Category Archives: Love

Playing With Fire

Proverbs 6:27-29

“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.”

Playing With Fire

Do you remember how the king of the monkeys in The Jungle Book wanted to learn the secret of man’s red fire? Like the monkey king I used to be fascinated by fire when I was a child. I just loved to strike matches and make fire. I especially enjoyed bonfires and always looked forward to the annual celebration of bonfire night on 5 November. Where I lived in Guernsey people from our road would meet at one of the vineries where there would be a massive bonfire, soup, hot dogs, and fireworks. Bonfire night was a real treat for the kids, but we were always warned to keep a safe distance from the fire and not to pick up the remnants of any fireworks. Our parents knew the dangers and taught us that if we played with fire we would probably get burned.

Desire

Desire is no different to fire. If you desire the wife or husband of another person and surrender to your desire you will get burned. The problem is that fire is hard to contain and inevitably causes devastation elsewhere. Images of firefighters trying to extinguish wild fires come to mind. In similar fashion extramarital activity usually causes untold damage to many lives.

No Immunity

The Church is not immune. Satan loves to mess up Christian marriages. Why else would such warnings be included in Scripture? God gave men and women a special gift. He intended it to be used within the boundaries of marriage. This was defined from the very beginning as ‘one man, one woman, together for life’ (Genesis 2:22-24).

I have watched first hand as friends have been tempted from their marriage partners, and I have witnessed the damage, much of it collateral. They always begin with excuses such as “I don’t think I ever loved her in the first place.” They talk themselves into believing that no one will be hurt. They tell friends that what they are doing is for the best. But these are not excuses, they are lies. It is inevitable that adults and children will be damaged by the pain and the hurt, that lives will disintegrate, and tears will flow.

If you play with fire you will get burned. But so will others. You have been warned.

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Sowing Discord

Proverbs 6:19b

“[These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:] … A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Aimed at the Church?

If there were only one of the seven things that God hates that could be directed at the church it would have to be the last in the list:

He that soweth discord among brethren.

I have lost count of the times I have heard Christian brothers and sisters moaning and complaining, criticizing and gossiping. Such displays of discord, disharmony and disunity usually take place inside the church building, often immediately after a service. How does that work? We enter a building we call God’s sanctuary, we go through the motions of worshipping God, and we listen as the pastor brings God’s word. Then when the service is over we may find ourselves talking to others about how the worship wasn’t very good, or how the pastor spoke for too long. Or perhaps we gossip about others in the church. If you are reading this blog and you have never indulged in such behavior then you probably are not a resident of planet Earth.

Hands Up!

It is time, brothers and sisters, to put our hands up and acknowledge that we have used harmful words, that we have sown discord in our church fellowships, and we have offended God by doing so.

Here’s the challenge. Instead of criticizing your pastor this Sunday, how about thanking him for his sermon, and for all the other stuff he does, most of which you will never see or know about.

Instead of moaning about the musicians, how about encouraging them, even if they played too slow, too fast, too quietly or too loud (in your opinion).

Instead of gossiping about others, how about getting closer to them and looking at them through God’s eyes?

Instead of complaining about everything you think is wrong with your church why don’t you stop for a moment and ask God where he would like you to serve more, better or differently within your fellowship.

Koinonia

Fellowship has to be the key. Fellowship is diametrically opposed to discord. Could your church be described as a fellowship? If not, why not?

Further Reading

The Importance of Fellowship in a New Testament Church


God’s Not Safe

Proverbs 6:16

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:”

He’s Not Safe

So many people have the impression that God is nothing but love, love, love. Thinking all He cares about is their happiness and well-being, they forget that angels surround His throne crying “holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:9).

In the “seeker-friendly” community of churches, many focus on a God who is “for us,” while avoiding any mention of a God who hates sin. They treat Him like a rich grandfather who winks at their indiscretions. They treat Him like a tame pet. But He’s not tame. And He’s not safe.

When I read the above verse I was reminded of a conversation in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. Susan, Lucy, and Peter were talking to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan:

“Is he – quite safe? I shall be nervous about meeting a lion [said Susan]”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

A “safe” God is one who doesn’t care what you do, as long as you love Him and worship Him, but a Holy God hates sin. And He is nothing to trifle with.

Abominations

In the next few “thoughts” we will be looking at verses 17 through 19 and the seven things God hates – yes, hates. It might be hard for some to contemplate, but even though God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), He is righteous, and He tests the hearts of men (Ps. 7:9).

As we look at these things, remember that we are all guilty of them. If you don’t think so, then you’re deceiving yourself (1 Jn. 1:8). All of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and fallen short of God’s righteous standards. He hates our sins, and that will never change (Mal. 3:6).

Salvation Not a License

It might be tempting to leap right to the good part – the Gospel. John 3:16 says that Jesus came to die for our sins and make things right between God and us (Col. 1:20). But hold on! That doesn’t change God’s view of sin. He still hates it.

God is love, but the Bible also says that a man who loves God will keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15; 15:10). Christ paid our sin debt on a cruel cross, and those who are truly His will avoid sin. What God hates, the Christian should hate.

“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” – Hosea 14:9 NIV

A Prayer

Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness. But help me to remember Who you are – King. Help me to hate the things you hate, and love the things you love. 


Get Drunk On Love!

Proverbs 5:18-20

“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?”

A Sweet Spring

It’s the sweetest spring in the world, that spring seeping from the foot of Wolf Creek Mountain in the South Gap region of Bland County, Virginia.  The water of that spring is so delightful that my ancestors built their two-story log home next to that spring some 200 years ago.  At that time or shortly thereafter, they dug down around five feet, and encased the pool in stone. Later still, they built a log “spring house” to enclose and protect the spring itself, and to create a safe haven for the jugs of milk and tubs of butter which they kept chilled in the pool.  My father grew up fetching buckets of water from that spring every morning, and when he became a man and built a house of his own nearby, he tapped into that same ever-flowing source of sweet spring water to supply his new home.

Once you’ve tasted the best, no other water in the world is going to satisfy!

A Blessed Fountain

I think that’s what Solomon has in mind in Proverbs 5:18.  The precious union between a husband the wife of his youth is a satisfying, life-strengthening fountain to be enjoyed deeply and guarded faithfully.  As I type these words, my mind goes back to the many summer mornings I spent doing farm work in the environs of the spring house, and I recall the immense joy of plunging my sun-burned, sweat-streaked face deep into the pool and gulping down that sweet water.  Twenty-one years into marriage with the wife of my youth, I can affirm that the fountain of union with my precious wife is just as blessed and precious today, as it was on June 15, 1991, when we exchanged our vows of marriage.

Drinking to Intoxication

Did that heading get your attention?  Perhaps a closer examination of the verses above will make you think about the marriage relationship in an exciting and intriguing way.  In verse 18, the sexual union of husband and wife is described as a delightful fountain from which the couple is urged to drink deeply.  In verse 19, that union is depicted in even more intimate terms, with the metaphorical image of drinking from her breasts.  In verse 20, the “drinking” image is re-visited by a rhetorical question which the father asks the son, “Why would you want to be intoxicated in the embrace of a woman who is a stranger?”  (The ESV and the “new” NIV both pick up on the translation of the Hebrew “tis-geh” as “intoxication”, which I believe is preferable to the KJV “ravished”, in light of the author’s chosen metaphor of ‘drinking’.)

What’s the overall message? 

What’s the overall message? Within the context of marriage, to drink and get drunk on love!  Of course, Solomon develops this theme much more deeply in the Song of Solomon, in which the husband describes his union with his wife in similarly poetic language,

I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk

And the community urges the couple to indulge in the joy of marital union,

Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved. (Song of Solomon 5:1)

Can Marriage Really Be that Great?

Can marriage really be that great? Absolutely!  But first, re-visit the implicit warning.  If you’re not happy at home, then you’re most certainly not going to become happy through an affair.  An affair is a sure path to personal destruction.  (Many entries in this blog teach as much.)  If you and your spouse find yourselves struggling to make your marriage work, please know that there is hope and healing in Jesus Christ.  Locate a solid Christian marriage counselor.  If your spouse won’t go with you, then go alone.  You can work on “your stuff” even if he or she refuses to work on “his or her stuff”.  Attend a marriage conference together.  Family Life Today’s “Weekend to Remember” marriage conferences are phenomenal places to re-connect and start over.    http://www.familylife.com/weekend

Father God, I pray for those readers who have taken the time to read this entry.  I ask that by your Spirit, that their marriages would be strong, and that they would drink deeply from the spring of marital love.  Bless them I pray through Christ our Lord, Amen. 


Unpredictable Women

Proverbs 5:6

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

Practical Advice

If there was ever a chapter that should be read to every son, and even daughter, it is this one. The advice that Solomon shares in these verses is what every young man should hear. Unfortunately, many young men never have a father come along side and say, “Listen, son, there are some things you need to know.”

And when it comes to today’s verse, the advice given is timeless and priceless. Women are no different today than they were in Solomon’s time, and men are just as gullible.

Unknowable

If there is one thing I have learned after 20 years with the same woman, it is that you can never figure them out – don’t even try. Once a man thinks he understands women, that’s the time to get out of his way. Disaster is about to strike.

How much more difficult is it to understand the ways of a “strange” woman? She is different, unlike what you have experienced; and that’s exciting. But the problem comes when you begin to desire stability, or faithfulness. She’s not ready for that. All she wants is to have fun.

Solomon is saying, then, “Before you get to the point of trying to understand her, it’s better that you never even go there. She’s too unpredictable.”

Unpredictable

“Her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.” In other words, she is as unpredictable as the wind. She is like a shaky foundation. You never know what path she will take, or when she will fall. Predicting her next move is useless.

Of course, the danger of an unpredictable woman is that her next move could mean destruction. She is like an untamed predator that can seem soft and cuddly one moment, but destroy you the next.

Dangerous

When I read the fifth chapter of Proverbs I am reminded of a song. Back in the early 90’s Julie Miller recorded “Angelina,” and every time I hear it I still get chills. Below are some of the lyrics. Do they not describe the “strange woman?” Do you think Solomon could have had someone like this in mind?

Should she come walking down your street, you might think: “She’s the kind of girl I’d like to meet,”
But don’t be taken in, she’ll rob you in the end,
She’s got to get control, she’s so afraid within,
Her daddy sure must have broken her heart, but she’ll get him back while you play out his part.

She’s just a lost little girl, she seems so harmless to touch,
She’s just been taught by the world, and now she’s dangerous.

– Buddy & Julie Miller

Contrast

How different is the “strange woman” from a godly woman? Consider the way the Bible describes Wisdom: “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” – Pro. 3:17-18

Heavenly Father, help us to be parents who teach our children not only right from wrong, but godly wisdom, also. May we teach our sons to be men of God, and our daughters to be women worthy of praise. 

NOTE: I found this article about a godly grandmother. What a contrast with the “strange woman” of chapter five! “A Woman They Would Write About.”


Deadly Lips

Proverbs 5:3-5

“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.”

Still Relevant 

Many question the ability of a 3000 year old text to address the issues of modern life. They wonder how something written so long ago can have any relevance today. Yet, the wisdom of Proverbs came from the same Source that could see all of time in a glance.

The advice Solomon shared with his sons in these verses (and the next three) is as true today as it was back then. The siren song of a temptress can still woo a foolish, gullible man into the depths of hell.

Don’t Be Fooled

Unlike the modern intellectual who insists “perception is reality,” Solomon warns that false perception can kill. In effect he says, “Boys, don’t let a harlot fool you; she’s not what she seems.” In reality, her pucker is poison, and her “sweet nothing’s” a sword.

I’m reminded of the way Indians used to kill wolves. They would repeatedly dip a sharp knife in blood, freezing each layer, until the blade was completely covered. When a wolf smelled the blood it would find the popsicle and lick away. As its tongue became lacerated, its own blood made it lick more, until it bled to death.

In much the same way, a man’s desire for beautiful women is as natural as a wolf’s craving for blood. And because the Enemy knows our weaknesses, he places lipstick-covered blades in our path (and on our computer screens). Only wisdom can discern the danger.

Heed the Warning!

An old country song said, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” Sadly, that’s what many men say when captured by her spell. Translation: “Her lips are sweet; her mouth is smooth; and I will partake of her pleasures all the way to the grave.”

Oh, that men would heed this warning! Oh, that our sons would remember “favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain” (Prov. 31:30). A woman that feareth the Lord is not only worthy of praise, but she probably won’t poison, stab, and waltz you through the gates of hell.

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman. For what has God above chosen for us? What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high? Isn’t it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil? Doesn’t he see everything I do and every step I take?” – Job 31:1-4 NLT


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 4th Week of Advent

Welcome to the fourth week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the final week of Advent is all about Love and Adoration for our Lord and Savior.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
-Philippians 2:9-11, KJV

christmas holly beside white painting concrete wall

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

Jesus, the God-Man, came and lived as one of us to redeem us from death into life. Because of this, He has been exalted by the Father. How much more should we make Jesus famous around the world?

The day is quickly coming when the choice to love and worship Jesus will be taken away. We will either be in the group that gets to love and worship Him for eternity or the group that is in anguish and hates Him, so may we go out to help convince as many as we can to follow Him now!

Exalted Lord, thank You for loving us and coming for us. Help us to spread Your love to our world.