Love or Lust

ID-10051375.jpgThis was a recent devotion from Days of Praise by the Institution for Creation Research. Although it says nothing new, the words seemed to make so much sense. We live in a day of confusion, and if anything is more twisted than man’s thoughts on the marriage relations, I don’t’ know what it would be! I’ve added the Bible verses and bold type which were not in the original article.

Love or Lust – Days of Praise (April 2,2016)

The entire fifth chapter of Proverbs concerns the use or misuse of the highest function of our physical bodies.  Under the sovereign control of Almighty God, a man and woman have been granted the ability, through their union, to make an eternal human being with the ability to accept or reject God, eternal life, and forgiveness.  The contrast in this chapter is between the usage of this God-given function in lust or love, adultery or fidelity.

Verse 3 through 6 provide insight into the character of promiscuity, which includes deception (v.3) and sorrow (V.4).

3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

 

Psychologists have long recognized that many prostitutes ply their trade out of a hatred for men, purposefully and conscientiously destroying their companions. (v5).

5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

 

The solution, of course, is to stay away.  Don’t play with fire! Avoid any opportunities to be enticed (8).

8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

The results, of course, of yielding to temptation would be that we would lose our youthful vigor (9),

9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:

 

our wealth (10),

10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;

 

our health (11),

11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,

 

our self-esteem (12-13),

12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;

13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

 

and even our lives are in danger. (14).

14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

 

On the other hand, married love is a beautiful thing (15-20), providing health, companionship, joy, and satisfaction.

15 ¶ Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.

18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times;

and be thou ravished always with her love.

 

Remember, none of this is done in secret. “The ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings” (21).  We should stay away from any involvement in sin, for sin entraps us (22), and we keep going back.

22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself,

and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

 

Men die for lack of instruction, or lack of obedience to the instruction they have (23).

23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

This leads to great folly, and the end, total shame and destruction.

Ladies, are you caring for your husbands? Is his heart safe with you, or is he in fear of being mocked, ridiculed, or hated? You may have all the reasons in the world as to why you do not love and care for your husband, but will they pale in importance when you stand before God and give an account of your responsibilities?

Are you raising your daughters to be clean and pure?  Are you setting a standard of submission in your home for her to follow?  Or will she also be trapped in the endless cycle called the Blame Game?

Are your sons strong in character? Do they see your love for the Lord and, somewhere in the depths of their hearts, that image is causing them to secret away a beautiful model of the wife they long to have one day?

If your children are in the public school system, do know that all of these challenges are ridiculed and not only tampered with, but are trashed by many!

I hear you already making excuses: But he… All I can say is, Prove God! Be all that He wants you to be and leave the rest to Him!

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, (or show your obedience in any of His commands) and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10

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Empty Nest is for the Birds

ID-100186801Well, it’s official – our last little (or not so little!) bird just flew the nest.  As he said, “Good night. I’ll see you in the morning,” for the last time, a lump came to my throat – the same lump that has been lodging itself there for the past few weeks!

The Lord has been so gracious to me this summer:  Nathan originally was going to start his GAship right after graduation and be gone all summer.  THAT would have been very hard to swallow, especially after I continually consoled myself  while he was away at college that I would have him here this last summer before his wedding.  “Closure, Lord!  I need closure,” became my prayer, and He agreed!  God gave Nathan a different GA at a different school which starts August twenty-second!

The closure is over; tomorrow we head to Illinois for the Saturday wedding and I couldn’t be happier!  As we watching his plane grow smaller and smaller in the sky, I cried.  (Funny story: Actually, I was crying and dying over the wrong plane!  We were just about to leave the parking lot, when  Nathan texted us and said that they were about to take off!  LOL!)  After a visit to Hobby Lobby and a nice supper at Panera Bread, we headed home (listening to “For Men Only” which was recommended by our son!)

It’s been a tense few weeks.  Nathan has a lot on his plate: marriage, new apartment in a new town, graduate school, entrance exams), and although he tried hard not to let his angst spill over into our closure time, he wasn’t always successful!  As we sat watching “Little Men” last night, Tom and I both sighed a happy sigh – and I was a bit surprised!  We made it!  He’s gone and life is going on!

“Empty Nest” IS really for the birds. I don’t know all the ins and outs of bird-parenting, but I don’t think mom and dad bird sip coffee and grow old together after the chicks are gone.  None of us want to see our children leave home (well, maybe that’s not true!!).   WE didn’t relish the thought of any of our children leaving home, but the key to successful empty-nesting is to prepare for it.  It’s a dangerous thing, moms, when our lives are so wrapped up in our children that there is no relationship left with our husbands once the children are gone.  We have focused so much on the kids and their lives that, too often, we leave hubby on the couch to fend for himself with the remote control!

If I could give one word of caution to any married couple, it would be don’t let ANYTHING destroy that love which brought you two together!  Make time for each other at all cost! Keep focused on your man!  My husband often says that the one of the best things that you can do as a parent is love your spouse – he’s right!  (As usual! :))  It might sound as though our motives are selfish: Keep a close walk with hubby so that he’ll be there when you need him.   Even though that is a true statement, the bigger picture is that a marriage that is built on a strong relationship is one of the most alluring pictures that we can paint of God’s working in our lives!  This world needs to see marriages that shout the difference which Christ makes.

And if you’re saying, “It’s too late – we have nothing in common.”  Take time to remember.  What did you do together when you were first married or dating?  What does he like to do?  Shock him and go talk to him while he works on the car, or chops wood, or watches a ballgame (during the commercials!).  Sacrifice a little and see what happens!

Did Jesus know what He would gain when He suffered so in this world and on the cross?  I think so!  I know so, because He knows everything.  He sacrificed, and I gained everything; but He gained as well – He gained my heart, my love, my all!  What will you gain if you “sacrifice” your wants and time for your marriage?  The thought is beyond imagination!

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  Proverbs 31:11

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Well done, thou good and faithful servant

For better for worse?  For richer or poorer?  In sickness and in health?  Do we really think all those situations through when we say them?  I don’t think so, and I don’t think we can.  I can’t help thinking about some of the newer versions of the wedding vows, like the one that says, “as long as our love endures.”  That might last through the wedding reception!  I’ve seen daggers in the eyes of a beautiful bride as the comedian-bridegroom shoves cake in her face.  What a ridiculous tradition!

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;

 I will make him an help meet for him. Genesis 2:18

The promises we make at the altar are not what prepares us for becoming good helpmeets for our husbands. The character we’ve endeavored to instill into our daughters will prepare them to be wonderful helpmeets for their husbands; however, after nearly thirty-three years of marriage, I’m still learning.

Tom’s fall has changed the whole landscape of our marriage!  He is able to walk with a walker, but his foot is still non-weight-bearing and will be for another few weeks (five to seven? 😦 )  I’m continually amazed at his improvement; however, it’s going to be a long time until he takes out the trash!

At first, serving him was just a “knee-jerk” reaction.  He couldn’t do anything and he was in so much pain.  I would have been pretty hard-hearted not to help him!  He is an excellent patient, and even though he does as much as he can, he still needs me to wait on him hand and foot (especially foot! 🙂 ).

We’ve worked into a good system and he’s constantly thanking me for what I do.  Today, I hit a high mark: Twice he asked for something that I had already done!  “You’re perfect,” he said.  Me?  Perfect? I seriously doubt it!

It has been an incredible learning process for me.  First, I’ve come to appreciate all that my wonderful husband does, or did!  Second, I’ve learned how impatient I am; and third, I’m learning true servanthood!  As I serve Tom in the most intimate ways, I realize just how important it is to be his helpmeet. Certainly, I thought I knew that before, but as I got busy doing my own thing: blogging and writing and gardening and teaching and playing and planning music and grandmothering, at times I became frustrated when our schedules didn’t jive and I was the one who had to bend.

Today, I made a startling discovery: I want to hear my LORD say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  How sad to hear Him say those words about my service in the church, or my grandmothering, or my teaching, but not hear it as a helpmeet!  THAT is the one place that counts the most, and if no other good comes out of this whole ordeal than that lesson for me, it will be worth it.

How about it, ladies?  How well is your “serve” at home?  I am so thankful that the Lord did not take him home to heaven!  He could have!  Oh, how wonderful to have a husband to serve!!  Just ask any widow.

The Ten Commandments and Monopoly?

Tom and I just returned from a wonderful time away.  This time of the year, before the rush of spring activities begin, we often take a few days and “come apart for a while,” so we don’t come apart!  Our favorite get-away place is called Frosty Hollow–a beautiful Bed and Breakfast snuggled into Sweden Valley near Coudersport, PA.  (It really is true that there are more deer than people in Potter County!)

While there, we decided to play a few games that were on the shelf: Tom picked Monopoly.  I cringed!

“But when do we ever get enough time to really play Monopoly,” he asked.

“True.”

And so we pulled down the beautiful Millennium edition of this timeless game and began to play.  Memories flooded my mind: playing it with friends, playing with our children, and playing it as a child.  Funny how some memories are lodged in our brains forever!  As a child, we’d often play the crazy thing for days and leave it set up in the living room.  One very cold morning, we had some of the neighbor kids come and wait for the bus inside our home.  That night, we discovered that some of the playing pieces were missing, never to be found!  (If you knew me, you’d know how I HATE missing pieces of anything!  That’s probably why the memory sticks!)

Anyway, I wasn’t holding out much hope for enjoying the game, but I have to admit–it was fun!  Tom would say that it was because I won, but as I kept thinking about it, I realized it was because we applied the Ten Commandments to the game!

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

That includes yourself!  As mature adults 🙂 we both were concerned with more than just winning or having a great time–we were focused on keeping a right spirit and testimony, even though no one else was watching!  God first, always, even when playing a game!

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.

IT’S JUST A GAME! Our own gloating can become an image that we worship!  Because we were having such a great time, we were able to see our own gloating and laugh; but when someone is busy building their own graven image of themselves, it is hard to stomach. How often do we set up the image of success before anything else: our spouse, our children, our church, our God?

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

This really had no application to us and Monopoly, but I couldn’t help being reminded of the Master Club’s hint for children to remember this command: WATCH YOUR WORDS!  Obviously, we should NEVER use our God’s name vainly; however, we also need to watch other words and reactions.  Because we were applying the other commandments, this one was not an issue.  I didn’t get mad when I landed on Boardwalk, and Tom didn’t pout because I owned all the railroads.  Healthy banter, yes, but IT’S ONLY A GAME!

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

I suppose we really didn’t apply this one either, but then maybe we did!   Even before Tom was a pastor, we kept Sunday for God.  I can only remember once that we had to travel on a Sunday and missed church.  How Satan has tricked us on this one into thinking that we can’t do otherwise!  Don’t get me wrong, there are times when this is true, but beware: LIFE IS NOT A GAME!

Honour thy father and thy mother:that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

I love this verse and the promise that it holds!  But for us and our Monopoly game, perhaps it should read: Honor each other that thy game may end well!  That’s what we did.  Our relationship was much more important than winning a game.  Isn’t that true with life?  How often do we sacrifice the relationship to get our own way!  We’re worse than children and as blind as bats!

Thou shalt not kill.

Murder on the Monopoly board–that’s what we do!  We just love to kill our opponents one overwhelming rent-due at a time, and thrill in our victory!  This a relationship killer; as is an unforgiving spirit or a lack of mercy towards those we live with.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

 And how does this fit in with the game?  I’m not sure!  If nothing else, looking at them all together has shown me that many of these commandments are built on the same issue: selfish pride!

Thou shalt not steal.

Have you ever had to play with a cheater?  It’s so frustrating because the rules are null and void. However, there’s another sense of stealing that often happens in Monopoly.  We steal another’s victories by grumbling and pouting.  I’m not writing this for children! Adults are just better at masking their grumbling and pouting! Then again, maybe not! 🙂

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Liar!  All three of these last commandments go together.  When playing a game, it takes away all the fun–the main purpose for playing a game in the first place, at least in our home.  When living life, lying is possibly the greatest destroyer of all relationships.  When you lose trust, what is left?

Thou shalt not covet… thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s hotels, nor his Utilities, nor his Railroads, nor his Community Chest, nor his Get Out of Jail Free card, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. 🙂 

In our house-rules, after all the properties were sold, we would negotiate in exchanging properties so that all players would have sets, trying to be as equally fair as possible.  We actually did a bit of an experiment:  Because I owned the railroads and the utilities, I ended up with three sets and Tom have five, generally well distributed; however, he did own one whole side (the red and the yellow for you Monopoly enthusiasts).   We weren’t sure if it was equal or not, but I won!  You must throw in that thing called chance.  I seemed to be in jail more than I was playing.  Tom really loved Pacific, especially after a put a hotel on it ($1275!); and he LOVED riding my railroads at $200 a pop!  Somehow I seemed to be able to tiptoe through his red and yellow right to “Go to Jail!”

Life is not a game, but may the Lord help us to see life and His commandments through the eyes of a game!  Sometimes, these timeless truths just need a new focus!  So, whether we are playing a game, or living life to its fullest, don’t forget to apply the Ten Commandments.  They don’t save our souls, but they will bless our homes!

Let the games begin!

 

 

 

A Lesson from my husband

ID-10041505On Saturday morning, the men in our church have a prayer meeting in the church fellowship hall.  Recently, we received a Keurig, which has made their time even more enjoyable!  This past Saturday, my dear husband surprised me with a cup of coffee.  I wasn’t expecting him, because he had only been gone for a few minutes; then he explained that he had tried this flavor of coffee and it was too sweet, but he knew I’d like it!

How thoughtful, but the part that was really thoughtful to me was that he brought it to me in a glass cup.  We have paper hot/cold cups, but they have a tendency to pick up any odors of their surroundings!  It doesn’t flavor the coffee, but it does spoil the coffee for me.  I’ve come to realize that I have a super sensitive sniffer – no one else seems to notice this.

As I was enjoying my cup of coffee, I was nearly finished when I realized the cup!  How thoughtful.  If I could take this moment to brag on my sweetheart – he is like that: he looks for ways to make things special for me!

It was a rebuke to me.  Do I do that?  I’d like to think so, but too often that is NOT the case.  Recently, I did do something for him that was out of the norm and he was so surprised and so appreciative. 😦   It wasn’t much, but it was something that I didn’t want to do, but knew it would be a help to him!

So what’s the lesson?

Others, Lord, yes others;

Let this my motto be:

That even when I kneel to pray,

My prayer will be for others. 

So often, it’s the little things that really show that we care – the little things that benefit others and are not convenient for ourselves!  Try it!  You’re spouse or parent or sibling will be blessed and so will you!

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.Matthew 10:42