Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Jimmie Ruth Matthews remembers receiving a difficult phone call. The woman on the other end of the line was living with her husband, Lorne.

Jimmie Ruth Matthews: She told me, “God has shown me that Lorne and I are going to be married.”

I said, “Well, there’s one problem. It goes contrary to what the Word of God says, and it won’t work.”

She said, “Well, we’ll just see who wins in the end.”

It was like warfare was declared.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, February 6, 2015.

Today we’ll hear a dramatic story about the importance of commitment and faithfulness in marriage. Why is this topic so important? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss to begin with some biblical perspective before we hear today’s story.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Idolatry and adultery go hand in hand in the Scripture because earthly marriage, or the breakup of earthly marriages, pictures spiritual realities. It’s not only a sacred covenant, it’s a binding, lifelong covenant. Marriage is a covenant. It’s a pledge to be faithful unto death regardless of what circumstances may arise.

A covenant is very different than a legal or business contract. In a contract, when one party fails to fulfill their obligations, the contract can be broken, and the other party can be freed from the commitment. But a covenant, which is a word you see all through the Scripture—I wish we had time to trace that. It’s a rich word. It’s a word that’s at the heart of our salvation, the covenant that God has made with us. A covenant, in the biblical sense, transcends the legal requirements of a contract.

Leslie: Yesterday we began hearing a story that illustrates Nancy’s point. Here’s a recap of what we heard last time.

We began as Lorne Matthews, a piano player, was proposing to Jimmie Ruth.

Lorne Matthews: I really feel like God’s calling me to be a Gospel musician, and my dream is to marry a woman who wants to travel and sing Gospel music. If you think you’d like to do that, too, I’d like you to be my wife.

Jimmie Ruth: This was our first date.

Lorne: I began to get puffed up in pride because of my piano gift. I thought that was my identity.

Jimmie Ruth: We’re so much alike, but yet, so, so different.

Lorne: We didn’t have any intimacy.

Jimmie Ruth: It had reached the dull, boring state, and we were just kind of coasting.

Lorne: Because she was a slave at home and did all the work at home raising the kids, and I was this prima donna getting on a bus and traveling around the country getting standing ovations, then I’d come home and give her the laundry to do.

Jimmie Ruth: I think there was probably a clutchiness in me. I had to keep everything perfect.

Nancy: So you were controlling?

Jimmie Ruth: Yes, I was.

This woman’s children were friends with our kids.

Lorne: I remember one time she was cutting my hair when we were alone.

Jimmie Ruth: She was a beautician. She had a little shop in her basement.

Lorne: She said, “Haven’t you figured it out by now that I’m in love with you?” The next time we were talking about we’d divorce our mates and we’d get married. We were in "love."

So I finally found a so-called Christian counselor, but the diagnosis was: “You’ve created a relationship where your wife is on top, and you are the wimp underneath. You’re under your wife’s control, and you need to get out of this.”

So I came to my wife after eighteen years of marriage. I got the big head, and I said, “I don’t feel any emotions for you anymore, and I want a divorce.”

Jimmie Ruth: I said, “Over my dead body.”

Leslie: For some listeners, this story will bring up some painful memories and many tough questions. If you’re feeling those emotions or asking some of those questions, here’s what I recommend: Realize the details of your story may be different than the details you’re about to hear.

Would you listen to this entire series, including Nancy's helpful biblical teaching, search the Scriptures, and ask God for insight into your specifics, and get help from your church on how you should proceed?

Let’s pick back up on Nancy’s interview with Lorne and Jimmie Ruth Matthews.

Nancy: So after you say you’re going to get a divorce, you left the house and moved in with . . . she left her family?

Lorne: No, she stayed in her home and kicked her husband out.

Nancy: And you moved in there.

Lorne: We were looking around in the Body and seeing—is this an exaggeration?—seeing millions of people who would say, “Oh, it’s okay. Divorce, remarry. It’s not the unpardonable sin. God will forgive you. So go for it.” So with that thing fueling us, I didn’t think I was doing anything particularly worse than anybody else because society is doing it so much.

Leslie: Lorne was encouraged to pursue this new relationship by a multi-millionaire who wanted to finance Lorne’s music career.

Lorne: My story was that he was a preacher, and in church he saw a woman he wanted more than his wife. So he divorced his wife and married this other woman, and the church asked him to leave because you can’t do that. But he’s a multi-millionaire, so he bought his own church. He and his new wife have this new ministry, and he comes to me and says, “I want to help you.”

Jimmie Ruth: He gave him the keys to a new car, a beautiful condominium on the golf course, and the keys to a church to pastor, and Lorne living in adultery.

Nancy: You’re wanting a divorce during this time?

Lorne: Yes. I asked her. I said, “I’m committing adultery, and so you have the right to divorce me. So go ahead and divorce me.”

Nancy: You wanted her to divorce you.

Lorne: Please divorce me. Here’s the papers. You can own the home, the car. So she took the papers and signed everything so that she would own it, but then she wouldn’t sign the divorce papers.

Jimmie Ruth: I was concerned that maybe he might sell our home and things like that. So when he signed the papers over to me, I just thanked the Lord for protecting.

Nancy: So the Lord protected you from having those things taken away, but you said, “I’m not going to go for the divorce.”

Lorne: She just did not believe in divorce, and I said, “But you have the right. Please.” My mother called her and said, “Please. You’re causing my son to live in adultery. If you’ll just sign the divorce papers, then it won’t be adultery.”

Jimmie Ruth: The woman called me one day. She told me, “God has shown me that Lorne and I are going to be married.”

I said, “Well, there’s one problem. It goes contrary to what the Word of God says, and it won’t work.”

She said, “Well, we’ll see who wins in the end.”

It was like warfare was declared. Christian people were calling me and knocking on my door. It was almost like, “Yippee! Your husband is committing adultery. Now you can get a divorce.”

When I started studying the patterns of covenant and the New Testament plan, I just could not see that was what God was saying in the Word. The Scriptures they use says, “Except it be for fornication.” So people think when a person has a mate that he’s committing adultery, then what the Scripture is saying is that you can go ahead and get a divorce. But actually, the Scripture is referring to a Jewish betrothal pattern.

Nancy: I know what you’re saying is when Jesus said that a man could not divorce his wife except for sexual immorality—unfaithfulness—that there are those who would say that this is not talking about adultery, that so-called exception clause, but it’s talking about unfaithfulness during that betrothal period.

Jimmie Ruth: Right. And I think there’s been a lot of confusion in the church. When I started studying the covenant and these kinds of things, I think one of the most important things a person who is in my position can do is to establish what your convictions are. I did not believe there was a place for divorce. I know it happens, and I’m not judging anyone else. I’m speaking for me right now. So I just refused to cooperate with Lorne in any way.

Nancy: You decided you were going to stand for your marriage.

Jimmie Ruth: Yes. There are a lot of people who take this stand to trust God to bring their mate back home.

I remember when I received the divorce papers. The man drove up in our driveway, and he handed me the papers. It was interesting because somewhere along the way, I had been given this information that I had “x” amount of days that I was entitled to before the hearing came up. Well, I started figuring the date, and the papers were three or four days short of what I was entitled to.

So I just sat on the papers until the morning that hearing was scheduled in Ocala, Florida. I called the judge that day, and I said, “This is Mrs. Matthews, the real one”—because the other woman had been using the name of Mrs. Matthews—“and I’m contesting this divorce hearing.”

I said, “I know that I am legally entitled to 'x' amount of days, and I did not receive the privilege of having this many days.”

So Lorne said the judge put his hand over the phone and said, “This is your blankety-blank wife. She is not going to let you go, so I cannot give you a divorce today. You’re going to have to go home and wait thirty days and come back and reapply.”

Nancy: So Lorne, you’re down in the courtroom in Florida.

Lorne: It was strange. That day I had gone down to the courthouse. I was fully expecting to get the divorce, and on the way down, we had a blood test.

Nancy: So the other woman is with you?

Lorne: Yes. We’re getting a blood test, and as soon as we get that divorce paper, we’re going to get married. So when this judge looked at me and said, “She’s right. You’ve got to have thirty days. So you have to go back.” So we went back to the apartment, and this woman told me, “This is spiritual warfare. That counselor who told you your wife is in the way, she is was right on.” She said, “This is evil.”

Leslie: Now, even though Jimmie Ruth was settled in her convictions, God still had to do a lot of work in her heart.

Jimmie Ruth: God designed marriage to last until death parts you, so I just prayed for God to kill him. So you have a murderer and an adulterer here expounding on your program today.

I had to come to the place of repenting of what was in my heart. I even had a plan for God. I said, “God, if You’ll just get him on a slick highway and push him over a steep embankment, then I can look good, and You can look good, too.”

I just had to deal with me. I couldn’t settle Lorne’s problems. I had to deal with my problems when I saw how desperately wicked my own heart was.

Nancy: In terms of the way you responded to him in this?

Jimmie Ruth: Yes. To pray for God to kill him.

Nancy: And so God began to change and turn your heart while he was still gone?

Jimmie Ruth: Oh, yes. I was trying to get him to change, and one day the Lord showed me in Galatians 5, where the Fruit of the Spirit is listed, the last fruit is temperance, which is self-control, not husband control.

I remember looking in the mirror and thinking, I really don’t like that woman. I started asking God to show me the things that were in my heart that He wanted to change and to start focusing on them. That’s what I encourage most women when I talk to them. I say, “You’re likely not going to change your husband. So just get off of his case, and start asking God what He wants to change in you.”

Nancy: That’s pretty amazing because anybody listening to this story . . . and a lot of our listeners have been right where you were. If you hear this story, you think, Well, the sinner in this case is the unfaithful husband (or it could be the other way around). But you’re thinking it’s Lorne who needs to repent, which was clear. But for you to say, “I’m the one who needs to change, and I need to repent.” Some people would say, “What did you need to repent of? You weren’t the one who was unfaithful.”

Jimmie Ruth: It was what was in my heart.

Nancy: What did God show you?

Jimmie Ruth: That my heart was desperately wicked. I think the starting place was coming to the point where I could thank God for the way He made me. When I sang, I wanted to sing like other people. When I would be in church and I would see other people worship, I would think, I wish I could worship like that. One day the Lord spoke to me and said, “You don’t have to worship like anybody else; you don’t have to sing like anyone else. I created you because I long for the kind of praise that only you can give Me.”

I stared becoming comfortable with me. When I started focusing on me and dealing with me, I think that was one of the points when Lorne felt drawn back to me.

Lorne: Who was right? My wife is hanging on; she won’t give up, and this woman is controlling me so much with all this spooky . . . I knew something was wrong, but I had developed a very dependent, weak, Ahab spirit. I was not a strong man of the Word of God.

Nancy: You were blinded.

Lorne: I was blinded by my lust, blinded by anger, blinded by “poor me, my wife can’t give me what I need,” and blaming everybody else—the blame game. Finally I just said, “What shall I do?” I said, “I’m going to get away from both of them.”

So I said, “Goodbye,” to the other woman and went with some friends of mine in Gospel music. I started playing Gospel music and traveling away from both of them. It was during that time that I really discovered how rotten and filthy my flesh was. During that time I was traveling and trying to minister, I sat down in church one day in Houston, and I saw another woman, and I was drawn to this other woman—a pastor’s wife who had been divorced. So I quickly began another relationship with her.

After about four or five days of that, I went to the pastor, and I said, “John, please help me. My problem is not my wife or this other woman, or even this woman. My problem is me. I need help.”

So he helped. He talked to this other person and told her to get away from me, but I was so weak and so dependent. I thought I had to have a woman for my identity. It was at that time in my life that God began to turn me around.

Leslie: That’s Lorne Matthews. He and his wife, Jimmie Ruth, have been talking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s a story of adultery, forgiveness, and radical commitment. We’ll pick it up again next week. 

I know Easter may seem like a long way off, but we want to encourage you to plan ahead. If you spend the weeks leading up to resurrection Sunday focusing on Jesus, you’ll have a rich, rewarding experience.  

We want to help you see Jesus in a new way and set your mind on Him leading into Easter. So imagine this. In the weeks leading up to this occasion, image spending some extra time each day thinking about who Jesus is. We’d like to send you a book to help you do that by Oswald Sanders called The Incomparable Christ. It explores facets of Jesus’ life you don’t always think about.  

Nancy will follow the outline in this book in a teaching series—also called "The Incomparable Christ"—starting February 18. So each day, you can read a chapter in the book and hear related yet different teaching from Nancy. And we’d also like to send you a journal with questions to help you see ways to live this teaching out in real life. 

So to prepare for the beginning of this series on the 18th, we’d like to send you The Incomparable Christ book and journal when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Call with your donation, and we’ll send one per household. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

 

Leslie: While still living away from his home, Lorne Matthews had a conversation with his daughter.

Lorne: I remember at the airport my daughter ran to me and welcomed me home. My wife came, and we shook hands. There was no emotions. I had killed all the marriage feelings.

Nancy: By the way, there is a lot of emotion right now. Jimmie Ruth is sitting here crying. God has tenderized this heart in a way that didn't seem possible at the time.

Lorne: Oh, thank God. When I arrived home, I saw all these yellow ribbons—hundreds of yellow ribbons—in every tree, every bush, every doorknob, every window. I said, “What is this? What does this mean?” She said, “Daddy, this is for a very special hostage.”

She said, “I think you think you’re coming home to see me graduate, but mother and I have been praying, and I feel like God is going to put you guys back together.”

I said, “Honey, it’s impossible. Listen, it’s ordinary for a child to feel that, but I’ve killed this marriage. I’m here to see you graduate, and then I’m out of here. There’s no way this marriage can be healed. It is dead. It’s over.”

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “But, Daddy, you forget. You raised me in a Christian home, and we believe in a God who raises the dead. This marriage is nothing to Him. He can do it.”

Leslie: Hear that part of the story Monday on Revive Our Hearts.

Later in this series, Jimmie Ruth and Lorne Matthews are going to show us the power of forgiveness. Listeners will be encouraged to let go of bitterness and embrace forgiveness.

Now, the Matthews are here to pray for us in that process.

Nancy: Lorne, would you just lead us in prayer right now for those who are carrying those stones of bitterness that God would give them the grace right now to release that?

Lorne: Father, I thank You for the liberty that comes through the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank You, Lord, for the precious covenant that is written in the blood of Christ. So, Lord, when we receive forgiveness for our sins, how could we dare not freely release forgiveness towards those who have hurt us? Yet, there’s so many of us, Lord, who are holding on to those hurts and wounds and bitterness. Lord, would Your precious Spirit of liberty come and set people free from this horrible bondage? Let marriages be healed as people individually choose, instead of flowing from the terribleness of the hurts, let them flow in forgiveness.

Thank You, Lord, for a wife who forgave me; for a mother-in-law who forgave me. And, Lord, let those who have listened to this witness join in this wonderful life in Christ. If there are those who need to accept You as Savior, let them be saved and receive You. And all those as Christians who need to be released, I thank You, Lord, for the liberty that is in Jesus Christ. Thank You for doing that, Jesus.

Nancy: Jimmie Ruth, would you just pray for women who are in a situation where they feel like their marriage is hopelessly destroyed, they feel like there is no way for it to be reconciled? Would you pray for God to bring about reconciliation in the marriages of many of our listeners?

Jimmie Ruth: Father, I thank You for the life that comes from You. Right now I know that there are many, many women, and there are also many, many men who have been rejected. I pray that Your life would flow into them right now.

Lord, I pray that You would send the comfort of Your Holy Spirit. Your Word says, “Thy Maker is thy husband.” I thank You, Lord, for those times when You sustained me, when You provided for me, when You were my Lover, when You were everything that I needed. Lord, I thank You.

I ask You to help those who are hurting right now to lean upon You, to develop their intimacy with You in a way like they have never known before. I pray for that wandering mate, wherever they are, Lord. I ask You to send the hounds of heaven after them. I pray that they will not be able to sleep day or night. I ask You to bring confusion in their way, that they will not get their sense of direction until they turn to You and to Your Word.

Father, I ask that You send a revival to America, and I ask You to start that revival in our homes, in our marriages, in the relationships in the family. Lord, I pray for the children of so many broken homes who find it so confusing when they can’t trust a parent, can’t trust a father, and yet they’re expected to trust a heavenly Father. I ask You to show Yourself to them in a mighty way, that they will know You as their Savior and as their Lord.

Father, heal our marriages; heal our families, and heal our churches. I give You thanks, Lord, for what You have done in our lives, for the joy that we have in our marriage. And I thank You, Lord, for the peace of Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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