God was not smiling when I married the wife of my youth. I left Jesus out in the cold when I did. I placed my bride on the throne of my heart which left no room for anyone or anything else. Anything she desired I tried to provide or do. I tried to be a model husband and she tried to be a model wife. Pleasing one another was our number one priority. Pleasing God was never a close second. Friends and family applauded the choice we had made. According to those who knew us, "We had it all!"
But one day, some fourteen years and two wonderful boys later, I took my queen off of the throne and replaced her with Jesus. The moment I did this, all hell broke loose. I was kicked out of the cozy and comfortable kingdom we had built together. I felt like Moses when Pharaoh gave him the left foot of fellowship. Read these words from the movie "The Ten Commandments" and you will know what I mean.
"Into the blistering wilderness of Shur, the man who walked with kings now walks alone: torn from the pinnacle of royal power, stripped of all rank and earthly wealth, a forsaken man without a country, without a hope, his soul in turmoil. Like the hot winds and raging sands that lash him with the fury of a taskmasterís whip, he is driven forward, always forward, by a God unknown or a land unseen; into the molten wilderness of Zin, where granite sentinels stand as towers of living death to bar his way.
"Each night brings the black embrace of loneliness. In the mocking whisper of the wind he hears the echoing voices of the dark, his tortured mind wondering if they recall the memory of past triumphs or wail foreboding of disaster yet to come. Or whether the desertís hot breath has melted his reason into madness. He cannot cool the burning kiss of thirst upon his lips, nor shade the scorching fury of the sun. All about is desolation. He can neither bless nor curse the power that moves him, for he does not know from where it comes. Learning that it can be more terrible to live than to die, he is driven onward through the burning crucible of desert, where holy men and prophets are cleansed and purged for Godís great purpose. Until at last, at the end of human strength, beaten into the dust from which he came, the metal is ready for the Makerís Hand."
Today, after some forty years, I finally realize that my heavenly Father never approved of the marriage to begin with. I never asked Him or anyone else for permission to marry this beautiful and intelligent woman. If I had asked, He could have told me that I needed a shepherd girl, not a queen for a helpmate and father for my children. He could have told me that queens have a need to shine and rule. And to have a woman, any woman, rule over man is never Godís best for any man-woman relationship. Itís not good for the man; itís not good for the woman; itís not good for the children; and itís not good for the Kingdom of God.
My heart was cut into ribbons when the divorce papers were delivered. It took my breath away. My heart was pierced. It felt like my heart had been cut in two and it was. I thought I would die or lose my mind. And I did wind up in a mental hospital for a while. But as I reflect on this crucial moment some forty years later, I see Godís grace and mercy in the divorce. Today I blame myself and no one else for allowing my carnal instincts, hormones and pride to rule over my soul when I was young.
God had to spank me severely to get my attention. And I thank Him for it. No one will ever find or be entrusted with the keys to the Kingdom of God as long as he or she puts their self-pleasing nature on the throne. Worshipping anyone or anything other than King Jesus is a trap.
But my God is the God of second chances. This time I heard the voice of God and obeyed. I have been married to my shepherd girl Rebekah for almost forty years. She spoke these words into my heart. They are also from the movie "The Ten Commandments."
Our hands are not so soft, but they can serve.
Our bodies not so white, but they are strong.
Our lips are not perfumed, but they speak the truth.
Love is not an art to us, it is life to us.
We are not dressed in gold and fine linen;
strength and honor are our clothing.
Our tents are not the columned halls in Egypt;
but our children play happily before them.
We can offer you little;
but we offer you all we have."
If anyone reading these words is considering matrimony for the first, second, or third time, do ask Jesus to sanction your decision. If anyone reading these words is considering divorcing their spouse, ask Jesus to sanction your decision before you do. Jesus said, "What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder."
God was not smiling whenever another cruise liner was launched. Oh, He does allow them to be built just like He allows marriages to be consummated that He does not sanction. Just like a marriage going "belly up", He allowed this cruise liner to go belly up. And there will be other luxury cruise liners that will go belly up. Right before our eyes the days of the sinking of the Titanic are being reenacted. God was mocked when the ship was launched and declared "unsinkable."
Itís unthinkable for the ship of state called America to be unsinkable. Mark my words; it will sink unless our leaders in Washington will get on their faces before God, repent and seek His face. Itís not about making more laws; itís about more love! Whenever love rules our hearts, all the laws can be done away with and the politicians can go home and be with their family.
The whole cruise liner business is being judged by God and is in jeopardy of collapsing at this very moment. In fact, I see cruise liners now as floating coffins filled with living corpses. What does a living corpse look like? Itís a man or woman who has sold their birthright for a pot of porridge Ė the immediate gratification of carnal pleasures.
God was not smiling when the Twin Trade Center towers were first built in New York City. He allowed them to be built and he also allowed them to be destroyed. He allowed them to be built and destroyed to teach America a lesson. There is only one Super Power and itís not America or any other nation. His name is Jesus. Oh yes, at this moment He is allowing another group of "ego towers" to be built; but in the end, they will fair no better than the Twin Trade Center towers. I would not rent space in them if I were you. I would not live or work in one even if the rent was free. I would not rent office space or an apartment near those towers.
God was not smiling when the stock market was created or whether it goes up and down. God is not the author of the stock market, but He allows it to exist for a reason and a season. The frenzy at the New York Stock Exchange exposes the greed of the human heart. And until that greed is exposed, confessed and repented of, it cannot be cleansed out of our hearts. In Godís eyes the stock market is equivalent to a gambling casino no different than any gambling casino in Las Vegas or on any luxury cruise liner.
God was not smiling when He saw an atomic bomb exploding. He allowed man to discover the power in the atom and explore and exploit that power for a reason and a season. He wants man to know that the unbridled thirst for more and more power will be his undoing in the end. Oh yes, judgment is at the door. Man will hide in caves trying to escape the wrath of God.
I know in my heart that the name of Jesus is more powerful than a thousand atomic bombs. I have hurled that name at the powers of darkness and will continue to do so until there is no more breath in my body. I am doing it now: Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
I urge everyone to speak and proclaim His name reverently. There is victory in the name of Jesus and in no other name. Write His name into the sand the next time you go to the seashore. Waves will never be able to erase the power that is in that name.
God was not smiling when the world mocked His only begotten Son and the gift of His love. He offered us His Sonís righteousness for our filthy rags when Jesus took the hits on the cross for us. Every person automatically speaks grace or the Fatherís judgment upon themselves by the way they respond in their heart to these words and this picture. For some, this may be the last or only invitation to be forgiven and make peace with their Creator-God who is "nuts" about his wayward kids regardless of how badly they messed up. Our part in the deal is to pray and mean it, "Father, I am really sorry for messing up. Please forgive me. With your help Iíll try to do better the next time. Thank you for this beautiful new garment of righteousness with my new name on it."
(I just hit the "save" icon with my computer mouse. As I did, Jesus was smiling saying, "Good job, Peter, you picked me up; you read and copied what was on my heart.")
Whether we wind up in heaven or hell, every knee shall bow at the name of Jesus. It is written and it is true "...that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:10-11).
And just one more thing, folks, before I sign off -- to have a place in heavenís orchestra,
we have to be willing to play "second fiddle." First fiddle is occupied by Jesus permanently.
Peter -- the Lordís Scribe