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Monday, June 29, 2015

World News Thinking

Illustration courtesy of Idea go, Free Digital Photos

This was the news one day last week:
  • Three separate terrorist attacks (Tunisia, France, and Kuwait)
  • The U. S. Supreme Court rules for the legal right to same-sex marriage in all fifty states.
  • The funeral service for Pastor Clementa Pinkney in Charleston, SC. He was one of the nine victims of a church massacre the previous week.
  • Greece is offered a cash-for-reforms deal.

The news isn’t pretty. The world’s in a mess. It’s nothing new. Every day brings similar news items with similar sadness and awful consequences. There’s sorrow, immorality, financial burdens, and innocent people lose their lives.

That same day, I saw a poster on social media: “Keep Calm and Share the Gospel.” What a wonderful perspective! What’s the gospel? It’s defined as the death of Jesus Christ for our sins, His burial, and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) It’s the Good News that anyone who personally puts his faith in Jesus for salvation from sin can have eternal life in heaven. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Philippians 4:8 instructs Christians to think on what’s good: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

So, in the face of sweeping violence, terrorism, social change, uncertainty, and mourning, how’s a Christian to act?

We can:
  • Bury our head in our hands and say, “woe is me.”
  • Focus on how bad things are.
  • Look up into the clouds and prepare for the Lord’s return.
  • Ignore the news.
  • Feel all alone and oppressed.
  • Live in fear.
  • Start a protest group.
  • Get all out of whack emotionally.

Back in the Apostle Paul’s day, things were rotten, too. The Roman government was corrupt and oppressing Christians. The persecution was real and palpable. In fact, when Paul wrote Philippians, he was in prison. I’m sure some of the Christians threw their hands up in the air in frustration and others tried to stop up their ears from the daily news.

The Bible tells us God’s will for healthy thinking. Everything true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous, and praiseworthy goes on the list of permitted topics.
  • We’re also to think realistically and humbly about ourselves. (Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 8:2; Galatians 6:3)
  • We’re to consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works (Hebrews 10:24). That means to think about others and encourage them to love and to do right.
  • We’re to pray without ceasing and for others (1 Thessalonians 5:17, 25).
  • We’re to meditate—repeatedly think about—on the Word of God. (Psalm 119: 97, 99).
  • We’re to think about God. (Psalm 104:34)

Yes, we know about the news, and we don’t ignore what’s going on in the world, but we don’t let it highjack our faith.

Let’s think about what God wants us to think about. May we, like David, encourage ourselves in the Lord. (1 Samuel 30:6)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Best Friend and Soulmate: Really?

Photo courtesy of Ambro, Free Digital Photos

“I married my best friend.”

“My husband is my soulmate.”

I really do understand what people mean when they say these things. Many a terrific marriage started off with a close, non-dating friendship. The Bible even uses the word for friendship when it tells women how to love their husbands. (Titus 2:4) Marriage is supposed to be like that.

At the time I married my husband, I’d say for sure he was one of my best friends. He is definitely my best friend today, thirty-seven years later. We really, truly understand each other, and we enjoy being together. We would rather do things together—except clothing shopping—than with anyone else.

The term soulmate is a little bit fuzzy to me. I’m going to look it up. Okay, here it is: “a close friend who completely understands you; a person who has the same beliefs and opinions as another person.”* Are they kidding? Completely understands you? Has the same beliefs, maybe, but opinions?

I delve a little further. Dr. Carmen Harra, a clinical psychologist, writes in the Huffington Post, “Not just anyone can fulfill you the way your soulmate can. There's a world of a difference between your soulmate, your heart's other half and a life partner—a person who lacks the elements to mold perfectly to you. Your soulmate makes you feel entirely whole, healed and intact, like no piece is missing from the puzzle. A life partner, on the other hand, can be a great supporter and long-time companion, but is limited in his or her capacity to enrich your spirit.” **

She adds ten elements that define a soulmate. They include how the person makes you feel, how you fall in love with him, connect with him, protect each other, and other fairly predictable qualities. Two elements I thought were unique (for want of another word): “Flashbacks: If your partner is your soulmate, chances are he or she has been present in your past lives. Soulmates often choose to come back together during the same lifetime and scope each other out in the big world. You might suddenly and briefly experience flashbacks of your soulmate. You might even feel an odd sense of déjà vu, as if the moment in time has already taken place, perhaps a long time ago, perhaps in a different setting.” Interesting! This is the Buddhist idea of reincarnation. Not at all Truth.

The other element was this: “Soulmates often have a mental connection similar to twins. . . . Though life may keep you apart at times, your minds will always be in tune if you are soulmates.”

I really don’t think so.

Now, my husband and I are close, very close. Sometimes, we actually say the same words out loud together, like in a reader’s theater. It’s hilarious! We’ve even “switched roles” in some ways, because we’ve lived and experienced life together for a very long time.

You know how couples start looking alike after many years of marriage? I’m not sure my husband and I do necessarily, but sometimes you can just see that couples belong together. 

But, let me say something radical: I believe there’s a huge danger in propagating the whole idea of soulmate. First, I don’t think such a person exists, except for one.

There is only one person who completely understands you. There is only one person who is so in tune with you that He really, truly understands your attitudes, opinions, thoughts, and heart desires.

He isn’t human. No human being can be so coordinated with you that he understands it all. No woman. No man. There’s only One.

Nowhere in the Bible do you see a married couple that reads each other’s thoughts, though there are some very successful marriages. Only one Person is able to read your thoughts.

And, only one Person can meet your heart needs.

I believe this myth of a soulmate husband is another one of those lies that makes young women—or older ones, for that matter—think they’re going to find someone who completes them. They get this romantic idea that someone is going to ride in on his white steed and sweep them off their feet, and then he will forever after understand them. Seriously? This is fairy tale stuff, and the sooner we get our feet back on the ground, the better.

Even the very best marriages require time, patience, and understanding. Nothing is automatic. A man doesn’t automatically understand a woman. A woman doesn’t automatically understand a man. It doesn’t happen that way. Over time, though, married partners begin to understand each other. They learn how the other thinks, dreams, and reacts. They even become more alike in some ways.

But, they will never be soulmates in the way the word is used nowadays.

No man will ever be your “twin.” No man will ever complete you. And, there certainly never will be anyone in your life who completely concurs with all your opinions and thoughts.

There is One Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who can and will meet all your heart’s needs. Consider these Bible verses, written to born again Christians:
  • And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart (from Luke 9:47).
  • God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things (1 John 3:20b).
  • Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:8)
  • As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him . . . And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:6, 10).
  • But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

The only true Soulmate is the Creator of our souls. He’s the only One Who can complete us and supply all our needs. Let's look to Him.


*Merriam Webster Dictionary

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Falsely Accused: How to Handle It Biblically

Photo courtesy of: suphakit73,

Someone knows one little part of a story and thinks he* knows all of it. He makes a judgment—the wrong one. Then, he lets you know how displeased he is. He accuses you of all manner of things that have nothing to do with the truth. What a railing! Such nasty words!

You stand there with your mouth open. What in the world brought this on? This isn’t even close to the truth. The accusation is false, and you weren’t asked the facts, only blasted with someone’s false assumptions.

It happens to everyone at some time, and for those in leadership, it seems to happen often. The accusations come. You didn’t handle this situation in the right way. You should have told this person thus and such. You blew it.

The accuser has no idea what really happened. He wasn’t there, and he didn’t ask you what really happened. But he’s quick to point the finger of blame—on you.

It hurts. It really does. We’re human after all, and life isn’t always fair.

The Bible says it’s going to happen.
  • Jesus said, Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:11-12).
  • Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).

So, what should a Christian do when falsely accused? God knew we’d need some help. Here are just a few biblical examples:
  1. Joseph had been sold into slavery in Egypt and had done all the right things. Potiphar’s wife thought he was good-looking and tried to seduce him. He refused—every day—and she was offended and angry when he ran away, leaving his outer garment in her hands. She lied about him, and he was thrown in jail. Joseph’s response? He went on doing good and gaining respect. When God gave him the interpretation of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker’s dreams, he asked the cupbearer to remember him to Pharaoh. He forgot for two years, until Pharaoh had dreams that needed interpreting. Joseph expresses his attitude in Genesis 45:5, 7-8, Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. . . . And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. (The rest of this story is in Genesis 39:12-20; 40:23; 41:9-13.)
  2. When a friend attacked David, he went to God with it, and the Lord delivered his soul in peace. For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. . . . As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me (Psalm 55:12-14, 16-18).
  3. Jesus was falsely accused all His earthly life. People thought He was illegitimate, and during His ministry, they misunderstood what He said. In order not to be too long or complicated, let’s only look at the very end of His life on earth and on how He responded to false accusations. In Mark 14:56-62, Jesus is before the council. For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. But neither so did their witness agree together. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Jesus said nothing first, but when pressed, He responded with the truth. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus went before the council, Pilate, and He’s then crucified. He says the truth about Himself. On the cross, He prays for His murderers, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (from Luke 23:34).

In summary, making it practical:
  • Don’t be surprised when you're falsely accused. It happens to everyone who serves God.
  • Don’t let it make you bitter. Your accuser may be ignorant or misled, or it might be truly persecution.
  • If you're offended, go in private to the accuser and try to fix the problem. (Matthew 18:15)
  • Go to God with your hurt. Pray. Open your Bible. God will give you peace.
  • Will God use this for good? It’s a possibility! (Romans 8:28)
  • Always answer very little and with truth. Jesus modeled this for us.
  • Pray for your accuser. (Matthew 5:44)
* Using masculine pronouns for both men and women.

Monday, June 22, 2015

I Self-Identify As . . .

Sometimes it seems funny and sometimes sad. A man identifies as a woman. A woman identifies as a Native American. Another woman identifies as black. A woman in England asked a politician, “If I self-identify as my dog, do I still need to pay taxes?” (She was joking, of course.)

What is self-identification, exactly? It’s what you believe yourself to be.

I believe myself to be Caucasian—mostly; one ancestor was Native American—a woman, married, a resident of Spain, a citizen of the United States, sister to my siblings, etc. All those things are true.

I've always had a fertile imagination. A very long time ago when I was a little child, I thought how fun it would be to be a boy (for outdoor play reasons), black (because I think dark skin is beautiful), French (because I wanted to visit France), an actress (never would have happened), a princess (what little girl doesn’t want to be a princess?) and all kinds of other ideas. I didn’t identify as any of those things, and I never thought about them for very long. I merely admired people who were different from me.

I sincerely feel a sadness for those who mess up their lives because they mentally identify as something they’re not. It’s not going to be a happy outcome because the whole concept is based on a lie. Even if others are sympathetic with the lie, it’s still a falsehood. The Bruce Jenners, Elizabeth Warrens, and Rachel Dolezals of the world know down deep inside them what they are. Even though they identify differently, they really are something else.

So, where is a Christian’s identity? How is a person who has put his faith in Jesus for his soul’s salvation to self-identify?

Let’s see what the Bible says about it:

We’re not our own.
  • For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20).
  • What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (1 Corinthians 15:10).

We’re not worthy of salvation. It’s by the grace and goodness of God.
  • This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (1 Timothy 1:15). 
  • For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We’re in Christ. That means everything is different.
  • Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).
  • I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
  • For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring (Acts 17:28).

We’re one part of a whole: the church.
  • So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another (Romans 12:5).

God expects us to live, walk, and grow in Him.
  • As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. . . . And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:6-7, 10).

God gave us the Holy Spirit as a Witness that we’re God’s.
  • Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God (1 John 4:13, 15).

Our identity is in the Lord.
  • For to me to live is Christ (Philippians 1:21).

Being in Christ means we have a purpose: to glorify God. It means we have a task: to reach others and disciple them. It means our identity has everything to do with God and very little to do with us.

For me to live is Christ.

Friday, June 19, 2015

All White Living

Photo courtesy of photostock, Free Digital Photos

I love Pinterest! I find all kinds of ideas, recipes, and I explore my interests in many areas. I love architecture and home décor. As a result, I’ve got boards titled: architecture, bathroom decoration ideas, bedroom décor, gardening, home decoration, home decoration details, kitchen ideas, windows, and more.

I see many different kinds of homes, all with this same characteristic: white on white on white. White walls, white bed linens, white floors, white rugs, white sofas, white chairs, white kitchens, white sinks, white dining room chairs. Everything is white!

Now, I like white. I like the beautiful pictures. I like the whole concept of clean and white. I especially like white in varied textures, like lace and linen and tulle and fuzzy sheepskins.

We used to have a white tile floor in our bathroom. It showed every single hair and every piece of lint. It actually looked pretty for about five minutes after I mopped it. (Notice, we used to have a white tile floor. It’s now a beige-brown, and it stays pretty longer than five minutes.)

Every time I see an all-white dining room I think: they never eat spaghetti. Every time I see pristine white-painted kitchen floors, I think: she doesn’t really cook in there; she eats out. When I see white sofa, floors, and chairs, I am positive that family has no dogs, cats, or kids. This person probably doesn’t actually sit in there, either!

My house looks lived in, because it is. Our teen boy came in, covered head to toe with mud after mountain biking with his friends. My husband gardens and takes his boots off at the front door. Our grandsons have played on the floors, buffing them as they crawl. If a piece of food accidentally falls to the floor, no problem—we wipe it up. (The floor is mottled brown, by the way.)

I cook most of our meals at home. We had a wonderful dog. We had children. We live in our home and—gasp—sometimes eat supper while sitting on the couch (which isn’t white, as you might have guessed). We enjoy visitors and grandkids and living in the country.

And yes, we eat spaghetti.

This is here and now. 


But someday, we’ll be surrounded by Pinterest-looking white. (There’s no sin, dirt, or tomato sauce in heaven!) 

Just for fun, let’s look at all the white:
  • Jesus washes sins white as snow with His blood. (Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 7:14)
  • God the Father is clothed in white and has white hair. (Daniel 7:9)
  • Angels wear pure white clothing. (Matthew 28:3; Mark 16:5; John 20:12; Acts 1:10; Revelation 15:6)
  • Jesus Christ wears white, so white that no fuller on earth can white them (Mark 9:3). Also in Luke 9:29; Revelation 1:14; 3:4; 6:2.
  • Believers wear white. (Revelation 3:4-5, 18; 6:11; 7:9, 13-14; 19:8, 14)
  • The twenty-four elders around the throne of God are clothed in white. (Revelation 4:4)
  • The throne itself is white. (Revelation 20:11)
  • There’s a white stone with a new name written in it. (Revelation 2:17)
  • There’s a white cloud, and Jesus sits on it. (Revelation 14:14)
  • Jesus rides a white horse. (Revelation 19:11)

All the white goes with:
  • Light. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof (Revelation 21:23).
  • Pearl gates, each made of a single pearl (Revelation 21:21)
  • Streets of gold, so pure that they’re transparent like glass (Revelation 21:21)
  • A river, as clear as crystal (Revelation 22:1)
  • The tree of life (Revelation 22:2)

Beautiful, don’t you think? Better by far than Pinterest perfect.

Someday, we’ll all live in spotless, gleaming white! 

(Until then, if you like, look me up and follow me on Pinterest.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles, Free Digital Photos

It starts very young. “He hit me first,” says the child who hit her brother.

Why do we do what we do? Why do we sin the way we do?

“Well, you see, my parents didn’t get along, and they yelled and screamed. I can’t help it that I holler at my children.”

“I was bullied when I was nine years old, and now, I’m not going to let anyone tell me what to do.”

“My gambling is a habit. It got ahold of me, and now I can’t control it.”

“My friend showed me that first pornographic image, and ever since I couldn’t put it down.”

“I like getting drunk. I really do. It makes me feel confident and happy.”

"Reverend Important So-and-so interprets this verse to say that it's okay to sin in this way. It doesn't matter what all the other Bible verses on the subject say. If this Christian leader says it, I believe I can do it."

“I needed the money, and I didn’t think the company would miss it. After all, they don’t pay me enough. I started transferring small amounts several years ago.”

“This pregnancy wasn’t planned. We wanted our other children, but this time, we're going to abort.”

“Mrs. Smith is terminally ill. She will certainly die in six months, probably in terrible pain. She should be allowed to terminate her life on her own terms before she suffers any more.”


Did you notice the progression? We started with a normal tiff between siblings, then went through some addictive behaviors, robbery, and ended up with assisted suicide. Everything can be rationalized. There’s an excuse for anything and everything. It might be “someone else’s fault” or it might “just make sense,” but people can explain away anything they want to do.

And there’s the key: we choose to do whatever we do.

We don’t have to do anything. We choose to sin or not to sin.

Just as Eve chose to believe Satan and Adam chose to disobey God and please his wife, we all choose to do wrong.

But, there’s good news! We can choose to do right!

The Bible says: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Jesus understands our struggles. For we have not an high priest (Jesus) which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

God has always given people a choice. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

The question is, do we really, truly want to please God and follow His commandments, or are we more interested in pleasing ourselves (and maybe even blaming others)? I know this is simplistic, but it’s at the core of all of our decision-making. Do we want to please God or our own selves?
  • And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (Joshua 24:15).
  • For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness (Psalm 84:10).
  • Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good (Isaiah 7:15).

What’s more, there’s victory through Jesus. Whatever sin you might have done or might be doing, in Christ you can be victorious. It’s important to depend on Him for victory, and it’s important to stay in God’s Word and growing in your Christian walk. Read these encouraging verses:
  • But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
  • For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4).

Are you in Christ? Have you been born again?*

If so, you can make life choices that honor God. The Lord Jesus Christ will help you have victory over sinful practices and habits.

Praise ye the LORD.
Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD,
that delighteth greatly in his commandments (Psalm 112:1).

With my whole heart have I sought thee:
O let me not wander from thy commandments (Psalm 119:10).

*"Born again" is from John, chapter 3.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Changing Your Husband

I’ve been married for a long time, almost 37 years, and I admit that in the beginning I thought I could change my husband. I thought he needed some training. I thought I could help him learn some really important concepts.

I admit it. I tried:
  • Preaching
  • Nagging
  • Reminding
  • Pointing out faults
  • Trying to show him how it’s done
  • Explaining why he needs to change 

You know what?

Those techniques don’t work!

I noticed my husband bristling and resisting my attempts to change him. He didn’t say anything, but he’d clench his jaw and get quiet.

I finally understood that a Christian helpmeet isn’t another mother. My husband married me so that I could be his wife! (He already had a mother.)

So, listen carefully, and I’ll give you some hints for how to change your husband—or not—in the right way.

Let me explain first. There are some things that will never change.

You may not like the way he throws his socks across the room every night, for example. (No, not my husband; it's just an illustration.) Your husband balls them up and pitches them across the bedroom every single night. It drives you crazy! Every time you hear the soft thuds, you want to strangle him. Every night, it makes you madder and madder. Every morning you pick up the sock-balls and fume, mumbling nastiness under your breath.

How can you change his obnoxious, bothersome habit? By changing you.

Get real. You have a husband with a unique way of dealing with his socks. Instead of getting angry, laugh when you hear him tossing them across the room. (After all, a flying sock won’t do much damage!) In the morning, when you pick them up, thank God you have your husband. Thank the Lord you always know where to find his socks. Thank God you have a husband.

Yes, I know this is a goofy way to look at a problem, but it works. The attitude that needs changing is yours. Your husband is perfectly at home with his sock-throwing habit. He has always thrown his socks, and he always will. Does it hurt anything? No. Does it matter? No. So, enjoy his idiosyncrasies. They are part of who he is.

“Oh,” you might say, “I’m not talking about socks. There are many more important things he needs to change.”

Yep. No man is perfect, and each one has some important things he needs to change. (So do we, by the way.) So, what’s a wife to do?

We already know what doesn’t work: reminding, nagging, pointing out, and getting mad. So, what really does work?

Drum roll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Three approaches:
  1. Prayer—Ask God to deal in his heart about whatever you think really needs changing. (After all, the only real change in any person comes from the heart.) God has a way of teaching lessons a whole lot more effectively than we can. So, let God do it. For this cause we also . . . do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:9-11).
  2. Sweetness—A man turns off to a squawking woman. A man whose wife is sweet and treats him with kindness will magically respond. It’s amazing what a lovely tone of voice, sweetness, and a pretty appearance will do for a husband. It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman (Proverbs 21:9, 19). On the positive side, we have the example of the Virtuous Woman: She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Proverbs 31:26).
  3. Unconditional love—When we vowed to “love and cherish” at the altar, it was for “better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others.” (Surely, sock-ball throwing should be in there, somewhere!) Whatever we ended up with when we said those vows, our husband is the person we swore before God and witnesses to love forever. It’s our sacred duty. Learn his love language and love him so that he feels your love.  . . . to love their husbands (from Titus 2:4).

So, the next time your husband balls up a sock—or uses the wrong fork, or spits or scratches in public—laugh. Forget it. Don’t let it bother you.

The next time you observe your husband’s real flaw, pray. Tell the Lord about it, and leave it there. Let God teach him.

The next time your husband is within reach, shower him with love.

. . . And, cook his favorite meal.


Note: This post is about annoying habits and character flaws. This isn’t about handling abusive behavior. If you are being abused or are in danger from your husband, leave the house and report it to the authorities.

Friday, June 12, 2015

They Saw Heaven

Photo courtesy of think4photop, Free Digital Images

What was it like to really see heaven? There were few biblical men who actually saw into heaven. I always think it’s fun to read their descriptions, as they don’t really know how to put such scenes into words. Reading these passages together, we get an accurate and amazing picture of what it’s like.

IsaiahIn the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Notice Isaiah’s reaction: Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts (Isaiah 6:1-5).

EzekielNow it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. Ezekiel saw many things in heaven: beasts, symbols, and prophecies. This is his view of the throne room of God: And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake (Ezekiel 1:1, 26-28).

StephenBut he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:55-56).

PaulI knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities (2 Corinthians 12:2-5). Some believe that Paul had this experience of heaven when he was beaten and was thought to be dead in Acts 14:19. It seems that Paul himself wasn’t sure whether or not he had actually died.

John—God revealed to John what heaven is like. After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. . . . and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals (Revelation 4:1-6, 8b-5:1).

Do people actually see into heaven today? I’m not sure, although I’ve read of people as they die, seeing glimpses as they passed from earth to heaven. I’ve also read of horrible death experiences of those who never believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, recorded by witnesses. I think it’s very possible to see into the next world in one’s last moments.

It’s amazing how many books have been written about someone’s “near death, to heaven and back” experiences where later, the author admits it was all made up.

It’s not made up when the scene is revealed in God’s Word. I hope you enjoyed these biblical men’s descriptions.

(The post about the Beatitudes and how their ultimate fulfillment will be in heaven, with passages that describe heaven, can be accessed here.)