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Showing Revision 26 created 12/10/2019 by Colin Preston.

  1. ♪ theme music ♪
  2. (Derek) Welcome to Hope Sabbath School,
  3. an in-depth, interactive study
  4. of the Word of God.
  5. We are coming toward the end
  6. of a series on Ezra and Nehemiah,
  7. that's the fifth century, B.C.,
  8. a Jewish priest and a Jewish exile
  9. who was a Persian court official.
  10. God used them to do
  11. some mighty work for Him,
  12. and there are principles
  13. that we will learn for our lives today.
  14. Today, Dealing with Bad Decisions,
  15. particularly related to marriage,
  16. but I'm praying that this
  17. would not be a negative study,
  18. but it would give positive instruction
  19. wherever you are on your journey with God.
  20. So, welcome to Hope Sabbath School.
  21. Good to be together again,
  22. and I'm excited about this topic
  23. because I feel like it's really relevant
  24. for our lives today.
  25. And wherever we are in our journey,
  26. the Word of God is a lamp
    to our feet, right?
  27. We're glad you're part
  28. of our Hope Sabbath School family
    wherever you are,
  29. always happy to hear from you.
  30. Here's a note from Morgan in Mississippi
  31. in the United States of America.
  32. Morgan says, "I'm writing
  33. because it's long overdue.
  34. I discovered Hope Channel
  35. for the first time on DirecTV 368
  36. in January of 2018.
  37. I must admit I'm learning
  38. more about the Bible than ever before."
  39. (Team) Amen.
  40. (Derek) "I love the interactive
    and teaching approach
  41. that you present to all listeners.
  42. It's been a joy and a blessing
  43. since I started watching
  44. Hope Sabbath School.
  45. I live in the U.S. in Mississippi.
  46. I grew up attending
  47. a local Baptist church, sometimes;
  48. however, my family never
  49. honored the Sabbath day
  50. nor were we active, serious followers
    of Jesus.
  51. As I became older, I began
  52. to seek Jesus for myself."
  53. (Team) Amen.
  54. (Derek) "And I have not been disappointed.
  55. So I'm still seeking Him everyday.
  56. And when I became aware of Hope Channel,
  57. it was a blessing to me,
  58. especially Hope Sabbath School."
  59. Well, Morgan, we're just glad you're part
  60. of our Hope Sabbath School family, right?
  61. And we're excited that God is leading you
  62. into a fuller understanding of His truth
  63. and His plan for your life.
  64. Here's a note from Joe in Zambia,
  65. "I greet you in the name
  66. of the Lord Jesus."
  67. That wasn't too encouraging.
  68. Greet him in the name
    of the Lord Jesus!
  69. "My name's Joseph from Lusaka.
  70. I want to thank you
  71. for Hope Sabbath School
  72. and the work you're doing.
  73. Keep up the good work.
  74. It keeps me glued to the TV
  75. to know more about the Kingdom of Heaven."
  76. (Team) Amen.
  77. (Derek) "The explanations are distinct
  78. and clear for all to understand.
  79. May God keep blessing you
  80. abundantly with wisdom
  81. and spread the Word everywhere. Amen."
  82. (Team) Amen.
  83. (Derek) I want to meet Joe;
  84. He's an enthusiastic fellow.
  85. Banks writes from Canada;
    Any Canadians here?
  86. Yes, Adison, a Canadian.
  87. He's on the other side
    in Gatineau, Canada.
  88. (Adison) Quebec?
  89. (Derek) Quebec, Banks St. Fleur,
  90. "I'm speaking to you in Gatineau.
  91. I have a great privilege
  92. to find you and your group
  93. in that marvelous work,
  94. an interactive study of the Word of God.
  95. What a beautiful thing to serve Jesus!"
  96. (Team) Amen.
  97. (Derek) "I am praying that Jesus
  98. can help us to stay close to Him,
  99. even with what's happening
  100. around us in the world. Blessings. Amen."
  101. (Team) Amen.
  102. (Derek) I think that may have been
  103. second language, French-speaking Quebec?
  104. (Adison) Oui.
  105. (Derek) We're glad, Banks,
  106. that you could write to us and that you're
  107. part of our Hope Sabbath School family.
  108. Here's a note from a donor,
  109. "I'm enjoying the lessons
  110. on Hope Sabbath School,
  111. learning and understanding more.
  112. You bring things to light
  113. and make it easier
  114. to understand the Bible."
  115. (Team) Amen.
  116. (Derek) "Thank you for all the work
  117. that you do to bring the program
  118. to so many around the world.
  119. I watch Hope Sabbath School
  120. three times every week,"
  121. and a gift of 35 dollars
  122. to help the ministry.
  123. You know, all of us working together
  124. is what makes the miracle happen,
    isn't it?
  125. Thanks so much to our donors
  126. for your prayers and your support.
  127. One last note, from Marita in New Zealand,
  128. way on the other side of the world.
  129. "I would like to thank you
  130. for your discussions,
  131. which sometimes make me laugh
  132. and other times make me cry; that's life.
  133. The team, with many different members
  134. from all over the world,
  135. working together for the whole family,
  136. what a great blessing you are.
  137. I would like to give
  138. special thanks to Bodil.
  139. She works behind the scenes,
  140. always in the background, but very present
  141. through her Scripture songs."
  142. (Team) Amen.
  143. (Derek) "To put music to the Bible
    is great.
  144. I'm singing often during the day
  145. the songs I learn on Hope Sabbath School."
  146. (Team) Amen.
  147. (Derek) "How easy to remember the Bible
  148. when you put it to music - fantastic!
  149. I look forward to singing
  150. with all the saints
  151. when we are in Heaven."
  152. Well, Marita, we need you
  153. to sing with us right now.
  154. We have a 3,000-year-old Scripture song
  155. my wife, Bodil, put a new tune to,
  156. and it says, "To You, O Lord,
  157. I lift up my soul.
  158. O my God, I trust in You."
  159. Let's sing it together.
  160. ♪ music ♪
  161. (Derek) I was just thinking
    while we were singing,
  162. maybe we'll be in a difficult situation
  163. and instead of going, "Oh! Oh!"
  164. we'll just start singing,
  165. "To You, O Lord...," and the people
  166. will be like, "Oh!"
  167. God may send an angel
  168. on either side of us.
  169. God is able to care for His children,
    isn't He?
  170. And one of the things
  171. that we're learning,
  172. whatever we're facing in life,
  173. is to call upon the name of the Lord.
  174. Today, Dealing with Bad Decisions,
  175. what better thing to do
  176. than call on the name of the Lord.
  177. So let's pray together right now.
  178. To You, O Lord, we lift up our souls.
  179. We want to thank You,
  180. that You, through Your prophets
  181. and most of all through Your Son, Jesus,
  182. have taught us the way to live
  183. and the way of salvation.
  184. And most of all, You've revealed to us
    that You love us
  185. with an immeasurable and unfailing love.
  186. And I pray, as we look
  187. at Dealing with Bad Decisions,
  188. that You would give, not only counsel
  189. to redirect our path in a healthy way,
  190. but an awareness of how much
  191. You love us on our journey;
    and I thank You.
  192. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
  193. (Team) Amen.
  194. (Derek) Well, I'm sure
  195. there were many bad decisions
  196. that were being made
  197. in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah,
  198. just like there are today,
  199. but both Ezra and Nehemiah
  200. focus on one bad decision
  201. that had broad consequences.
  202. And we're going to start
  203. with Nehemiah's account
  204. in Nehemiah, chapter 13, verses 23 and 24.
  205. And, Stephanie, would you begin our study,
  206. verses 23 and 24 of Nehemiah 13.
  207. (Stephanie) I'll be reading
  208. from the King James Version:
  209. (Derek) So, a problem here
  210. is that there is what?
  211. (Nicole) Intermarriage.
  212. (Derek) Intermarriage with...?
  213. (Team) Nonbelievers.
  214. (Derek) Not just people of other nations,
  215. but people who worship false gods;
  216. that's the real challenge.
  217. And, Adison, look down
  218. in that same chapter for us, in verse 28.
  219. I wouldn't say, "to make matters worse,"
  220. but to compound the problem,
  221. what does Nehemiah tell us
  222. in verse 28 of chapter 13?
  223. (Adison) I'm reading
  224. from the King James Version:
  225. (Derek) Now, you remember
  226. this fellow Sanballat the Horonite.
  227. Summarize his character in a short phrase.
  228. What would you say?
  229. (Travis) Troublemaker.
  230. (Derek) Troublemaker and...?
  231. (Jason) Enemy.
  232. (Derek) Enemy of God!
  233. Opposer of the things of God.
  234. And apparently his relative
  235. married a relative of the high priest.
  236. So, it's all the way up
  237. to the top leadership in the community,
  238. this problem of intermarriage.
  239. Let's see how Nehemiah responds, Gary,
  240. if you'd take us, in the same chapter,
    verse 25.
  241. And I know these are startling words,
  242. but what does Nehemiah do?
  243. (Gary) Okay, I'll be reading
  244. from the New King James Version:
  245. (Derek) Now, before we do an evaluation
  246. of whether you think it was a good thing
  247. to curse them, strike some of them,
  248. pull out their hair,
  249. what illustration does he give
  250. of the detrimental effect
  251. of marrying - taking spouses -
  252. who worship pagan gods?
  253. Well, let's look and see.
  254. Travis, would you read,
  255. same chapter for us,
  256. Nehemiah 13, verses 26 and 27.
  257. (Travis) I'll be reading
  258. from the New King James Version:
  259. (Derek) So did God love Solomon?
  260. (Team) Yes.
  261. (Derek) Did marrying pagan spouses
    impact his life?
  262. (Team) Yes.
  263. (Derek) Absolutely.
  264. Devastating consequences, right?
  265. Not just setting a poor example,
  266. but building pagan temples
  267. and even, doesn't Scripture say,
  268. drawing his heart away.
  269. And wasn't that a sin?
  270. He says it was a sin, right, to do that.
  271. Why? Because they...?
  272. They knew better; they knew
  273. what God had asked them to do.
  274. But I've got to stop and ask,
  275. how does what Nehemiah did,
  276. how does that reflect
  277. the teaching of Jesus?
  278. In Matthew 5:43-45, that's where it says,
  279. "Love your enemies, bless those
    who curse you,
  280. do good to those who spitefully use you
    and persecute you."
  281. And isn't there somewhere else
  282. in the Sermon on the Mount
  283. where it says, "Treat others..."?
  284. (Adison) The Golden Rule.
  285. (Derek) The Golden Rule, right,
    Matthew 7:12,
  286. the way you would like to be treated.
  287. So, what do you think, Jonathan?
  288. I mean, it's fairly intense,
    wouldn't you say?
  289. He struck some; he cursed them.
  290. I'm sure that doesn't mean
  291. he used foul language,
  292. but he said, I guess, what,
  293. "The curse of God be upon you,"
  294. or hit them, he pulled some of the hair
  295. out of their beards?
  296. (Jonathan) I guess, reading it,
  297. it does seem like maybe he's
  298. not acting out of cautious principle,
  299. maybe a little bit out of emotion.
  300. But at the same time, I wonder, okay,
  301. when you have a child or some place
  302. where you need to set down
    strong discipline,
  303. there certainly is a time
  304. for maybe doing things
  305. that one might say, "Well,
  306. was that loving your neighbor?"
  307. Well, if you look in the largest sense
    of what it was,
  308. destroying these people's lives
  309. and the whole community's lives,
  310. maybe it's a different angle
  311. on how you evaluate that.
  312. (Derek) All right, you might say,
  313. if you saw me heading
  314. down a destructive path,
  315. and you really cared about me,
  316. you might do whatever it takes
    to wake me up -
  317. Malaina, what do you think?
  318. (Malaina) I think that sometimes
  319. you need to come at it
  320. with love and care,
  321. but if that approach doesn't work,
  322. and sometimes it doesn't
  323. always work on people,
  324. you kind of need to hold them accountable
  325. and be like, "What you're doing is wrong,
  326. and it's going to lead
  327. to even worse consequences."
  328. And I think that's what Nehemiah
  329. was trying to get at.
  330. And maybe it was a little intense,
  331. but he was really hurt by that, so...
  332. (Derek) We always need to be careful
  333. that we don't judge people
  334. because we don't know
  335. all the details, right?
  336. You know, he might have said,
  337. "I told you last week,"
  338. or, "I told you a month ago,
  339. and you just took
  340. three pagan wives," or whatever.
  341. So, we don't know all the details,
  342. but we would all agree
  343. that he cares about what's happening
  344. and the negative consequence. Stephanie?
  345. (Stephanie) Right, and I guess I would say
  346. we would want to use caution
  347. not to use this as an excuse for abuse
  348. in a relationship or anything
    of that nature, your child...
  349. (Derek) Yeah, there is
  350. such a thing, isn't there...
  351. What do they call it
  352. when a spiritual leader abuses...
  353. (Thomas) It's an abuse of power.
  354. (Derek) An abuse of power, that's right,
  355. whether that's abusing people physically
  356. or sexually or psychologically
  357. or, I guess, in a religious way, right?
  358. So you're saying, "Well, he hit people,
  359. and he pulled their hair out,
  360. and it's in the Bible,
  361. so I can do that to people, too."
  362. You would not see that as an example,
  363. but what I hear Malaina saying is,
  364. feeling intense about this
  365. and doing what it will take to stop them,
  366. we maybe need to contextualize that
    into our culture?
  367. What do you think, Travis?
  368. (Travis) First off, if I was a leader
    in a church or something,
  369. I would never pull someone's hair out
    and beat them; I just wouldn't.
  370. I would have to take a different approach.
  371. (Derek) Even if you felt very intense?
  372. (Travis) I just wouldn't.
  373. But we don't know the culture,
    as you said.
  374. But then I think about the verse
  375. in the Bible where Jesus says,
  376. "To those I love, I rebuke and chasten."
  377. Nehemiah had a passionate love,
  378. and he knew the consequences of this
  379. would be the death of people.
  380. So, pulling some hair out, you know,
  381. doing something like that might be better
  382. than them dying later on, too,
    so I don't know.
  383. (Derek) Maybe he said,
  384. "I love you, brother" (yank).
  385. One thing's clear; go back
  386. to Deuteronomy, chapter 7;
  387. they knew what God had asked them to do.
  388. Deuteronomy, chapter 7,
  389. Heide, if you have that, and you'd read
  390. the first three verses for us
  391. of Deuteronomy, chapter 7.
  392. It had been clearly told to them
  393. that God didn't want them
  394. to do these things.
  395. (Heide) All right, I'll be reading
  396. from the New King James Version,
    and it says:
  397. (Derek) Very clear instruction
  398. that God had given,
  399. and they're disregarding that.
  400. Now, before we go on
  401. and see what's happening in Ezra
  402. and what he shares,
  403. let's broaden it out,
  404. dealing with bad decisions.
  405. Let's go beyond just taking
  406. an unbelieving spouse,
  407. and let's say they knew
  408. what God taught, Nicole,
  409. but they did something
    completely opposite.
  410. That could happen in many areas of life.
  411. Why do people do that?
  412. Now, we're not talking
  413. about the people that don't know.
  414. We're talking about the people
  415. that know what God's asking them to do,
  416. and they do the exact opposite.
  417. Why do they do that?
  418. Or maybe I should say, why do we
    do that sometimes?
  419. (Nicole) I think part of it
    is self-gratification.
  420. We believe that we know best
  421. what is good for us and what we like,
  422. and so, therefore, we engage in activities
  423. that God tells us not to engage in
  424. because it gives us gratification
    of what we want right now
  425. because we're in a very "microwave,"
    we call it, society.
  426. And so, rather than wait on God
  427. to give us the great blessings
    He has in store for us,
  428. we want to gratify ourselves today.
  429. (Derek) So, "God, I know
    you've given this,
  430. but actually I know better
    in this situation"?
  431. And the angels go, "Oh, no!" right? Gary?
  432. (Gary) Just to piggyback
  433. off of what Nicole said,
  434. it's a lack of faith
  435. and a lack of trust in God's words.
  436. I mean, we can't see beyond what we see,
  437. and because of that,
  438. and God can see the future,
  439. He's saying, "Look, you can't see it yet,
  440. but this is going to be really bad.
  441. Just don't entertain it."
  442. And we are just captivated by what we see.
  443. (Derek) And what we've learned
  444. from our whole discussion
  445. is God's direction in our lives
    is motivated by...?
  446. (Team) Love.
  447. (Derek) He loves us, right?
  448. He's like, "That is going
  449. to be destructive." Jonathan?
  450. (Jonathan) To his point,
  451. it's hard when you see things
  452. It's like, "Okay, this makes sense to me."
  453. It's very hard to go
  454. based on the small little thing
  455. you can barely see of, "Okay,
  456. God is faithful; He knows,"
  457. and you have to go,
  458. based on things you cannot see,
    which takes faith.
  459. (Derek) There is a text in the Proverbs
  460. that says, "There is a way
    that seems right."
  461. I didn't really understand this
  462. when I was little.
  463. Now I understand, it actually looks right,
  464. "But the end thereof is the way of death."
  465. We don't see that, and so, sometimes
  466. we may do something directly contrary.
  467. (Travis) I think, too, it's good
  468. to remember that we're not
  469. in the Garden of Eden;
  470. Satan isn't limited to a tree;
    he's all over.
  471. He's got shiny pearls everywhere.
  472. And so, as we're walking,
  473. you'd said earlier, the Bible
  474. is a lamp and a light.
  475. "Lord, is this okay?" and we need
  476. to be in constant communion,
    "Is this decision okay?"
  477. "Is this decision okay?"
  478. As soon as we get away from that,
  479. we start trusting in ourselves,
    as Nicole said.
  480. And then we're challenged
  481. with the decisions we made,
    or the consequences
  482. of our own decisions without God.
  483. (Derek) And certainly the Bible
  484. has some great principles for us.
  485. How does a community -
  486. Church is a community of loving people -
  487. how does that help us, Chris,
  488. can I say, to protect us from things
  489. we may not see immediately?
  490. (Chris) There are so many
  491. different types of people in a community.
  492. There are people that are older than us,
  493. people that are wiser than us,
    people that have
  494. been through different experiences,
  495. people that have made the mistakes
    that we might make.
  496. And because of that, they can lead us
  497. and guide us and show us, "Hey,
  498. I've been down that road.
  499. I understand how you feel,
  500. but just realize that your feelings
  501. are going to lead you to this place,
  502. and you don't want to be here."
  503. (Derek) So God may use people, too,
  504. in order to guide us. Evelyn?
  505. (Evelyn) These communities
  506. allow individuals to find mentors.
  507. Everyone needs a mentor in their life.
  508. And so, churches, families,
  509. they should all be accountable
  510. for each other in this way.
  511. Mentors are really the people
  512. you should turn to and say, "Hey, I have
  513. this in front of me; what should I do?"
  514. (Derek) Probably finding a mentor
  515. in a Bible study group
  516. or worshiping community
  517. rather than a bar or a club of some kind,
  518. you know, because you're finding someone
  519. who is at least seeking
  520. the way of God, the Word of God.
  521. We looked at Ezra;
  522. excuse me, we looked at Nehemiah, right?
  523. Now we're going to look at Ezra.
  524. And, by the way, they're
  525. not that far apart in years, right?
  526. They're kind of contemporaries.
  527. In fact, remember at the beginning
  528. of our study we shared that in Judaism
  529. Ezra and Nehemiah, they're together.
  530. Ezra and Nehemiah, right,
  531. and in the Septuagint
  532. they put them together
  533. because they're that same time period,
  534. the second wave, if you will,
    of exiles coming.
  535. Let's go to Ezra, chapter 9,
  536. verses 1 and 2, and let's see
  537. a problem reported to the priest Ezra.
  538. Evelyn, if you have that, would you read
  539. the first two verses of chapter 9 of Ezra?
  540. (Evelyn) Yes, I'll be reading
  541. from the New Living Translation:
  542. (Derek) So, did you notice
  543. there's not just one example
  544. of this fellow's grandson
  545. who married this son-in-law,
  546. but it names specifically what...?
  547. (Team Member) The leaders.
  548. (Derek) Yeah, didn't it say
  549. priests and Levites were part of those...?
  550. Not all of them, obviously,
  551. but some of them were also offending.
  552. Now, let's see...and, Malaina,
  553. maybe you could read on
  554. in chapter 9, verses 3 and 4...
  555. Let's see how Ezra responds -
  556. you know what I'm going
    to say, don't you? -
  557. how Ezra responds compared
  558. to how Nehemiah responded
  559. because it was serious
  560. in both settings, wasn't it?
  561. And maybe there's no right
    or wrong response
  562. except to feel passionate
  563. about following God, right?
  564. Malaina, let's look at verses 3 and 4.
  565. (Malaina) I'll be reading
  566. from the New King James Version:
  567. (Derek) Jonathan?
  568. (Jonathan) It just does seem
  569. that his approach does more
  570. to appeal, maybe, to a motivation
  571. of those, like, all those
  572. that felt the same gathered around him.
  573. Like, maybe it had more of an ability
  574. to draw out their conviction
    in a better way?
  575. (Derek) Jason, what do you think?
  576. You saw a difference, obviously, right?
  577. (Jason) Yes, there's this self-reflection.
  578. So, instead of immediately going out
    and attacking,
  579. he kind of looks at, "Okay, God,
  580. what's gone on here?
  581. What is the situation,
  582. and how can I respond?"
  583. Kind of, he has this communication
  584. almost, you could say, with God
  585. in spending this time.
  586. (Derek) Uh-huh. Anybody else?
  587. If not, let's go to chapter 10.
  588. Stephanie, I know you're processing that.
  589. You have to say probably there was
  590. no textbook saying, "This is
    how to respond."
  591. Different personalities, but both
  592. very passionate, like, "This isn't right."
  593. God said, "Don't do this,"
  594. and all the way up to priests and Levites
  595. are doing it, right?
  596. Chapter 10, verses 5 and 6,
  597. Nicole, do you have...?
  598. We're in Ezra still,
  599. chapter 10, verses 5 and 6.
  600. Let's see how he continues to respond.
  601. (Nicole) The New Living Translation
  602. of Ezra 10, verses 5 and 6 says:
  603. (Derek) When you hear
  604. that "ate and drank nothing,"
  605. what comes to mind?
  606. (Team) Fasting.
  607. (Derek) Fasting and...? And prayer, yeah.
  608. I think, Jason, you kind of described it.
  609. It's very much...He's trying
  610. to deal with this with God.
  611. He's fasting and praying
    over this situation.
  612. (Jonathan) It makes me think
  613. of Gandhi in some sense,
  614. not a direct correlation,
  615. but Gandhi went for a long time
  616. without food and water
  617. in a sense trying to appeal
  618. to people's conscience.
  619. And so, maybe in a somewhat similar...
  620. (Derek) Sure, you're thinking
  621. in the 20th century a leader that,
  622. instead of using aggression, he uh...
  623. (Jonathan) Appealed to their conscience.
  624. (Derek) He appealed to them
  625. by how much he was grieving
  626. over the abuse that he saw.
  627. Certainly other places in Scripture
  628. where people ate and drank nothing
  629. in connection with seeking God,
  630. help me, some other stories, Gary?
  631. (Gary) The Ninevites after Jonah came.
  632. (Derek) That's right, after Jonah says,
  633. "God's going to destroy this city,"
  634. they repented with fasting. Yes?
  635. (Team Member) Saul/Paul.
  636. (Derek) Saul, for three days
  637. after he encounters the risen Christ.
  638. And a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah,
  639. namely Queen Esther
  640. who asked all of the people,
  641. including her uncle Mordecai,
  642. to eat and drink nothing for three days,
  643. to fast and to pray.
  644. So I don't think it's reading
  645. too much into the text
  646. to say that he wasn't just going
    on a health diet,
  647. but this was really fasting
  648. and praying and seeking God.
  649. So here he is, dealing
  650. with a difficult situation.
  651. At this point, I guess he's
  652. done something external, what's he done?
  653. What did you read?
  654. (Team Member) Pull on his beard?
  655. (Derek) No...He's done
  656. some things internally, introspectively...
  657. (Nicole) He told the Israelites
    to swear...
  658. (Derek) He did; he called
  659. the leaders, didn't he?
  660. We read that; the leaders
  661. of the priests and Levites,
  662. verse 5 of Ezra 10.
  663. But very much, and I think
  664. we see this with Nehemiah, too,
  665. bathing this whole thing in prayer, right?
  666. Why is that important?
  667. We're talking about trying
  668. to resolve a bad situation.
  669. Why is prayer so important, Evelyn,
  670. when you find yourself
  671. in a situation like that?
  672. (Evelyn) Because we know
  673. that God is the One who stores wisdom,
  674. and we need to be on our knees
  675. and ask Him, "God, give me
  676. that gift of wisdom.
  677. Help me figure out
  678. this terrible situation,
  679. help me know how to handle this."
  680. And God really is Someone
  681. who uses the Holy Spirit to inspire us.
  682. (Derek) Yes, Nicole. Thank you.
  683. (Nicole) I would also say that people
  684. make a decision and they stick to it,
  685. and they want to know
  686. that they're right in their decision.
  687. It's hard to tell them, "You're wrong
    for what you've done."
  688. We need to have prayer and the Holy Spirit
    helping us with our words
  689. to be able to reach someone
    that's made a decision
  690. that they believe is right and that they
    want to make.
  691. (Derek) And sometimes,
  692. like Malaina said earlier,
  693. it takes courage to go to someone
  694. and say, "Brother, let me tell you
  695. where you'll end up
  696. if you go down that road."
  697. Like Chris was saying,
  698. "I've been down that road,"
  699. or, "My parents went down that road,"
    or whatever.
  700. Sometimes that takes courage,
    right? Travis?
  701. (Travis) Desperate times
  702. call for desperate measures.
  703. This is a God-sized problem.
  704. This isn't a leaky faucet
  705. that I need a wrench to go fix.
  706. This is something that he
  707. cannot handle on his own.
  708. So, when you have a God-sized problem,
  709. you have to fall on your knees.
  710. (Derek) Yeah, and seek wisdom
  711. like Evelyn said. Jonathan?
  712. (Jonathan) I think, as well,
  713. that sometimes we, when we're
    in situations like that,
  714. we can make things worse
  715. if we're not careful.
  716. I mean, if we start acting out of emotion
  717. and out of trust in ourselves,
  718. we can lay foundations
  719. that can maybe go in directions like...
  720. (Derek) Could we make things worse?
  721. (Jonathan) Oh, yeah.
  722. (Derek) We could make things worse.
  723. (Adison) Just to add onto that,
  724. we just need to be praying
  725. for a spirit of tactfulness,
  726. for a winsome spirit,
  727. and, yeah, the ability
  728. to say yea or nay, right,
  729. just the way we handle it...
  730. Just have the discipline
  731. when we approach someone.
  732. (Derek) It appears, from reading the text,
  733. that Ezra holds the leaders,
  734. can I say, at a higher standard?
  735. Maybe not, maybe we all
  736. have the same standard.
  737. But he expects more of them
  738. because they are leaders.
  739. Is that fair? We're all human beings, Tom.
  740. Why have a higher expectation of leaders?
  741. (Thomas) The leaders are the ones
  742. who set the examples
  743. for everybody else to follow.
  744. The question I have is,
  745. why did they listen to him?
  746. (Derek) Why did they listen?
  747. (Thomas) Yeah, like...
  748. (Derek) Good question
  749. because he was a leader, too, right?
  750. What do you think,
  751. in answer to Tom's question?
  752. Why did they listen to him?
  753. They hadn't been listening before.
  754. Why did they listen to John the Baptist
  755. when he told them what to do?
  756. Why did they listen to Jesus?
  757. What's the answer to that question? Heide?
  758. (Heide) I think that they knew
    it was true,
  759. and the Holy Spirit convicted them
  760. of that, that it was true.
  761. (Derek) But they'd known that before.
  762. They knew before, didn't they?
  763. Why did they listen to him?
  764. Chris, what do you think?
  765. (Chris) I do think it was
  766. the power of the Holy Spirit.
  767. I think, in terms of the people,
  768. even though they kind of knew before,
  769. I think they were dealing with a situation
  770. where there had been generations
    of mistakes
  771. because they had been living in Babylon.
  772. And before that, the generations
  773. that came before them had done wrong,
  774. and that's why they had been living
    in Babylon.
  775. So now we're dealing with a set of people
  776. that, even though they know
    what the laws are,
  777. they've never seem them applied.
  778. And so you need the power
  779. of the Holy Spirit in those moments
  780. to deal with generational teachings.
  781. And I think that's why it was effective,
  782. because Ezra took the time
    to fast and pray
  783. and allow the Lord to speak through him,
  784. so that way, the people,
  785. through all that generational mess
  786. that was in their minds,
  787. could hear what Ezra
  788. was actually trying to say.
  789. (Derek) I mean, it was
    clearly supernatural,
  790. but I would respond,
  791. they listened to Him because they saw
  792. that God was with him.
  793. John the Baptist, when he said,
  794. "If you've got two coats,
    sell one of them.
  795. If they ask you to go a mile, go two,"
  796. and right after that it says,
  797. "Some even wondered if He was the Christ."
  798. So he lived, right, a credible life
  799. as you would as a woman of God/man of God
  800. that gives you a certain credibility,
  801. authority, which isn't just given
    but earned.
  802. They listened to him.
  803. There's one verse in 1 Peter
  804. that I think is helpful for us
  805. about leadership and expecting more
    of leaders.
  806. By the way, we are all leaders, right?
  807. We all have a circle of influence, right?
  808. It could be our dorm room.
  809. It could be our family.
  810. It could be we're a supervisor at work.
  811. Adison, would you read
  812. from 1 Peter, chapter 5, verses 1 to 4?
  813. Here, Peter, who used to operate
  814. a fishing business with his brother
  815. so he'd been a leader
  816. in that circle of influence,
  817. let's hear what he says
  818. about expecting something
  819. of those who are in a leadership position.
  820. (Adison) And I'll be reading
  821. from the King James Version:
  822. (Derek) So, your Bible says
  823. "ensamples to the flock."
  824. Does anyone have another translation?
  825. (Travis) Examples.
  826. (Derek) Examples, okay.
  827. It reminds me of what Paul says
  828. where he says, "Follow me
  829. as I follow Christ."
  830. You see, people are going
    going to follow the leader.
  831. If you're a mother, a father,
  832. a leader in your community,
  833. people look up to you;
  834. you're an older young lady,
  835. and there are younger girls
  836. that look up to you, right?
  837. And he's saying that's part
  838. of being a leader.
  839. And he's saying, "Your example
  840. is impacting other people." Travis?
  841. (Travis) I think of the verse
    we sang as a Scripture song
  842. here at Hope Sabbath School,
  843. "Therefore, I beseech you
  844. to walk worthy of the calling
    with which you were called."
  845. We've all been called to walk
    worthy of that calling.
  846. (Derek) And the beautiful thing there,
    that's not talking
  847. about earning salvation.
  848. You've been saved by God's grace;
    live like it.
  849. And that's only by a personal connection
    with Jesus, right?
  850. But here we are, this bad decision,
  851. of course, is that they were allowing
  852. their sons to marry unbelieving women
  853. and allowing their daughters
  854. to marry unbelieving men.
  855. The Bible has some more to say.
  856. Well, let's just look
  857. at how Ezra addresses it
  858. before we look at some other counsel.
  859. In Ezra, chapter 10 still,
  860. verses 10 through 12.
  861. Nicole, could you read that for us?
  862. (Nicole) Sure, Ezra 10,
  863. verses 10 through 12,
  864. the New Living Translation says:
  865. (Derek) Is that an easy thing to ask?
  866. (Team) No.
  867. (Derek) "But, Ezra, I've been married
  868. to this lady for...,"
  869. (Nicole) Twenty years.
  870. (Derek) Whatever the number is, right?
  871. What do you think about his...
  872. He spent time fasting and praying.
  873. He's been grieving, right?
  874. He'd been pulling out his own beard.
  875. But now he gives a very straight command.
  876. (Jason) I like that even before he
  877. gives the command, though,
  878. he says, "Make confession
  879. to the Lord God of your fathers."
  880. So, before the action
  881. and the separating there,
  882. there's the confession.
  883. There's the individual recognition
  884. of the wrong that has been done.
  885. And so I like that he puts that
  886. before he gives the command.
  887. It shows the process of how God
  888. has been working in this decision.
  889. (Derek) So, how would you respond, Tom,
  890. to someone who might say,
  891. "Well, obviously that was a bad mistake,
  892. but just setting aside that pagan wife,
  893. that's like adding another mistake
  894. to a mistake you've already committed"?
  895. I mean, who's going to care for this lady?
  896. How would you respond to that?
  897. (Thomas) The thing that comes to my mind
  898. is that it's not automatic
  899. that it's going to inevitably be
    a separation.
  900. I think what it could mean
  901. is that they're setting a standard
  902. of what they expect of their partners.
  903. Like, just to give you an example,
  904. I think so many people
  905. who are going into relationships
  906. need to have expectations
    for their partner.
  907. I remember when my wife,
  908. or who was my girlfriend at the time
  909. and wanted to date me,
  910. she said, "I want to make sure
  911. that you're spiritual first,"
  912. and she said, "I want to see
  913. that you're growing spiritually."
  914. And she set that standard.
  915. And I stepped up because I wanted
  916. to be in that relationship.
  917. And I think so many people
  918. don't realize what they have,
  919. and so they don't value it.
  920. And I think what I'm hearing him say
  921. is, "We really have something;
  922. you need to value it and have expectations
  923. and standards for yourself."
  924. I don't think it necessarily follows
  925. that they have to separate
  926. unless they're not willing to step it up,
  927. but it's possible that many
  928. of them might have.
  929. (Derek) That's a powerful insight.
  930. You know, it may be that you say,
  931. "We can't continue where we're
  932. not in spiritual harmony,"
  933. and that spouse may go and seek God
  934. and be transformed, right?
  935. And say, "You know, I need
  936. to leave the gods."
  937. Can you think of someone in the Bible
  938. who did that, right
  939. (we're going to get to those
    in just a minute),
  940. that it's not inevitable
  941. that that would mean
  942. a permanent separation?
  943. But it's drawing clear boundaries
  944. of what God wants to see, right?
  945. So let's broaden it out a little bit,
  946. and let's say, can you name
  947. some other Bible characters besides...
  948. Who was the one that Ezra used
  949. as an example who made
  950. some bad decisions?
  951. (Team) Solomon.
  952. (Derek) Solomon, right?
  953. Actually he made 700 bad decisions
  954. and 300 girlfriends, right?
  955. Yes, that's a thousand.
  956. Now, I suppose some of them
  957. might have been believers
  958. in the true God of Heaven,
  959. so we're not sure,
  960. but certainly he was an example Ezra used.
  961. It was devastating, not only to him,
  962. but to the kingdom.
  963. Think of some other examples
  964. in the Bible, now, where marrying
  965. an unbelieving spouse, a spouse
  966. who was not seeking the God of Heaven,
  967. had really damaging effects. Heide?
  968. (Heide) Samson is a prime example.
  969. (Derek) "But I like her," I mean,
  970. isn't that what he said?
  971. "She looks hot," that's
  972. a rough translation of the Hebrew.
  973. "She looks good to me."
  974. And the parents are like,
  975. "There are lots of good-looking girls
    who love God."
  976. Great example. Damaging?
  977. (Team) Yes.
  978. (Derek) I wonder how much
  979. he thought about that
  980. after his eyes had been gouged out, right?
  981. "Wow, I was living for my eyes
  982. and ended up losing them," wow.
  983. Another example besides Samson. Travis?
  984. (Travis) I think of Ahab because...
  985. (Derek) Ahab! You always wonder.
  986. You know, you think of Ahab and think,
  987. well, he was clearly wicked.
  988. What if he had found a godly companion
  989. who, like Thomas' girlfriend
  990. at the time, Hannah,
  991. said, "I need to know
  992. that you're really seeking God"?
  993. And Ahab could have said, "I need to,"
  994. to quote Thomas, "step it up."
  995. Instead, what was the name
  996. of the lady he married?
  997. (Team) Jezebel.
  998. (Derek) You know, famous for her...
  999. (Heide) Wickedness.
  1000. (Derek) Wickedness.
  1001. I mean, even unbelievers today, they don't
  1002. name any of their daughters Jezebel.
  1003. It's a name that will live
    in infamy, right?
  1004. So there are examples.
  1005. (Chris) I was commenting on Jezebel.
  1006. The Bible says that even though Ahab...
  1007. As if Ahab didn't do
  1008. enough bad stuff already,
  1009. he went and married Jezebel.
  1010. That marriage that he did was so bad
  1011. that it was worse than any
  1012. of the other things that he
    had already done.
  1013. And it's because of what it
    would mean later,
  1014. but that's how bad that decision was,
  1015. that God held it more than any
    of his other sins.
  1016. (Derek) So, that's the bad.
  1017. Let's go to the good.
  1018. Let's go...Who married up?
  1019. Who maybe married someone...
  1020. I really like what Tom said,
  1021. that, when he said, unbelieving spouse,
  1022. that doesn't necessarily mean
  1023. it was a permanent separation.
  1024. You could say, "Here's someone.
  1025. I just need to know that their heart
  1026. is desiring to follow
  1027. the one true God of Heaven."
  1028. Some stories of a good example,
  1029. can you think of one?
  1030. (Adison) Boaz and Ruth.
  1031. (Derek) That's right.
  1032. Ruth, he goes, "I'm going to marry
  1033. this young lady Ruth."
  1034. They're like, "Ruth?! She's from..."?
  1035. (Team) Moab.
  1036. (Derek) That's where they
  1037. have gods like Marduk.
  1038. I mean, that's where they
  1039. sacrifice their children in the fire!
  1040. "You're going to marry Ruth?!"
  1041. And the answer is...?
  1042. (Nicole) "Yes," she demonstrated
  1043. that she was a believer in Christ
  1044. because when she came back with Naomi,
  1045. he could see that she loved Naomi
  1046. enough, to be able to understand
    that she could be someone
  1047. that was going to love God,
    and she was going to make
  1048. this whole family a better place.
  1049. (Derek) Of course, Christ means
    the Anointed One
  1050. who has not even come, but she's
    believing the promise
  1051. of the Messiah who will come
  1052. who will be the Savior of God's people.
  1053. "And your people will be..."?
  1054. (Team) "...my people..."
  1055. (Derek) "...and your God..."?
  1056. (Team) "...my God."
  1057. (Derek) And did Boaz make
  1058. a mistake in marrying Ruth?
  1059. (Team) No/Not at all.
  1060. (Derek) You can ask him
  1061. when you see him in the Kingdom,
  1062. and he'll say, "Best decision
    I ever made."
  1063. Can you think of another one,
  1064. where someone who maybe wasn't
  1065. originally part of the family,
    was changed?
  1066. Anybody else you can think of? Nicole?
  1067. (Nicole) My favorite character is Esther.
  1068. (Derek) Esther?
  1069. (Nicole) She married the king of Persia.
  1070. At the time, he was not a God-seeker
  1071. or a God-believer,
  1072. but I think through her example
  1073. of how she looked in the palace
    before they got married
  1074. and then marrying her and her sacrifice
  1075. and just seeing her character...
  1076. He may not have been a believer,
  1077. but I think he came around
  1078. to understand that there was
  1079. a power in her that was bigger
    than what he was.
  1080. (Derek) Very interesting.
  1081. Of course, you know, there are
  1082. a lot of questions in the story.
  1083. But one can only imagine in the harem,
  1084. which is what she was part of,
  1085. where they were rotating young girls
  1086. through, was it every night?
  1087. I forget how often they went through.
  1088. But I'm sure some of them were thinking,
  1089. "What's the most outrageous thing
  1090. I could do that would set me apart?"
  1091. And Hadassah, who is called Esther,
  1092. is thinking, "How do I let
  1093. the light of God shine out?"
  1094. And you're right, this pagan king,
  1095. he sees the light of God,
  1096. and God uses a pagan king
  1097. to deliver His people, God's people.
  1098. So, we ought not to write...
  1099. We have an expression
  1100. in English, don't we,
  1101. to write people off?
  1102. We ought not to say,
  1103. "Just because you were
  1104. born in that family...,"
  1105. back to what Tom was saying earlier.
  1106. We ought to see what the direction
  1107. of the heart is, right?
  1108. Oh, boy, but let me hyperspace
    over to that.
  1109. But someone's contemplating
    marrying someone they...
  1110. "Oh, but he's so wonderful,"
  1111. or, "She's so wonderful.
  1112. She doesn't believe in Jesus,
  1113. but she's so good to me."
  1114. "He's so kind to me."
  1115. Stephanie, help us.
  1116. There are people watching who are going,
  1117. "Oh, he's been reading my emails."
  1118. There are several things we might respond,
  1119. and there's not going to be one
    pat answer, right?
  1120. What would you say to her or to him?
  1121. (Stephanie) I think the burden
  1122. that I would share with them
  1123. is that, "Your value is not based
  1124. on words of other people,
  1125. but it's based on the blood
    of Jesus Christ.
  1126. So, when you can find your value
  1127. and your self-worth in Jesus,
  1128. then He will bring you to the person
  1129. who also is focusing on Jesus."
  1130. (Derek) Okay, so that aspect
  1131. then would say, "No matter how sweet
  1132. or kind or how often they compliment you,
  1133. if their heart hasn't
  1134. been surrendered to Jesus...,"
  1135. what should they do?
  1136. There are several verbs we might use here.
  1137. (Team) Run.
  1138. (Derek) One might be run, certainly run
  1139. if it's an abusive relationship
  1140. where they're kind of, what would you say,
  1141. dominating you, right?
  1142. Run. What other verbs
  1143. might we use besides run?
  1144. (Heide) Kneel.
  1145. (Derek) Kneel, yes, kneel. Others?
  1146. (Stephanie) Pray while you're kneeling.
  1147. (Derek) Pray. What about wait?
  1148. Why could waiting be helpful, Adison?
  1149. (Adison) Well, that's sort of the boat
  1150. I'm in right now, actually.
  1151. (Derek) Okay, tell us the story. No.
  1152. (Adison) I think that's
  1153. such an important word.
  1154. And, you know, the Bible
  1155. talks about patience being a virtue.
  1156. (Derek) Yes.
  1157. (Adison) And good things coming
    to those who wait.
  1158. And our bodies are the temple of God,
  1159. and if we value our bodies as God -
  1160. like, God has put...He went to every...
  1161. like, He went to the farthest extent
  1162. to save each of us -
  1163. I think we'd realize how much we are worth
  1164. and that we are priceless in God's eyes,
  1165. that we are incomparable, irreplaceable,
  1166. I think we're a lot more willing
  1167. to wait for the right person,
  1168. the right spouse for God
  1169. to bring into our lives.
  1170. He will give us discernment and wisdom
  1171. to be able to make those big decisions.
  1172. I had a pastor that told me
  1173. that the two most important decisions
  1174. you could make in your life
  1175. is, one, when you give
  1176. your heart to Jesus,
  1177. when you make that public declaration
  1178. of your faith in Jesus as your Savior.
  1179. And then the second one,
  1180. who you're going to marry.
  1181. (Derek) So, if I'm hearing
  1182. Adison's testimony clearly,
  1183. his wait is not, "I've got
    this relationship;
  1184. I'm not sure it's of God,
  1185. so I'm going to just wait."
  1186. You haven't found it yet,
  1187. so you're waiting until God shows you.
  1188. (Adison) That's right.
  1189. (Derek) Could it also be,
  1190. "I think this is it; wait"?
  1191. (Adison) That could be, too.
  1192. (Derek) Because what will waiting do?
  1193. (Nicole) Show you what you need to see...
  1194. (Jonathan) Demonstrate character.
  1195. (Derek) Someone told me that you can
  1196. wear a mask for about a year
    in a relationship.
  1197. This was a marriage counselor, by the way,
  1198. who told me, two years for courting.
  1199. You rush at your peril.
  1200. You say, "But I know someone who rushed,
  1201. and it worked out."
  1202. But I know a lot who rushed,
  1203. and it didn't, right?
  1204. So, waiting gives you time to see
  1205. the true character of the person,
    right? Gary?
  1206. (Gary) I was going to say, my wife,
  1207. she wasn't originally a Christian.
  1208. She was a nominal Christian;
  1209. she knew who God was.
  1210. But we were friends,
  1211. and, long story short,
  1212. we started Bible studies,
  1213. and then she went and found a pastor.
  1214. So, she didn't depend on me.
  1215. She found out who Jesus was,
  1216. and she wanted to know more.
  1217. So she went and did
  1218. what she could do to find out
  1219. and started going to church.
  1220. And eventually, after we waited,
    we got married.
  1221. But, I mean, I didn't meet her
  1222. and say, "Oh, I want to marry her."
  1223. She was just my friend
  1224. who I was giving studies to.
  1225. And she did the rest
  1226. of the soul-seeking,
  1227. the soul-searching herself
  1228. and found the love of Christ.
  1229. (Derek) We were going to say,
    "What happened?"
  1230. but you just called her your wife.
  1231. But that didn't happen
  1232. in a few weeks, you said?
  1233. (Gary) No, no no, it was...
  1234. I knew her, like, 2010,
  1235. and we were married 2015,
    so five years, yeah.
  1236. (Derek) Five years, and during that time,
  1237. you saw her grow.
  1238. I'm sure she was watching you, too, right?
  1239. (Gary) Yeah, yeah, she looked
  1240. at how I was with my family
  1241. and my church family
  1242. and my relationship with God,
  1243. and she wanted to do that where she was.
  1244. We were long distance,
  1245. so she was in Kansas, and I was here.
  1246. And it just took time, yeah.
  1247. (Derek) Amen?
  1248. (Team) Amen.
  1249. (Derek) Second Corinthians 6:14 says,
  1250. "Do not be unequally yoked
    with unbelievers."
  1251. What is that talking about?
  1252. And then I'm going to ask someone to share
  1253. who grew up in a family where there was
  1254. an unequal yoking together,
  1255. what that was like, okay?
  1256. Do you think that's talking
  1257. about marriage, "Do not
  1258. be unequally yoked," Stephanie?
  1259. (Stephanie) Sure, but I think
    it's broader.
  1260. (Derek) Broader, okay, could it
  1261. include marriage to an unbeliever?
  1262. (Team) Yes.
  1263. (Derek) Okay, what else could it include,
  1264. "Do not be unequally yoked," Tom?
  1265. (Thomas) It could involve doing business
  1266. or having a contractual relationship
  1267. with somebody who has different values.
  1268. (Derek) Where you go, "I can't,"
  1269. because two can't walk together
  1270. unless they're agreed, right?
  1271. So it could be a business,
  1272. don't be yoked with a person
  1273. who has different values. Jonathan?
  1274. (Jonathan) I know a number of families
  1275. that I've watched in different churches
  1276. I've been where usually the female,
  1277. but often somebody, one of the couples,
  1278. is just passionate about serving God
  1279. and so into it, but they're alone.
  1280. And they're not able to share that
  1281. with their other half.
  1282. (Derek) So, it may include
  1283. things that you're passionate about,
  1284. goals, not just whether or not
  1285. you believe in God--check--right? Tom?
  1286. (Thomas) In fact, I was going to say
  1287. that just because you have
  1288. the same denominational affiliation
  1289. doesn't mean you're compatible
  1290. or that you even have the same faith
  1291. because many people look for somebody
  1292. of the same ("Oh, check")...
  1293. they've got the same religious beliefs,
  1294. but that doesn't necessarily mean
  1295. that they are good for you, still.
  1296. (Derek) Right.
  1297. (Thomas) They could still be abusive;
  1298. they could still be,
  1299. not in love with Jesus, you know?
  1300. (Derek) Tom, you mentioned to me
  1301. before the broadcast
  1302. that you did grow up in a family,
  1303. would you say it was not equally yoked?
  1304. (Thomas) Yeah, I just want to say first,
  1305. I love my dad, and I have
  1306. a lot of respect for him,
  1307. so I don't want to talk bad about him.
  1308. But he wasn't a believer;
    it's just a fact.
  1309. He didn't go to church.
  1310. And it was really hard
  1311. for my family, my mother,
  1312. because, you know, every time
  1313. we wanted to go to church,
  1314. he would stay home.
  1315. And I think we just missed out
    on the intimacy
  1316. and that spiritual connection.
  1317. My mother was the spiritual leader
  1318. of her family because of that.
  1319. And I think that led
  1320. to some tension, unfortunately.
  1321. I think, personally from that experience
  1322. I realized how important it is
  1323. to have a relationship that has
  1324. a common faith or at least common values.
  1325. (Derek) So, may I ask
  1326. a personal question in response,
  1327. because you are a committed follower
    of Jesus.
  1328. We know that because you
  1329. sought a godly companion, Hannah;
  1330. you shared in this program your testimony.
  1331. And you've grown, even, spiritually
    as a couple,
  1332. so who helped you as a mentor
  1333. because your dad spiritually
  1334. was not that for you?
  1335. (Thomas) Well, my mother
  1336. was a good influence for me; I learned
  1337. a lot about relationships from her.
  1338. But she remarried;
  1339. my stepdad was a pastor,
  1340. and he was a really good role model to me,
  1341. and I really appreciated that.
  1342. So that was very helpful.
  1343. But I think the one Person
  1344. that's really made the biggest difference
  1345. in our relationship is God or Jesus.
  1346. I mean that's the biggest...
  1347. (Derek) A personal relationship.
  1348. (Thomas) Having that common connection
  1349. is really what keeps us together.
  1350. (Derek) Is there anyone else here
  1351. that was involved in a relationship
  1352. where God wasn't at the center? Malaina.
  1353. (Malaina) I was actually in a relationship
  1354. for like two-and-a-half years
    with someone,
  1355. and when I started learning
    more about God
  1356. (I wasn't a follower of Jesus),
  1357. they actually became very jealous of that
  1358. and spending time with God.
  1359. And then I had the opportunity
  1360. to go to the ARISE program in Australia
  1361. that my stepfather, Travis,
  1362. offered for me to go.
  1363. He said, "If you go,
  1364. we're not staying together."
  1365. Like, "You're not going to Australia;
  1366. you're not doing that."
  1367. And long story short,
  1368. I had to end that relationship,
  1369. which was really hard
  1370. because it was not like I
    didn't care for him.
  1371. But the result of my ending
    that relationship
  1372. ended in my going to Australia
  1373. and giving my heart to Jesus.
  1374. (Team) Amen.
  1375. (Malaina) So it was a good decision
    in the long run.
  1376. (Derek) Not necessarily easy.
  1377. (Malaina) No, it was very hard,
  1378. and I wrestled with it
  1379. for three months, too,
  1380. which caused more damage in the long run.
  1381. (Derek) Travis, you were quoted
  1382. in the previous testimony,
  1383. but you've also experienced that
  1384. in your own journey.
  1385. (Travis) I have, and, you know,
  1386. I want to say something positive.
  1387. I know we're getting to the end
    of the program.
  1388. I want to say something positive.
  1389. I had a business relationship with someone
  1390. who was not from the same denomination,
  1391. but we respected each others' beliefs.
  1392. We had a beautiful business relationship
    for a long time.
  1393. And so, when we are equally yoked,
  1394. positive things can come from that.
  1395. Dan and Billie, my partner's wife
    was Billie,
  1396. and his name was Dan, and they are two
  1397. of the most amazing Christian people
    I know.
  1398. And it was a beautiful thing
  1399. to be in a business relationship with him.
  1400. (Derek) So, if we've made
    some bad decisions,
  1401. we don't have to stay there.
  1402. We can set healthy boundaries,
  1403. and we can move forward.
  1404. If we haven't made bad decisions,
  1405. we don't have to make them.
  1406. You don't have to do that
  1407. in order to know they were bad.
  1408. God wants to guide us, my friend,
    through His Word.
  1409. But what's so important is,
  1410. wherever you are, He loves you
  1411. with an immeasurable and unfailing love.
  1412. And He wants to surround you
  1413. with people who love Him and love you -
  1414. ve've heard those testimonies,
    even today -
  1415. to guide your steps
  1416. and to help you in that new life.
  1417. We've all got times
  1418. when we've made bad decisions,
  1419. but He can give us a new beginning.
  1420. Let's pray for that even today.
  1421. Father in Heaven, thank You so much
  1422. that You're patient and kind.
  1423. You never give up; You can
  1424. always give new beginnings
  1425. to those who call upon You.
  1426. And I thank You that, as we seek You
    and find You,
  1427. that You will direct our steps each day.
  1428. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
  1429. (Team) Amen.
  1430. (Derek) Thanks for joining us
  1431. for Hope Sabbath School.
  1432. I know you want to send me
  1433. all the bad decisions you've made,
  1434. but just praise Jesus
  1435. that He will guide you
  1436. in better decisions.
  1437. And one decision you can make today
  1438. is to go out and share the love of Jesus
  1439. with those around you.
  1440. ♪ theme music ♪