Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Faith, Hope, and Love: Part 1

"and now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love." 
      1 Corinthians 13:13

A few weeks ago I felt drawn to write my thoughts on this verse.  They are just that:  my thoughts.  This verse seems to encapsulate the message of the Gospel in three little words:


Today I am going to begin to tackle faith.

Faith, for the Christian, is trusting God at His word; lack of faith is doubting Him.  I have read that lacking faith is adultery.  I can see the correlation because if we are His, it is like a marriage and we can not doubt Him in spite of our feelings or circumstances.  Those feelings and circumstances would pull us away from him as a spouse would be drawn away in adultery.  The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6: 

           "Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near
    to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him."

Faith is believing in what we can see and more importantly, in what we can't see. 

          Hebrews 11:1:  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
   not seen." 

The first step of faith is believing in Christ....that God sent Him as a substitute on the cross for our sins, and that He rose again for all those who believe and follow Him to have everlasting life with Him in heaven.  That is the gospel in a nutshell.  I guess I am speaking to those who are Christians and who ask, "How can I keep the faith when all around me is a mess?" 

God wants us to believe in Him even when the "evidence" of the world looks bad.  That is what
sets us Christians apart from the rest of the world.  Faith is the state of being convinced about what we hope for.  How do we grow our faith?  ......the Word of God-----the Bible.  We need to submerge ourselves, bathe ourselves, in the Bible.  We need to open our hearts and ask God to speak to us as we read.

Next:  Faith, Part 2

Monday, July 29, 2013

Marriage From God's View: Part 13: Song of Songs, Chapter 8

"If only I could treat you
   like my brother,
one who nursed
   at my mother's breasts,
I would find you in public
   and kiss you,
and no one would scorn me.
I would lead you,
   I would take you,
to the house of my mother
   who taught me.
I would give you spiced wine
   to drink
from my pomegranate juice.
His left hand is
   under my head,
and his right hand embraces
Young women of Jerusalem,
   I charge you:
do not stir up or awaken love
until the appropriate time."

In biblical days, women were not to show affection in public with any man who was not their father or brother.  Here she seems to be wishing she could demonstrate her love for him in public; thus, the reference to wishing she could treat him as her brother.  At the end of these lines, she again admonishes young women of Jerusalem not to awaken love before its time.  She knows the strong hold love can have on the young, and she advises it is not prudent  to admit or show love until they are ready for marriage.

"Who is this coming up
   from the wilderness
leaning on the one she loves?"

These are the local women who are again watching her.  They see her coming back with Solomon, the one she loves.  He is strong, and she is leaning on him.

"I awakened you under
   the apricot tree.
There your mother conceived
there she conceived and gave you birth.
Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death;
ardent love is as unrelenting
   as Sheol.
Love's flames are fiery flames---
the fiercest of all.
Mighty waters cannot extinguish
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If a man were to give all
   his wealth for love,
it would be utterly scorned."

Here are some of the strongest words describing the strength of love in the entire Song.  She implores Solomon to set her as a seal on his heart and his arm.  The King's seal was specific to him and she wants to be as bound to him as that seal would be to whatever he placed it on.  She goes on to describe love as strong as death; and ardent love is unrelenting....inescapable.  The flames of love are fiery.....the fiercest flames of all.  Not even water can drown love, nor can rivers destroy it.  Nothing is stronger than love. 

"Our sister is young;
she has no breasts.
What will we do for our sister
on the day she is spoken for?
If she is a wall,
we will build a silver parapet on it.
If she is a door,
we will enclose it
   with cedar planks."

These speakers above are ambiguous, but it seems to be speaking of a young girl before she is married.  They are hoping she will remain pure (as a wall or a door) until she is given in marriage.

"I am a wall
and my breasts like towers.
So in his eyes I have become
like one who finds peace.
Solomon owned a vineyard
   in Baal-hamon.
He leased the vineyard
   to tenants.
Each was to bring for his fruit
1,000 pieces of silver.
I have my own vineyard.
the 1,000 are for you, Solomon,
but 200 for those who guard
   its fruits."

This stanza references Solomon's harem (a "vineyard" in Baal-hamon) with the eunuchs in charge of it.  The Shulamite's vineyard is her own physical body reserved for her love alone.

"You who dwell
   in the gardens---
companions are listening
   for your voice---
let me hear you!"

Solomon is calling upon her to speak to him so his friends can hear.

"Hurry to me, my love,
and be like a gazelle
or a young stag
on the mountains of spices."

The book ends with the bride calling to her husband to hurry to her "like a gazelle" or a "young stag". 

As I have said before, much has been written about The Song of Songs being representative of Christ and His church.  I accept that, but I also see it as God's model to us of marriage.  He uses intimate details to describe the bride, and I don't believe that is merely for the benefit of describing the Church's intimate relationship with Christ. 

Next series:  Faith, Hope, Love

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Marriage From God's View: Part 12: The Song of Songs, Chapter 7

"Why are you looking
   at the Shulammite,
as you look at the dance
   of the two camps?
How beautiful are
   your sandaled feet, princess!
The curves of your thighs are
   like jewelry,
the handiwork of a master.
Your navel is a rounded bowl;
it never lacks mixed wine.
Your waist is a mound of wheat
surrounded by lilies.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like a tower
  of ivory,
your eyes like pools in Heshbon
by the gate of Bath-rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower
   of Lebanon
looking toward Damascus.
Your head crowns you
   like Mount Carmel,
the hair of your head
   like purple cloth---
a king could be held captive
   in your tresses.
How beautiful you are
   and how pleasant,
my love, with such delights!
Your stature is like a palm tree;
your breasts are clusters
   of fruit.
I said, 'I will climb
   the palm tree
and take hold of its fruit.'
May your breasts be like clusters
   of grapes,
and the fragrance of your breath
   like apricots.
Your mouth is like fine wine---
flowing smoothly for my love
gliding past my lips and teeth!"

Here again we have the bridegroom remarking over his love's beauty:  her feet, the curves of her thighs, her navel, waist, breasts (He spends a lot of time describing them.), neck, eyes, nose, head, hair, and even her breath and mouth.  He misses and omits nothing of her physique. 

"I belong to my love,
and his desire is for me.
Come, my love,
let's go to the field;
let's spend the night
   among the henna blossoms.
Let's go early to the vineyards;
let's see if the vine has budded,
if the blossom has opened,
if the pomegranates are
   in bloom.
There I will give you my love.
The mandrakes give off
   a fragrance,
and at our doors is
   every delicacy---
new as well as old.
I have treasured them up
   for you, my love."

Here in the most literal sense, she is inviting him to spend the night with her in an open field among the stars, to, in essence, switch up their scenery.  Some commentaries suggest she is referring to his country house, but I take it in the literal sense because I believe the intention is that the readers understand it as written and not be required to research or guess what is meant.  In keeping with that idea, I see where the entire Song of Songs could be an allegory for Christ and His Church, but I do not believe that is what God intended.  I believe this book is His model for what  the physical aspects of a Christian marriage should be.  Period.  In all my church-going years, I can not recall a pastor speaking on any part of this book.  I think it is one that many Christians ignore or try to pretend doesn't exist because they are embarrassed by it; but, they need to remember that God inspired it to be written just as He did the other 65 books of the Bible.  God created sex and all of its components for marriage; it is mankind that has bastardized and trivialized it.

Next:  The final chapter: Chapter 8

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Marriage From God's View: Part 11: Song of Songs, Chapter 6

"Where has your love gone,
most beautiful of women?
Which way has he turned?
We will seek him with you."

We left off in chapter 5 with the lady searching for her love and begging the women of Jerusalem to let him know that she is pining for him (She says "lovesick".), and then she goes on to describe his physical attributes that have her enraptured with him.  In this first stanza, it is presumably the women of Jerusalem who promise to help her look for him.

"My love has gone down
  to his garden,
to beds of spice,
to feed in the gardens
and gather lilies.
I am my love's and my love
   is mine;
he feeds among the lilies."

In this stanza it would appear she knows where he is.  Earlier, the garden was used to symbolize the bride's untouched body prior to the wedding.  Here it seems to be that he has, in fact, gone to his true garden.

"You are as beautiful as Tirzah,
     my darling,
lovely as Jerusalem,
awe-inspiring as an army
    with banners.
Turn your eyes away from me,
for they captivate me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
streaming down from Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock
     of ewes
coming up from washing,
each one having a twin,
and not one missing.
Behind your veil,
your brow is like a slice
     of pomegranate.
There are 60 queens
and 80 concubines
and your women
     without number.
But my dove, my virtuous one,
     is unique;
she is the favorite of her mother,
perfect to the one who gave her birth.
Women see her and declare
    her fortunate;
queens and concubines also,
    and they sing her praises.

Her love has returned and he sets out to immediately remind her of her beauty.  The reference to Tirzah:  It had to be an important city because Joshua defeated the people of Tirzah (Joshua 12:24) and Jeroboam made it his capital. (1 Kings 14:12-17).  There had to be something that made it special enough to compare her to it.  Then, there is another simile to compare her to Jerusalem.  Psalm 50:2 describes Jerusalem as having "perfect beauty."  He then reiterates the beauty of her hair, her teeth, her brow.  He stipulates that none of his 60 queens or 80 concubines is as special as she.  She is unique that she is not only her mother's favorite, but other women admire her and sing her praises.

"Who is this who shines
      like the dawn--
as beautiful as the moon,
bright as the sun,
awe-inspiring as an army
     with banners?"

The women are admiring her beauty; they compare her to the dawn, the moon, the sun, and  say she inspires such awe as an army would (and an army in biblical times was awe-inspiring.)

"I came down
     to the walnut grove
to see the blossoms of the valley,
to see if the vines
    were budding
and the pomegranates blooming.
Before I knew it,
my desire put me
among the chariots
    of my noble people."

This stanza is perplexing because my Holman Christian Standard Bible has the lady as the speaker, but commentaries I have read online suggest Solomon himself is the speaker.  I don't think it is that important to the meaning of the chapter because the focus of the chapter is again....her beauty and Solomon's captivation with it.  In fact, the chapter closes with the women imploring her to come back so they can appreciate her beauty even longer:

"Come back, come back,
Come back, come back, that
    we may look at you!"

Next:  Song of Songs, Chapter 7

Monday, July 22, 2013

Marriage From God's View: Part 10: Song of Songs, Chapter 5

"I have come to my garden---
      my sister, my bride.
I gather my myrrh
      with my spices.
I eat my honeycomb
      with my honey.
I drink my wine with my milk."

"Eat, friends!
Drink, be intoxicated
   with love!"

There is no doubt the first stanza is the bridegroom talking about consummating his marriage with his beloved.  There is some discussion about the second stanza.  Some believe that is God encouraging the couple; others believe the bridegroom had left the bridal chamber to show the wedding guests proof that his bride was a virgin, and he is now encouraging them to eat and drink in celebration.

"I sleep, but my heart is awake
A sound!  My love is knocking!"

"Open to me, my sister,
    my darling,
my dove, my perfect one.
For my head is drenched
    with dew,
my hair with droplets of the night."

"I have taken off my clothing,
How can I put it back on?
I have washed my feet.
How can I get them dirty?
My love thrust his hand
    through the opening,
and my feelings were stirred
    for him.
I rose to open for my love.
My hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh
on the handles of the bolt.
I opened to my love,
but my love had turned
   and gone away.
I was crushed that he had left.
I sought him, but did not find him.
I called him, but he did not
The guards who go
   about the city found me,
they took my cloak from me---
the guardians of the walls.
Young women of Jerusalem,
    I charge you;
if you find my love,
tell him that I am lovesick."

There is some speculation that this is a dream sequence.  She is awakened by her love knocking at her door.  She doesn't want to get up because she has undressed and washed her feet, as was the custom before retiring for the night.  She is concerned about getting them dirty.  Nevertheless, she rises to admit him, but he is gone.  So, she goes in search of him but finds only the guards.  She implores the women of Jerusalem to let him know, if they find him, that she is lovesick.

She is challenged by the women as to what makes "her" love superior to all others:

"What makes the one you love
   better than another,
most beautiful of women?
What makes him better than
that you would give us
   this charge?"

To which, she gives them an earful as she extols all of his physical attributes:

"My love is fit and strong,
notable among ten thousand.
His head is purest gold.
His hair is wavy
and black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves
beside streams of water,
washed in milk
and set like jewels.
His cheeks are like beds
   of spice,
towers of perfume.
His lips are lilies,
dripping with flowing myrrh.
His arms are rods of gold
set with topaz.
His body is an ivory panel
covered with sapphires.
His legs are alabaster pillars
set on pedestals of pure gold.
His presence is like Lebanon,
as majestic as the cedars.
His mouth is sweetness.
He is absolutely desirable.
This is my love, and this is
   my friend,
young women of Jerusalem."

Everything about him is perfection:  his head, hair, eyes, cheeks, lips, arms, body, legs, mouth, indeed, his very perfection to her.  And, she not only calls him her "love," but he is her "friend".  That speaks volumes to their relationship; it is not merely physical .....this is what God intends the marriage relationship to be: two people who have a bond that transcends the physical.  This is why marriage can not be based on sex alone.  Is it important?  Of course it is, but there has to be more.

Next:  Song of Songs, Chapter 6

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Marriage From God's View: Part 9: Song of Songs, Chapter 4

At this point the couple are married and the man is complementing her physical beauty before they consummate their union on their wedding night.  These are some of the most beautiful passages in the book as he seeks to put her at ease that "she" is the most beautiful woman in the world to him.  What woman wouldn't want this kind of reassurance?

"How beautiful you are,
    my darling.
How very beautiful!
Behind your veil,
your eyes are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
streaming down Mount Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock
   of newly shorn sheep
coming up from washing,
each one having a twin,
and not one missing.
Your lips are
   like a scarlet cord,
and your mouth is lovely.
Behind your veil,
your brow is like a slice
   of pomegranate.
Your neck is like the tower
   of David,
constructed in layers.
A thousand bucklers are hung
   on it----
all of them shields of warriors.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle, that feed
   among the lilies."

In Old Testament times, women did not traditionally wear veils except for special occasions, such as a wedding.  They may have worn headdresses but not veils.  Here he is assessing her before she removes the veil.  Her eyes are doves to him; doves symbolized purity.  Her hair was long and flowed down her back much like the goats going down from Mount Gilead.  Her teeth are perfect and complete, like a flock of sheep that has been newly shorn.  I take this to be unusual in that day because the hygiene of the day just didn't normally provide for perfect teeth.  He moves to her scarlet lips and then to her brow "like a slice of pomegranate"----rosy.  Her face is probably flushed with excitement because they are finally married.  From there he moves to her neck and compares it to "the tower of David"......strong, unyielding----She was a woman of strong character.  Finally, he makes his way to her breasts and compare them to two fawns, baby deer that are soft and gentle.  They have been untouched by human hands, until now---their wedding night.

"Before the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
I will make my way
   to the mountain of myrrh
and the hill of frankincense.
You are absolutely beautiful,
   my darling,
with no imperfection in you."

In the above lines he is clearly talking about consummating their marriage and the "mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense" are references to her body.

"Come with me from Lebanon,
   my bride---
with me from Lebanon!
Descend from the peak
   of Amana,
from the summit of Senir
   and Hermon,
from the dens of the lions,
from the mountains
   of the leopards.
You have captured my heart
   with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace,
How delightful your love is,
   my sister, my bride.
Your love is much better
   than wine,
and the fragrance
   of your perfume
   than any balsam.
Your lips drip sweetness like
   the honeycomb, my bride.
Honey and milk are
  under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
  is like the fragrance
  of Lebanon."

In the lines above he is telling her to leave all thoughts of home and all worries behind and count on him now that they are married.  She captured his heart with one look.  Her love is delightful to him; her love is better than wine, and he is intoxicated with her perfume.  Her lips drip honey, and honey and milk are under her tongue....he has tasted her mouth so he knows.  It appears the French did not invent French kissing.

"My sister, my bride, you are,
   a locked garden---
a locked garden
   and a sealed spring.
Your branches are a paradise
  of pomegranates
with choicest fruits,
henna with nard---
nard and saffron, calamus
   and cinnamon,
with all the trees
   of frankincense,
myrrh and aloes,
with all the best spices,
You are a garden spring,
a well of flowing water
streaming from Lebanon."

Here he is praising her virginity before they come together.  She is a "locked garden" and a "sealed spring."  She has saved herself for her husband only, and he prizes that fact.  The last three lines show how she responds to her love, her beloved, her God meant.

The last lines are the only time the maiden speaks in Chapter 4:

"Awaken, north wind---
come, south wind.
Blow on my garden,
and spread the fragrance
   of its spices.
Let my love come to his garden
and eat its choicest fruits."

She is ready to offer her virginity to her husband.  If we look closely, she relinquishes control of "my garden" "his garden".  She now belongs to him, body and soul, and she offers herself totally.

Next:  Chapter 5

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Getting in Shape

This summer I have purposed to get into (better) physical shape.  After gaining chemo. weight nearly six years ago (from 115 to 157), I have struggled to shed it all.  I joined the local hospital gym and have grown to love the elliptical and sweating.  The recumbent bike is growing on me as long as I can read at the same time.  I have only lost two pounds, but I am sure I am losing inches because my clothes fit differently.

Anyway, tonight it occurred to me that I am also working on getting in better spiritual shape.  I had let this blog die for nearly a year because I didn't know what direction to take with it, and I had lost interest in it.  Then, about two weeks ago, God put it on my heart to do a series on marriage.  A divorcee, yeah, right!?  Well, He can use whomever He wishes.  So, I have been letting Him lead me.  They may not be eloquently written, but they "are" my take on least what it should be.  I am not done with that series and already He has given me the topic of my next:  faith, hope, and love.  In fact, I wrote the first installment this morning.  

Where He leads me, I will life and cyber world.

Marriage From God's View: Part 8: Song of Songs, Chapter 3

Chapter three opens with the young woman searching for her love; some presume she is dreaming here:  

 "In my bed at night
I sought the one I love;
I sought him, but did not
     find him. 
I will arise now and go
     about the city,
through the streets
     and the plazas. 
I will seek the one I love. 
I sought him, but did not find him.
The guards who go
     about the city found me.
'Have you seen the one I love?'
     I asked them.
I had just passed them
when I found the one I love.
I held on to him and would not let him go
until I brought him
     to my mother's house---
to the chamber of the one
     who conceived me."

I have read this before and never considered she could be dreaming until now.  She starts out in bed, futilely seeking her love. She could be in the throes of a dream that continues when she arises.  Then, she wanders the streets of the city to find him, but initially the guards find her, as though she is not supposed to be out that late.  She asks them, "Have you seen the one I love?"  That is not exactly specific, and we are not told if she stuck around for a reply.  But, I picture her in distress, asking anyone she were to come in contact with, but moving on when she doesn't get an immediate answer. Right after she leaves the guards, she finds her love and hauls him to her mother's bedroom.  That is perplexing.  Is she introducing him to her mother for the first time? 

In verse 5 she again admonishes young women,

"Young women of Jerusalem,
   I charge you,
by the gazelles and the wild does
   of the field:
do not stir up or awaken love
until the appropriate time."

Again, the gazelles are symbolic of the young men (bucks, as you will) and the does represent the young women.  She knows how rash young people are, so she is warning them not to mess with fire (engage in sex) until the "appropriate time."  That means marriage.  Remember, God had this book written as he did the entire Bible, so this is what he intends.

The remainder of the chapter introduces King Solomon on his sedan chair.  There is speculation that this is his entrance to his wedding because the chapter ends with these lines:

"Come out, young women
    of Zion,
and gaze at King Solomon,
wearing the crown
    his mother placed on him
the day of his wedding----
the day of his heart's rejoicing."

To me, this is one of the most beautiful chapters in the Song of Songs because it shows her deep love for "her man".  If, indeed, she is dreaming, she can not even escape thoughts of him while asleep.

Next:  Chapter 4

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

God's Voice

There have been times when I have heard God's voice....not an audible or describable voice but a strong impression to do something or a verse.  Today was one of those days.  This summer I purposed        to purge my house of extra "stuff" and papers...papers reproduce in my house.  I was going through the closet in the spare bedroom getting things boxed for Goodwill and bagged for the dump.  All of a sudden this popped into my head:  "under the shadow of his wings".  Now, I can not memorize scripture..I just don't have a mind for it, so I looked it up online.  Here it is in its entirety:

Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you
   with His feathers.
You will take refuge
   Under His wings.
His faithfulness will
   be a protective shield."

He knows what I need just when I need it, and today was one of those days.  Only He and I know what it means, but I was open to hear His whisper in the midst of my mundane chore.

Ask Him to speak to you....and then have your ears open to hear.

Marriage From God's View: Part 7: Song of Songs, Ch. 2

"Young women of Jerusalem,
I charge you,
by the gazelles and the wild does
of the field:
do not stir up or awaken love
until the appropriate time." (verse 7)

Here the bride warns young women not to stir up love until the right time.....wait until marriage..that is what God intended.  In our culture today sex is not revered, not sacred.  In fact, society promotes having as many partners as possible, and if  someone waits until marriage, she (or he) is considered a freak.  

"Listen!  My love is approaching,
Look!  Here he comes,
leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My love is like a gazelle
or a young stag."  (Verse 8)

She uses a simile to compare her love to a gazelle and a stag.  A gazelle is an antelope that can run as fast as 60 mph, and a young stag is a male deer.  She thinks her man is a STUD.  She admires his athleticism.  

"My dove, in the clefts
of the rock,
In the crevices of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely."  (Verse 14)

Here is her husband comparing her to a dove; doves are symbolic of love and purity. He is enraptured by her voice and her face.

Next:  Chapter 3

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Marriage: From God's View: Part 6: The Song of Songs, Chapter 1

The man said,

"This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called 'woman,'
for she was taken out of man."
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife,
and they will become one flesh,
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Genesis 2:23-25

God created men and women and designed them to become one in in every sense of the word.  The Song of Songs is largely ignored in churches today; many people have never even read it so they don't know what it contains.  Others try to "spiritualize" the book to refer to Christ and His church (I think, because they are uncomfortable with the details).  The obvious interpretation of the Song is God's intention of romantic, sexual love in the context of marriage.  I think every couple should read it as they start their marriage; God wrote it for His children (us).  The entire book is the wooing, expectancy, and consummation of the love of this couple as God intended. 

"Oh, that he would kiss me
with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is more delightful
than wine.
The fragrance of your perfume
is intoxicating;
your name is perfume
poured out,
No wonder young women adore
Take me with you----
let us hurry.
Oh, that the king would bring
me to his chambers. 

                       (Song of Songs 1:1-4)

These are the opening lines of the book, and how beautiful they are.  The King's beloved is dreamily thinking of his kisses as more wonderful than wine, and she is intoxicated by the memory of his scent and even by his name. Yes, his name; she is enraptured by him.  She can't wait for him to carry her to his chamber.

She goes on in verses 16-17 to say,

"How handsome you are,
my love,
How delightful!
Our bed is lush with foliage;
the beams of our house
are cedars,
and our rafters are cypresses.
I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys."

Some interpretations of the above is that they are consummating their marriage outdoors.

Verse 15 has "her man, her love" praising her

"How beautiful you are,
my darling.
How very beautiful!
Your eyes are doves."

Next:  Song of Songs, Chapter 2

Friday, July 12, 2013

Marriage: From God's View, Part 5: Ordained Sex

God is the designer of sex; like an architect, He designed the male and female bodies as miraculous things of beauty.  When I really think about that, I do not see how anyone could think we "evolved"
from something else. 

 Matthew 19:4-6:  "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate." 

Mark 10:6-9 substantiates the verses above: "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no long two, but one.  Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate."

The two will become one flesh...........My interpretation of that is that spiritually as well as physically they become one; while they are two separate individuals, at the same time they are one unit. God warns that no one is to try to break that covenant.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5---"A husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband.  A wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does.  Equally, a husband does not have authority over his own body, but his wife does.  Do not deprive one another--except when you agree, for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer.  Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

In this passage Paul is not only commanding/advising married couples to have sex, but he tells the woman her husband has control over her body, and likewise, the wife has control over her husband's.  He instructs them not to withhold sex from one another unless it is for prayer (and fasting) because Satan may tempt them.
Now, I know how some women are ( I say "women" because I have never heard of a husband giving an excuse to beg off sex.).  If they are angry, they often want to "get back" at their husbands by withholding sex; thus, the "Not tonight, honey; I have a headache" cliché. That is wrong, wrong, wrong.....and I will go a step further and say they are asking for trouble because they are leaving the door open for Satan to tempt their husband with another woman.  God created the male and female bodies to complement each other, and that makes sex a huge part of marriage.

Next:  The Song of Solomon....up close

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Marriage: From God's View, Part 4: A Virtuous Wife

God expends much of the Bible, and especially Proverbs describing a godly wife.  I am going to focus on just a few verses from Proverbs that speak to me.

"A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31: 10-12

How beautiful is that?!  A noble wife is worth more than rubies!  What does it mean to have noble character?  She should be of high moral character.  To me, that means 1) she acts like a lady, 2) she has eyes only for him 3) she obeys God's and man's laws to the best of her ability, and 4)she has a heart for others.  Is she perfect?  No, but she should bring no shame to her husband. 

He is to have "full confidence in her."  In other words, he knows he can count on her.  She is his rock (as he is hers), his confidante; she completes him.  She is to be the "one" person he goes to for encouragement, for baring his soul with no qualms about doing so; he is "safe" with her.  She seeks only to do him good. 

In Proverbs 12:4, God says "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones."  She is his crown; let that metaphor sink in.  She makes him a king, makes him feel like a king because he is her earthly king. (not to be confused with idolatry, but he is "her man").

The flip side to that is "a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones."  That kind of wife tears him up, destroys him. What woman wouldn't want to be of "noble character"?

Next:  Sex as God created

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Marriage: From God's View, Part 3: Submission

If there is one word that sets the feminist movement on its head, it is probably "submission."

I was a teenager of the '70s, but I never believed the feminist crap being espoused.  God created men and women differently and with different roles.

Unfortunately, feminists are not the only ones who don't get God's model.  There are many men who hear "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord," (Ephesians 5:22) and stop there.  Their caveman-like mentality hurts not only their spouse and marriage but also their testimony.  To quote a friend, "Jesus weeps."  I think he does more than that.  I think He is furious when He sees men misrepresenting Him.

Yes, I said it:  misrepresenting HIM.  Let's look at a few key verses in their totality.  Ephesians 5:22-23:  "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body of which He is the Savior."

Let's look closely at what God is saying.  Yes, wives submit because if you both are trying to lead, you end up with a two-headed monster.

What simile does God use to compare the husband?  " Christ is the head of the Church."  The husband is being compared to Christ.  They are similar becaue their roles are similar.  Does Christ abuse the Church?  Of course not.  So, a husband is not to abuse his wife.  He is to behave like Christ.

Few husbands pay heed to Colossians 3:18-19:
             "Wives, submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives
         and do not be harsh with them."

I see two things here.  One:  God knows us women and our tendencies to control.  I think that is why He says this in more than one place.  Second: He is making sure men don't get the wrong idea here
and think they have a license to abuse their wife.

Now, it is important that a man be the kind of man a woman wants  to follow---to submit to.  I will say unequivocally, I don't believe most women want a weak man; I certainly don't.  I've been there with my ex.  A woman wants a man who can lead her.  He needs to foremost have a heart for God and have his eyes trained on Him.  He needs to be her spirtual leader and encourager.  If he can't always point her to Christ, what good is he?    Proverbs 20:6-7 says, "Many a man claims to have an unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?  The righteous man leads a blamelss life.  Blessed are his children after him."

So, he needs to be faithful.....faithful to God and his wife.

Is it always easy to submit?  No, but it is what God commands us to do.  And, He commands the husband to lead his wife and not to "be harsh" for the husband is representing Christ to his wife.

Next:  Being a godly wife

Monday, July 8, 2013

Marriage: from God's View, Part 2: Being Equally Yoked

2 Corinthians 6:14...."Do not be mismatched with unbelievers.  For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness?"

Paul is speaking here about keeping company with nonbelievers, but it can certainly be applied to marriage.  A believer should not marry an unbeliever...period.  In fact, I will go one step further and say a believer should not even date an unbeliever.  What would be the point?  Certainly a believer would not think she could change/convert the unbeliever.  She should not be "unequally yoked" with an unbeliever, or even the wrong christian. . She should wait for the "one" God has planned for her.  Let's take a closer look at what the "yolking" means first.

"The word "yoke" means a coupling as when two oxen are coupled or yoked together by a pulling beam to do work such as plowing a field or pulling a wagon.  Therefore you can not just put any old ox under the yoke, it has to be the ox that the yoke was fashioned for or the yoke won't fit properly...the oxen won't be able to work together because the yoke will not be level...the oxen will be mismatched. The yoking of oxen speaks to the yoke builders choosing of the team and fashioning the yoke for that specific team so that they can perform the task that he called them to accomplish. You have to be under the yoke yourself first then wait for the chosen team member that the yoke was already designed for...perfect match by the yoke builder himself.".....God!

I stated earlier that a believer should wait for the one God has planned for her.....if He wants her to

marry.  While I have known one couple who met through a christian singles website and married, I would not recommend that.  If the God of the universe brought Eve to Adam, can't He handle bringing two people together today?  When we try to arrange/force things, that is when disaster strikes. God tells us in Isaiah 55:8, "My ways are not your ways," and the way of God is foolishness to man.

Our culture tells us we have the "right" to something when we want it...instant gratification.  God has His own timetable, and He is not concerned with ours.  If he brought Adam and Eve together, surely He can handle us today.  He is the same God.

While this is not biblical, I personally think a woman (or man) should ask God for one who can help him or her advance the Kingdom.  I think a marriage should be two people who can do more for God's kingdom here on earth "together" than they can apart.

Next in the series: Submission

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Marriage: From God's View, Part 1: The First Wedding

Some people may think it is odd that a divorced woman would be writing about marriage from God's perspective, but I have learned much in the thirteen years I have been divorced.  To begin with, while I was raised in the church, I was not saved back then.  So, as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come."  I received a rebirth in Christ, so it as though my prior life does not exist any longer.

For "Christians", and I want to emphasize I am only speaking to Christians, God has much to say about marriage.  For that reason, I am approaching this as a series.  We see the first marriage in Genesis 2.  God had formed Adam and placed him in charge of the Garden of Eden.   He brought him all the animals and whatever Adam called them, that was what they were.  But God saw there was a problem.  None of the animals was a "helper"  suitable for Adam.  So, God placed Adam in a deep sleep and took a rib from him to fashion Eve.  We don't know how long God let Adam sleep before presenting him with his wife Eve.  When God awakened Adam, Adam said, 

          "This one, at last, is bone
                of my bone,
            and flesh of my flesh;
            this one will be called woman,
            for she was taken from man."

This is why when a man and woman are joined in marriage they leave their fathers and mothers and bond together.  They become one flesh....symbolically and physically.  Eve was created to be a "helper" to Adam.  I may be bashed for this, but she completes him.  They are one flesh, and as one flesh, one should not be warring against the other lest he destroy himself.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013


As I stand here prepping onions, garlic, and peppers for tomorrow's chili, I think how God similarly preps us.  He (if we allow Him) leads us and prepares us (and our hearts) for what is to come in our lives.  I remember almost 3 years ago having a restlessness in my former church; I wanted to do something with community service.  Because I was open, He lead me to be able to cook for the downtown disadvantaged/poor for over a year.  I have done the sole cooking for almost 11 months.  Now I feel He is prepping me again for something else....something that is down the road and around the bend, maybe over that mountain.  He is teaching me to listen and He preps me.


I have been thinking about what constitutes a friend.....I mean a "true" friend.  There are acquaintances, friends, and then there are Friends with a capital "F".  I have a very small group of friends, and an even tinier group of Friends.

I will focus on a Friend.....the elusive one with the capital F.  And, since I was reared in the era where we used the singular third person masculine pronoun, I will refer to such a friend as a "he".

A Friend is one you take as he is....warts and all....and do not try/expect to change him.  If you try, how is he your friend and vice versa?

A Friend transcends race.  One of my Friends is African-American.  She recently told me of a new AA lady at our work who called her "sista".  My Friend told me she is not her "sista"; I am the only person at our work she considers a "sista".

A Friend is one you know you can rely on.....a listener, and you listen; a confidant.....and you don't blab what he tells you in confidence, and vice versa.    Someone you trust without reservation.

A Friend is one who feels at ease borrowing money from you....and vice versa.  I don't mean the usual $10 or $20; I mean hundreds of timetable to pay back.... but you  know he will/you will.

A Friend is one who will help you when you need it.....maybe doing mundane errands...maybe climbing on your roof to trim  your limbs so the insurance won't drop you.

A Friend makes no demands on you....has no expectations of you.....doesn't use you financially, emotionally, or in any other way.....he values you for you....warts and all.....and vice versa.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Holding our tongues

I have let this little blog die over the last year because I didn't have the interest in writing and it had become "just another thing to do."   Lately I have found a new interest in writing, so I will give it another shot, though with my schedule, I am not sure how often it will be.

Lately, I have been doing a lot of self-reflection and seeking God.  I try to consult Him everyday for guidance and revelation.  Like most people, my life is inordinately stressful, and I hate that.  Why does it have to be that way?   I told someone recently that it seems we are the rats on the proverbial wheel and we just keep spinning, spinning, and spinning, and getting nowhere.  There has to be more, and so I am seeking Him for that "more".

One of the byproducts of that stressful life is complaining, which is rampant in my circle.  Proverbs 10:19 tells us that "Where there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise."  In my supplemental reading I have encountered, "Never pass up an opportunity to keep your mouth shut," and this one has gone around for years: "Keep your mouth shut and show your good sense."

All this brings me to this question:  is it wrong of us to "vent" to another person, say a best friend or a spouse?  Isn't that what spouses are for (as an example)?  Or, should we solely spill our guts to the One who already reads our minds, knows our hearts?