It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
***Special thanks to Jon Wooten of Charisma House for sending me a review copy.***
Dr. Iris Delgado is the founder and president of Crowned With Purpose Ministries. With a doctoral degree in theology and counseling, she has traveled the globe ministering with her husband, Dr. John Delgado. She is the author of Satan You Can’t Have My Children, Women of Impact in Times of Crisis and Authority to Destroy the Works of the Enemy.
Visit the author’s website.
List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (January 3, 2012)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Is your marriage strong enough to withstand today’s epidemic of divorce?
Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.
- —Hebrews 13:4, amp
As a baby boomer, I remember hearing many of my friends complaining about the fights and abuse they were facing in their homes. My best friend confided that her parents were too busy to listen. Many of my junior high school friends expressed their fears of their parents divorcing. In my own home there was a constant uncanny fear and lack of freedom to express love and enjoy life. Instead of love and commitment, my father ruled the home with control and abuse, driving the siblings to develop hatred and con- tempt at an early age. I vowed at the age of eighteen that when I married, it was going to be different.
My own children, labeled Generation X, born in the 1970s could have been victims of my own upbringing. Instead I have chosen a different path, one that has led my family to wholeness. It is a known fact that many of the Generation X parents defy their upbringing and pour everything they have into giving their children everything they didn’t have, no matter how great the sacrifice, including divorce. To allow our own marriages to end up in a bitter divorce is allowing the curse of divorce to continue affecting each generation.
Members of today’s generation believe they are on a different wave, a wave to save their children from experiencing the heart- aches of their own parents. But it comes at a great cost—they are neglecting to protect and nourish their intimate relationship with their mate. Yes, children are better educated, fed, clothed, and pam- pered, but at a great price, one we will see manifested in our next generation. Many parents will look back and notice the pain their crumbling relationships inflicted on their children, pain they did everything to avoid.
Today’s married couples are trying to avoid divorce for the sake of their children, but not for the sake of their mates. Sadly, when the nest is empty, there will be t wo strangers wondering what went wrong. Going on behind closed doors in too many homes today, yes, even Christian homes, is:
- • Lack of commitment
- • Crisis . . . fear . . . depression
• Lack of order . . . permissiveness
• Criticism . . . shame . . . condemnation
• Unsatisfied marriages . . . selfishness
• Infidelity . . . cheating . . . divorce
• Financial crisis
• A single-mom boom
- • Pregnant teens
- • An obsession with self and possessions
- • Sensual dressing . . . body makeover craze
• Rebellious, unsupervised children
• Online porn and resultant sexual addictions
• Child abuse . . . molestation . . . incest
• Bisexual relationships
• Mental issues . . . insatiable desires
• Lack of communication and affection
Yes, all these different symptoms and tragedies are facing our society today. Marriage is under assault. Our children are at risk. The news media reports right in front of our eyes every day confirm the downhill slide of family values. No one is escaping the onslaught.
My intention in writing this book, especially for young couples, is threefold:
- • Care and maintenance
- • Prevention
If you will apply these principles and counsel at whatever stage your marriage is in today, I promise they will be effective and powerful to build up and to bring change.
Lu k e wa r m Va Lu e s
A national poll conducted by Gallup shows that while Americans still hold on to some traditional moral values, they have validated immoral behaviors that are self-satisfying.1
- The words self-satisfying got my attention. The need for self-gratification can blind a person from noticing the needs of other people, especially those of loved ones. Many marriages are suffering because of lack of satisfaction and passionate love for each other. When a Christian becomes lukewarm in his walk with God, everything else turns tepid, and indifference begins to settle in (Rev. 3:16).
During our Christian conferences and marriage seminars, altars get filled to capacity with couples asking for divine intervention for their marriages. Hands go up every where when we offer prayer for children with problems. It’s every where—crisis, chaos, brokenness, abuse, instability, prayerlessness, lack of respect, rebellion, dissatisfaction, unfaithfulness, frivolous divorces, and on and on. It is on your turf and on my turf.
The other day I was sitting at a food court in the Festival Flea Market in South Florida, the kind where everything is new and under air conditioning. As I looked around at all the people busy shopping and eating, I noticed many elderly couples, mostly Jewish, talking, laughing, and carrying on, and many enjoying their potato knishes and kosher hot dogs. As I thought about it, I asked myself: What makes these couples so different from so many other couples we know and meet every day?
As I pondered and savored my last bite of knish, I turned to my husband and said, “Honey, I guess what makes the difference in these couples from so many others we know whose marriages are in crisis is their value system.”
He readily agreed and added, “Most of them have a healthy fear of the Lord. They were brought up memorizing scriptures, saying prayers, and following specific biblical traditions that have impacted their lives, as well as the lives of their children and grandchildren.”
I believe our moral value system has deteriorated and continues doing so at an alarming rate. Our values will determine the destiny of our future, the strength of our marriages, and the values our children will respect and inherit.
Today’s modern family defies everything the Bible teaches about love, honor, and respect for the marriage covenant.
The traditional family was once regarded as t wo married par- ents, 2.5 kids, a dog and a white picket fence. However, the rise of the “modern family,” made up of single parents, part- ners living together, or even older parents who have moved in with adult children shows that the definition of family is changing—and with it, how families spend their leisure time.2
sata n ’s P u r su I t oF You r Vows
God ’s design and purpose for marriage was for a man and woman to have a lasting and satisfying union to nurture and rear healthy off- spring. God established marriage as the only institution to nurture
a family before sin came into existence. To take care of loneliness, God created woman to be a helper and companion to man (Gen.
2:18) as well as to procreate and prevent fornication (Gen. 1:28; 1
Marriage is the most sacred of all vows or oaths a man and
woman will ever make. It is not like a promise that can be forgotten
or broken. When a couple makes this vow before God and witnesses,
they are making a sacred commitment and covenant “till death do
us part,” not “till divorce separates us.” Vows remain intact even if
the marriage is full of problems—and too many are experiencing warfare because of all the excess baggage they refuse to release to Jesus.
Satan is in hot pursuit of your marital vows. He can’t break the vows,
so instead he diligently works at sowing dissension and strife until
he succeeds in breaking up the marriage.
Too many couples just walk away from their vows. God ’s blessing
is upon those who keep “an oath even when it hurts” (Ps. 15:4, niv).
Millions of people who divorce annually in our society are literally
walking away from their commitment, but they will have to answer
to God. Lacking wisdom, way too many couples have married foolishly, making promises they are unable to keep. God is in the business of healing and repairing the things that are broken and messed up. God ’s storehouse of provision and blessing is available to all those who dare seek healing and keep their vows.
Today’s thinking is that maintaining a lifelong marriage is impossible. Self-fulfillment and gratification are exploiting the desires of so many of today’s younger couples, and they refuse to endure
a little pain in their relationships. The moment a difficult problem arises, they are out the door. Satan is extremely busy devising sinister schemes against the sacred bond of marriage.
Being raised in New York, I was very saddened, as I know millions of Christians were, when I read the following article, titled “Empire State Strikes Against Marriage.”
After a days-long deadlock, the New York Senate voted . . . to legalize same-sex “marriage” in the Empire State. . . . But where same-sex “marriage” is recognized, the citizenr y have been silenced. All seven jurisdictions that have same-sex “marriage” on the books share a common theme: Citizens have not been granted a say in the matter. Instead, courts and elected offi- cials have effectively declared themselves first and final arbi- ters, imposing an expanded definition of marriage on millions of people and thereby hammering away at the ver y foundation of our societ y. Government, the people are told, knows best. The future of marriage should be the people’s to decide. No one who values God ’s blueprint for sexualit y as only bet ween one man and one woman within the bonds of marriage should sit back as state legislators and federal courts tr y to co-opt and expand this sacred institution. Other wise we could soon see the trademark homosexual rainbow stretch from coast to coast. And “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month ” would take on a whole new meaning.3
ePI de m IC oF un h a PP Y m a r r I age s
The decline in moral values in this nation has given rise to an epidemic of unhappy and unsatisfied marriages and unstable children. This nation has sanctioned and encouraged no-fault divorces and same-sex marriage. Christians just look the other way. We have allowed the ungodly to dictate what we can and cannot say. We have allowed sensual programming and entertainment to invade our homes. We have allowed our young girls to get abortions. We have allowed prayer to be taken out of our schools. We have allowed prayerlessness to sneak in on us—replaced by our social media enjoyment. This list could be a mile long.
You may say, “We haven’t allowed this!” But our passiveness has allowed it! We all sit back and allow a small percentage of outspoken, demon-possessed advocates and activists to squelch our belief system and God ’s principles for a healthy, successful, and happy marriage. Again, all children are at risk, which means that our future generations of married couples are also at risk. I can almost feel God ’s tears rolling down my face.
To be honest with you, we need to pray for a spiritual overhaul in our personal lives. We need God ’s divine intervention, or we are going to be run over by our enemies. Only those standing firm on God ’s solid foundation will be able to overcome the onslaught of pervasiveness and outright sin that is invading every fiber of our society.
- watCh ou t F or t h e LI t t Le Fox e s
If you are married and happy, reinforce your personal life by paying attention to the little foxes that will come to steal your happiness. Stay anchored to Jesus Christ your Savior, and build yourself up in your faith. Pay specific attention to your spiritual life, and pray powerful warfare prayers. We are in a war. Our struggle is not with humans but with demonic entities that are constantly looking for an open door to sneak in and begin their work of destruction. If your marriage is healthy and solid, invest some time in another young couple and teach them what you practice and know.
Don’t fall asleep. Declare boldly, “Satan, you can’t have my mar- riage!” “Satan, you can’t have my children!” “Satan, you can’t have what belongs to me!” Don’t just stroll through la-la-land. We must tread upon evil spirits that come to steal our substance and our faith. To tread upon is warfare action terminology. It means to trample, walk, crush, and march. To be effective, you have to put on your spiritual cleats!
You can’t remain passive in your daily spiritual walk. To conquer something difficult, you must engage the enemy before he engages you. Trample and crush evil with the Word of God and with your prayers. God will do the rest. We must do what God expects from us to love, obey, and believe that He will fight our battles. Then He will enable us to do the impossible things. Only then can you have your cake and eat it too.
David couldn’t kill Goliath with a small stone, but with God ’s help, he did! The disciples couldn’t feed five thousand people with a child ’s lunch of fish and bread, but they did! By himself, Jonah couldn’t escape from the belly of the fish, but after three days he did. Peter couldn’t walk on water, but he did. Lazarus couldn’t walk out of the tomb after being dead for four days, but he did. I couldn’t be healed from the torment of child abuse, but with God ’s help, I was. My mother couldn’t stop my father from carrying out his threat
of massacring all the family, but her warfare prayers did. No situ- ation is too tough or too far gone. God ’s satisfying blessings have conditions, and a holy God will not bend His rules for anyone. You can trust Him to turn the most difficult situation into a miraculous blessing.
ge n u I n e LoV e Is nee de d
Without the genuine God kind of love, today’s marriages are at extreme risk. Genuine love means an open, honest, sincere, unaf- fected, candid, pure, real, and unpretentious kind of love. Christ Jesus models this kind of love for us. The love of Jesus in us is the superglue that keeps a marriage together and satisfied.
Solomon expresses his enraptured feelings about the mystery of love in the Song of Solomon. We should read some of these pas- sages slowly and think about the intentions of God when He created us with deep desires to love and be loved. Sometimes I think about this and realize how shallow our expressions of love are toward our mates. We think that by saying, “I love you, honey,” we cover all the meaning of true love. Solomon uses romantic expressions that leave us lacking in expression.
Ah, I hear my lover coming!
- He is leaping over the mountains,
- bounding over the hills.
- My lover is like a swift gazelle
- or a young stag.
- Look, there he is behind the wall,
- looking through the window,
- peering into the room.
- My lover said to me,
- “Rise up, my darling!
- Come away with me, my fair one!”
- —Song of Solomon 2:8–10, nlt
You may say, “Oh, this is poetry at its best.” I truly believe the language of love is poetic—we just don’t take the time to practice and come up with some genuine, original phrases that will knock our socks off. As I write this, I just tried a different phrase on my husband: “I love you, my handsome lover; I’m going to take you for a spin.”
His eyes got big as saucers, and he gave me a big old grin and said, “I’m ready! Where are we going?” This is one way of awakening a boring relationship.
Today’s married couples, especially the younger ones, are so wrapped up in their jobs and the world of social net working and media entertainment that little time or patience is left to nurture the relationship, and even less to spend quality time with children.
I was immensely glad to see my daughter’s post advising other couples on Facebook on her recent fourteenth wedding anniversary: “Today I celebrate a fourteen-year anniversary with my honey. Don’t give up on your relationships. Remember the ‘crazy in love’ feelings you started out with, and do whatever it takes to keep them or ask God to help you get them back. God is our glue. It’s all worth it!”
Now that’s awesome advice for any couple at any stage of their marriage. Without demonstrative love in a marriage, life is like a cold overcast day. Love is affection, tenderness, desire, intimacy, kindness, enthusiasm, and so much more. Today’s marriages are faced with tremendous opposition of evil forces. But always remember, that if you belong to God, you have a supernatural covering and awesome spiritual power at your disposal. If you’re not there yet, keep reading, and make a decision to work at your marriage. Make it a safe haven for all your passions and marital needs. Put God first in your life, and all good things will be added unto you (Luke 12:31).
todaY ’s st eP -hom e
Many couples go through a devastating divorce, and later they remarry. Some may have the added responsibility of stepchildren. Children of divorce or separation become the victims. The word victim means, “fatality, prey, loss, sufferer, wounded, harmed, help- less, somebody hurt and used for sacrifice.” As you can see from all these sensitive meanings, a precious victim comes in with many defenses to overcome.
It is not uncommon in today’s marriages to hear couples place the blame on stepchildren for disrupting their lives. The modern family is so busy and occupied that dealing with the emotional issues of a stepchild often seems like too much work. On the other hand, the new parent may have little or no experience or tolerance for dealing with all the new concerns that arise on a daily basis.
Heaps of books have been written about the uphill trauma of dealing with divorce and the unexpected trials of raising stepchildren. I’ve prayed for many couples who are trying to cope and, at the same time, keep their sanity. Rarely do I meet a person who is truly happy raising someone else’s children. If you find yourself in such a situation, recognize that the fatherless and motherless have a special place in God ’s heart (Ps. 10:14, 18).
Recognize that stepchildren are the flesh and blood of and closely knitted to your spouse. Ask for God ’s help, and avoid becoming bitter or having a bitter stepchild. Pour yourself into your family, and God will pour Himself into every aspect of your lives. Marriage won’t work when you draw separate lines.
I highly recommend my book Satan, You Can’t Have My Children as a spiritual warfare guide that will help you train children effectively.4
C. M. Ward said, “It is not divorce that destroys families, but bad marriages.”5