This week HeartLife Marriage Ministry is celebrating 21 years of ministry to couples seeking to live out the institution of marriage with joy! Marriage at one time was a union of two people whose families felt the they should unite to continue to live out a certain lifestyle or financial agreement. Love was not always the focal point of the union. In the United Staes we entered into a time where one man and one woman fell in love and hence decided that they wanted to live their lives together, have children and see them in turn marry and have children. So many who have not enjoyed this kind of marriage, count it as a fairy tale and today living in this postmodern world there are advocates to do away with the concept of marriage, at least in its’ traditional form and allow for all kinds of alternate unions.
We are HeartLife contend that the original idea of God, one man and one woman for one lifetime is still the o the only acceptable form of marriage before God. Our ministry focuses on strengthening marriages and helping couples who want to marry understand the fundamentals of what it takes to make a strong and healthy marriage. To this we will continue to strive.
Many years ago in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra the prophet, the people of God had been in exile in a strange land. This generation had grown accustomed to the pagan ways of Babylon and practiced them. With the return of the Israelites from Babylon to the land of Jerusalem, they had to re-build their city. Re-building the city was not enough, if they were going to carry the pagan culture of Babylon into their city.
After massive re-building occurred, the people gathered in the center of town and they listened to the law of Moses being read:
When everyone had settled, they re-gathered in Jerusalem. Everyone met in the square that is in front of the water gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the book of the law, the word the Eternal sent through Moses to Israel. Nehemiah 8;1 (The Voice)
As the people heard the sacred words, they began to weep. Nehemiah told them not to weep but to rejoice, for God had returned them to their land and was present with them:
12 Then the celebration really began. The people had heard God’s words and understood them. When the people went away to eat and to drink in their homes, no one was left out of the feasting, not even the poor.Nehemiah 8:12 (The Voice)
What struck me the most about this passage, was not the celebration so much as, the reason why they celebrated – because they had not only heard Go’d Word, but they understood it! When we understand how God wants us to live, and are willing to live that way – this is the time for celebration!