can remarry. The reason they hold to this view: In the Old Testament the innocent party was free to marry, as the adulteress was stoned to death. In this case the adulteress or adulterer, not wanting to repent, would be in a backslidden or sinful state, dead in Trespasses and sins!
No. 5 - If you find yourself married to a pervert, lesbian or sodomite, you are in my opinion, free to divorce and remarry. (unless they want to be set free from demons and become a child of God)
   This is also the case if someone is sexually malformed with an impediment that he or she held from each other before marriage, thereby nullifying the marriage. (severe mental illness and schizophrenia could also be included in this list, as well as bigamists, necromancers and perverts)
   Anyone who has been misled or deceived in these areas has a right to ask for annulment, since the marriage contract was made under false pretenses.
No. 6 - Hasty marriages are very foolish and spending time together with your intended as well as his or her family for a longer period of time in discussion and fellowship would solve most of the problems found in paragraph No. 5.
    Have your parents and friends meet your fiancee; also make sure your pastor gets to know him or her and takes time for proper counselling before marriage.
    Marriage is too important, vital and long to rush into without doing a proper check. Even in breeding purebred horses or cattle we check out the pedigree. We can do no less with the future of ourselves and our children.
No. 7 - If you are contemplating divorce or remarriage, consider very seriously the Scriptures, as well as the words of warning, admonition and advice in this book. Always remember your testimony for Christ, the state of your children, as well as your future.
No. 8 - If you are mixed up, divorced, remarried, or living common-law, come to Christ and let Him work things out for you.
     Serve Christ and bring your family up to live for Jesus. If you are living common-law you must stop doing it. If there are no children involved between you, separate and go back to your husband of wife is possible. Common law living is adultery and sin.
     If you have children between the two of you and you cannot go back to your former spouse, get the necessary divorce and get married to one another right away - then go to church and refrain from living a sinful life. Accept Christ and train your children in the ways of God.
    You cannot live your life over again, but you can change and live it differently from today on! You cannot pick up spilled milk or unscramble scrambled eggs, but you can take a stand for Christ now and bring your family to Sunday School and Church, and leave the past under the Blood of Jesus.
     The Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, He is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. (2 Cor. 5:17)
    Again the Scriptures say, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life”. (John 5:24)
    Above all let us teach our young people that marriage is holy and for keeps - divorce is a result of the hardness of people’s hearts and remarriage is certainly not a bed or roses! 
    Get things straightened out in your spiritual life; seek God for guidance and be filled with the Holy Spirit. If you obey the lusts of the flesh you will die spiritually, but if you follow the Spirit of God you will live.
    Remember God’s Word states, “That which God hath joined together let not man put asunder”. (Matt. 19:6) When you say, “I do”, let it be a sincere, convincing, decisive answer with a ring of sincerity and truth to it. Let it truly be “until death do us part!” Amen.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Max & Donna Solbrekken have carried Christ's Gospel
around the world with much blessing since 1963
                    Max & Donna Solbrekken  with Premier Joey Smallwood in
                      his home (with his mother's Bible) in Newfoundland, 1968
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
    The word 'agenda' means 'things to be done'. It can be categorized as a plan or list of matters to be acted upon. “My only agenda is to follow Jesus Christ and allow Him to lead me as He sees fit. And that I may be a blessing to all I am in contact with and to bear each loved one before the throne of God daily, in Jesus' precious and holy Name, Amen.”
                THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE & LIVE BY!
   St. Paul wrote: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:10,14)
    For many years the Christian Church has presented the claims of Jesus Christ to be able to save lost souls, heal the sick and liberate the suffering and wounded, granting Eternal Life on the basis of His shed blood, vicarious death and glorious resurrection from the dead!
   In his book, The Cruciality of the Cross, Dr. Henry Mabie writes: “The Greek word used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18 is Logos...not preaching but “the subject matter of the preaching; with the very essence of that which was to be preached; with the Logos of the Cross, which constitutes a rationale, its Divine Reason which ...he declares to be the Wisdom of God.
   “This Logos of the Cross is conceived by Paul to be the key which unlocks the riddle of the universe, solves all mysteries and reconciles all things.” 
    It is a subject so magnanimous and so incomprehensible that mortal man can only stand in holy awe at its immensity, enormity and grandiose love that we are left speechless!
    The blood of Jesus Christ which He freely gave for sinful, rebellious and guilty hell-bound sinners, purges our conscience from all guilt, delivers us from the power of sin and liberates us from Satan and his evil kingdom for time and eternity.
    As Dr. Henry Mabie states, “The Logos of the Cross is conceived by Paul to be the KEY which unlocks the riddle of the universe, solves all mysteries and reconciles all things.”
                   JESUS CHRIST IS THE CREATOR!
    Jesus Christ created the universe – no riddle there. The ONE who hung on the cross made the universe. He understands everything about the universe became He keeps it functioning perfectly according to His Word!
    The Holy Bible declares: “God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds who being the brightness of His Person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High.” (Hebrews 1: 2,3)
    He solved all Mysteries: He knows where we came from, being our Creator. He knows why we are here since He made us and placed us on the earth. He knows our ability to change the world through our faith in Jesus Christ and by the power of His Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
    He solved the mystery of who Satan is, why he sinned and was cast out of Heaven and what the Devil's eternal destiny will be! Christ's death on the cross fully and totally destroyed Satan's power over humanity who trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour!
    Jesus said: “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
    “And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved...In My name shall they cast out devils; They shall speak with new tongues... they shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 15-20)
     He reconciles all things: By the cross, we are reconciled to God and one to another. His blood cleanses us from all sin and His blood purges our conscience. The pure and perfect Word of God and the life giving Holy Spirit fills us with the Life of Jesus Christ.!
     The Bible says: “And He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2: 2).The word propitiation means the satisfaction, the mercy seat, the appeasement.
    God was satisfied with the blood of His Son to atone for the sins of the entire world, past, present and future. Through the blood of the everlasting covenant we are able also to forgive one another! His shed blood reconciles us to Him, and our lives are so changed that we are reconciled to one another!
                     THE CRY OF THE SYNAGOGUE!
Let One Innocent Come and make Atonement for the Guilty.” Professor Alfred Edersheim (converted Jew) wrote: “And still the 'Cry of the Synagogue' comes to us through these many centuries of past unbelief and ignorance:
     'Let One innocent come and make Atonement for the guilty', to which no other response can be made then that of the Apostle: “Such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the Heavens.” (Hebrews 7: 26)
    Year after year, the cry for an Innocent ONE to step forth and declare himself, had gone out with no credible response. From time immemorial the Jews had waited because all their rituals provided only temporary relief from their guilt and condemnation!
   The GUILT of wrong doing with no recourse or forgiveness lies heavy on human hearts. The Jewish prophets had promised that a Deliverer would bring peace to their hearts. Through Jesus, God's only begotten Son, the Lord would satisfy the righteous demands of Divine Justice. Jesus would offer Himself as God's Pascal Lamb to redeem us all.
    The Prophet wrote:“Surely he hath borne our sicknesses (makob) and carried our pains (nasa): yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted, but He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53: 4,5)
   This Righteous One had to be innocent, pure and declared sinless. Almighty God had promised to send such a Saviour to bring Redemption to the human Race, because of Adam's high treason and rebellion against the Almighty! He would give His only begotten Son to suffer, bleed and die and be raised from the dead on the third day to Redeem the human race!
   The Word of God stated: “The soul that sinneth it shall die”. (Ezek.18: 4). Their regular offerings in the Temple, together with the yearly Day of Atonement did not suffice to produce a permanent solution. They kept waiting and continued to wait, and then one day it happened!
    John the Baptist stood forth with the crystal clear message of Hope and Freedom. He cried: “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
     When He did come, they rejected Him accusing him of sorcery and turned Him over to the Roman Authorities to be scourged and crucified publicly on Golgotha, outside Jerusalem's city walls!
                          ONLY IN CHRIST JESUS!
    By the grace of God alone have we received Eternal Life and become the children of God. And only through the vicarious death of Jesus Christ and His holy, pure and life-giving blood have we been redeemed from the world, the flesh and the devil.
     The Bible declares: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
     “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
    “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
    The Holy Bible states: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” (2 Cor.8: 9); “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” (2 Cor. 9:15)
    In His great mercy and by His grace, “God hath chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty.” (1 Cor. 1:27). 
    St. Paul wrote: “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1: 30)
                     ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED!
    Only by the grace of God have we been chosen to become partakers of Christ's nature, thereby making us children of God, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. In His great mercy, kindness and love, He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
    Not only has He saved us from Satan's evil power and our carnal and sinful ways, but He has given us through the Lord Jesus Christ, His wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.
     He has taken the foolish things of this world, like us, and made us His very own sons. His blood redeemed us from the curse of the law, when Jesus became a curse for us. (Gal. 3: 13). The underlying purpose was that no flesh should glory in is presence! Redeemed and sanctified, by His precious blood alone!
     “Why did Almighty God did all this for us? What was the purpose of Christ's incarnation, miraculous Ministry, His meritorious, vicarious death on the cross and His glorious resurrection from the Grave?”
     It was the out flowing of our Father's great mercy, love, grace and goodness toward the human race! His great heart of love planned and executed it all, before the worlds were created. He would have a Church, a people and family to love and cherish and to use as the expression of His mercy and grace!
     No-one is able to comprehend His greatness and the magnitude of His grace. It is beyond our human power to assimilate or even imagine. He wanted us. He called us. He forgave us! He saved us from our sins, our filthiness, pride and unrighteousness. He lifted us from the muck and mire to sit with His Son Jesus Christ at His Heavenly Throne.
     No wonder St. Paul says: “...that no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1 Cor. 1:29). We have nothing to gloat about! It was all His plan, His work and His goodness that gave us all this!
    Where would I be? Where we would all be without His MERCY? Lost in our sins, bound by chains of lust, greed and pride – Doomed forever in a lost eternity, filled with fear, agony, pain and torments!
     O' what a Saviour! O' what blessedness in Christ our Lord? To Him be be all the honour, glory and praise forever and ever. World without end. Amen.
      Jesus said: “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the VINE and ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.'' (John 15:4, 5)
    St. Paul wrote: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2: 8-10)
      I firmly believe that the reason the Apostle Paul was called by Jesus Christ on the Road to Damascus to be the founder of the Christian Church among the Gentiles, was his great humility and total love and commitment to our Saviour!
     He never deviated from the very trying and dangerous situations he found himself in, throughout his entire Ministry. He never waffled or wavered. He simply obeyed and believed that God was with him and in him and working through him, and it was so!
    Nobody ever suffered like he did as he preached and ministered the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the Jews and among the Gentiles; hungry, cold, imprisoned, beaten, scourged, stoned to death, and finally beheaded in Rome, giving his life freely for our Lord.
    The Bible records St. Paul's great faith in Jesus Christ: “And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart. For I am ready not only to be bound only, but also to die in Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21: 12-14)
     When we read of the great devotion the early Church had for Christ and His Gospel it shames us to see the anemic condition of His Church today. As we consider how near we are to the 'Coming of the Lord', we must stir and awaken the sleeping Church to become a soul winning Church!
    William Booth and his wife Catherine founded the Salvation Army in 1865. They chose as their slogan, ‘Blood and Fire’, referring to Jesus Christ’s Blood shed for the remission of sins and the Fire referring to the FIRE of the Holy Spirit.
    He stated: “The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Anyone who has tended a fireplace knows that it needs to be stirred up occasionally.
   In his book ‘When the Spirit Came’ (1928), Moravian Evangelist Rev. John Greenfield wrote: “Of the Apostolic Church in Jerusalem a certain writer has said: ‘Before thirty years had elapsed from the death of Christ, His followers had spread from Palestine throughout Syria; throughout almost all the districts of Asia Minor; through Greece and the Islands of the Aegean sea, the coast of Africa, and even into Italy and Rome’
     “And at the close of the First Century JUSTIN MARTYR could truly testify: ‘There is not a nation either Greek or Barbarian or of any other name, even those who wander in tribes or live in tents, among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not offered to the Father and Creator of the Universe in the name of the Crucified Jesus.”
     QUESTION: What has happened to the Christian Church? Let us examine ourselves to see whether we are still in the Faith of Jesus! God has promised REVIVAL in His Church by the cleansing FIRE of the Holy Spirit!
    I have been deeply touched again by the Holy Spirit, telling me that it is not too late. When you consider that God revealed Himself repeatedly by  fire, we  know He desires to cleanse His Church from sin, heal the sick and deliver the afflicted. Sinners will then rush to church and become a  part of His great army of saints!
    Pray with me that He will lead us to reach our nation for our Saviour while it is still time to do so! Write me with your thoughts! /

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Helpful Hints For A
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.

   After more than 50 years of pastoring, evangelizing and counselling people with marital problems, I have compiled a concise but adequate list of Do's and Don'ts as a gift to newlyweds. Older married couples will benefit greatly from these truths as well!
    It is my sincere belief that if this simple, straightforward 'Recipe for a Happy Marriage' is adhered to, most problems involving marital strife will quickly come to an end.

     Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22:37-39)
    An old song says it all: "With Jesus in the vessel, we can smile at the storm". And that includes the storms of married life!
    Without Christ in your lives, you will have a hard time. I can't imagine anyone even attempting living, without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
    How drab and empty life must be without God's presence in the home, His love in the hearts and His blessing in the lives of people! Some folks live such terribly fractured lives with agony, pain and strife between family members.
    Certainly, Christians also have disputes, arguments and problems, but with a common belief in Christ and a mutual desire to serve the Lord, arguments are soon solved and differences rectified.
    The Bible says, "How good it is for brethren to dwell together in unity". (Ps. 13:1) This applies also to husbands and wives, as well as other family members!
Then, everything else falls into place! The husband is the head of the wife, but Jesus Christ is the head of the man. (Gal. 5:32)
    A Christian man cannot belittle, downgrade, demean, put down or in any way harm his wife, since he must treat her as Christ Jesus treats the Church; with love, compassion and trust!
    I repeat, so long as Christ is in our lives, the problems we face will all be remedied and solved. Let us use the Bible as the guide for faith and morals, and prayer as the avenue to victory.
    May your lives be centered around Jesus Christ, the Bible and the Church. So long as people are faithful to God and His Gospel, loyal in church attendance, prayer and witnessing, they usually keep their marriage on track, as well.
    In more than fifty years of counselling marriage partners, I have found that the number one factor in family problems has its roots in a deteriorating relationship between the couple and the Church.
   They have allowed their grip on spiritual things to lessen. Prayer, Bible reading, tithing, witnessing and church attendance, have taken second place.
Then came backsliding with parties, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, fights, unfaithfulness and finally divorce!
     But it all started with a breakdown in commitment to God. Let me advise you: Stay close to the Pastor and the Church as you endeavour to live for God and have a Christian home, training your children in the ways of God!
     Remember, the most important thing is to keep God in your lives!

     "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord." (Prov. 18:22)
   Very often, when young people meet and fall in love, they become inseparable. Daily, by telephone or letter they share the many details of their lives and become THE BEST OF FRIENDS.
    They are like two peas in a pod. In many cases, they are compassionate, caring and understanding of one another. Then, they get married and the friendship often erodes and they end up only lovers - but not friends.
    They choose their own personal friends in which to confide and tell their problems to, and soon a rift develops.
   A rift which could have been prevented if husband and wife were genuinely concerned for their spouses, and still friends as well as husband and wife!
   No two people should be as close to each other as husband and wife. There should be an inseparable bond of fidelity, trust, admiration and compassion between them.
    When lovers marry, why can't this bond of unselfish caring and sharing continue, as an unbreakable link?
     It can and must, in order for the marriage to flourish and grow!
That doesn't mean that each person in the relationship cannot or will not develop friendships with others; like business associates, work mates, neighbours or relatives.
    Certainly, each person is an individual and will have people they come to know well or long-time acquaintances (that go back to their childhood).
I am specifically referring to spending time talking to one another and confiding in each other on a "most trusted friend basis".
   In this way, you will share the pains of defeat and the joys of victory together, in all your ventures and undertakings. In order to be the best of friends, you must always keep the lines of communication open. 
    Talk things over and don't clam up or punish yourself or your spouse by foolishly refusing to discuss whatever problems or situation arises.
    Air your feelings and be reasonable in listening to the other side, in an objective way. In all things, remember to be understanding, forgiving and ready to help your partner improve!

     "Let thy fountain be blest, and rejoice with the wife of thy youth." (Prov. 5:18) A great preacher once said, "If you marry in the Lord, you can remain sweethearts throughout your entire lives". 
     And advertisements state “Diamonds Are Forever”. Diamond rings and wedded bliss always seem to go hand in hand. Just as diamonds are of lasting value and even increase in monetary and sentimental value, so it is with marriage!
     Some years ago I coined the phrase, "True love never tarnishes, but rather brightens with age"!
    Love is eternal! Love is forever! And love is the strongest force in this wicked, old world! Why? Plain and simple: Because God is love! (1 John 4: 8)
     There is also another reason: We were created in the image of God, but Adam and Eve abdicated their position through sin, disobedience and rebellion, plunging the human race into a state of anarchy!
     Through Christ, we receive God's love in each of our hearts personally and our human love is expanded to include Godly or Agape love.
    In my position and calling as a pastor, I have certainly seen a lot of strange things. One remarkable thing is how blind love really is!
    A young couple will desire to see me. They have something important to share. They are in love and wish to announce that they are planning to get married and would like some ADVICE and COUNSELLING.
    The young lady may be the most beautiful, sweet little thing and he may be really crude and down right ugly (sometimes it's the other way around) and when he leaves she turns to me and says, "Isn't he a doll?"
    Wouldn't it be wonderful if love could remain that innocent, precious, sweet and blind?  It has been said, "Love makes the world go round"! 
    How true in more ways than one! Not only do lovers get 'starry eyed', silly and even 'lovesick' when bitten by the bug, but the kind of love we are seeing today, makes the "World Spin Out of Control".
    Millions of heart-broken husbands, wives and children are casualties in what I call the Love-Hate Syndrome of insecure, selfish and narcisstic people, who think only of themselves and what sensual pleasure they can derive out of marriage!
   Any goal that is worth achieving is worth working for; consistently, systematically and diligently!
    St. Paul writes, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;” (Romans 12:10)
   This works, not only among the Ministering brethren and church members, but also between husband and wife. And among the children, as well!
     Sometimes it is difficult to take the time to show that special affection to your husband or wife, when you are tired, discouraged or sickly, but it is worth it! 
    On the other hand, it takes God's grace to understand your partner's moods when he or she is not talkative, unromantic or even depressed.
     Your duty then, is to go to his or her rescue and solve the problem with understanding and conversation, good common sense and tender loving care!  
     You must remain youthful in your mind and don't let the tenderness, warmth and sweet romantic atmosphere move out of your lives, especially as the years creep up on you. Stay sweethearts forever!

     "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." (Matthew 7:12)
    Some men feel it is not manly to be nice to their wives in public and especially in the presence of other men; even if they are tender and caring to them in private. This is a very foolish attitude! It will hurt you both and affect your marriage!
     There is a foolish new fad among young people today - that of using sarcasm toward each other. This approach is popular among sweethearts and young married couples.
    Often, these remarks backfire and people get hurt! Making jokes at the expense of your partner leaves scars, question marks and produces fertile ground within people's minds for Satan to plant insidious lies and lingering doubts about that person's intentions, fidelity or true love.
     Whether in private or public, in the presence or absence of your partner, do not say or do things that degrade, irritate or undermine him or her.
    Always articulate those things that build his or her image and helps cement rather than deteriorate your relationship!
    Do not forget to be kind to one another. Remember special days like birthdays and anniversaries with flowers, gifts, love notes or cards.
    All of these help to keep the flame of love burning brightly. Never stop touching, holding hands, kissing or smiling at one another!
    Acts of kindness, words of encouragement and a pleasant attitude with good-natured humor, goes a long way to keep a marriage sound, successful and happy!

    "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
    "While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." (1 Peter 3:1, 2, 7)
    A lot of men as well as women, have problems with selfishness! Their only real interest is their own gratification, with very little concern for their partner. This is one of the "trouble makers" in a marriage.
    "This is mine and that is yours", paves the way for jealousies and suspicion between husband and wife. Husbands often leave their wives with the little children, while they spend "time with the boys".
   Often this leads to drinking, carousing and gambling. The wife sits at home heartbroken and the trouble begins in earnest.
    Sometimes wives demand too much; modern furniture, elegant clothes, and new accessories. When this happens her husband and children suffer because of her compulsive, reckless and excessive buying sprees.
Money then becomes a problem with unpaid bills, rising tempers and high blood pressure!
     Sometimes it is the husband who is irresponsible with the finances.
It's easy to start an argument over anything when there isn't enough money to meet the budget of the home.
   Sometimes, husbands are miserly and stingy! I have met husbands who are so stingy that they do not allow their wives enough money to buy sufficient groceries for the family.
   That is faulty budgeting and you can't blame his partner for feeling cheated. You can't expect her to feed and clothe the family without ample funds to do so!
    It is most important for couples to seek counselling from their Pastor and his wife, on how to budget their money properly.

    "If we confess our sins (to God) He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9)
    All marriages will have some adjustments to make and there will be times of disagreements in any marital union.
     It seems inevitable that there will be times of conflict, however the secret is to rectify the problem immediately! Once settled, do not seek to continue the battle or refer back to the disagreement.
    Lay the dispute to rest as soon as possible and make things right with God and each other! Then, do not hold any grudges and refrain from bringing the subject up again.
   In the heat of an argument, some couples resurrect old boyfriends or former mates. My advice to you is: Don't do it, it will bring nothing but discord and wounds that are difficult to heal.
    St. Peter asked Jesus, "...Lord how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
   "Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." (Matt 18:21-22)
   The disciples then said: "Lord increase our faith." (Luke 17:5)  It certainly takes a lot of faith and trust to be able to forgive a partner and believe that he or she has changed and will not commit that wrong again!
    For Christians, it should be natural to forgive and reconcile. That is God's way! Jesus Christ through His sacrificial death and resurrection brought to the world, "The ministry of reconciliation." (Col. 1:20-22)
    Here are St. Paul's words on the subject: "And all things are of God, Who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given us the ministry of reconciliation.
   "That is that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
    "Now then we are as ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." (2 Cor. 5:18-20)

   "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." (James 5:16)
   If you have internal problems in the marriage, settle them internally. Do not involve outsiders, unless absolutely necessary. Then, let it be to the Pastor, not your neighbour, to whom you tell your story of grief .
    After the little battle is over and you have "made up", you will be glad you hadn't broadcast your troubles.
    A final Scripture for good measure: "Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned; behold the judge standeth before the door". (James 5:9)
    All of us are vulnerable and prone to making mistakes, missing the mark and sinning against God and each other!
    If one partner slips and falls temporarily, but has enough faith and desire to decide to get up again, that person deserves another chance!
    That is why St. Paul said, "Brethren if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." (Gal. 6:1)
    I have known, however of cases where a faithful wife submitted to her husband, refusing to share with her parents or Pastor that she was being abused physically.
    His mental cruelty and physical abuse toward her and the children was serious enough to warrant police protection. In such a case, the proper authorities should be notified at once!
    Usually however, the couple's love for each other will win over abstinence, stubbornness, jealousies and pride. In these cases the problems will solve themselves. In conclusion, always remember to:

  1. Keep God in your lives.
  2. Stay best of friends.
  3. Remain sweethearts always.
  4. Say and do nice things to and for one another.
  5. Don't be selfish, stingy or domineering.
  6. Don't bring up the past mistakes or your partner.
  7. Don't wash your dirty linen in public.

     And finally, work together in every area: budgeting, rearing the children, scheduling vacations, visiting friends and relatives.
In my opinion any couple following this advice will make it!
  “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2 Cor. 13:14)