The Universal Meat Grinder

One of the most common tools in the kitchen of my childhood was a lowly meat grinder. It had a handle for turning, a clamp to secure it to the table, and a wooden prod to stuff the meat into it. Most folks used it to grind sausage because almost everyone raised pigs and ate a lot of pork.

It took a strong arm to turn that handle, so it usually fell to the men of the house to do the job. But first, the meat had to be prepared. Excess fat had to be trimmed from it. Small bones could cause a sudden jam. Then came the added spices to enhance the taste and make eating it a joy for the palette.

Once a batch was ground, the eating started. If you messed up with the spices, you were stuck with it until it was eaten, if you could stand it. Then you’d make another batch, this time being more careful with what you chose to grind into it. So it was a perpetual process of gathering, grinding, eating. making corrections, gathering, grinding, eating, and so on.

Well, as it turns out, life itself is a meat grinder, and everybody knows it. There stands Mr. Life with a powerful arm, ever slowly turning the old Universal meat grinder on and on and on, as it oozes out what we gather to put in it. Then, if we get the ingredients right, we take a bite and go, “Ahhhh.” But if we mess up on the ingredients, we have to grimace and gag as we eat the wicked stuff.

To make the great sausage of life you have to begin somewhere. That first youthful gatherings of what you’re going to grind is where it begins. If you blow it there, you will spend endless years experimenting to get it right. Meanwhile you will have to choke and gag until you finally get it together. The secret to getting it right the first time is to consult those who have been grinding pork for a long time, and found out the hard way exactly what makes great tasting sausage. After all, it took them a lot of gagging and regurgitating to get to where they are today. So why should you get sick on your own corruption, when all you need is to simply do what they advise?

It doesn’t take any skill at all to grind. Life is a grind. It’s what you grind up that matters in the act of life. Every old, experienced meat grinder still alive has a list of no-no ingredients burn-branded into their memory of what nobody in their right mind should stuff into their meat grinder. Here is an incomplete listing for every young whippersnapper who is gathering to grind. You are advised to drown these in their own juices! DO NOT PUT THEM IN YOUR GRINDER!

Here is the no-no list:  Dirt, especially mud-slinging. Cigarette butts. Booze. Hate. Fornication. Marihuana. Condoms. Blasphemy. Aborted fetuses. Ego pills. Sexual perversion. Disrespect. An extremely bitter herb called DOP *. Acid of tongue. Pornography. Blaming somebody else for your own reckless gatherings. Character assassination. Crime. Lying. Laziness. Revenge. Fist shaking at God. Jealousy. Love of darkness. Meanness. Remember, this is only a partial listing.

*(Regarding DOP: It means dishonoring of parents. That one will induce violent regurgitation when eaten. It can have devastating effects on your whole family. You will be very sorry if you have to taste it. Old timers confess that if you eat it, you’ll never be the same again. Many have had an early death because of it. Take care! That one will kill you or ruin you for life. I mean, that one is right up there under the DOG pill—dishonoring of God).

I would be remiss if I failed to tell you the difference between the old-fashion Universal Meat Grinder of my youth, and the meat grinder of life. You see, the old Universal had the option of simply throwing away a bad batch of meat and starting all over again until you got it right. Not so with life’s meat grinder. In that arena, the divine Law of Sowing and Reaping applies. What you gather and grind YOU MUST EAT! One cannot escape that responsibility. You MUST eat it yourself, and must eat it until you are swallowed by a grave!

A stark question suddenly crashes through the door at this point: What stage are you in right now, gathering, grinding, or eating?  If you’re gathering, maybe you’re reading this just in time. If you’re grinding, maybe you should start all over again while there’s opportunity. I suppose it depends on how eager you are to tear into that wicked concoction you threw together for yourself.

DA

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Marriage Fixer For Men With Guts

 

The backslidden Western societies have taken a sledgehammer to the beauty of traditional Judeo-Christian marriage, the very building blocks of any successful society.  Every society of history with any success had as their most guarded aim the touchstone of marriage.  Any time any society degrades themselves by disrespecting it, they became slaves to those who did respect it.  The sanctity of marriage between the sexes is simply built into who we were created to be, and violating our very image is no way to social peace and rest.

Western society once stood stalwart and strong on that issue, but as decline set in through the temptations of prosperity and the appetites of the flesh, spiritual barricades were blown through on our way to feast in the pig sties of sin.  So here we are.  The divorce rate soars to a bewildering height between sinners and saints alike.  Who suffers the consequences?  The children.  More than 50 million babies have been aborted since Roe V. Wade, and most of those who were not, have been, and still are, being carefully brainwashed in the fine art of barbarism in state training camps called public schools!  These have grown up, and are still growing up, they shack up, marry up, give up, break up, then shack up, marry up, give up, then break up over and over.  It’s enough to make one want to throw up!

Our society, through liberal media, liberal Hollywood, liberal rag magazines, and liberal legislators have made no-fault divorce quick and clean-as-a-whistle to any couple for any reason at any time.  So they marry on a one night stand to see if they fit together, and if not they smile and sign divorce papers and part as good friends.  The children born of such lunitickery find solace with peers of the same experience, and grow up not knowing there is a better way, and many times not knowing who their real father was.

So goes Western society today.

But here’s my point.  There are innumerable couples out there sitting on the naked edge of divorce.  It hurts them that it has come to this, but they are convinced that nothing is left but the doom of a marriage shipwreck.  Innumerable couples preceding them took the plunge into those raging waters and have suffered its consequences, especially their offspring.  So I direct the remainder of this article to those couples who are poised on the diving board, crouched and ready to take that fateful leap.  But wait! Maybe there is hope.

First, I direct this to men.  The very first truth to be considered is this: any woman who looks at a man for marriage because his conduct won her affections, becomes his to lose!  If he won her, he loses her.  It is that simple.  Try that on any way you like, it always comes down to that truth.  If you married her just for sex, it will be found out.  If you married her just for money, it will also be found out.  If you hid the real you during courtship, that skeleton will come rattling out of the closet, simply because you cannot hide you very long once you marry.  If she deceived you and you find that out later, well, tough luck — she is still yours to lose because you won her hand, not another guy!  If she was the aggressor and chased you until you caught her, and you suddenly woke up to the fact that she won you instead, and now you want a divorce, well, that won’t wash either.  You’ve got her, and if you’re the man you ought to be you’ll give yourself the brush off and make this marriage work.  It won’t be easy, but she is still yours to lose!

Now, to the real men reading this, I offer a surefire solution that works perfectly every time.  But any of those readers who are not willing to sacrifice yourself to save the marriage, then goodbye, it’s been nice having you until now; I hope there are some survivors.  But those men who dare to continue, please get before a mirror, pull off your shirt and look at your back.  Be sure you have a good strong backbone.  If all you see is a twine string or a streak of jelly, put your shirt back on and forget the whole idea.  I hope there will be some survivors.

To the real men with backbone, please gaze long and hard at that picture of New Mexico’s Shiprock.  That is what you must become in the eyes of the woman you married.  But listen to me, men.  You must decide on a location where your Shiprock will sit as an immovable monolith.  Get the location wrong and you will lose her.  That is exactly how it is in real estate: success is in “location, location, location.”  So here is the foolproof location: turn to Genesis, chapters one and two in the Bible, and look very carefully at the creation of Adam and Eve and particularly how they relate to one another.  I have commented on that in other related articles posted on this blog.  Compare that with Ephesians 5:25-29, and you will have a flashing neon sign telling you exactly where to park your Shiprock.  In that location, and if you will become an immovable Shiprock sitting in it, your wife, being the woman God created, will find shelter, that she is truly loved and treasured by you, that she is secure in your arms, that you are proud of her for who she is, and that her children are also safe and secure in your care.  No woman alive can resist that in a man she has given herself to.  If you will be a Shiprock in these Scriptures and in your marriage vows, your chance of losing her is very slim indeed.

Sadly, in contrast, most men are immovable blocks of cold granite sitting on the wide plains of ego.  They would rather lose everything than be pulled up roots and all from those lifeless plains.  Really, such men are out of place in this article.  We should have lost them two paragraphs ago when they looked at their spines in the mirror.  At this point we should only be talking to men with enough backbone to be daredevils.

Does my solution work?  Yes!  I can cite two cases I am aware of.  One is my own marriage.  At one point after my wife and I had been married for more than a decade, we were at the point of near breakup, with two children to consider.  The change that came which saved it was not sudden, but it was saved because I, myself, decided to have the backbone to be a Shiprock on the plains of Scripture. It was hard, but it worked.  We just celebrated our 56th happy anniversary, and many admirers say we are an ideal couple. Really!

The other one I am aware of was almost miraculous.  The very next step in their marriage was a breakup.  She had her bags packed, preparing to leave.  Suddenly, right out of the blue, and in one day, he became a different person!  In a flash, he seemed to “come to himself,” as Scrooge put it, and jerked himself up roots and all, out of the plains of ego, and planted himself on God’s plains of Scripture.  His wife, in unbelief, almost fainted!  Things turned around in their marriage quite suddenly.  That was not long ago.  Today he is being a Shiprock.  His was the difference between an ego driven husband, and the Incredible Hulk who broke out of his old mold, leaving his former clothes in rags because they didn’t fit anymore.  It was the most incredible transformation in a marriage I ever heard of! I’m sure there have been others, but it is not the usual.  It is enough to conclude that it can be done if a man has the daring and backbone to be a Shiprock instead of a shipwreck.

To the women, I offer the following rules:

— pray as my wife did about marrying me: “Lord, I need to know if it is your will for me to marry this boy.  I’d rather just die than to marry the wrong man.”

— Learn what you can about male nature.

— Find out what men are hiding before marrying one.

— Conclude this: if a man has to bite his tongue or won’t look at you when he compliments you, he will never do it once you marry him.

— Live for God no matter what he does.

— Conclude this: if you don’t marry God’s man, you will be very sorry.

— Don’t fool yourself by telling yourself that he is God’s man.  If he is, God will tell you himself.  You will know.

— Never chase a man.  If a man won’t chase you, he is not worth you chasing him.

Finally, to those poised on the diving board, my daily advice is, wait until tomorrow.

–DA

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God’s Rules For Christian Romance

NOTE: While this is for young singles, it is also suitable material for Christians of all ages.

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Today a familiar excuse echoes from the new generations about romantic interests between the sexes. It is seen in such quotes as, “Us? Oh, we’re just taking it slow.”

The origin of such evasive philosophy gives itself away in the word “slow.” It truly characterized those multitudes of youth who were the “New Age Movement” during the ‘60s and ‘70s era, and today continues to contaminate young Christian minds. In it’s early stages, aggression was not their forte’. Even their walk was a lazy shuffle. Long, tangled hair marked them, together with brush piles for beards. Ragged was in, clean was out, slumped shoulders matched a forced facial droop, with sad eyes, sloped eyebrows, upside-down lips, and a protruding turtle neck. They shacked up together in communal dumps, smoked pot, and danced lazily in smoke-filled drug dungeons. They sewed the American flag upside down to the seat of their ragged jeans, cursed the military who protected them, and turned traditional American Rock music into what sounded more like a force 10 hurricane going through New York City!  Even the rich kids looked the same part, and shot their clothes with shotguns to make them ragged! Anything to fit in with the social drags. Their later generations of today are still at it: You can yet buy “distressed” jeans, shot to pieces with guns of all sorts. Yes, “slow” characterized them. Unfortunately, the smog of their culture slowly drifted forward with the winds of time and filtered into today’s Christian culture by way of “music,” television, public schools, and the Internet.

In that culture, the idea of “hanging out,” or such terms, meant two disinterested deadbeats doing nothing as “just friends” to see if both felt any “vibes” mutually strong enough to gravitate into more than just friends. Nobody pursued anybody.

The mentality behind such ‘hang outs’ was rooted in the New Age’s purpose of the destruction of what they termed “The Establishment,” meaning the traditional Judeo-Christian ethic around which all free societies had been structured for almost two millennia. The New Age idea was born of atheistic evolution’s notion that we were just animals running wild, and there’s no such thing as a divine order for what might be called the divine dance of romance, but rather simply an urge to merge, and then go on to the next one, much like the wild nature of wolves or hyenas.

Unfortunately, American society caved in to this cultural steam roller. And, sadly, too much of today’s Christian youth runs around slouchy and “hangs out,” walks with a shuffle, and even takes pride in the gun-shot ragged look. They are well on their way to hearing aids from living most of their days being assaulted with so-called “Christian” chaos, calling it music. One would think that today’s American Christian generations would refuse to borrow anything at all invented by such enemies of Christian-founded America! But they surely did, and America today is paying dearly for it. All of that is actually the real, documented history we older Christians visibly watched with our eyes and heard with our ears as it was born and grew up to contaminate our landscapes, invade our churches, steal our children, demolish our sweet Gospel music, desecrate our precious flag and sacred monuments, and bathe our sacred institutions of romance and marriage in a tide of cultural sewage.

God’s truth about romance was largely lost in that tsunami, so here, from God’s own point of view, is a restatement of the cold facts about this whole subject of romance. All the details in the paragraphs above are nothing but a cowardly cop-out of the God-given purpose which he created in males and females. That truth simply cannot be escaped, because it is as much a part of our physical beings as an arm or a leg. To exercise it outside of God’s parameters of reality is extremely destructive to human existence, ending in the charred remains of a raging wildfire.

You see, God endowed both male and female youth with complementary hormones to draw them into mutual attractions. The word, complementary, means the hormonal activity in each of the sexes as divinely formulated to fulfill the Adamic mandate clearly stated in Genesis 1:27, 28, to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth, and subdue it: and have dominion…” (KJV). But, as we can plainly see in ourselves, Adam and Eve were not charged to do this alone, but were carefully and perfectly designed to “multiply” and populate the Earth by what may be termed chain reaction.

Consequently, God-given hormones excited the resulting children with, shall we say, the dance of romance, with a divine purpose to fulfill God’s master plan. Mind you, not the insanity of merely satisfying one’s own selfish cravings like brute beasts. Hear me, young Christians, sex has a divine purpose without which God’s pleasure becomes God’s wrath! Whether to consider God first in your sex drive or not, is not an option! He must be considered in sexual unions, or else it becomes a sexual curse. We should all think that over carefully, because it vitally concerns innocent children. When Jesus walked the Earth, if anyone wanted to touch off his temper, they needed only to hurt the little children.

But there is far more to this so-called dance of romance than Christian society seems to understand. It involves a truth blossoming out of the meticulous order and purpose God exercised in the creation of Adam and Eve. That order and purpose ought to be looked at with great care by every youth today. It is so carefully stated in Scripture (KJV) that even the children can understand it, and yet it seems all of Christian society, including pulpits and church schools, either miss it or ignore it altogether so as to fit in with whatever cultural rage is in fashion.

God created Adam first (Genesis 2:7), then divine foresight prepared him to have a driving need. There stood Adam, freshly created, filled out physically in detail, equipped with everything he needed except a reflected companion physically designed to receive his own design. Here we all are today, still designed exactly that way! That “need” is carefully detailed in Genesis 2:18 through 25. Take special note of the detailed order, for this is vitally important to who we all are: Adam’s being first in order is a vital truth, although it seems society wants to ignore it. Now, to complete Adam’s design which God gave him, God took what he had already created in Adam, a rib, and created a receiver, whom Adam named Eve. They two, as joined together by God’s hand, became “one flesh” by God’s hand. Eve was created to be Adam’s “help meet,” that is, a helper, an assistant, an aide to God’s purpose in designing them both. She was literally bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. Why? Because, as it plainly says, God took her out of Adam (v. 23). She was not directly made of the dust of the ground, as was Adam, but from the flesh and bone of Adam himself. We overlook this meticulous fact at our own peril! Far too many of us do. We say, “Duh! Everybody knows that!” The problem is, we don’t act like it because acting like it puts us at odds with today’s politically correct notions pouring into our living rooms, public and private schools, on the job, and even at church! Radical feminism has educated the masses along that line. But let me tell you, the truth here is plain, and there are dire consequences if we ignore it.

Now lets use the previous paragraph as the loam out of which the facts of romance blossom. Look carefully: God designed Adam to plant the seed of multiplication, but Eve, being one flesh with Adam, received it and joined it with her own, upon which their seed of one flesh began a cycle of growth to become a separate person to increase Earth’s population, exactly as God intended. This harmonious arrangement of hormones required complementary consistencies, not just in brain and body structures, but in hormonal processes to fit and govern the created purpose in how they behaved toward one another. Their different human profiles simply and naturally acted as magnets in attracting the sexes to one another toward God’s glorious intent in creation, that is, a vast multitude of God’s family of people to walk with him in infinite fellowship, to serve him, and to worship him as their God. All of these perfectly designed harmonics is truly God’s dance of romance between a man and a woman. Yes, there is far more to romance than fallen humanity has allowed themselves to believe. That dance is a sacred dance, and should be kept pure and holy.

But it behooves us to be extremely careful in how we interpret that vital dance. Get it wrong and the hormonal signals become a snarled semaphore of ambiguous nonsense. Women find themselves stooping to a driven behavior of pursuit which men alone are hormonally equipped to handle, and we find men parking themselves against nature in an attitude of female passive neutrality, waiting to be found by the perfect female instead of going out to find one to pursue. Familiar words from such mish-mash go something like: “Oh, we’re just friends,” or, “We’re just taking it slow,” or, “we’re just hanging out,” or, “What’s wrong with the guys these days?” or, “Why are guys such deadbeats?” or, “It’s hard to find a decent guy these days.” (Note the word “find.” It means they’re beating the bushes in pursuit to “find” one). “Guys are such party animals.” He’s slow as Christmas, and that turns me off!”  On the other hand, guys say, “She’s too eager, and turns me off,” or, “All she wants to do is giggle and party,” or, “She’s smothering me.” But if she is well behaved and keeps her place, deadbeat guys say, “Why is she so distant?” or, “She doesn’t seem interested in me,” or, “She’s Miss Untouchable,” or, “She’s got that holier-than-thou attitude.” (Usually, only a guy looking for a party girl makes such uninformedcomments). Or, one common comment, “She’s still trying to get over a previous romance.” (It seems to have escaped the mind of a guy who makes such comments, that the most natural thing for him to do is to convince her that he is better man than the guy who broke her heart!).

All such comments are like the smog rising from a polluted landscape. The sordid atmosphere ought to be swept out to sea by the strong winds of God’s priorities in romance. Both sexes need to assume a hormonal balance, and forsake the atheistic notion that we are soul-less animals running around like crazed canines after each other’s body. Both sexes should put God first in their priorities, and rediscover the lost art of the divine dance of romance.

Now let’s dance! Here is the Scriptural order for God’s inspired romance between the sexes.

First, it should be understood that God equipped Adam for pursuit, not only to dominate God’s Earth, but to take to himself and provide for his “help meet.” I repeat, the unique hormone system God created in Adam and his male offspring was divinely aimed to the dominant purpose of pursuit and domination of the Earth. That is simply who and what he is in his core being. To achieve God’s purpose in his design, he must pursue, pursue, pursue! But it must be for God that he pursues, even if it is for a mate. Anything else defined as romance today is simply Scripturally abnormal and will not produce what God intended in humanity’s design. It will rather only add to the warped confusion already existing in the homes and divorce courts, Christians or not, with all the attending consequences. Hear me! Scripturally, men must pursue, or else they are assuming the role God created for Eve!

The female of Adam’s rib is divinely designed to the role of a helper. Mind you, not a doormat as some men seem to think, but designed to do a job Adam is not even equipped to undertake, even if he tried. He just cannot do it. The ability to give birth is only one of Eve’s marvelous functions that Adam finds impossible. It is an indelible fact that Adam without an Eve cannot endure. He is “Alone” (Genesis 2:18). There could be no humanity without Eve, and dominion would be impossible. But Eve without an Adam is without the needed strength and pursuit abilities she needs from Adam to even exist.  No, both Adam and Eve are themselves divinely unfulfilled without each other, unless God specifically calls them to celibacy, which is extremely rare. The very moment the female steps out of her divine role, she goes against who she really is by design in her core being. Such a misdirection, and the frustration that drives her to it, is simply a manifesting of her lack of faith in God to provide her with the male to fulfill the divine design she plainly sees and feels within her being. Her role is patience in waiting, faith in God for her needs, and a readiness to receive God’s provision for her. Should she jump ahead of that requirement, she will almost always end up with a great deal of unhappiness and disappointment, and even unintentionally pass it on to her offspring. That is a picture of the mistakes so frequently carried out today in most females. Every woman would be benefited by studying the great women of the Bible, but few will even crack their Bibles to do it, and so choose the world’s back alley as her path of life, instead of the thrilling scenery of God’s mountain pass. Such a mistake defies explanation, unless it is seen as simply lust of the carnal flesh.

Men, your role in God’s design for romance is to go out and diligently search all the right places for a female whose priority is to love God first. Study her to see if she is what you personally need to fulfill your divine purpose to even exist in God’s scheme of creation. Here are the rules to follow:

If she is single, she is fair game, even if she is wearing an engagement ring! All you must do is make your play, then study her reaction. If she shows interest in you, that is an open door for you to test further. If she sternly and flatly rejects your advance, simply erase her from your list of possibles. Maybe later. Note: Many will oppose the idea of approaching if she is wearing an engagement ring. Nonsense! Until she wears a wedding ring showing that she is bound to that man before God, she is still not married and is available to any man who tests the waters. But if she rejects you, you must respect that romance. Remember, she must show interest in you, or it is a dead-end. But also remember, that if she wears your engagement ring, she is also fair game to any guy who makes a better offer. After all, how can you know but that perhaps she is the one God has picked for you, or maybe that he meant for her to marry the other guy who stole her from you?  But I warn you, men, you’d be wise in courting her to not start up anything to win her, which you are not dedicated to keep doing after the wedding. WARNING: Give that one very special attention!

Women, your Scriptural role is a simple one. Assume the role of the prey, not the predator. Be a catch, not a catcher; the chased, not the chaser. Be desirable, not the desirer; the attractive, not the attracted. Do you get the picture? It might seem obvious, but the radical feminists have to a large degree switched those separate roles between men and women. They have made them fashionable, even though it is a formula with a guarantee in neon red that it will end in unhappiness. The Hollywood set shouts it like a bullhorn in every American living room! The Scriptural order is to attract a suitor, not insult his male nature as your pursuer. Please hear this truth: female violation of male nature attracts society’s dregs in the form of male predators prowling at parties, social gatherings, the Internet, at malls, parking lots, ball games, Rock concerts, and even at Churches. Their objective is female bodies to exploit, not female persons. They’re as thick as flies in this depraved world we live in. Some of them are extremely skilled in their methods, and very convincing, but if you’re a Christian girl entertaining such social scum, you are flirting with a lifetime of unhappiness at the least, and possibly bodily harm. It certainly does happen far too often, especially in modern society. The solution is never to be alone with any man unproven to be a gentleman. The risk is too great. Instead, maintain your Christian integrity at all costs. Real men, men of worth, men who desire a worthy mate, are searching carefully for women of honor and integrity. They will simply pass over any woman whose male companions are known to be nothing but party animals looking for a few laughs and female company.

An additional comment to women is in order here: Girls, it is completely unscriptural and out of natural order, even today, for a single woman to park her own life in order to find a mate for life. The unwise act of giving up personal ambitions, personal talents, job skills, education, and especially God’s special calling upon her, is to effectively sell her soul to a faceless man, making a fictional male her supplier of life. Such an attitude is to forsake the fact that Eve’s Creator was God himself, not Adam! No, when God created Eve, as her creator she was his own before she was Adam’s. Even though she was Adam’s helper, even though she was to be the bearer of children, even though she had a role as a wife and mother to fill, she was first and foremost an individual before God, to whom she owed first allegiance. Adam’s duty was to honor that, to support it, not violate it for his own selfish motives. He owed her dignity, respect, and courtesy. But don’t you see that if she herself failed to respect that order in her existence as an individual, it could only bring trouble to herself, her husband, and her children. Yes, marriage may change her priorities, but until then she must be true to God and herself.

Please hear me: God must take center stage in your life, or you will find yourself in great conflict. You will do well to learn and apply the following indelible rule: If you fail to pursue God first, good men will not pursue you. Ironically, it seems instinctive in all men to know that indelible rule, and yet it seems most modern females have missed it. Even in slimy social circles, men would rather catch an untouched female for themselves, rather than one who lacked self discipline with her body.

Finally, men, a word to the wise among you. Men like straight talk, a getting to the point. So be warned: Unless you are an Elijah, a John the Baptist, or a Paul, then if your choice is to remain unmarried, you are cheating yourself out of who God built you to be. God did not put those hormonal passions in you to waste on your own cravings. Without a “help meet” you will be stunted as a man, unfulfilled, lonely, turned inward toward your own appetites and cravings. You will have no children or grandchildren to “Rise up and call you blessed.”

But men, marriage is no piece of cake. The ceremony itself, for both male and female, is where old “self” is nailed to a cross in self-sacrifice to one another, and to your offspring. You are through with being an individual, because “They two shall be one flesh,” yes, but now two wills vow to die for one another! But never forget, God built the male to be the head sacrificer. He must lead or lose. He must be the guardian, the keeper, the CEO of the home. Because of his design, he cannot be a know-it-all, and so must consult in order to lead. His “help meet” must be his first contact in most matters. In fact, any man who bypasses his wife as though she is a nobody, will have a wife who feels like a nobody. Get ready for a lot of unhappiness; women do not do well with a foot on their necks.

Remember, men, you can be worth a fortune, sport around in a limousine, be knock-down handsome, dressed to the nines, have a physique like Arnold to show off, be a famous person, all of that and more, but if you fail in the very thing God designed you to be, you will always have an empty place in your gut. It’s like building yourself a castle, but spending your life in a cheap motel!  Be warned: If you choose the castle, get ready to sacrifice for the privilege. It seems anything worth having is not easy to keep.

So I close with this word to good, honorable men: Be leery of push-over women. Usually you must fight for the honorable ones. If she is the best, she will want permission from God, as well as her parents, before she will even date you. So you will have to convince all four of them if you’re going to get the very best. And you’d better have something good going on in yourself if you hope to do that. That might mean you will have to make some permanent changes in yourself. I close with this: If she was worth fighting for to win her, then she is worth fighting for to keep her. And if you now have her, your worst enemy is probably yourself.

DA

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Words That Are Good, Speeches That Are Fair

Everyone enjoys hearing words that warm the heart and stretches the lips.  Who does not disdain boring speeches or an oratory that offends?  Anyone with the gift of oral communication knows good words and fair speeches can open pocketbooks and gets backslaps of praise.  No matter who skillfully employs their talent toward taking advantage of humanity’s bent toward rosy words and fair speeches, whether politician, teacher, preacher, or parent, is not into communicating truth, but is rather serving their own appetites.  Such an appetite feeds on a hunger for power, prestige, a receiving of praise, money, and security.  A politician seeks power, the greedy seeks money and security, a teacher looks for prestige behind his degrees, a parent wants to fit in socially, and a preacher may thirst for them all behind a show of false humility.

It would surely benefit every artisan employing good words and fair speeches to visit with the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans (Romans 16:17-19).  Written by one of the most informed and brilliant minds of his time, he nevertheless said to the Corinthian church, “And I, brethren,… came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit of Power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

The reverse reality, however, is that evil intent’s pleasant words and brilliant speeches can be divisive and treacherous, even as false humility drips honey from its words.  The only telling sign of such intent will be their content of doctrine–or perhaps their lack of it.  What are they not saying?  What are politicians, teachers, parents, books, news media, and preachers not telling us?  Does your senator say abortion traumatizes a mother?  Does your professor tell you evolution is only a theory and the creationists are winning the debates about it?  Does your parents tell you your peers are just as ignorant as you are about the issues of life?  Does your preacher frequently tell you plainly that Hell is a real place of eternal torment were God sends people who sin against his only begotten son?  Is your spiritual leader on backslapping terms with false doctrinaires and never tells you such falsehood can lead your soul to Hell?  Does he claim to be a minister of the Gospel but only tells you half of it? Such half truths become a door ajar, a window cracked, a covert passage where an enemy can slip in with a surprise.

Bearers of enchanting words and captivating oratory is not new.  Paul had to contend with them wherever he traveled and in every church he founded or visited.  In the very passage where he mentioned words and speeches, he admonished the Roman church to “Mark those who cause divisions and offenses contrary” to true doctrine (Romans 16:17).  They were to “avoid” them.  Far from unifying God’s true children, these “positive preachers,” these “I’m okay, you’re okay” charmers, these non-offensive, not to worry, sweet talkers were actually church splitters and truth killers on the hunt for self-aggrandizement; leeches, if you will, sucking the lifeblood from the innocents.  Paul and the other apostles showed little mercy for these predators, and straightly excommunicated them from their churches.

Verse 19 of Romans 16 reveals a stunning statement by Paul.  He says to these Roman believers, “I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”  This brilliant man of God is telling these innocents that they should dwell on the truth of spiritual matters and be “simple,” that is, “pure” in their encounter with evil, so that “We henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). In brief, they should use their time to know of the goodness in God’s salvation, and keep in mind the simple fact that evil will damn one’s soul!  That, in a nutshell, is the Gospel.  Preachers who dwell only on the roses in their ministry, are misleading their hearers away from the acute fact that God is a God of pure justice and never tolerates willful sin, and that Hell awaits those who ignore it.  Judgment day will probably hold a shocking irony: some who were saved under such a ministry may be shocked to learn that the preacher who led them to God’s saving grace might miss heaven himself, because he preached a “feel good” substitute for his own comfort.  I heard a Godly pastor say, “Folks, in this church every service is a battleground between the forces of good and evil, where every soul hangs in the balance.”  That church found no place for feel-good sermons nor ear tickling speeches.  It was a place where sinners found it very hard to sit still; they usually either ran for the altar or the door.  Come to think of it, that description fits the early New Testament church perfectly!

The Gospel of Christ is so unutterably sample, so sweet and satisfying to the soul, that the beauty of it can be overlooked in our search for what we’re missing deep within ourselves.  Billy Graham described it best, “Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where he can find bread.”  You see, a system of theology has its place, but the lost at large have a deep hunger for simple peace and contentment of soul and body, not a tangled maze of theological analysis.  They are like sheep looking for a shepherd to lead them to luscious green pastures.  The simple seek the simplicity even a child can understand.  Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 19:14).  Just so, every pastor has a flock gathered round him innocently believing his good words and fair speeches.  They are trusting that he is telling them the whole truth, leaving nothing out, withholding no solemn warnings.  As the saying goes, they are “putty in his hands,” and God will hold such pastors fully accountable in judgment. Ministers should be reminded of the horrible end of the Jim Jones cult. He led them to a mass suicide of more than 900 followers!  Ministers had best preach the simple truth of the Gospel, all of it, leaving nothing out, service after service, and all for the right reason, in a spirit of humility, but with and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Paul told the Galatian churches, which had grown cold and drifted from his original message, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8 ).  Admonitions to preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth do not come any stronger than that razored thrust from the Holy Spirit’s sword in Paul’s hand.  One need only to read Paul’s epistles to see the whole of what he had preached to these Galatians.  It is all there!  In brief, he preached Christ’s life, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, the sending back the Comforter on the day of Pentecost, the Pentecostal order of the church, bodily healing, miracles, deliverance from demons, the return of Christ, the final judgment, purity of living, and the horror of Hell.  He left nothing out!

That, friends, is the whole Gospel truth.  Therefore, any preacher or teacher who claims to be a minister of the Gospel but fails to preach it all virtually every time he steps behind a pulpit or Bible class is indeed guilty of “Good words and fair speeches,” and is in grave danger of Paul’s “accursed.” No, the genuine ministry of the Gospel is not for sissies, the fearful, or the cautious.  It can get one burned at the stake or decapitated.  It can get one thrown out of a church, reduced to poverty, or deprive one of friends and even family.  Ask Jeremiah.

But there is yet more here than we want to think: we just finished quoting Galatians 1:8 above, but look at verse nine.  Paul is not kidding in verse eight about the “accursed” part, for he says the same thing again.  He fully intended that any “other” gospel than his is “accursed.”  We tend to think “erroneous gospel” is meant, and it is included, but to preach only a part of Paul’s Gospel is indeed “another gospel” because it is theft of the whole truth!  To preach Christ but not his resurrection is “another gospel.”  Preaching only the grace of Christ but ignoring the wrath of God’s Hell-fire judgment for those who reject him, is only half the truth, better described as a “feel-good” gospel.  To focus on going to heaven while ignoring the vital peculiarity of living a holy life above sin is to lead innocent Christians to Satan’ s slaughterhouse.  God said flatly, “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).  Pushing the idea of Gospel evangelism while stealing the  infilling of the Comforter of Acts 2 is like sending innocent children into battle alone.  Such peanut gospels Paul pronounced “accursed,” and pulpiteers would do well to remember that.  Hell’s fires will be hottest for those who for selfish reasons won’t enter themselves, but who stand in the way of those who would enter, but can’t because of wolves in sheep’s clothing standing squarely in the way to the whole truth of the Gospel (Acts 20:27-30).

DA

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Divorce and separation

—  FOREWORD  —

No other subject in Christianity today sparks more controversy than this one.  Dealing with the facts of it is no way to win friends and influence people.  Today the subject is so explosive that pastors, counselors, teachers, and even families are afraid to approach it.  Police exercise great caution when dealing with domestic violence from it, and one could seek no better formula for splitting a church, a society, or even a nation. History proves that all have happened, some of them many times.

Be that as it may, the cold truth of it sits there on the pages of Holy Writ in words so clear they have to be simply ignored to get around them.  As such, its only option is to give birth to convenience.  Isn’t that just like fallen humanity?  If anything in Scripture fails to fit what our flesh craves, then, like a screaming baby in wet diapers, we squeal for anything convenient to comfort us.

So if you don’t want to hear this inconvenient truth, I suggest you stop here, but with this reminder: marriage predates all human history, starting with the creation of Adam and Eve.  It belongs to humanity itself, not just Christianity.  God laid down the indelible rules to govern them when he created the first male and female, with not one shred of evidence in Scripture that he changed the principles that govern them, except only one because of the sin factor.  The reason for today’s confusion in the matter is that those principles simply got buried in human convenience.

—  PART 1  —

Marriage between a man and a woman is infinitely more than a legal bond; it is a sacred bond in God’s sight, broken only by sin.  Before sin entered God’s creation, “marriage” as we call it, was an indissoluble fusion of a male and a female into what God termed “one flesh.”  It is vital to the subject that we understand the chronological sequence of this establishment of human existence on the earth.  The sequence is this: immediately after the orderly setting up of a place for humanity to exist, God created Adam, and then provided a crowning touch by forming Eve from Adam’s body to be his “help meet,” a soul mate and partner in the divine task of occupying the earth.  He fused them together into “one flesh” made of two complementary persons, perfectly equipped in spirit and body to fulfill God’s purpose for humanity’s very existence, “To fear God and to keep his commandments,” because “that is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).  What was that duty?  They were to “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion…” (Genesis 1:28).

So here in a single paragraph is the unvarnished essence of exactly why God sees the binding of a male and a female into “one flesh,” that is, the marriage bed, as being very sacred to his own person and plan. Please read with great care! This was, and yet is, what God expects of all humanity, none excluded, and to which all humanity will be held accountable in judgment.

God’s divine order assigned to all humanity in the first couple is very explicit. Read it again: Be fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue, and have dominion. Male and female were each fitted in soul and body to compliment one another into a oneness of flesh toward that task. It cannot be accomplished any other way. Little wonder that ancient Jewish women saw barrenness as a curse. Notice the logical flow: all of the domination must flow from replenishment, which must flow from multiplying, which follows the command of fruitfulness. Here then is the core truth of marriage:

One flesh multiplying itself toward becoming a multitude of God’s faithful subjects, continuing to multiply and glorifying the Divine Creator of life, toward eternal ends which humanity has yet to fully realize.

The marriage bed is therefore a sacred place in God’s sight.  I repeat, the marriage bed is a sacred place in God’s sight.  If we lose sight of that first truth of marriage, we have lost sight of what God says marriage is all about! A violation of that oneness of flesh is, to God, a very serious offense.  By his standard it is not so easily dissolved. In fact, as we will see later, God allows only one reason, and only one, as grounds to dissolve it.

In perfect Eden, there were no such things as unfaithfulness, sin, adultery, bad marriages, and divorce.  Only after sin entered did those imperfections come to bear on the sacred institution of marriage.  But it is vital to the study of it to settle in our minds that the sacred institution of marriage precedes the entrance of sin into humanity.  To miss that basic principle of marital truth is to wander in endless confusion in the subject.  To maintain that perspective brings order to the subject; without it is to splinter it into millions of opinions; one, in fact, for each and every situation.  One might use today’s familiar term to describe it, “situational ethic’s,” that is, “if it feels good, do it.”  To focus on its institution prior to sin throws the spotlight upon God’s simplicity of it; the focus after sin carries an endless baggage of utter confusion born of convenience.

This brings our focus to Jesus’ plain and simple statement of Matthew 19:8.  The Pharisees thought to trap Jesus in his words with the thorny subject of marriage and divorce.  Jesus brushed it aside by saying Moses allowed a writing of divorcement because of “the hardness of their hearts,” and then he blew away all their arguments with the simple phrase, “but from the beginning it was not so.”  The word “beginning” here can only refer to God’s original Edenic institution of marriage, which God called “one flesh.”

Then Jesus continued on the subject, and what he spoke then and there should end all speculations on the subject.  For the first time since Eden, God added to the subject of “one flesh” a principal truth to accommodate the sin factor.  The Lord is the champion of innocence.  What he said guards the innocent party in a marriage where willful sin is introduced.  We should read very, very carefully what he said here, and then carry that principal truth close to our bosoms as we study the subject of marriage and divorce. He said:

“And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 19:9).

Think carefully: Jesus would not have said those words to Adam and Eve before they sinned, and yet they were indeed married into “one flesh.”  Yet here he does say them, but with one added phrase to make saying it meaningful to depraved humanity, “except it be for fornication.”  That short verse containing that short phrase is filled with bewildering complexity unless one centers on the principal truth and all the truth it infers.  (We should observe that Scripture’s inferred truth is equally valid in inspiration.  For example, when Jesus invited Peter to come to him walking on the water, the inference is that Peter could have indeed walked all the way to Jesus on the water, or else Jesus would not have asked why he doubted (Matt. 14:25-31).  To think otherwise is to accuse the Lord of an insincere invitation).

In order to see the inferred truths of Matthew 19:9 quoted above, let us give inferred proposals of the verse in two ways.  Keep in mind that the results of the divorce are what immediately follow it, because as time passes after it, many complications can take place to change the original results.  These proposed inferred truths are the results before the complications (such as remarriage) takes place.

Also, bear in mind that Jesus is teaching a principal for all time, which includes the universal freedom inherent in his Gospel across the lines of both sexes.  So in this verse he addresses the male’s side, but the inference introduced by his Gospel includes females.  The truth of it applies even if we switch the male and female roles in Jesus’ principal.  For instance, instead of “put away his wife” it is equally true to say “put away her husband,” and so on through the verse.

In our first proposal, the wife has indeed committed fornication.  Follow the inferred truth through the proposed verse:

“Whoever shall divorce his wife who has indeed committed fornication against him, and remarries, does not commit adultery.  And whoever marries his divorced wife does not commit adultery because God recognized the divorce from her first Husband because she committed fornication against him.”

Now look at the inferred complications: the Lord only gives the offended husband permission to remarry.  He might opt to stay single.  Thus the possibility is there, if he is of a mind, to later remarry the same wife whom he divorced.  But what if she is now divorced again so as to leave her second husband to remarry her first one?  Such complications seem endless, and that is only a minor one. To unravel such a problem, keep your eye on the only exception Jesus gave. For brevity’s sake we will not do that here.

Our second proposal is based on the wife being innocent of the sin of fornication:

“Whoever shall divorce his wife who has not committed fornication against him and remarries, is himself guilty of committing fornication against her.  And whoever marries his divorced wife is not guilty of committing adultery with her because God recognized the divorce the instant her first husband remarried and fornicated against his innocent wife.”

But look at the inferred complications: until her divorced husband remarries, or otherwise defiles their marriage bed, God does not recognize the divorce, even if the civil law does.  If she remarries before her first husband defiles the bed, God will not recognize her remarriage, but rather sees it as fornication against her real husband, thus legalizing their divorce in God’s sight.  On the other hand, as soon as her first husband remarries, her remarriage becomes acceptable, but she must genuinely seek God’s forgiveness for remarrying before her first husband remarried. If she doesn’t, it remains unforgiven sin, even though she is legitimately remarried. Again we can see how the ongoing complexity seems endless.

The one thing on which to focus as the key to sorting out right and wrong in any given circumstance, is the one principal truth that there is only one exception by which God will recognize a divorce and remarriage: fornication. It always comes down to that.

These indelible truths, then, present a timeless, immoveable base to which all arguments must be firmly attached, or else they will eventually utterly destroy the very foundation of marriage.  That immovable base is simply God’s holiness, that is, an act that violates God’s pristine character.  If any of our arguments are not firmly nailed to that source, they will be flawed at the root.  Always, the question must be, does it violate God’s immutable holiness?  Will God be pleased, regardless of how the husband or wife feels about it?  If both parties dedicate themselves to honor God in their troubled marriage, things can be worked out.  If not, they can’t.  It is just that simple. It all comes down to God’s view of that marriage bed. Unless the marriage bed has been defiled, according to Jesus’ precise words, there are no grounds for divorce no matter what anyone thinks, or what any man-made law might dictate.  God’s sacred, personal holiness will not be violated without bitter consequence. If we are to realize true perspective regarding marriage and divorce, it behooves all humanity to understand who God is in his person and character.  The ignorance or violation of that timeless truth about God is the true culprit in the runaway divorce rate among Christians.

An in-depth study of God’s holiness, his chief attribute toward humanity, would fill a large volume. Such a study would not find room in this article. We will only mention that God’s mandate of Genesis was vitally tied to his integrity of purpose in creating humanity. God’s divine integrity is itself his character of utter purity, that is, his holiness. To violate what he deems sacred to his purpose in humanity is a personal affront to his revealed character. Insulting God is no way to win his favor, the only road to happiness.

Here, then, is the best approach to gaining insight into God’s mind concerning marriage.

The generations of humanity have passed through many unique complications because of the complexity of depravity, leaving church leaders, politicians and counselors of every sort, searching Scripture for direct application.  But society’s rules and laws change drastically, and so we must seek for principles of truth, which were underlying the direct application, and then apply those principles to our own unique situation today.  Those principles are perpetual through all time and are divine principles that always apply.

Again, the first principle of truth toward any solution to solving any problem issuing from human depravity is always, first and foremost, God’s divine attribute of absolute holiness. That is, his integral being, focused upon his purpose in creation.

If it crosses swords with God’s character of utter purity, it is no solution worth considering.  It behooves us all to be true to God’s revealed mind on the matter, not one’s own mind, not that of a friend, a counselor, a pastor, or any other, but God’s mind, as he has clearly revealed in Scripture. Look at it this way: Since God’s holiness is the purity of his very person, it is a divine, irrevocable, eternal standard, an immutable law for all time and eternity, both spiritually and naturally.  That law is what makes the whole of existence itself a reality. God always operates toward humanity in that framework, and the better we understand that and adhere to it, the happier we will be as humans.  Therefore, look again at the core truth of the divine purpose in marriage. Tampering with God’s divine multiplier the “one flesh” factor, the marriage bed, is to tamper with his integral purpose of humanity’s existence in the first place”

One flesh multiplying itself toward becoming a multitude of God’s faithful subjects, continuing to multiply and glorifying the Divine Creator of life, toward eternal ends which humanity has yet to fully realize.

—   PART 2   —

Now in regard to fornication being the only grounds God recognizes as justification for divorce, since nothing is hidden from God, it suddenly becomes vital to the grounds that whoever opts for divorce must also know what God knows about it. Strong suspicion is not enough.  Look at it this way: the stakes here are eternal salvation.  If the grounds for filing for a divorce are not proven beyond doubt, the divorce might not be valid in God’s sight, and so whoever remarries on the strength of it is guilty of adultery and could die in sin.  Given the right circumstances, until death it could be said that they are dead while they live. Sadly, many people, Christians included, stand guilty before God today, and are dead while they think they live.  They might even be happier with their new wife or husband, but in God’s mind he might see them as yet “one flesh” with a previous mate.

So it is with God in declaring a husband and wife to be “one flesh.”  It is wrapped up in his divine purpose of creating humanity.  His mind in that matter is resolved and has been “from the beginning,” as Jesus put it in Matthew 19:8.  That one and only reason for divorce in verse nine is God’s mind and indelibly stated for all humanity, saved or lost, and so is a divine principle through all time in which all judgments in the matter must be attached in order to have any worth.  Regardless of all the complexities the human tragedy presents, when we string that principle of truth through it, other truths assemble themselves into a meaningful pattern, which respect God’s mind in the matter.

Some will surely bring Romans 7:1-3 to bear on the subject to prove that the Christian wife can never remarry until her husband dies, regardless of how he treated her.  But look more carefully at this passage. Notice the parenthetical statement, “for I speak to them that know the Law.”  Note this in conjunction with Paul’s subject: he is speaking to these Roman Jews concerning their deliverance from the Law to the Gospel of Christ. Chapter 6, verses 28-33, describes their deliverance.  Then he illustrates what has happened to them in this transition.  The “Law” referenced in 7:1 is the Mosaic Law.  Paul is saying with great clarity that the symbolic “husband” of verse two is the “Law” of verse one, and the wife of the same verse is the Christian who has been set free from bondage to her husband, the “Law” of Moses, and now lives free in Christ.

Looking more closely,  Paul was a former Pharisee, and a very successful one.  No one knew the “Law” better than himself.  We see then that Paul assumes a position exactly like the Pharisees of Matthew 19:3, 7, but makes the transition in his illustration to the Gospel in the Christ of 19:9.  We are forced to consider Jesus’ words of 19:8, and adopt instead his stated exception of 19:9.  In the Gospel, then, the wife is not bound to her husband until he dies.  It depends on how he treated her. We can truly say of this, “freedom is not free,” simply because we have to make moral decisions, and sometimes this is very costly.  All of this is compacted into Jesus’ amazing statement of 19:9.  He cut away all the slackness the Jewish priesthood had added to favor the man, but at the same time provided one exception to guard the victim of unfairness.  That one exception is all there is.  That is God’s mind in the matter, and, according to Scripture, he has not changed it.

FIRST CORINTHIANS 7. Many Gospel truths crowd this chapter, but we will cover only what is relative to our topic of separation and divorce.  It is vital to the study that we grasp the setting and times of its writing; otherwise, interpretation of it can lead to legalism.  This is always a challenging subject in any age of humanity for the simple reason of changing societies, cultures, knowledge, traditions, and more.  A great many things can be brought to bear on it, causing much confusion as to what is right or wrong in the matter.

Such is what Paul faced when he wrote to the Corinthians.  That city was steeped in great sexual depravity, with many gods of sex, and temples dedicated to it.  Society had been born and raised in it, practiced it, and worshiped its pagan gods.  And so it was throughout the Roman Empire, but especially in the Macedonian area.  It was literally who they were, but their lives radically changed when the Lord entered.  Suddenly they were faced with great changes, all marking them as peculiar among their neighbors.  Paul, then, was breaking new ground, as we can easily see by such verses as 6, 10, 12, 17, 25, and 26.  Verses 26 and 29 are noteworthy: persecution of Christians was either happening or imminent, but Paul and the other apostles also believed the coming of the Lord was near.

Such were the times and issues behind Paul’s every word.  But one other vital point must not be overlooked: there were only Pentecostal churches in existence at this early date.  Later in the same letter Paul would be writing about this in chapters 12, 13, and 14.  It was crucial that the Holy Spirit dwelt among them in Pentecostal fashion to exercise his gifts if they were to endure these times of molten persecution.  The 13th chapter describes the catalyst that was to bind them together into Pentecostal oneness, namely, agape love.  Paul’s only aim here in chapters 1 through 11 was sharpened to preserve the bond of love among them so that God’s Holy Spirit could live and work in them to direct his churches.  That, friends, is an enduring principle of truth, transcending all the ages of the Church.  Of all the areas of life, marriage is one of Satan’s favorite targets for the destruction of the local church.  Why?  Simply because of all areas of church life, marriage, the Christian home, is where agape love (that is, the sacrificing of oneself to benefit our mates and children), is an absolute must, or else unhappiness will make the union virtually unbearable.  If we set chapter 7 squarely on that foundation, we will not have near the struggle to understand it.

The very first principle we must bear in mind is the principal Paul considered as he wrote.  You see, Paul’s ministry was downstream in time since Jesus spoke specifically about the subject of divorce (Matthew 19:1-9).  No matter what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, we can be perfectly assured that Jesus’ words would have been his guiding principle and assumption.  Verse 39, for instance, must be read with Matthew 19:9 in mind, together with Jesus’ stated exceptions.  Paul believed, according to verse 40, that he had the mind of God’s Spirit in his opinions concerning marriage, separation, and divorce, but we must remember with care that the mind in Paul was filled with the same Spirit that filled Jesus when he spoke Matthew 19:9.

Our subject of separation and divorce begins at verses 10 and 11.  Paul does not speculate here, but he says this is what the Lord himself commands (verse 10).  Be careful: These two verses are dealing with Christian couples.  If the husband of verse 11 had been an unbeliever, Paul would not have admonished him to not divorce her.  He covers the situation of mixed marriages later in verse 15, not here.  Therefore, Paul is telling Christian couples that it isn’t God’s will that they separate, but if they do because their unhappiness cannot be reconciled, then they are not to remarry, either of them!  But again, we must consider Jesus’ exception of Matthew 19:9, because If either of the separated couple commits adultery against their separated spouse, the innocent spouse then has a Scriptural right to a divorce, according to Matthew 19:9.  If a separated spouse should decide to remarry, they would first have to divorce their separated spouse without cause, in which case such a marriage is not recognized by God, and the sexual encounter from such a “marriage” is then, in Jesus’ words, “adultery” or “fornication” against their innocent spouse.  Such adultery then falls back on the head of the adulterous spouse, and is now grounds for the innocent spouse to remarry.  Guilt, innocence, and license works both ways, depending on which one commits adultery, and which one is innocent.  Again, Paul’s grand point in all of this is peace, harmony, and agape love in the church body, with a view to releasing the Spirit of God to freely work his will among them.

Beginning with verse 12, Paul now addresses yet another aspect of separation and divorce, that is, mixed marriages.  This is what “the rest” means in verse 12.  But note very carefully the grounds from which he directs his remarks: “…speak I, not the Lord.”  That remark should be coupled with verse 40, “… I think also that I have the Spirit of God.”  We should realize that what Paul said in verses 10 and 11 was an imposed rule regardless of circumstances; while these “speak I” verses are Paul’s own spirit-inspired wisdom for “the present distress,” verse 26.  I suppose we could say this passage is Paul’s “situational ethics” on the topic of mixed marriage.

As already mentioned, at that time sexual freedom of every sort was ordinary and worshiped through gods of sex.  Now Paul must deal with these new believers who had many and difficult questions requiring guidance and a code of ethics in many matters, including marriage, child rearing, the operation of the gifts of the Spirit, and many more.

One of the first trouble spots was the problem of unbalanced homes, where only one spouse surrendered their life to the Lord.  Paul was in the uncomfortable position of establishing ethical rules for their unique problems during times when laws, threats, and opportunities were imposed upon the Christians, so that their coming together for worship and fellowship did not hinder the work of the Comforter among them.  His work was uniquely important to their divine purpose, and still is today.  We can therefore rest assured that whatever rules Paul imposed on “all the churches” (verse 17), none of them superseded the creative principle of Genesis 1:28, and reiterated by Jesus in Matthew 19:9.

Verses 12 and 13 deals with a peaceful but unbalanced marriage.  Paul says just because their spouse is an unbeliever, it is not a valid reason to end the marriage, and that an unbalanced marriage is still a marriage in God’s sight (v. 14).  The unbeliever comes under the umbrella of God’s will, and the children from it are considered by him to be from a union above reproach.

But the rub comes in verse 15.  There are questions by many as to what is meant by “Not under bondage.”  Some believe it means the marriage bond is broken, and the Christian is then free to remarry.  The temptation to think that way is quite natural; those whose unbelieving spouse departed will find it most convenient to agree with those who say they now have a Scriptural right to remarry.  But do they?  No, the Scriptures do not support that view.  The overriding principle truth running through all of these verses is expressed by Jesus in Matthew 19:9.  Whether or not the Christian spouse is released from the marriage depends on whether the unbeliever was guilty or not of fornicating before or after they left.

Furthermore, It is a mistake to consider Paul’s words “not under bondage” to mean an additional exception besides fornication as Scriptural grounds for divorce, because this is under Paul’s heading of “speak I, not the Lord” (verse 12).  Rather, Paul, in keeping with Jesus’ exception, would be compelled to assume the rule of verse 11 where divorce is the subject.  Paul’s inferred truth in verses 12 through 16 is that a mixed marriage in itself is not a good enough reason to divorce one’s unbelieving mate.  He means if the unbeliever refuses to live with a believer, the believer should not make a spectacle of it in the church and community, but rather to let them go in “peace” (verse 15), meaning that the peace of Christian fellowship and love should not be disturbed, giving room for God’s Spirit to work freely among them.  The “peace” of such an atmosphere could even lead to the salvation of the unbelieving spouse (verse 16). In most cases, however, the unbelieving spouse will immediately plunge into another sexual relationship, which is a Scriptural ground for the believing spouse to be released from the marriage bond.

It is important to also mention that there are some who use verses 17, 20, and 24 to believe the “one flesh” marriage bond existing before salvation is effectively dissolved at the point of salvation. That is, no matter what tangled marriage webs a couple bring into their salvation, they are to simply forget the former marital status and go forward in their current status. But this is not necessarily the “fix-all” some would have it to be. In the first place, the verses cited are not about dissolving a previous marital status, but about preserving the former work of God. This is the meaning of “as God hath distributed” of verse 17, and of “abide with God” of verse 24. Paul is saying the work of God that brought salvation is no excuse in itself to undo God’s sacred work of the past. That is the meaning in verse 18. Again, according to Genesis 1:28 marriage is truly “made in Heaven.” “One flesh” was not just for Judaism and Christianity, nor any other religion or no religion, but for all of humanity! The plain and natural truth of it is being acted out as we write in a world of males and females dancing the mating instinct.

Think carefully about this. Jesus told the Samarian woman at the well (a sect hated by the Jews), that her current mate was not her husband because she had had five husbands! The inferred truth would have to be that her real husband yet lived, and in God’s sight she was still married to him, not the man she was sleeping with. The point, you see, is that God’s attention was fixed on the ‘one flesh” factor, not any civil law allowing her to live with another man (John 4:15-18).

Tangled and difficult though it may seem, God expects repentant sinners who give their lives to him, to diligently seek his will toward readjusting their lives to please him. But this is not as complex as we may think, because in most cases the unsaved life is filled with relationships that, in themselves, dissolves the “one flesh” factor. In such cases perhaps it is perfectly in order for a newly saved couple to go through a re-enactment of the marriage ceremony before a minister of the Gospel, thereby dedicating themselves that way to God. But again, God’s will should be carefully sought beforehand so as to be certain that the mating is within God’s will of “one flesh.”

We should be reminded that God is not the hardened taskmaster many think him to be. He gets no pleasure in laying grievous yokes upon us, but is full of intentions toward our pleasure and happiness. It is never a waste of time to diligently seek his will in all things for our lives, including marriage. But that is just the point:  We must seek God’s will, not a so-called divine will carefully crafted to suit our own.

—  PART 3  —

SEPARATION. First Corinthians 7:10, 11 speaks of Christian marriage as commanded by the Lord.  Verse 11 says, “but if she depart…” Obviously the meaning is that under some conditions it is permissible for her to “depart,” in effect separate, so long as she “remains unmarried.”  She has two choices then: “remain unmarried,” or, “be reconciled to her husband.”  Meanwhile, the Christian husband also has strict orders: he is forbidden to “put away his wife,” Scriptural language for “divorce.”  With that we should be reminded that what is true of the male is also true of the female. Paul could just as easily have began, “Let not the husband depart from his wife,” and so on through both verses.

It seems today when the subject of marriage and divorce is discussed, separation itself gets ignored.  It shouldn’t, because it figures heavily into the depraved human condition, including imperfect Christians.  There is no such thing yet as perfect Christians, since our corrupted flesh must yet put on incorruption (I Corinth. 15:50-54).  But it should never be assumed that separation means a divorce, although it can certainly contribute to it.  Nor should separation be seen as a sin, but only as an arrangement of convenience within marriage.  In fact, many reasons may exist for such an arrangement; one being incompatibility, but other reasons can be health, employment, children, and the care of parents or offspring. Other Scriptures might be cited to support this, but we need not travel beyond the seventh chapter of 1st Corinthians.

“Incompatibility” is certainly a possibility in all too many marriages.  Really now, doesn’t It seem silly to say a man and a woman who couldn’t get along during courtship ever chose marriage in the first place?  But after all, the dance of courtship is always the art of showing one’s best side to impress a prospective mate. That’s why the one word that most characterizes that first week of every marriage is, “Surprise!”  No, people marry because they truly believe Mister/Miss Perfect will make them happy.  It can easily be said of this that incompatibility arrives on the scene after marriage.  It may be that skeletons in personal closets come rattling out after the honeymoon, in which case “for better or worse” go rattling into them instead.  In virtually every case of incompatibility, it arises because one or both partners develop rigormortis of the spine and flat refuse to make the needed changes for the sake of the marriage.  Both parties may indeed love God, yet one or both might not find it in themselves to change for the sake of the marriage.  The outcome will quite naturally be a stormy Christian home, one, in fact, where one or both are distracted from their personal Christianity.

The essence of what Paul is telling the Corinthians is that such a stormy marriage might fit the need for a separation for their souls’ sake, especially that of the children, but only for the Lord’s sake, so that they might give themselves to him.  It may be that later they can have a better mind on the matter and be reconciled into a peaceful union and serve God together.  At any rate it must be understood that neither should seek a divorce.  If they do, fornication might enter the picture, giving the innocent party the spiritual right to a divorce, thus ending the marriage. Sadly, the children are the big losers in that case, besides the precedence set to trouble coming generations of the family.

With this observation, let us be reminded again of Paul’s whole purpose in writing these things: it was to bring a peaceful, loving atmosphere to the Corinthian church so that God’s Holy Spirit, “the Comforter” might operate his Divine will among them toward evangelizing planet Earth with “The whole Gospel for the whole world.”

While verses 10 and 11 were for Christian couples, verses 12 through 16 are for mixed marriages.  But as seen previously, the subject of divorce is not the main topic.  Rather, it is separation.  Verse 12 rules out divorce (“put her away”).  We have previously noted that verse 15 does not mean divorce, (“not under bondage”), but rather, not under an obligation to create unrest in the church by resisting a separation. No, they were to, shall we say, “hold them with an open palm,” to do as they please. Why?  Because God has not called us to unrest and friction among us, “but God hath called us to peace.”  Perhaps, Paul adds, the loving treatment will save the departing unsaved husband or wife (verse 16).

No, separation is not God’s best for us, but it can be a way to bring some peace.  In some cases, the imbalance in a marriage can be due to one party’s refusal to serve God, and whose attitude is such as to jeopardize the soul of their mate before God.  Such a condition can be severe enough to merit a separation for one’s own soul’s sake.  It can never be God’s will that we lose our souls for the sake of the marriage.  But such a reason is cause for careful soul searching to make certain we’re not using it dishonestly to justify a separation, possibly a divorce.

PHYSICAL ABUSE. Certainly the battered spouse should be protected, and should certainly leave such a condition.  One might even rightly seek a legal bill of divorce from a civil court for protection.  Nevertheless, be very careful here if fornication is not a factor, God will not recognize such a divorce, even though his mercy will allow a separation.  God is not a tyrant, but is the very source of mercy, compassion, understanding, and protection.  As complicated as it may seem, however, without fornication in the picture, the sacred marriage bond between a man and a woman, once made, can never be broken.  It supersedes depravity because it was a creative act of divine holiness upon the very institution of humanity itself before man’s birth of depravity.  It is who we are.  Nobody can change it simply because the creature cannot undo what our Creator did by fiat.  It is eternally distant from us.  Without sin, there wasn’t even the possibility of breaking it.  With sin, there can be only one reason for it: fornication.

ABANDONMENT. Civil law has many provisions to divorce the guilty party, but God’s law gives only two: death and fornication.  This makes it a problem for Christians who care what God says about it.  But abandonment does not necessarily mean such an offending spouse completely disappears.  In most cases information can be acquired concerning the status of the missing spouse, whether they are dead or remarried.  In some cases, however, they might disappear without a trace and cannot be found.  This, of course, can be a serious problem for the abandoned spouse, even one in which there seems to be no solution.  Only God knows the solution, so in this case it is perfectly in order to go straight to him and present our dilemma, and then wait for an answer.  Of course, the civil courts will grant a divorce, freeing the abandoned spouse to remarry, but conscientious Christians must be careful to seek God’s will in the matter.

Finally, in regard to all the difficulties divorce and separation bring to us, it behooves us to bear in mind that, contrary to some Christian teachings, God did not foreordain the nightmarish bowl of spaghetti known as separation and divorce.  No, we brought it down on ourselves!  It isn’t God’s fault that marriage can turn into a nightmare; it is ours.  He never intended any married couple of “one flesh” to peel off and go their separate ways.  He even went the second mile to prevent it by having his New Testament scribes to record his mind of how each spouse should treat their mate, as well as their offspring (Eph. 5:21-36; 6:1-4).  No, we brought these nightmares down on ourselves through our own devices, and it is only by falling at his feet in humble repentance that we will find workable solutions.

We say that with this last warning: Young people can save themselves from life’s most painful hurts if they simply look before leaping into marriage.  It is of vital importance that they first be filled with an avid pursuit of God for fulfillment of his will in themselves (instead of a rabid pursuit of a wife or husband), and so allow God himself to send a mate of his choice, and in his own good time.  After all, it seems safe to say that virtually every mate in a broken marriage will agree that it would be better to never marry than to marry the wrong mate. You must have a life of your own in God before God can send you a soulmate to complement what he has already started in you.  If we miss that in our reckless courtships, then get ready to reap what is sown, for God’s law of sowing and reaping works every time!  Meanwhile, it is a true saying, “Oh what tangled webs we weave!”

DA

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What Christian Girls Should Seek In Men For Marriage

Christian girls, if you hope to ever fulfill your Providential purpose of being born and living your life, you will not see or hear anything more to the point than what you’re about to read. You should grab yourself by the head and force yourself to read this like you were reading the instructions on how to get off a conveyor belt taking you straight into the razored blades of a human meat grinder! Virtually every girl in modern society is born on that belt of behavior and will not escape if the rules stated here are ignored.

It isn’t up to your parents, your minister, your best friend, your teacher, nor the government. In fact, in a very real sense it isn’t even up to God. No, it is going to be up to you alone. You see, God in His grace gave you a free will of your own to choose exactly whether you want God’s good things in your life, or the world’s bad things. You will simply get what you choose for yourself. Before you go one step further with your life you will do yourself an invaluable favor to make a life-choice now as to which one you want. Keep sharply in focus that God’s natural law of sowing and reaping, which all humanity must constantly choose every waking hour, is in itself the good things of life or the bad things. Choose carefully!

Both the reality of human nature and the bare words of Scripture give clear witness to the plain rules for any girl who seeks a man for marriage. Here are the most important ones:

The Witness Of Eve.

Look carefully at the simple facts concerning Eve in the Book of Genesis. When God finished creating Adam and Eve, they stood there in the flesh of living reality fully equipped and endowed physically, mentally and spiritually to the Divine purpose of their very existence as ordained by the hand of God. Nothing was missing, nor to be added later. Now look at ourselves; here we still are today as living proof of the Genesis account! It is inescapable and basic to our existence. Any attempt to ignore or to change it in the slightest is a futile effort that changes nothing and results in disillusionment and unhappiness.

The first rule for a girl who seeks a man for marriage is to pass over any man who disagrees with those indelible facts of utter reality. Genesis 1:27, 28 says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the Earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over…[it].'” Chapter 2 summarizes and adds other details to Chapter 1, especially the creation of Eve. Be very cautious to understand the processes and priorities plainly stated for even the most simple minds.

Genesis 3:13 states clearly that God used the dust of the ground to build Adam. However, Adam sought for himself a “help meet” (2:18-20), but none were yet in existence. Girls, do you see this? Adam was the first man to seek for a companion. That is the first pattern of behavior toward finding a mate. Man seeks woman, not the other way around! Girls who chase men have stepped out of God’s indelible blueprint, and will reap the unpleasant consequences for it. Girls who pursue instead are unwittingly stealing the man’s thunder, and will disappoint his male nature. He might not even be perceptive enough to realize why he feels cheated, he just senses that something is improper. So here’s the rule: If the man will not pursue on his own as you present yourself in your best light, this is a man who is rather lifeless in his interest for you, and will be the same way after you marry him. Remember, if you have to go out of your way in pursuit of him instead, you’d be smart to drop him before you go too far.

But look more carefully at the creation of Eve. God did not scoop out another ball of mud to create her, as some seem to assume. No, God looked at Adam’s design first, then created Eve as a compliment to that pattern. He put Adam into a deep sleep, took one of his ribs, and fashioned it into a woman suited in every way to be Adam’s soul mate. Notice the sequence: First he created Adam from pre-existing material (dust). Then he used Adam himself as the pre-existing material to create Eve. Adam from dust, Eve from Adam. Adam even confessed, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (2:23). It is vital to marital happiness that both the man and the woman understand and accept that Biblical priority. If that is out of order in the couple’s minds, so will be the marriage. Count on it!

How does this apply to you? Just this: If your man doesn’t understand these basic truths of God’s first couple’s Divinely instituted relationship, and will not accept it, he is not going to properly respect who you are supposed to be to him. Lack of understanding of this principle will result in him handling you disrespectfully as to who you are, instead of delicately as a female. You will not be a rose in his garden, but his house keeper, cook, diaper changer, and bed partner. Heads up, girls! If your man bypasses that one, you’d do well to dodge that bullet! Of course, a man dedicated to the Lord, who gives himself to New Testament humility according to Ephesians 5, who lays his pride aside, will behave himself with loving respect toward his “help meet.” You should seek a man with strength of leadership tempered with humility, who is not afraid to be strong, but who is just as quick to listen, learn, and admit being wrong. All hardheaded, stubborn married men possess a sign that is a dead giveaway that they are hardheaded and stubborn—they all have unhappy wives who show it! You will be wise to remember that when you are seeking to have a happy marriage.

On the other hand, if your man does indeed understand and follows that pattern, but you reject it for the modern feminist model, you’re going to be in competition with him from the first day. Remember, only the Biblical model will produce marital happiness—nothing else!

The Witness of Rebekah.

Girls, this is perhaps the greatest point of all for your careful consideration when you seek a man for marriage. Please give this one your utmost attention!

Recently my wife and I were discussing the events of how we met, our courtship, and our marriage. From the day we met I was completely convinced that she was right for me. Our first date was a sort of blind one secretly arranged by a couple of friends. I as much as proposed to her on that date! She refused to take the bait, but her eyes showed some interest. From then on I proposed to her on every date, hoping she’d change her mind. She refused them all until one day she said “Mmmmm…maybe.” So I picked up momentum until she finally said the magic word, “Yes.” Only recently she told me what was happening that made her reluctant. You see, my wife was then and still is a very dedicated Christian woman. With her, the Lord has always come first ahead of all else. (I was also a dedicated Christian or she would have dumped me immediately). She tells me now that at the time she was making me a very special matter of prayer, because the Lord seemed silent toward her about the matter. So finally in desperation she prayed, “Lord, I’ve got to know whether or not it is in your will for me to marry this boy, because I’d rather just die than to marry the wrong man!” She would never have consented to marry me if the Lord had not answered in the affirmative. As a result we are about to celebrate 55 years of happy marriage. We have two very beautiful, dedicated Christian daughters who have families of their own.

In that illustration, girls, is the key to a happy marriage. No matter how crazy about a boy you might be, you must get desperate before God in seeking His choice of the right man for you to marry. If you fail to be just that desperate in knowing what God’s will is in the matter, and if you go forward without it, well, frankly you can hardly miss marrying the wrong man! Again, desperation to have God’s choice in the matter is absolutely vital to the Divine fulfillment in His very purpose of your marriage in the first place. That word, “fulfillment” has an equivalent. It is called Happiness. Remember, if you marry the wrong man, you will one day regret missing God’s choice for you in the most crucial milepost of your life. Just you and your boyfriend is not enough. You must make it a threesome, including the Lord. However, if you put the Lord anywhere in the lineup except the lead position, you are going to regret it. Any boy who disagrees with that lineup is bad news and should be skipped over.

We cannot find a better example of these truths than the beautiful Rebekah of Genesis 24 and 25. Let us consider the major turns of the story. The mighty patriarch, Abraham, God’s giant of the faith, sent his trusted servant back to the land of his birth to find a suitable wife for his son, Isaac, so that the bloodline of the family lineage might continue toward the fulfillment of the future Messiah. Start to finish, God was with Abraham and his servant in this historic quest. Upon arriving at the ancient city of Nahor, the servant prayed specifically that God would lead him to the right girl.

Meanwhile, faithful Rebekah, busy laboring at her watering chores, was completely unaware that God had chosen her to fulfill the signs which the servant had requested of God, that he might recognize God’s choice. Rebekah, in her generosity and goodness before God, was in doing so unwittingly making herself a proper candidate for God’s favor. Her faithfulness and diligence before God was about to be rewarded. There she was at the right time and place, in the company of Abraham’s servant whom God had led straight to a daughter of Bethuel in the very household of Nahor, Abraham’s brother!

But the story continues. Regardless of God’s Providential hand in these events, we see in Genesis 24:39, 58 that Rebekah had a choice in the matter. No, she was not Divinely compelled to become Isaac’s bride. Consider that she had never even met Isaac, had never laid eyes on him, and knew nothing of his character! But one cannot miss the air of reverence for God by all parties in these verses, and so when they presented the matter to Rebekah for her decision, “Wilt thou go with this man?” (v.58), with her heart and eyes on God’s will in the matter, she did not stutter nor hesitate, but simply declared, “I will go.”

“I will go.” Girls, those three little words ring through the centuries of time, for they changed the world! Those simple words opened the gates for the sacred bloodline to flow toward God’s will in bringing a better day to suffering humanity. Every Christian church in the world today is a testimony to it. And not only Rebekah, but other faithful women throughout Scripture also lived lives that spoke similar words that opened those sacred gates, such as Sarah, Rachel, Ruth, Hannah, Elizabeth, and even Mary, who gave birth to the Christ child.

But the grand point to be made of this, girls, can be seen in Rebekah’s children. We find in Genesis 25:21 that Rebekah was barren. But Isaac, her Godly husband, took the matter before God, and soon she was pregnant. In those days they had no way to know whether the child was male or female, nor if more than one child was present. But something was struggling within her womb and worried her. Finally she inquired of the Lord, “What’s going on in there?” The answer she received, girls, should shake you to full attention! God did not say there were twins in there, which there were, but “Two nations!” Two boys, so different, that they would become two nations of peoples! All of that in the womb of one woman, Rebekah!

On this point hangs the entire thrust of this article! Hear this, girls: All of Scripture, Genesis to Revelation, makes the point that all of humanity is born one child at a time by WOMEN, and the quality of her children is greatly determined by the quality of the man she chooses to impregnate her! We talk here of children, families, tribes, peoples, and nations, such as those that struggled in Rebekah. As it was said of her, “Be thou the mother of thousands of millions” (24:60). The genealogies of Scripture speak of the sons of so-and-so, but don’t miss the equivalent truth that it was mothers who gave birth to both sons and daughters. Girls, think very carefully about this. God has designed you with a very sacred treasure—the ability to populate this planet with children to reverence and to bless God’s Holy name!

Therefore, the very first thing you should do when you find a man you are considering for marriage, is to put both your hands on your belly and seriously ask yourself, “Do I really want the likes of this man to impregnate me and become the patriarch of the multitudes that will come from my womb?” (They surely will)! But most seriously and most immediately, inquire, “Lord, is this man your will for my life? I’d rather just die than to marry the wrong man!”

Yes, heart throbbing courtship is far more than romantic thrills, fun, and excitement. But the sobering truth is that you will be populating a planet with individuals whose eternal destiny will largely be determined by the quality of man you choose to marry, yes, but mostly by your own spiritual dedication to God.

So here’s the question for you: In your desperation to have a guy, how desperate are you to have God’s best? It is a decision you must make. You and your children—and also your husband and many others besides, must also reap the consequences.

—DA

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How Christian Guys Should Pursue Girls

-QUALIFIERS-

(1)  Since the very fact of male and female was a creative act of God and saturates the whole of Scripture and reality to this very day, this article is wholly and without apology Christian. Mutual attraction of the sexes toward love, marriage, and the bearing of children is a creative fact predating and superseding all peoples, all religions, all classes, all history, all continents, and all ages, until it is patently absurd to compare it to modern Hollywood models, which rarely has anything to do with purposely favoring Judo-Christian morality.

(2)  Readers whose minds are pregnant with the Hollywood model may deem this article worthy only a good laugh. So be it, but if such a reader thinks that model will bring enduring happiness, the laugh is on them instead, and not funny at all because of this indelible rule: Only the Christian model has ever worked properly, but only if it was faithfully followed. All other models are guaranteed one or all of the following: Marital unhappiness, regret, mental anguish, troubled children, verbal or physical abuse or both, bondage, ill health, separation, divorce (with all its unbelievable confusion of right and wrong in re-marriage), and perhaps even the loss of one’s soul.

(3)  The topic here is not a teen toy to be treated frivolously or recklessly, if one’s aim in pursuit is to enjoy a life of marital happiness. Just one youthful fling cannot begin to equal the many decades of regret for having squandered the first two. Needless to say, of all the twists, turns, and decisive landmarks of life, one had better get this one right the first time!

(4)  Contrary to Hollywood, any guy whose hormones drive him after girls as his primary pursuit is likely to be in for a self-inflicted beating! God never created His females with a view to have males put them before Himself. (Girls should also remember that). No, in fact God openly admits that He is a “Jealous” God and will not share His glory with another. ( Deuteronomy 5:9, 6:15). Guys, if you get that reversed even a little you are in for some unhappy reaping. Putting God first in your pursuit of a mate is not optional, but a requirement with guaranteed consequences. The simple plan of God is that men pursue  God first, then, in supplying their needs, He in His infinite wisdom and ability sends along a worthy candidate for their consideration. No other rule applies! Get that wrong and you will go wrong—every time! Again, men, if you are in a hormonal drive after skirts you should brace yourself for a great deal of trouble.

(5)  The modern generations, in a society catapulted out of the Hippie Anti-establishment generation, which is heavily promoted by Hollywood and the public school environment, has made heroes and know-it-alls of our children and reduced parents and elders to “out-of-touch” and “old-fashioned” unimportant relics of the past who should “get with it.” Such youth think they have all the answers and that everyone else is just in the way. Consequently, they foolishly engage in their own counsel as they cold-shoulder and spit poison at those whose years of experience in a brutal world has made them wise. Instead of humility, today’s youth possess egos in which pea-size wisdom is inflated to the size of a beach ball. How foolish is that? Such was not the case in former generations. Our mighty America itself was built brick-by-brick by parents and elders who commanded their children after them, not by an undisciplined, disrespectful, bratty generation.

The point is this: Christian guys, if you want to escape a world of hurt in your pursuit of a girl, you’d do well to make it a point to shut your mouth and sit open-eared at the feet of those who have been there and done that and are able to give you insights into how to avoid a Titanic disaster in your young life. Do not be like king Rehoboam and go to the counsel of the youth for answers ( I Kings 12:6-11), but to the counsel of the elders where you can be directed to wisdom. Take heed, young men, come out of your ego-driven, self contained, know-it-all world and ask questions. Lots of them! Especially of those adults in your life who love you, but most especially of God. There is wisdom. If you would be wise, then heed the Lord’s counsel and that of your godly elders and no others, especially your peers, who speak the same language of inexperience of your own little world. King Solomon said, “With all thy getting, get understanding,” (Proverbs 4:7), and the Apostle James said, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” (James 1:5).

Now, with those qualifiers in place, we can deal very pointedly with how Christian guys should pursue girls.

-THE RULES-

RULE 1.  Make it a point to carefully study the Scriptural Genesis model. Get that first rule wrong and you are off to a flying crash dive on the rocks of life. God set the man’s created stage by providing him a female helper equipped for that purpose, and then He set the female’s stage by giving her a male provider equipped for that purpose. That Divine arrangement is the touchstone of humanity which Hollywood hates. Guys, be very careful and cautious to understand this clear base of pursuit, and the logical guidelines it entails. Adam was designed in every way to be the strength, head, and comforter of his family, not the head-ache! Note carefully, that it is his logical place to inspire his chosen female to be his “helper,” exactly the same way a corporate head must inspire his employees to give him their very best. He cannot, must not, brow-beat them into it. He must wisely “inspire” it! He dare not attempt to attract, recruit, and hire an employee by showing and telling them the work is lousy, the boss is a self-centered tyrant, and the pay is not worth it. The word, “inspire” is vital to the entire corporate goal. A better word for our purpose is “courting.” Guys, if you think to pursue that special girl for the purpose of making her your helper, you should understand that to “court” her is indeed the process of “inspiring” her to be your helper, and not someone else’s. And that is exactly what guys do quite naturally. The whole idea is to turn her head your way. If then she says yes to your proposal, SHE THEN BECOMES YOURS TO LOSE! But most guys seem grossly ignorant of the fact that, if after the marriage they stop the “inspiration” that won her in the first place, that lack of inspiration convinces her that you either don’t want or don’t care to have her as your “helper” anymore. If that happens, guys, you’re going to know about it from an unhappy wife! Want proof? Just you let your boss stop the pay raises, becomes unhappy with your work, never inspires you to work for him anymore, and you’ll get a full load of what that helper of yours is feeling. That’s pretty simple to grasp. God made it simple. You’d do well not to start up anything during the courtship that you do not intend doing from then on, and then just see if she’ll agree to be your helper. Don’t blame her, she’s simply being the female God created. Stop watering your rose and it will simply wilt and die right in your hand while you’re holding it—unless she decides to change jobs, if you get my drift.

Your role then, guys, in your pursuit of the girl of your dreams, is to aggressively turn on the inspiration! This is done many ways: Cards, letters, flowers, words of praise for her beauty and abilities, showing intense interest in who she is, her family, and things all about her. Do not talk about yourself unless she asks you. You should persist in this with a view of turning her affections toward you and no one else, and to keep them there. If she shows the tiniest spark of interest in you, even if she is serious about another guy, you are on your way. Remember, unless she flatly tells you to get lost, or she marries the other guy, she is fair game for winning. “All’s fair in love and war” is a true saying. Don’t hold back and be shy, be aggressive. Girls respect that, and are even attracted by it, especially if she’s currently interested in a deadbeat. When you are trying to turn her interests your way, pay no attention to the other guy so long as she responds even a little to your overtures. It is her attention you’re after, not the other guy. Listen carefully, guys; even of that girl is wearing an engagement ring while she is definitely responding to you positively, you are not violating honor to attempt to win her affections. If she is supposed to be yours and not his, you could be saving her, and him, some future heartaches. The guy might not like what you’re doing, but hey, if she were yours now, he’d be watching her, not you, especially if she used to be his. If he threatens fisticuffs because “she’s mine!,” but she is responding to you, tell him to convince her of that. Don’t worry about his fists. All he’s going to do is turn her head more your way. After all, if he makes such threats because he isn’t a Christian and she has lowered herself to date such a man, you should ask if you should pursue this girl in the first place.

RULE 2.  Ask yourself how much it is worth to you to find that dream girl “helper” with which to spend more than half a century. Which would you rather have, the right girl to bring you both joy, or the wrong one to bring you both regret? Or perhaps none at all, to leave you unfulfilled? Well, there is only one way to be assured of finding the right one. LOCK YOUR FULL ATTENTION ON THE PURSUIT OF GOD FIRST, not second or third or not at all. If you by slim chance wind up with the right one without making the pursuit of God first, then you will be one of those extremely rare guys who became the object of God’s mercy. Always, “a marriage made in Heaven” is one where both boy and girl were pursuing God first, whereupon God simply stepped in and beautifully merged them toward a blessed end. Yes, you can be reckless in your pursuit; God will simply allow your own choice to freely function, but you will run blindly into the negative side of the law of sowing and reaping. It’s a law you cannot escape. You simply reap what you sow. All of us do, with absolutely no exceptions. Not even God will prevent the consequences of your stubborn foolishness.

RULE 3.  Give serious, earnest heed to the counsel of your elders who love you. Remember, they are the only ones besides God Himself whom you can trust to tell you the truth! Frankly, ignoring them for the counsel or philosophy of  your young peers is the very height of childish frivolity. You will find no quicker shortcut to sowing, and reaping, bitterweeds. Such reckless behavior can literally end generations of a family who  have traditionally served God. Parents know their own children and what makes them tick. If that is ignored, you have sentenced yourself to discovering it the hard way. Guys, seek counsel about that girl who lights your eyes. Check you pursuit until someone besides yourself evaluates her. If you fail at that, you should brace yourself for some jolting surprises. The biggest fault in today’s youth is to overrate their wisdom. Don’t fall into that trap.

RULE 4.  There is one final point of caution that must be made. The accessibility and availability of virtually anything at all on the Internet has naturally lateraled over to become a huge shopping center for mates. It has become a virtual minefield for predators of every sort, especially sex. Please hear me very carefully, guys: The use of this tool for finding the right girl slams broadside into the highly personal nature of the courtship guideline promoted throughout Scripture. The very first violation is that it eclipses the primary rule of  pursuing God ahead of the girl. That fact makes it a blind, impersonal, back door, sidestepping, shortcut beginning toward an act of exploration. It skips the family interaction that ought to be up front. Emotional ties may be set prematurely, making it difficult to reverse, setting up a temptation to sacrifice one’s standards to own something forbidden. Such a tool is in keeping with the modern convenience of  time-saving curb service, a quick-check brevity that curses the time-tested beauty of romance. It has a falsehood to it, while the real thing has 3-D roots, branches, connections, feelings, emotions, touching, seeing, hearing, person-to-person interaction in the flesh, not merely images, icons and written words. In a word, an internet pursuit bypasses reality. There are just too many ways to fool one another, including the expectations of whole families. It simply is not right. Leaving in the shadows the very ones who love you most cannot be God’s will, and will ruin the innocence in the pursuit. Ours is a cluttered world anyway, but the convenience contrived by our society and the Internet has imprisoned us in lives of solitude even as we exist shoulder to shoulder. Such conditions are a tremendous aid to separation and divorce. Guys, if you wish to find the right girl, you dare not participate in society’s solitary confinement against those who love you, and care what happens to your future.

The subject matter of this article could easily expand into a book, but we must end it. Let me conclude with something Roy’s old sidekick, “Gabby” Hayes might say: “Now listen here, you young whipper-snappers. If you’re gonna catch a young heifer, you better learn how to rope ‘er first!”

DA

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Chains of Pearl

Note to reader

I lived this story. I wept as I wrote it a number of years ago, and even now I cannot read it without the tears welling in my eyes. The editor who published it a number of years ago said it was “How a boy—with the help of a loving dad and a loyal dog—learned about war, work, and the costs of freedom.”

At an early age I had a fascination for cameras. I used a couple of dollars of my cotton-picker money to order a little Donald Duck camera from The Johnson Smith Company. Incredibly, it took good pictures. I still have all the pictures I took with it, with the negatives! Among them are some precious shots of my dog, the hero of my story. The photo illustrations are from my Donald Duck camera, except the artists rendering at the beginning.

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My Daddy was wounded in the Argonne, so he already knew about war. Now, with four motherless sons beside a mountain of troubles he had anyway, here loomed the hardships of a bigger one.

He looked to the promises of the American West. Some said the farmers out there had cotton patches hard to see across, producing up to four bales to the acre. A vast country, they said, with plenty of elbow room. Why, out there, he reasoned, a man might break some of his fetters.

The Japanese bombs of far-away Pearl had fallen on every American. Like chain leashes they fell on our necks and anchored each of us to unpleasantries or led us away to worse. Remember Pearl Harbor stickers were yet on windows when Daddy gathered us four boys and left Oklahoma in an overloaded worn-out sedan.

Nine years old and youngest, I faced with every American those savage years. Everyone suffered in some way; for us it was living in board shacks, flea-infested sheep stalls, tool sheds and adobe cockroach hovels, besides the cotton patches, fruit orchards and expansive garlic fields.

Our more respected occupational title would have been Migrant Workers; local citizens frequently castigated us as “fruit tramps”. All of these negatives were more than my proud, steel-structured father could equate. Like every other American, I needed a counterbalance. I was too young to realize it, but Daddy knew.

So one memorable day in my life while Hitler was wasting Europe and the Japanese were enslaving the people of the Pacific where my oldest brother now served below the water line of an embattled aircraft carrier, a friend came over leading a lively puppy on a cotton-cord leash and said I could have him. I fell for him immediately. Oddly then, though no mystery now, Daddy agreed to it–with the understanding that, “He’ll be your dog, so you gotta look after ‘im”.

I asked my friend if he had named him yet, and he said, “Yeah, I call ‘im Possum”, whereupon the pup cast me a pitiful glance. So I renamed him Tip for the sprig of white on the tip of his tail.

We became fast friends from the start, and he quickly became an indispensable part of our belongings. Strangely, our separate lives and individual hurts somehow found strength in this bit of canine. Yes, he was my dog, but he was our common interest. We all missed my brother a lot, especially Daddy who knew the risks of combat. As a family, we would each pet tip’s gentle head from time to time and anticipate a grand reunion after the war.

The war months and years rolled and Tip grew, but our difficult and often close-quartered lifestyle burdened him with something he would never outgrow: That little cotton cord leash grew with him to become his chain. It took a chain to curb his insatiable appetite for chasing cars. The school grounds were forbidden to him. The only answer to his insistence on following me there was a chain. The complaints of close neighbors invariably resulted in a chain. If dogs can hate, I saw it in Tip for that terrible chain, although much of his lifetime would be tethered to one.

Increasingly, moves wearied my aging father. A farmer at heart, he was tied to the pull of other men’s harvests. No doubt the homing instinct rose with his years, and he longed for the Oklahoma hills to where he would finally return. But when the time would come for us to move to new harvests, the question never came up whether Tip was to accompany us. Car, train, bus, no matter how we traveled, Daddy made sure Tip was properly cared for. He became proficient at building transport cages.

Full grown, Tip was medium size, resembling a small Coyote, with the sleekness and speed of a Greyhound. Regardless of heavy feedings, his ribcage showed. His breath was atrocious, his bark was deafening, but he could run like the wind. I was an ambitious boy and he was a lively dog. Our mutual friendship intertwined until we were inseparable.

True to the times, he was a fighter. In fact, that was the only thing about him in which he chose to totally ignore me. I suppose he reckoned a good scrap as simply great sport. He positively loved it. His unexpected tactic of sudden withdrawal and quick re-engagement always took his opponent by surprise and got him the victory every time. I honestly don’t recall that he was ever defeated,even by some much larger dogs. I worried that he might be injured seriously by indulging in such hazardous sport, especially so frequently, so I chained him as often as it seemed necessary. But it never waned his fighting spirit for his victory medal to be only those dreaded links of iron.

Sickness and casualties were common in the lifestyle we led. Boils, flu, cuts and bruises were daily fare. Tip suffered severe injury once by a car as he bolted across the highway to engage a large canine opponent who trotted along proudly as if Tough was his name. I have no doubt Tip could have licked the dog, but not the car.

I told Daddy about it when he came home from the field. He always seemed instinctively wise about ailments in people or animals. He diagnosed his own bronchial condition as a reaction from cotton dust, but I now suspect it was from breathing poison gas on another field. He examined Tip and said he was badly battered, but he would probably be all right. Sure enough, Tip was his old self in a few days. But sick as he was, I had to curb his thirst for adventure by chaining him until he recovered.

The war finally ended and a devastated world turned again toward peace and order. Weary lives were released to won freedom, families reunited. We were all relieved when my brother returned safely from the Pacific, but Daddy seemed especially eased.

In the springtime we moved to Maricopa, Arizona where Daddy contracted with a cotton grower to hoe what seemed to me at the time to be half the state of Arizona. It was a wide, flat country with blue mountains in the distance. Our “house” was a small tool shed made of corrugated iron which barely held our few belongings. We lived, ate and slept outside under the stars. Fetters no longer held us; we all ran freely, laughed a lot, earned our wages and wagged tails. That’s where Tip found fulfillment with a shaggy haired female with whom he left six pups. Yes, we lived life to the fullest out there, having learned indelibly that the good things of life can be fleeting.

In March of 1947 one of my brothers married, and they decided on Fort Worth, Texas, as the place to rear their family. The rest of us were to follow when school was out, so Tip was sent with them to avoid Daddy having to build another transport cage. The last time I saw Tip was through the back window of a 1937 Ford sedan as it pulled away. Leashed to the doorpost, he looked at me solemnly as the car turned onto the highway and disappeared from view.

Two months later I read the sad contents of a letter from my brother; Tip, unhappy with his city chain, caused such disturbance they had to release him. He ran freely for two weeks then disappeared. That had been a month ago and he was still missing. They were sorry, but felt certain we would not see him again.

Somehow I realized then that Tip’s chain would not have been necessary for a farm dog in Oklahoma. Tip was another casualty. Now he was gone forever, and I sorely missed him. I rode my bicycle to a quiet place in the park and wept over the loss of a very dear friend.

When I gave Daddy the news, as I now recall, it seems a little more of the frustration of those four violent years eased out of him. He just looked quietly out the window for a minute then said, “They did right lettin’ him go, Son. Out here it was yours and his chain, but without you along it warn’t nothin’ but cold iron. Tip died a free dog. Nobody oughta settle for less.”

I suppose that was the lesson those flaming years forged into my generation: Some chains are necessary, but there are chains that must be steadfastly resisted at all costs.

Tip was running freely on instinct when he fell victim to the dangers of the big city. The ravages of time finally overcame Daddy, but not without resistance; he died at the age of ninety-one, and nearly to the end he was on his feet and on his own.

Dear to my heart will ever be the discipline of those Arizona cotton fields and Tip and my Daddy and America. Nobody oughta settle for less, chain or no chain.
–DA

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Just Passing Through

May I tell you something personal? I figured out on my own when I was only a kid that I was just passing through. You see, the times of my youth were not friendly to sissies, so Mother gave birth to just four hard headed boys to work the fields. I was the youngest, so I was always the tag-along. Her health broke and crops failed along with the economy, so Dad had to leave her in a state facility and take his workforce west to keep from starving. We left our farm and became “tramps.” We didn’t know that’s what we were until we got to California where residents laid it on us: “Fruit Tramps!” Not today’s politically correct “Migrant Workers,” or “Farm Workers.” No we were just a bunch of tramps looking for food and everyone knew what we did—we were just passing through.

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I used to watch freight trains whistle by with hobos hanging on them. I envied them because they got to travel and see the world free of charge. Me? All I saw was jungles of fruit trees, endless deserts of garlic fields and cotton patches, and I had to work! We lived in storage sheds, tents, board shacks, cockroach hovels, and once lived in a flee-infested sheep shed with a roof only five feet off the ground. Hooves had beaten the dirt floor into dust powder that puffed with every step, which we breathed without dying. We didn’t mind the fleas, but our backs ached from walking in the humped over position. We didn’t care. We just laughed and joked our way through it all. Why? We were just passing through.

The states we passed through passed a law that kids my age had to go to school. Fine. I passed through as many as five of them per school year. Make friends? Are you kidding? I must have worn those holes in my ragged pockets from ramming my fists into them with anger at the kids making fun of this tramp. I once played hooky for three whole months without anyone knowing it except my dog. That kind of tricky skill was probably why I later worked for the IRS for over a decade. Anyway, Dad dusted my britches for it, but I got over it quick because I knew we were just passing through.

I think we brothers sprouted from diapers with guitar genes. None of us got healed from it because we couldn’t quit picking at it. I once had the lofty notion of becoming a hillbilly star, and even made a dent in the effort, but just when stardom blinded me, my good old Uncle Sam tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Sorry, bub, but I want YOU!” Oh well, all that glitter was only a passing fancy, so I decided to go with Uncle Sam—especially since the law backed his claim for my body and soul for four long years, which seemed in my young mind to be forty. So I set my sights on the end instead of the middle and told myself, “It’ll be a long trip, but I’ll get there because I’m just passing through.”

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Smack in the middle of it the Good Lord cornered me at the altar of an evangelistic church. I tried to put Him off with, “But Lord, I’m too young for this. You see, I probably won’t hang around here for long because, well, I’m just passing through.”

He shot back immediately, “You don’t know the half of it. The WHOLE WORLD is just passing through! What you’ve got to decide is where you’re passing through TO!”

It was a no-brainer. Since I wasn’t the only one passing through, I figured I’d be better off to fix on the “TO” part. So that’s what I did.

That done, it’s as if the Lord stepped to my side and said, “Here, I want you to have this.” He gently slipped something into my hand. I lifted it and looked. There in my palm lay the most beautiful, sparkling diamond one can imagine!

My jaw dropped to my chest. “Lord! I can’t accept this! Who am I to merit such a priceless treasure? I’ve always been a bone-poor country boy. I haven’t done anything in my life to deserve it.” So I tried to hand it back to Him.

He just waved His hand and said, “No, I want you to have it. It’s true that you don’t deserve it, but I assure you, you’re going to really need this for what you’re about to pass through.”

So we were married on December 15, 1955.

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Sure enough, the Lord was right. Numerous were the times when that diamond bailed me out of scrapes where I’d been beaten bloody. But she never left my side, not once. You see, as I said, I was a poverty-stricken country boy from Oklahoma, but she was a poverty-stricken country girl from Arkansas. So we simply joined our poverties into one poverty big enough to last a lifetime. We never had anything, lived on nothing, and retired on the results. But that diamond never once complained. Now don’t take that wrong. She is a spirited woman. She keeps needle claws, stands firm on righteous principles, and can spit hard enough to put out a fire. She always did. In fact, she spat on me quite a bit. We got through the scrapes because we not only joined poverties, but because we joined mutual aims—Heaven. It made poverty fun because we both knew that we’s just passing through.

Two baby girls sprung out of us, so we told them from the cradle what they could expect from us, that we were only sight-seeing on the way Home, and that they should also relax and enjoy the ride. Well, those two little angels have hit the half-century mark, but they’re still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and, yep, like us, they’re just passing through.

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Our little family has seen a lot of sights go flitting by: Life’s mountain peaks, Grand Canyon gorges, shaky bridges, long tunnels, thick forests, and lots of desert, but the best part of seeing them was that we were only traveling, and that when we finally got tired of it we knew there was no place like Home.

You know, I found out in the Bible that everyone in there was just passing through like me. Take old Abraham: It says he was a “Sojourner,” a fancy word describing a guy passing through a strange land, living in tents, because he was looking forward to a City whose Builder and Maker is God. Come to think of it, that’s what I’ve been looking for all along. It reminds me of an old Gospel song nobody sings anymore that I haven’t heard since I was just a young squirt:

“This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the Blue.
The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

So that’s how it is. You can have all this fancy stuff they call glamour, luxury, convenience, security, stylish, thrilling, and comfortable. Give me my tent, walking stick, and camel, ‘cause I’m just passing through.

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—DA

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How To Give A Compliment

A compliment is the act of verbally expressing sincere respect to another, either in their person, or in their ability, or in their position. Scripture is quite clear about this. Therefore:

~Show me a person who will not freely praise God, and I’ll show you a person who will not freely compliment others.
~ Show me a church who does not compliment their pastor, and I’ll show you a weary pastor.
~ Show me a supervisor who will not compliment his workers, and I’ll show you a company in trouble.
~ Show me a politician who will not compliment his constituents, and I’ll show you a candidate in trouble at the polls.
~ Show me a person who will not reward their animal, and I’ll show you an animal you cannot trust.
~ Show me a man who will not compliment his wife, and I’ll show you an unhappy wife.
~ Show me a wife who will not compliment her husband, and I’ll show you a struggling husband to return the favor.
~ Show me a person who compliments in order to receive praise, and I’ll show you a person soon without friends.
~ Show me youth who will not compliment their parents and elders, and I’ll show you youth hard at work building their own unhappiness.
~ Show me parents who will not compliment their own offspring, and I’ll show you offspring being taught to wound their own.
~ Show me the head of a home who never compliments, and I’ll show you a home turned on its head.
~ Show me a nation that refuses to honor God, and soon there will not be a nation there to show me.

Why are all of these statements true? It’s because their foundation sits squarely on the human ability to be selfish, or to be unselfish. It’s as simple as that. Selfishness always demands an in-flow of personal backslapping praise, while non-selfishness always requires an out-flow of sacrificial respect for others. Stated in brief, it is the old truth of James 3:10 of blessing and cursing coming from that same hole under our noses. Meaning, persons who will not humble themselves to give compliments is completely immersed in their own selfish pride, and instead expects that pride to be fed. Conversely, a person who does compliment is one who steps away from cursing by blessing others. The first instance we find true to our carnal nature; the second we find unnatural unless we purposely choose to reflect the love of God.

Giving is not a natural act with human depravity, which is totally grounded in selfishness. One can give, yes, but what for? A compliment is a gift, but Jesus pointed out that if we do “good,” or “lend,” (same as giving) for the purpose of receiving back in kind, then we are no better than sinners and enemies. Rather, we should give “hoping for nothing in return,” if we expect to be called God’s children (Luke 6:32-35). Frankly, if we go through life failing to give honor where honor is due, refusing to give praise to those we love, then Scripture itself calls into question our very loyalty to God Himself! It behooves us, then, to cease cursing by inflow, and begin blessing by outflow; to stop receiving and start giving, and this in obedience to God because it is simply the right thing to do, whether or not we even want to or feel like it. And if we buy the old John Wayne image of “It’s not my way,” we’d better dump that wimpy excuse and stand tall as Christian stalwarts.

Again, a true compliment is an unselfish act. Once delivered, it should be left alone, expecting no return of any kind. The Bible calls the giving of praise the fruit of our lips ( Heb. 13:15). It is a sacrifice of one’s self, and the expectation of a return is to retrieve the sacrifice from the altar and to consume it ourselves. All humanity is told, “In Him we live and move and have our being,” (Acts 17:28), that is, the air we breathe belongs to Him. Therefore, “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8).

But some will surely say of the person to be complimented that there is nothing there worthy of compliment. This is ludicrous. The Hippie culture had only one song with even a grain of truth in it: “Everything is beautiful, in it’s own way.” Why? Because each person exists by the creative hand of our PERFECT God, even if they are born in sin. Try telling a Hitler’s mother she just gave birth to a murdering demon. On a milder note, a husband might compare his wife to a Hollywood super-model and decide in his warped mind that there’s nothing to compliment. Well, how about, “Honey, you must be a woman of pristine character to choose to marry the likes of me.” Or, if she is truly homely, try, “Sweetheart, you might not be the most beautiful woman in the world (which she already knows), but you are certainly the most beautiful woman in MY world.” If she isn’t, that man needs to stop negotiating with her and let God turn him right side out, since his own homeliness is a disgusting sight.

I suppose we should not be surprised at our present unthankful generations. After all, they were born and nourished in a society whose very music itself is a protest to common, quiet Christian decency. Music in one’s face is going to miss the heart. Shattering the eardrums deafens one to God’s “still, small voice.” Screaming and yelling chokes the “sincere milk of the Word.”

Certified barbarians graduate daily from our public schools and universities, diligently trained in godless evolutionary brainwash where Christian thought is banned—barbarians, because godlessness equals Freudian egoism of self-centeredness. This produces Hollywood sitcoms closely related to the sport of dog fighting, emulated in the viewers of such trash, all surfacing in children with firearms that turns schoolrooms into execution chambers. Even our welfare children grow fat on free delicacies, eat like royalty, wear designer jeans, afford expensive hairdos, own i-phones, are never denied, always receiving, never thankful, and instantly ready to curse anyone who dares withhold it from them. Such a society had better remember that God does indeed grow weary of such selfish, foolish people, and turns over those tables of delicacies and unfurls his dreaded whip. Many an affluent people have learned the hard way how to dig in the garbage heaps while in rags. Some of those were people claiming His name, but shaming His righteous standards.

Is it any wonder his Word tells us that in the last days would come a generation who were “unthankful,” and “unholy?” I must point out quite candidly, that anyone, Christian or not, contributing to such a spoiled, brattish society by denying them the Christian refinement of compliment will one day have to survive a social pig sty, and finally be hauled into God’s court of justice for such neglect. Therefore:

~ Show me a world who thumbs its nose at God, and I’ll show you the world described in The Book of Revelation.

So how does one give a compliment? Actually, there’s no long, complicated secret to it. All one has to do is open one’s mouth and let it go. But I must warn you in case you’re not ready for this: First you have to swallow that big wad of chewing gum called PRIDE!

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