Greetings precious people. Beginning in todayís article I would like to address a number of issues over the next few weeks that are very pertinent to our present day society. Subjects such as divorce, adultery, homosexuality, pedophilia, lying, cheating etc. To say the least many of these subjects are controversial and subject to everyoneís opinion. We are beginning to experience the effects in our society where public opinion has taken on such power and influence, where absolutes have given way to relativism, and morality has been given over to immorality.

Every society that has followed such a course has done so to itís own demise. As we look at history, we are able to see nations that were once great, fall to ruin. A common thread that links them together is their departure from doing what was right and in its place doing whatever "they" felt was right. The Bible, Godís Word, says in Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Proverbs 30:12, "There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness." As a nation we are in grave danger of going the same way of many other "great nations" before us. We as a people have turned our backs on God Almighty and are doing what is right in our own eyes. The problem, is that with the rejection of the absolutes and determining of what is right and good which is found in Godís Word, everyone is looking to their own feelings/heart to decide what is good and right for them. Listen to what the Bible says concerning our heart, Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?" without the returning to Godís Word as the standard to live by, our nation is sure to crumble. We may not be destroyed from an opposing force such as a hostile foreign nation, rather from the decay and corruption that comes from within.

One of the areas that is bringing our nation down is its view on marriage and divorce. The institution of marriage was created and ordained of God when He created the first man and woman. In Genesis 2:24-25, God states, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Then in Mark 10:5-9, Jesus says, "But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 'and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." And Paul speaking in

Ephesians 5:31-32, saysí "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

Marriage and the family are one of the foundations of any society. When they begin to be removed or disintegrate then the society is sure to crumble. Our society today is attempting to redefine both marriage and the family. Currently there are various proposals before our legislature that will allow and recognize same sex marriage. This is a subject that I would like to go into at a later date.

With the breakdown of the marriage structure and the divorce rate in the 50% range, there comes a great deal of pain and suffering. Not only the men and women involved but also especially the children who now have a broken family suffer tremendously. Statistics tell us that children that grow up in a broken family are much more likely to divorce after they marry. I was speaking to a third grade teacher from the El Cajon School District a few years ago and he relayed to me a troubling figure that existed among the students in his class. He said that out of the 33 students in his class, only 3 were living with both their biological parents. The other 30 were either living with a single parent or with what is now called a "blended family".

With statistics like these, it is no wonder that we, as a society, are experiencing the problems we are today; the total lack of respect for authority and toward elders, the ever increasing use of drugs and alcohol among the youth, the climbing rate of pregnancy, transmission of STDís, promiscuity, anger and unkindness toward one another. I found the article by Stacey Taylor on rudeness, to be quite insightful. Though I do not agree with his assessment of the cause of the increase of rudeness in our society, his observation was right on the mark.

For these reasons and others, God is very much against divorce. In fact He says in His Word, the Bible, that He hates divorce. In the time of Malachi the prophet of God, the people of Israel were acting much like we are today. Divorce rate was high and a lot of people were suffering as a result. So God spoke to the people through Malachi, in Malachi 2:14-16, "Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been witness

between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. "For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence,"

Says the LORD of hosts. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously."

Someone then may ask, "Why did God allow divorce?" Jesus gives the answer to this question in the New Testament. In Matthew19: 7-8, "They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." Jesus goes on to say that there is but one acceptable reason for divorce, adultery. Matthew 19:9, "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." And in Matthew 5:31-32, "Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' "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."

Even when the "legal" reasons for divorce exist, it is always better if reconciliation can occur. The Apostle Paul addressís this in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16,

Please understand dear people, none of what has been said here is meant to say that all divorced people are bad or that all blended families are a mess. This is not the case or my intention. Rather it is to expose the very real problem within our society and direct us to the cure that God has for us. I know that there are many hurting people out there that feel like failures because their marriage has fallen apart or are in the process of doing so. There is much heartache and sorrow in going through something as traumatic as divorce. One can feel like no one can understand or even that no one cares. This is not true. God understands and He cares more than you could ever know. For He experienced the pain and sorrow of divorce many times. His people, Israel of time past, and His people, the Church of today, have gone a whoring after other gods; joining themselves to idols, serving them, loving them, rather than loving God. Thus committing spiritual adultery. Godís heart has been broken many times over.

Because of this, He knows what we go through. He knows the pain and the sorrow. God is not against the person that has gone through or is going through a divorce. He loves you and wants to help you through this difficult time. Only He can bring lasting comfort and bind up the broken heart and wounded soul. Listen to Jesusí words found in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

In the next month or so, we will be starting a divorce recovery group here at Calvary Chapel of Alpine. If we can be of any service to you please let us know.

If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail ccalpine@juno.com

Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine