“The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: ‘Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.’

Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,’I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’ And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.”—Matthew 22:23-33 (NKJV)

“Nothing is worth more than this day.”—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A couple of weeks ago, on my Facebook status, I said (something to the effect of), “Married folks, enjoy what you have now. It won’t be in heaven when you get there.” It was comical to read the responses that followed. To save time (and space), I’ll refrain from sharing the gamut of comments, but one thing that virtually everyone agreed on was that no one really thought about (at least in a really long time) that marriage, at least as we know it, is an earthly gift.

Then Holy Spirit led me to an awesome website, TheMarriageBed.com. On it, there’s a feature article entitled, “Is Marriage a Covenant?” (It is, by the way-Malachi 2:14). One of the points that it brought up is that El Berith, the God of Covenant, deeply honors marriage. One of the ways the author illustrates his point is that the Word of God (John 1:1) opens with a marriage (Adam and the Woman—Genesis 2:18-25) and ends with the New Jerusalem “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2-NKJV).

Today, I read that this weekend, in a response to the “spiritual genocide” taking place in black marriages (because according to the Washington Post, “…studies show blacks are less likely to marry than other ethnic groups and more likely to divorce and bear children out of wedlock.”), that there is a Black Marriage Day campaign that has started to spread throughout the country in support of black marital covenant. However, even if you are not of the African American culture, it could still be to your benefit to do something extra special this weekend…shoot, everyday, in honor of your union because it continues to be a sad reality that “the world” and the Church are about neck-and-neck when it comes to the divorce rate (Malachi 2:16).  Bible believers, the book that we use as our guide, starts and ends with marriage and yet a high majority of our marriages are falling apart.  This should not be so. With our Father, covenant and the honoring of vows, is vital. VITAL (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5). It’s one of the best tools of ministry (service) we’ve got.

But you know what? This message isn’t really about marriage (shocking, I know). It’s actually about something I heard myself say to two women who are partaking in the “On Fire” fast that the Holy Spirit led me to do on Facebook. As I was listening to them talk about big wedding plans, therefore causing it to delay their marriage for over a year, I heard one of them say, “But you know what? Now that I have the man, I just want him.” In response I said, “A lot of women fantasize (emphasis on fantasize-Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) on the wedding because there is no groom in place. Once he’s present, everything else pales in comparison.” (Or at least, if you have the right one, it should!) Should a woman be honored on her wedding? Indeed (so should the man). Should there even be weddings? I think so. I also find it to be no (traditional definition of) coincidence that Christ’s first miracle was at a wedding celebration (John 2:1-2). But sometimes, a lot of times, I fear that we spend so much time planning, that we miss out on actually living. This hunch was confirmed when I went to see the movie “Remember Me” a couple of days ago, and let’s just say that the ending made the catch phrase on the promotional poster and the title of this message abundantly clear. We must LIVE IN THE MOMENT.

C’mon. It’s not like it’s not biblical:

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”—Proverbs 27:1 (NKJV)

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”—Matthew 6:34 (NKJV)

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”—James 4:13-14 (NKJV)

Psalm 39:7 (NKJV) simply says, “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.” But I’m here to tell you that THIS WEEK, THIS WORD hit me like a ton of bricks because in spite of all of my worrying about the potential of things that haven’t even happened (Matthew 6:27) or anxiety about blessings that have yet to manifest themselves (Philippians 4:6-7), THIS TIME this reads differently (which is why I don’t understand how people can get bored with the Bible. It’s so multidimensional). This time it translates, “Why do I need to wait for anything? At least in the way that I’ve been doing it. You said in Jeremiah 29:11 that your plans for me are good and so as long as I’m obedient and submissive, I can trust that what I want can be had and/or that everything will turn out for the best.” This, my friend, is the definition of “hope”.  When you have hope, you can also stop living in the “What if?” You can enjoy, to the fullest, WHAT IS.

So what does that have to do with the lead verses for today? OK, well maybe this message has a little to do with marriage (LOL). I remember talking to a male friend of  mine who wanted to delay proposing to his significant other because of a certain sized ring he wanted to get her (even though she said she’d much rather just get engaged). Me? “Shoot dude, Proverbs 18:22 says that a WIFE brings a man favor. Maybe the wife will get the money to get the ring. GET THE WIFE.”

Please take this in the spirit it’s delivered, but I fear that far too many of us are so “afterlife minded” that we too are missing out on earthly blessings. Marriage is for earth. Christ said it. A lot of the ways we romanticize heaven is not guaranteed, either. No one but the Godhead knows who will make it in…or how we will relate to one another once we get there. Who knows who will see again…or who we won’t? If there’s one thing I wish I had done was embraced those moments with my late fiance’, Damien Ashley Bell, almost 15 years ago (WOW!) more. Because whether we both make it or not, you can pretty much bet that if something as powerful as marriage will transition, friendships will too. ENJOY WHAT AND WHO YOU HAVE NOW AT THIS VERY MOMENT…TO THE FULLEST. Don’t let the Enemy steal from you (John 10:10) by tempting you to live for the moment. You must live in it. It’s arrogance at its finest (and ugliest) to presume that you have tomorrow…next week…next year to love on those around you or to enjoy this earthly experience we call human life.

I spent some time on the word “now” this morning. Now means “at the present time or moment”. Now means “without further delay; immediately; at once”. Now means “under the present or existing circumstances; as matters stand”. Spending all of your time waiting to be “promoted” implies you don’t appreciate your current “position”. On your job, in your relationships, with yourself. And here’s the thing. I Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV) tells us, “…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

The ding-ding-ding for me? When I am not thankful, I am not in my Father’s will. An unthankful spirit is a greedy one. Greed (Proverbs 1:19) is based in lust and the Lord doesn’t grant me anything (good) when I come to him in that spirit (Psalm 106:14). God is love (I John 4:8). He gives out of love (what he sometimes allows is a different devotional). Asking amiss (James 4:1-6) is also asking when I am not grateful for what I already have. Not being thankful for the now is a lack of faith that what I have is what I need and without faith, it’s impossible to please him (Hebrews 11:1). Without faith, I am not in his will. An ungrateful spirit reflects a person who is not in their Father’s will.

Shoot. No wonder James 4:7 encourages us to submit to God and resist the devil so that he will flee from us. The Enemy wants us to stay in the constant “hamster wheel” of not being satisfied, of always wanting more. It’s that kind of attitude that got him kicked out in the first place (Isaiah 14:12-17) and misery loves company.

Don’t fall for it. Not anymore. Honor God and the things that he has already bestowed upon you by being joyful NOW…being thankful NOW…seizing each moment…NOW…living NOW. In this moment.
On this earth, it’s one you will NEVER have again and that’s something to treat as sacred. That’s something to be grateful for.

Besides, I’d venture to say that if we did more “acknowledging” (Proverbs 3:6), the “planning” would take care of itself. Since we know who holds the “blueprints” and the “life buildings”, anyway.

Remember what Christ said? God is not the God of the dead…the lifeless…the unresponsive…the stagnant, but of the living.


©Shellie R. Warren/2010