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RYM: Wk1 Chapter 5 "Your First Love"

Course 1: RYM LINKS

Friday, Week 1: RYM Chapter 5

"Your First Love"

then later, a special

Foundational Restored Marriage Testimony

but first...

 

 

 


— Chapter 5 —

Your First Love

But I have this against you,

that you have left your first love.

—Revelation 2:4


Have you left your first love? Who is your first love? Was your husband your first love? Is your baby or your children first in your life, above your husband and the Lord? Has your career been first? Who is really first in your life? “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37). The Scripture in Revelation says: “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4).

What is our Lord saying to us? He is saying that any time we put someone or something ahead of our love for or our relationship with Him, then we are not worthy of His Love.

Seek first. You are to put Him first in your priorities, first in your day and first in your heart. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).

Dirty rags. Ask yourself these questions: Do the things I put first have eternal value? Will what I do today help to increase His kingdom? Am I seeking after His righteousness or trying to muster up my own righteousness? Remember, our righteousness is like dirty rags! (See Isa. 64:6.)

What happens when you put someone ahead of the Lord? What does He do to draw you back to Him? If you have put your husband ahead of the Lord, then it was the Lord who has taken your husband from you. “You have [God has] removed my acquaintances far from me; You have [God has] made me an object of loathing to them. You have [God has] removed lover and friend far from me; my acquaintances are in darkness” (Ps. 88:8, 18). Don’t make marriage restoration first in your life; you must make the Lord first in your life!

Does this mean that we are not to care about what our husbands want and need? Are we to have the attitude that “We serve the Lord, not you”? God teaches us a perfect balance in His Word. “Wives, be subject unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as is fitting to the Lord” (Col. 3:18). When we are subject to our husbands, we’re doing it for the Lord! Even, and especially, if we feel that our husbands don’t deserve the honor we show them, we can rest knowing we submit graciously to our husbands for the Lord who deserves our submission to Him and to His Word!

Word of God may not be blasphemed. The Lord even gives us a warning that not obeying or not honoring our husbands will dishonor, even blaspheme, the Lord and His Word: “. . . being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored” (Titus 2:5). In the KJV, it reads, “. . . being subject to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be blasphemed.”

Pleasing to the Lord. We are to seek to please the Lord, rather than trying to please our husbands. Then the Lord will cause us to have favor with our husbands. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Prov. 16:7). “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30). “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4).

 

Obedience Rather than Sacrifice

To obey is better than sacrifice. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you . . .” (1 Sam.15:22–23). “To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord rather than sacrifice” (Prov. 21:3).

Your outward appearance. Even if your outward appearance deceives others into thinking you’re submissive, God knows your heart! “Do not look at his appearance . . . because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). My husband and everyone else thought I was an extremely submissive wife. I was even deceived. God knew that my being abandoned was what I needed. (For more encouragement in this area, listen or watch the “Esther” video available through our ministry office.)

There is a story of a little boy whose father continued to ask him to “sit down.” Finally, the little boy did sit down and the father smiled. The boy quickly exclaimed, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but on the inside—I’m standing up!” Many times we are standing up on the inside. Many times after you do the right thing and go along with your husband’s plan, you exclaim, “But I don’t agree!” or your attitude tells him that you don’t. Have you done this? Has this been your type of “mock” submission to your husband?

Also you will reap what you have sown. If you were a rebel with your parents before you were married, you are probably still a rebel with your husband. To top it off, you married a rebel. Now your husband has become a greater rebel since you married, just like you have. He now rebels against all sound wisdom and has even taken the rebellion as far as to rebel against his commitment to be faithful to you!

Nothing is impossible. “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife” (1 Cor. 7:14). Yes, it is true. Obey now and watch as the Lord sanctifies your husband. Does this seem strange? Does it seem impossible, because he is so bad? It’s because you are one flesh: “Consequently they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matt. 19:6). “Neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman” (1 Cor. 11:11).

Can only half a body go one way and the other half go the other? Even if you go separate ways for a while, God will eventually bring you back together. It can happen because “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

He who walks blameless. Once you obey, God will turn your husband’s heart. “He turns it (the heart) wherever He wishes” (Prov. 21:1). Remember, only “he who walks blameless will be delivered” (Prov. 28:18). If you say you don’t want to obey your husband, then he won’t obey the One who is over him either! “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:3). Don’t give the excuse that your husband is not a Christian therefore you don’t have to obey him. There is no Scripture that tells a woman that she does not have to be subject or submissive to a non-believer!

Don’t excuse your present rebellion by saying that your husband is not around, so how can you obey someone who is not there? You obey what you know you should do and what you should have done when he was still there! If you can’t remember, then ask the Lord to bring to mind all those things your husband asked you to do when you weren’t listening or obeying. Then do them. It is not a matter of your husband seeing those changes, but God seeing that you’ve changed.

Suffering unjustly. And what if my husband is mean or even cruel? “Be submissive . . . with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin [disobey] and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right, and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God” (1 Pet. 2:18–20). The Word goes on to say that we women have an example in the Lord and His life. He asks us to follow in His footsteps as we’ll see below.

Ladies, Lose the Rebellious Spirit!

I’m not young, and I wonder how I could have lived so long by my own understanding. I thought wrongly, and did not know it. I was not a bad person, but I was rebellious in spirit, and tried to be the master of the house. Unfortunately, I succeeded.

My husband came for a visit last evening. Now that I really listen to what he has to say, he (the silent one) is talking nonstop! It has taken much preparation, study, and time alone listening to my Lord, to Whom I eagerly returned.

Ladies, what we read in RMI may initially seem foreign. If we have a rebellious spirit, we need to deal with that first. I now take my issues to God so I am much easier to be with. After that happened, my husband has offered me solutions I never thought of, and help he once withheld.

I know God is smiling!Karen, NC, Separated

 

“If You Love Me—Obey Me”

After you put God first in your life, and begin to obey those in authority over you, you must then cast down the false doctrine that says “you are saved by grace, so it’s really okay to sin, because we are no longer under the Law.” Let’s search the Scriptures:

Do your deeds deny Him? “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:16).

Do you do what His Word says? “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Rom. 6:1–2). “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” (Rom. 6:15).

Faith without works is dead. “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:14, 26). Good works are the “fruits” of our salvation. These are the questions we must ask ourselves: Do my deeds deny that I follow the Lord? Does grace give me a license to sin? Am I, as a believer, to produce good works?

I never knew you. Many believe that you can live any way you wish and then enter into heaven once you die. Is this true? “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:22–23). The answer is then “no!”

Confess your sins. If this is the mind that you had, prior to learning these Scriptures, do as Scripture says: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed . . .” (James 5:16).

Obedience to His Word

Seek wisdom! “Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square. At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: ‘How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you” (Prov. 1:20–23).

“Because I called and you refused; I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel and did not want my reproof; I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you” (Prov. 1:24–27).

“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but they will not find me, because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil” (Prov. 1:28–33). Seek wisdom!

Obedience comes from the heart. “. . . You became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed” (Rom. 6:17). Again, “for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam.16:7).

Obedience needs testing. “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial which comes upon you for your testing” (1 Pet. 4:12). Obedience purifies your soul. “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls . . .” (1 Pet. 1:22).

Obedience gives testimony of who your Father is. “Obey My voice and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way in which I command you, that it may be well with you. Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward” (Jer. 7:23–24).

Your disobedience actually praises the wicked. “Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive with them” (Prov. 28:4). The prayers of the disobedient go unheard. “He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Prov. 28:9).

Our Example of Obedience Is Jesus

He was obedient even unto death. “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8).

He was obedient and submissive to His authority. “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will. My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Matt. 26:39, 42).

Our submission to our authority. “Wives be submissive to your own husbands, as to the Lord . . . But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their own husbands in everything” (Eph. 5:22–24). “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rom. 13:1).

The secret to success. “All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him” (Ps. 25:10–15).

Turn aside to myths. Instead of searching for the truth, many want others to agree with their wrong ideas or decisions: “But wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and . . . will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3–4).

Obedience to His Word. “Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you” (Ps. 32:9). If you don’t obey, He will discipline you. “The Lord has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death. I shall not die but live, and tell of the works of the Lord” (Ps. 118:18, 17).

God is faithful to His Word. “If his sons forsake My law, and do not walk in My judgments, if they violate My statutes, and do not keep My commandments, then I will visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes” (Ps. 89:30–34). If you continue in rebellion to God’s Word or your husband’s authority, God will continue to punish you.

Read and pray Psalm 51 aloud: “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou will not despise.”

May God be with you as you strive to be more like Christ!

Personal commitment: to put the Lord first in my life. “Based on what I have learned in Scripture, I commit to do everything as unto the Lord. I will show the Lord my commitment to Him and my obedience to His Word by submitting to those who are in authority over me, especially my husband.”

 

Foundational Restored Marriage Testimony and

 

A Happily Ever After



About the Author of How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage and Erin's testimony


Erin Thiele has been blessed to be the mother of four boys, Dallas, Axel, Easton, and Cooper, and three girls, Tyler, Tara, and Macy. Her journey, becoming A Wise Woman for her daughters began soon after her first daughter was born. In 1989, Erin’s second husband left and eventually divorced her. That's when RMI was founded—when Erin searched every denomination in her area but was unable to find the help or hope that she needed.


God used Erin Thiele to encourage and to motivate hundreds of women through her books and website to seek God for their hope and their help. It was in 1989 that she spent two years seeking the Lord when she became a single mother of four young children. Looking back, Erin said that these were the two best years of her life, because of the intimacy that she gained with the Lord. However, she said that the fear of the future robbed her of the joy that she could have experienced had she had more faith in God and His plan for her life.

It was in 1991, two years into her Restoration Journey when her marriage was restored. Erin's husband returned home, and soon after had three more children— three "restoration babies." Her husband then joined her in ministry in 2000. It was during this time when Erin said she began to long for the closeness she'd once had with her HH—longing to have, once again, the intimacy that she once had with Him.

Five years later Erin's appointed time came. After building Restoration Fellowship God was about to give Erin the desires of her heart. In 2005, latter rains hit Erin’s life as He had told her He would. Erin explains, “I can tell you honestly that though God told me that 2005 would be the hardest year of my life, yet it has undoubtedly been the most joyful!! Each trial, crisis, and spiritual attack brought me into the intimacy with my Beloved that I longed for, a closeness more deep than I could have ever imagined. And my ministry did not collapse, as many had believed; but instead, it took on a newly-found focus—to seek the Lord and to become His bride!

This time, I knew for sure that anyone could find joy in the midst of any crisis. This joy is well beyond the “peace” that I found the first time when I found myself alone, even though this time I had six children still living at home, along with a niece who came to live with us, not to mention my older special needs sister who moved here because there was no one who wanted to care for her. Each day, I wake up as if I am opening a present from God—a Heavenly Husband who surrounds me in love! Every night, I stand and look out my window and thank my Husband for the dozens of blessings that He has given me each day! My heart so often feels as if it could burst with joy, and the tears that I shed are no longer because of sadness or pain, but these have been replaced with tears of joy!!

One of the greatest changes in my life is to look for and to pursue all the blessings that come from being single. Without a doubt, the greatest benefit is to be able to pursue a relationship with my Beloved without anyone hindering me. This is every woman's option when any of us find ourselves in a state of singleness. I discovered that He says we are either to be reconciled with our husbands or to remain single. (See 1 Cor. 7:11). After what I've recently experienced, I agree wholeheartedly with the apostle Paul who said it is better to remain single so I can be free to focus on the things of the Lord, since women who are married are “concerned with how she may please her husband” (See 1 Cor. 7:32–35).

Today, and every single day, I am able to devote myself to the Lord, my Heavenly Love, and together we care for our seven children while ministering to women around the world who need His love more than anything too!! Years ago, God asked, “Who will go?” I said, “Send me!” even though I have always been a homebody (I think I said I'd go because I never imagined He'd send me anywhere). Yet, in the midst of everything, He called me to begin traveling to share about the goodness of God only two weeks after my divorce was final. Though many women age and suffer the ravages of divorce, going through it with the Lord as my Husband created a new woman in me that I couldn't wait to share with everyone I met!

Many feared what divorce would do to my children. The key, I found, is how we as mothers respond to the adversity, any adversity. We are the ones who set the stage for love and joy in our homes. We set the thermostat for forgiveness. How we act and react will affect our children for the better or worse. That's why it's important we experience all the love that we will from our new Husband, which is more than enough love to cover any sin or trial that comes from anything that our children have to deal with.

You may not believe that walking out God’s principles would work in your relationship, but that is only because you do not know God and His faithfulness as I have come to know it. It is my prayer and my mission in my lifetime that each of you will give RMI and Encouraging Women the opportunity to help you Find the Abundant Life that God has for you too! To understand what it means to be His bride!!!

Whether or not you, too, experience a restored marriage that lasts for fourteen years like mine did, fourteen months or fourteen days—Who you need right now is a special Someone who can be with you from now to eternity. Someone who can give you peace, talk with you all night (if that's what you need), provide for your every need and make you feel like a bride, every minute of every day!

After this change in RMI and Encouraging Women, so many women began finding His love, and soon began to become Encouraging Women themselves, discovering their own ministries through their testimonies. The truth is, the more you focus on finding Him as your Husband, you too will discover how He wants to restore everything—all of your relationships and so much more!! The very first relationship that must be restored is yours with Him, which is where so many other ministries fail. Because it will immediately rid you of pain, and also help get your life back on track, but this time with meaning. As your new relationship begins to develop into more of a true relationship with your Husband and not the sort of relationship where He is far away in heaven where He's worshiped rather than embraced—that's when He begins to heal and restore you. That's when you'll experience your relationships with your children, your parents, your siblings, your in-laws (and former in-laws), your coworkers, and even your enemies becoming wonderful. Yet what's entirely unexpected is all the new friends, the dear sisters you will meet, as Erin has (and now that her daughter Tara is doing) when you begin to share your own testimony, your journey with Him, and how He's transformed your life through His love that will be the sweetest.

Amazingly too, God does not stop with restoring just our relationships—as long as our first and most precious continues to be our HH. Once we truly become HIS bride, He also restores finances, health, our homes, and everything else that affects our lives and the lives of those we love the most! Even if you are married (even happily married), all of us are the Lord’s bride, and until we make Him what He needs to be in our lives, we will fall short of the abundant life He died to give us.


Blissful eternity does not need to begin when we die, it can begin today as we accept our Beloved’s proposal and become His bride. And take it from someone who has lived this way—once you become His bride, your life will never be the same!!”


Many fear that if they turn their hearts to the Lord, making Him who they pursue, it will result in not being restored. Yet the many restored marriages, especially the most recent, prove just the opposite is true. And the women who are restored all say that their need for Him as their HH increases once their EH returns home.


Who is First in your life and heart matters. Journal your thoughts and feelings, speaking to Him as you do.



If you are ready to make this commitment to GOD, by CLICKING HERE you've agreed, and are ready to document this part of your Restoration Journey in your "My Daily Journal" form. Or do you...



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