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2014 Archives

Before You Say I Do…

wedding

As a pastor, I am constantly being asked to perform weddings. It seems to me like 75% of the people who ask me only want a minister to officiate a wedding ceremony. As soon as I mention words like “pre-marital counseling” most couples tend to find another minister to perform the wedding. Pastors across America experience the same thing. I have been married to my wife Amber for 7 years. We have had great moments together and we have walked through some rough patches. While writing this blog is not a substitute for pre-marital counseling, I hope it will help many of you who are considering getting married.

I will start off stating what the Bible says about the covenant of marriage. God created man and women in His own image. He didn’t create them as gods. But He did give them some of the same attributes as Him. He saw that it was not good for a man to be alone. God created a helpmate for man. The word woman means from man. You can read the story of creation in book of Genesis 1-3.

Marriage is a holy covenant made before God by a man and a women.

Common law marriage may legally say you are married in the eyes of man, but you are not married in the eyes of God. Jesus makes this clear in John 4:18. It is important to be married in the eyes of God if you are looking for the benefits of a marriage in relationship with a member of the opposite sex. A marriage between two people of the same gender is sin and an abomination to God. I don’t hate homosexuals. I love them. I hate the sin of homosexuality because sin kills. I will never perform a wedding for a homosexuals couple. I have even protected our church by including language in our church bylaws stating what marriage is and the process necessary for all ministers officiating weddings through our church to abide by. I recommend every minister to do this to their ministry by laws.

It is the mans job to pursue the women. Not the other way around. Let him be the initiator of the relationship. A lot of women get impatient. Use this time of waiting to develop your character. Discover who you are in Christ. Start serving. Ask God to reveal His purpose for your life.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. -1 Peter 3:1-7 NIV

Many couples are rushing into marriage not knowing what they are getting into. Marriage is serious and lasts a lifetime. When I was single, I remember asking a pastor about how to ask for my wife’s hand in marriage from her dad. His response was that I was going to be asking for more than her hand. I was asking for her entire life. Those words ring truth that should sober many of you  men out there. I believe that the reason why over 50% of all marriages end in divorce (both in the church and in the world) is because couples fail to apply the principles found in God’s Word concerning marriage to their lives. God is real clear throughout the Bible about the role of a husband and the role of a wife.

To write a blog on such a controversial topic is dangerous. Before you rake me over the coals… I want you to consider what the Bible says. I believe men and women are equal. However, I don’t believe in people getting married because they have a common cause or common interest. What ends up happening is that they enter into a roommate situation. They have sex. After a while, they get bored. They want to divorce but stay together for the kids. That is not healthy. When the kids grow up  and move out, then they divorce. It is really a sad situation.

Let’s take a look at 1 Peter 3. Let’s take a look at the context of the book of 1 Peter before we begin. The book of 1 Peter was written by the Apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:1) to believers in general both Jews and Gentiles. In 1 Peter 2, Peter is urging Christians to live godly lives in the midst of a pagan society. He reminds us at the end of chapter 2 that Jesus is our Shepherd and the Overseer of our souls.

1 Peter 3:1 starts off by saying: Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. A lot of women don’t like the phrase “submit to your husbands.” I want to take a moment and address that. Submitting to your husbands doesn’t mean that you let him lord over you. It simply means that you follow his leading by coming under his authority. In marriage, there will be moments when a husband submits to his wife too. Here is some good advice: Let her pick the restaurants. Let her decide how to decorate the home. Listen to your wife and do you best take her thoughts into consideration when making big decisions like buying a house, a car, ect.  Wives don’t follow his leading if he is leading you into sin. Don’t follow his leading if what he is asking you to do is contrary to the Word of God. To submit simply means to come under authority. Your final authority isn’t your husband. It is Jesus and His Word. The husband is the head of the home and he is to love his wife just as Christ gave Himself for the church. What if your husband is controlling and tries to Lord over you? There are two authorities that you can turn to: The law and the church. If you are in an abusive relationship the police is a higher authority there to help you. Don’t be afraid to call. They will protect you.

The church is also a higher authority. If you husband has an issue that is sinful you should bring it up to the elders or to your pastor and begin the process of church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17, Galatians 6:1-4). The purpose of church discipline is spiritual restoration of a fallen believer and the strengthening of the church and glorifying of the Lord. All of a sudden, submitting to your husband doesn’t sound so bad right? It is a good thing.

It continues with: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. A lot of women will spend lots of time getting a pretty wedding gown and finding the perfect make up for their wedding day. They will spend hours fixing their hair. That is important. What is even more important is inner beauty. Be gentle and have a quiet spirit. That doesn’t mean you can’t be vocal. If you are unsure about this ask your husband in a respectful way how he feels about each specific circumstance. Carry yourself like a Proverbs 31 woman. The Bible says a bitter wife who nags all the time is worse that a leaky faucet and it is better for her husband to live on the roof of his house. Inner beauty is key to healthy marriages. That may seem like a big expectation. Then Peter references Sarah. Sarah made lots of mistakes like getting her maidservant Hagar to sleep with her husband, by lying to people saying she was Abraham’s brother instead of her husband. What are you saying Pastor Rene? Sarah was a work in progress. You should be a work in progress too. Look for the fruit of the Spirit in your lives (Galatians 5:22-23). Ask others around. What areas do you need to improve on? Husbands, you should examine your lives as well. Are the fruit of the Spirit evident in your life? Each of you are a work in progress. Are you abiding in the Vine, Jesus Christ (John 15)? 

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. -Ephesians 5:22-33

Husbands don’t be selfish. Be selfless. This is what it means to be married like Christ says. Put her needs before your own. Love your wives and respect them. This is what God’s Word says. Remember that you are leading her. If she isn’t following you, invite someone else like an elder to speak into your marriage. Remember she has a brain. Ask her questions. Remember to fight for your marriage. You are on the same team. 

Wives, consider these questions before you say I do:

1. Are you willing to come under your husbands authority by submitting to him in everything and respect him like the Bible teaches? 

2. Are you willing to follow the leading of your husband for the rest of your life? Keep in mind your calling, your purpose, your desire to have children and work. Ask him about these things. Changing your mind later can be borderline dishonest and will strain the marriage. 

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3. Are you willing to be your husbands help mate which is your primary role as his wife? 

4. Can he provide for you? You need a man not a boy.  

5. What does your pastor think? What is the community you live in telling you? Are they warning you or are they happy for you? Marriage is permanent. 

Husbands, consider these questions before you say I do:

1. Are you willing to lead for your wife and provide and care for her and your family? 

2. Are you willing to respect your wife and love her sacrificially as your love yourself? 

3. Do you understand your wife’s calling and are you willing to empower her to do what God has called her to do? 

4. Do you understand that your wife is not your mom? 

5. Do you understand that your wife is the weaker vessel and you have to protect her? 

Why Most Marriages Fail

1. Husbands and wives misunderstand the passages of scriptures above and don’t implement the scriptures to their lives.

2. Husbands attempt to lord over their wives and become controlling

3. Wives are afraid to submit to their husbands authority because they don’t trust his leadership

How to Handle Disagreements

Husbands and wives are going to disagree. Don’t fight with each other. Fight for each other. Wives, trust your husband’s leadership. Husbands, listen to your wives. She is a gift to you full of wisdom. She was created to help you not hurt you.

If you are single… 

This blog doesn’t replace pre-marital counseling. I recommend a healthy 6 month engagement prior to getting married in the context of biblical community with the blessing of your pastor. Longer than six months tends to lead to fornication which is the ugly cousin to adultery. If you are willing to sin sexually now, the chances of you sinning sexually while you are married increase significantly. You may say that you never will but chances are that many of you who say that are already looking at porn online. Get some help now. Less than six months is rushing it. Don’t get married just because she is pregnant. Don’t hide if you are pregnant by moving up the wedding date. If you feel like you are going to disappoint people by doing that then you need to find a biblical community that will walk with you through this time. Keep your baby. Stop having sex and get some counseling. If you are single, don’t overlook single moms or single dads. They are some of the most amazing people in the world. Adopting a child as your own is an amazing thing you can do. We have enough children out there without mothers and fathers. Deal with all baggage from previous relationships before you get married. You don’t want to bring that into your future. A couple that prays together stays together. 

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Rene Picota has an apostolic mandate from God to change the world. He loves to encourage people to step into their destiny and dream bigger dreams with God. His passion is to raise up leaders and release them into their calling by teaching them how to tap into their divine flow and discover their true identity. The atmosphere of heaven manifests everywhere he ministers.