Tag Archives: love

His Banner Over Me

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. (Sol 2:4 KJV)

Here’s an astounding thought. God is the creator and sustainer of the universe. We are all his workmanship, and he can do with us as he pleases. He has every right to command, to exact obedience and even to kill and destroy. He is a just God. He is a holy God. He cannot dwell with sin. He hates the wicked with eternal, unquenchable fire. And we are all sinners.

But it is God’s will to be merciful. He longs to restore fellowship with his people. But in order for God to restore relationship with His people, his people must put away their evil deeds and obey. They must be cleansed from their sins. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked and he calls all of us to obey, to submit, to “circumcise the foreskins of our hearts and no longer be stiff-necked.”

But here is the problem. God’s law requires us to love him with all of our hearts, with all of our souls and with all of our minds. And the relationship between God as a holy lawgiver and his people as sinners is not a relationship that is conducive to love. The more we try to appease a holy God by external law-keeping, the more we invoke his wrath. For he is beautiful and good. He alone is worthy of love and he desires that his creatures love him. Anything less is an affront to him, and he is just and holy.

In the Old Covenant, God loved his people and exercised his holy right to command and expect obedience. His people broke his covenant, even though his banner was over them. They bore his mark; they were his people. they were circumcised, and to them were committed the oracles of God. But they broke his covenant and rebelled against them, even though he was their master and husband.

He cast them away, and he was just and good to do just that. But God promised them a new covenant. In the new covenant, God said,

And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. (Hos 2:16 KJV)

The King James wisely just left these two words untranslated, because the English doesn’t quite have words to capture them. Both words can mean “my husband”.  But Baali is “husband” in a legal sense. The head of the home, the boss.  This was God’s relationship to the Old Covenant people. He indeed loved them, but was their commander and master. God said that the new covenant would not be like the old:

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: (Jer 31:32 KJV)

Here the word for “husband” is also Baal. A legal husband – one with the rights of the husband under the old covenant.

But Hosea said the new covenant would not be like that. Instead, God would be “ishi.” Ishi means “my husband”, but the first time we see the word “ish” is used is in the institution of marriage in the garden of Eden:

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (Gen 2:23 KJV)

`Ish here has the meaning of “man”; and it is contrasted with `ishshah (woman). It emphasized NOT the legal and headship/submission aspect of marriage, but the aspect of lovers becoming one flesh.

God would become “one flesh”, a lover, to His people, and this would mark the difference between the old covenant and the new.

Eternal, almighty God, who dwells between the cherubim, who commands the earth and the sun and the stars in their orbits, who tears down rulers and sets up rulers, who so governs the earth that all the nations are as grasshoppers in his sight – this God – became flesh in the womb of Mary so that we would no longer know him as Baali, but as Ishi.

His banner over me is love. The law could only make slaves. But the gospel makes lovers. He unites us to himself by his Holy Spirit so that we are truly flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, as Paul writes,

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Eph 5:30-32 KJV)

A banner is a standard, a flag marking the nation or tribe to whom one belongs. We bear the mark of our Lord Jesus and that mark is the mark of his love. His banner over us is love. He loved us, and gave himself for us. He loved us and washed our feet.

He had every right to command us and to expect obedience. He could justly have committed each one of us to hell forever and ever and would not have diminished his love or his goodness one bit to have done so.

And yet he chose, in his infinite love, to put his mark of love on us. What the law could never do, God did, by sending his only begotten Son to bear the sins of many.

The law could never change a heart. You can lock a murderer up and keep him from committing another murder if you have a strong enough cell, but locking the murderer up can never change a heart.

And God desires hearts that love him, not serve him out of slavish fear.

And, you husbands, this is what Christ requires of you. Your example is Christ. Your banner over your home is to be a banner of love. This is how the gospel of Christ is shown in your home. Not by your “right to command and expect obedience”, but by your responsibility to love, as Christ loved the church. And, no, these aren’t the same things.

I always puzzled over why a man would want a wife’s slavish obedience rather than her freely given love. Perhaps because of the blindness of sin. Whenever I write on marriage, someone will always say,

“But doesn’t a husband have the right to command his wife?”

Is that how Christ treats us? Commands never create hearts of love, and God desires hearts that serve him out of love. For this reason, he became our man, our lover, our friend. His banner over us is love. Christ does indeed have the right as our creator to command us. He is the king of kings. But it is not kingship that we are commanded to exercise in the home, but love. Love has power that nothing else has – it was the love of God that changed the world, and this is what we are to show in our homes.

This should mark our homes. We should have homes where those outside say of us, “That guy really loves his wife!”

If you do not know this kind of love, I would urge you to come to Christ and be reconciled to God. Come to the one who so loved the world that he laid down his life for his sheep. Come to him in repentance and faith. Learn at the foot of the cross what love truly is. You cannot truly love anyone else until you learn to submit yourself to the love of Christ. So come and learn. His yoke is easy; his burden is light.

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Are Women Human?

I admit that this title is not original with me.  I borrowed it from a justly famous essay by Dorothy Sayers.  As the title suggests, she asks an important question.  At first glance, it seems like a trivial question.  But the more I think about it, the more I realize that we get the wrong answer most of the time.

I was in a bookstore the other day.  I had a gift certificate so I figured that perhaps I could finally pick up this Sayers essay that I have been wanting to read.  I asked the young lady at the counter if she had it.

She was your standard brainwashed college student who has been carefully groomed not to think for herself. I have before inquired about several conservative titles and she tended to avoid me with contempt as a privileged, white, misogynist male.

She said, “Women are human, by the way…”, with contempt dripping from her lips.

I responded, “Sayers was a champion for women’s rights in the early 20th century and one of the first few women to graduate from Oxford.”

She muttered, as she searched for the book in her computer, “She would have been appalled at the Supreme Court decision this past week,” referring to the well-publicized Hobby Lobby case.

At that point, I realized that I was dealing with a person who was unaccustomed to thinking her own thoughts.  Or, as Sayers would put it, one who was not living as if she were fully human.

She writes,

What is repugnant to every human being is to be reckoned always as a member of a class and not as an individual person….What is unreasonable and irritating is to assume that all one’s tastes and preferences have to be conditioned by the class to which one belongs.  This has been the very common error into which men have frequently fallen about women – and it is the error into which feminist women are, perhaps, a little inclined to fall about themselves.

Sayers was prophetic, as my exchange at the bookstore illustrated.  “Because she is a woman, she also agrees that women are incapable of making moral choices, but are simply animals with a need to rut in the streets like everyone else.  Being animals, they cannot be expected to make their own decisions, provide for themselves, or live with the consequences of their actions.  She therefore, being a woman, would assume that a court decision forbidding the government from forcing rich white males into providing abortion services free of charge is by its very nature an attack against women.”

“Since they are not human, they cannot be expected to resist their urges to mate freely with the alpha male, and must be kept and provided for by their masters – the rich, white males of Hobby Lobby.  But Hobby Lobby believes that women are human beings and don’t need to be stabled and kept, so they must be destroyed.”

But the only way that this logic follows is if women are not really human beings, but are rather animals that exist to gratify the lusts of men – unchoosing, unfeeling, and unfettered by moral restraint.

Rich white privileged professors have indeed been successful in grooming our daughters into a life of sexual slavery, all under the guise of “women’s rights.”  And they are incensed when anyone calls them on it – when anyone suggests that perhaps their daughters are in fact, human beings, created in God’s image, designed by God Himself to live with Him in eternal blessedness, reflecting His glory forever.

They sneer with contempt at those young women who insist on being treated as image-bearers, demanding covenant promises and faithfulness, desiring respect and honor, before uniting in a bond of love, intimacy and the joy of marriage.

They are terrified that perhaps the objects of their lusts have these old-fashioned morals based upon an old-fashioned book that demands that women be treated as human beings, rather than animals.

So they have made an all-out effort to remove any notion of humanity from our sexuality, grooming our daughters while we pay more and more tuition dollars for the privilege.

 

I read that essay a while back and have been thinking about it.

While I was thinking about it, I dusted off a book from my shelf called “Reforming Marriage” by Douglas Wilson.  I read it and wondered when we were going to get this right.  Wilson, in seeking to “combat feminism” makes the same assumptions about women as the bookstore employee.  Women aren’t really fully human, but were designed by God to be dominated by men.

He quotes Genesis 5:1-2.

This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.

He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.

Then he writes,

In Hebrew, the …word translated mankind is Adam.  In other words, God created Adam and his wife male and female, He blessed them and called them Adam.  She was, from the beginning, a covenantal partaker in the name of her husband.  God does not call her Adam on her own.  He calls her Adam with him (Reforming Marriage, page 15)

I have often said that if we are not right about Genesis One, we will be wrong on everything else.  This topic is no exception.  Wilson acknowledges on the next page (Page 17) that Adam is a generic term for man or mankind.  In this, he is absolutely correct.  Not only is the word “Adam” the proper name for the first male of the species, it is also the term for humanity in general.  From this, it is apparent that Wilson is teaching that apart from the male, the female has no humanity of her own.  “God does not call her Adam on her own.”

Wow.  This is not only poor anthropology, it is also horrible exegesis.  It does not follow that since Adam means humanity, that it must mean humanity every time that it is used.  Nor does it follow that since Adam is the proper name for the first male of the species, that it means this proper name every time it is used.  Ultimately, context must come in to it.  Wilson changes the meaning of the word midstream through his argument, switching back and forth between the two different meanings of the word Adam.

Wilson is using this argument to give biblical justification for the wife taking her husband’s name, but he reads into the text that which isn’t there, interpreting the text to mean the opposite of what it actually means.  It is one thing to say that God calls the woman “human”.  It is quite another to say that God calls her Adam because she derives her humanity only through him.

Moses’ point is this.  God called the male of the species and the female of the species both human.

As human beings they were in God’s image directly.  As humans they were directly accountable to God, joint-heirs of the promise.  As humans, they had minds, will, thoughts, feelings, desires and longings.

And not just the male.  The male AND the female.

Moses is teaching here that women are indeed fully human, in every sense of the term.

In fact, the first time that females are mentioned, they are mentioned in this context, from Genesis One:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

It cannot be avoided.  The dominion mandate is given to BOTH the man and the woman, from the very beginning.  Wilson avoids this by simply not mentioning it.  He writes,

In addition to taking care of the Garden of Eden, Adam was also to multiply and replenish the earth.  There was an obvious need for a helper as he could not multiply the species all by himself. The task assigned to him was that of exercising dominion over the earth; in order to accomplish this task many descendants were needed (Page 29).

Dominion, to Wilson, was given to the man.  The woman was to be his helper by bearing descendants.  Women are not fully human.  The dominion mandate is not given to them apart from their husbands.  They have no gifts nor abilities nor strengths other than those given for the purpose of bearing and raising children.  If they are in heaven, they will also be subservient to the men there, for this is God’s created order.

But this is not what the text in Genesis actually says.  The female is a human being, in every sense of the term.  As a human being, she also is fallen in Adam and redeemed in Christ.  She is a member of Christ and a partaker of His anointing. Her humanity is not mediated through her husband and neither is her justification and sanctification.  She also is complete in Christ, and must therefore take heed to these words:

18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. (Col. 2:18-19)

Paul’s entire point in this epistle is that Christians are redeemed by Christ alone.  He alone is the mediator and savior of the world.  False teachers will seek to drive Christians from Christ by offering other mediators – in this case, angels.  Rome offers their priests, but Wilson offers the husband as the mediator of sanctification.  Both take away from the humanity of the Savior as well as the humanity of the “lesser” people of God.  Both are denials of Christ.

When a woman takes a husband, she is to submit to him in the Lord.  But this isn’t what Wilson teaches.  He teaches that women as a class are created a little less human, with their humanity mediated through men.

When we are wrong in Genesis One, we are wrong everywhere.  Wilson’s poor theology leads to the following advice from Wilson:

“The first time the dishes are not done, he must sit down with his wife immediately, and gently remind her that this is something which has to be done. At no time may he lose his temper, badger her, call her names, etc. He must constantly remember and confess that she is not the problem, he is. By bringing this gently to her attention, he is not to be primarily pointing to her need to repent; rather, he is exhibiting the fruit of his repentance.

“He does this, without rancour and without an accusative spirit, until she complies or rebels. If she complies, he must move up one step, now requiring that another of her duties be done. If she rebels, he must call the elders of the church and ask them for a pastoral visit. When the government of the home has failed to such an extent, and a godly and consistent attempt by the husband to restore the situation has broken down, then the involvement of the elders is fully appropriate.”

At best, she is a recalcitrant child.  At worst, she is inhuman, and incapable of wanting to keep an orderly home all on her own, or perhaps even having a “less than neat” personality.  She cannot be renewed by the Holy Spirit, but her husband must show her (gently, of course) how a Christian home really should be.  She cannot possibly have a reason to not have dishes done.  She, of course, is not allowed to think that maybe it would be OK for the dishes to sit on the sink until tomorrow.  She must think as her class tells her to think. She is not allowed to be tired, irritated, exhausted, discouraged, lonely or worn down.  She is not human.  She is an appendage of the man, made only to be dominated by his whims and desires – gently, of course.

Wilson writes, “(God) created us as male and female in such a way as to ensure that men will always be dominant in marriage.” (Page 24)

But you know something?  Women and men both have all different types of personalities, likes, dislikes, styles.  They are sloppy or neat, obsessively clean or obsessively unorganized.  Some women like trucks and some men like to design clothes. Some women like Aristotle; some men like to Pinterest.  To be human is to be an individual, accountable to God alone, free from bondage and tyranny. There is a difference between mutual, loving order and dominance and subjugation.  The world has “50 Shades of Grey”; the church has “Reforming Marriage”.  Neither are biblical.  The desire of fallen man is to rule over his wife.  But this is the curse.  And Christ did away with the curse.

I guarantee that if a man called the elders of our church to his house to explain to his wife how to be faster at doing dishes that he would end up with a far different conversation than the one Wilson imagines.

It is at once terrifying and exhilarating to be married to a human.  The reason that God took Eve from the side of Adam was not because Adam would always be dominant, but that Eve would be fully human, of one blood with Adam.  Just like him in every way, but female. The creation mandate was given to them both – male and female.  Moses couldn’t have said it more often or more clearly.

God could have made something else to clean Adam’s dishes, bear his children and serve his whims.  But it wouldn’t have been good for Adam.

So God made a woman. Adam could only love a woman.  You can be aroused by all sorts of things.  You can get a machine to do the dishes in a timely way.  You can get a television to talk to you at night. You can get a snuggle pillow to hug at night.  A donkey can carry bags and a monkey can be fun.

But you can only love a woman.  In order to love a woman, you have to see how she sees.  Understand what she is feeling.  Know her dreams and desires and goals.  Know what she fears and what she longs for.

These attributes only apply to humans.  If your wife isn’t really human, just part of a class, you can use her to your destruction; but you can’t love her.

Fallen man thinks that they want a chef in the kitchen, Martha Stewart in the home, and a hooker in the bedroom.  God says otherwise.  He says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing.”

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God’s grace an excuse for cruelty??

A pastor’s primary function is to preach and teach God’s word to the sheep that Jesus has placed in his care.  In order to do this effectively, he must be a lover of language. He must become a master of communication.  Not, indeed, the language of the world wielded by the manipulators of rhetoric, but as a steward of the treasure that God has placed in his care.  The ungodly man uses language to manipulate people, to get people to act in a way that he wishes them to act.  As Christians, however, we must learn how to use language in order to convey truth clearly and effectively.  But unfortunately, pastors frequently become manipulators of people instead of preachers of truth.

To be a God-pleasing preacher of truth, a pastor must understand two things:

First, he must understand what God teaches in His word.  Good seminaries drill this into the heads of their students with original language classes, systematics, apologetics, Old and New Testament survey classes, exegesis classes, and other offerings.

But unfortunately this is not enough.  A man may be an expert in the meaning and theology of the scripture and be completely unable to communicate that effectively, for he has not yet understood the English language.  Through poor choices of words, truth is skewered and equity is fallen in the streets.

So the second thing that a pastor must understand in order to communicate God’s word effectively is how the English language works and how to put the truth of God’s word into accurate language to be understood clearly by his audience.  The goal in communicating truth is to speak in such a way that the ideas in the speaker’s head are transferred to the mind of the hearer with as little loss as possible.  We may think that we are communicating one thing, when in fact our hearers hear something else entirely.  If pastors do not understand this, their work will be ineffective at best and outright harmful to the soul at worst.

A word in any language may have different nuances or even different meanings altogether depending upon the context of the word.

Take the word “love”.  I saw a car with two bumper stickers.  One said, “I love my Golden Retriever.” The other said, “I love Jesus.”    Same car; same bumper.

What the owner of the car was attempting to communicate was lost to me.  Two abstract thoughts, one referring to the affection that a man feels for his dog, and the other a religious affection for our Lord and Savior, were both denotated by the same word: “love”.  Two thoughts.  One word.

At the very least, I would hope that in the mind of the car owner these were two separate ideas.  But perhaps he meant that his love for his dog was exactly identical (univocal) to the love that he has for Jesus, in which case we would have to charge him with polytheism, in the same way that you would charge a man with bestiality for loving his dog and loving his wife univocally.

For those who may think that I am splitting hairs, or using ridiculous examples, I would like to remind you that we are currently inundated with predators and pedophiles who use the same techniques to cover their horrendous and vile actions.  I take great offence at the North American Man/Boy Love
Association for using the word “love” to describe their filthy lusts, hoping that our refusal to analyze language will give them a pass.  But do not be deceived.  What they mean by “love” and what I mean by “love” are two different things entirely.

A recent blog, A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism  commits a similar error, with similar deadly consequences for the truth of the Gospel.

You can find some excellent refutations here.

I have much to say.  But I will limit my comments to only one question of this catechism:

Q11.    How good a husband is my husband to me?

A11.    Much better than I deserve, and therefore I will thank God for him every day.

Here the writer makes a deadly error.  Here we see the error of using a word with several different meanings as if it only had one meaning.  Let me illustrate:

What he is saying in effect is this:  Because I deserve eternal punishment in hell for my sins, it follows that I deserve to take whatever injustice and abuse that my husband wishes to dish out to me.

But does this follow, or is it possible that the English word “deserve” has different meanings depending on the context?

In Shakespeare’s great tragedy Hamlet, Hamlet the Prince asks Polonius to take the newly arrived actors to their accommodations and make sure they had what they needed for their comfort.  Polonius replied, “I will treat them according to their desert.”

Hamlet replied, “God’s bodkin, man, much better!  Treat every man according to his desert and who shall ‘scape whipping?”

Hamlet has made the same error.  Polonius was merely speaking of giving them the accommodations and amenities that their station and their labors warranted.  Hamlet then replied, swearing by the bodkin, or dagger, of God, referring to their standing as sinners before the Throne of God. But the desert of the actors at the hands of Polonius and the desert of the actors at the hands of God are two different things!

Are we to believe that since no one has ever earned any favor from God whatsoever, but has received every good thing by grace alone that it would therefore follow that my boss can withhold my paycheck from me, since I deserve far worse?

If the blogger in question would be consistent with his univocal use of the word “deserve”, we would expect the following exchange:  “My employer has robbed me of my wages.  What should I do?”

Answer, “Rejoice that you have received far more than you deserve and continue to work for him with a meek and quiet spirit.  Don’t make a fuss.”

Take it one step further:  “My family was slaughtered by a wicked man.”

Answer: “It was better than they deserved.  Let it go, and don’t make a fuss.  No need to involve the police.”

It is indeed true that God’s mercy can never be earned – or deserved.  We increase our guilt daily before God.  We are fallen sinners.  Unless we are born again, we deserve nothing but eternal wrath and damnation.  This is taught clearly throughout Scripture.

(Eph 2:8-9 KJV)  8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

But this is speaking of our standing before the Judgment Throne of God.  It does not follow that we therefore deserve to be treated with cruelty, hatred and dishonor by wicked men.

If the grace of God can be used to justify injustice and cruelty, then words no longer have any meaning.

From the hand of God we always and continually receive far more that we can ever merit or “deserve”, for even the best works in this life are all polluted by sin.

Does it then follow that we do not deserve kindness, love, respect and honor from our fellow man?  Not according to the Bible.

Consider the following passage:

(Rom 13:7-8 KJV)  7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

God teaches here that there are those who deserve our taxes, our honor, and our tribute.  But then in verse 8, he carries the argument further:  We owe all men love.  Not the love of the world, but love defined by the law of God.

For a husband, we owe our wives the same love with which Christ loved his church.  Does she earn it?  Of course not.  But does she deserve it?  She certainly does.

In another place, Paul teaches that husbands and wives are both owed benevolence – they deserve it because they are husband and wife:

1 Corinthians 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

If it were not possible to treat our wives worse than they deserve, as this blog implies, then it would not be possible to defraud your wife, and Paul’s command would make no sense (1 Cor. 7:5).  Paul’s argument depends upon the Biblical truth that a husband owes his wife benevolence (favor, good-will, sexual intimacy).  To put it passively, she deserves it because she is his wife.  To withhold those things is to defraud her – or to treat her less than she deserves – directly contrary to the statement made by this blogger.

To the beloved daughters of God, do not allow your husband to treat you less than you deserve as his wife.  On the same token, do not treat your husband less than he deserves as your husband.  God requires equity in our dealings, not fuzzy appeals to misunderstood grace.

Equity means that we treat others fairly, or as they deserve.  Fulfill those obligations and remember that you have a right to expect the same in all of your relationships.  This is what a covenant of marriage is.  We are in a covenant and there are covenant obligations.  A husband owes his wife the fulfillment of his vows, and she deserves that fulfillment, because she is his wife.

If I make a contract, the other party deserves for me to fulfill my end.  Why is marriage any different?

Let us exegete scripture correctly, lest we become prey for the devil, and expose ourselves to the abuses of wicked men.

To affirm the covenant of marriage is to affirm the obligations of that covenant.  The husband deserves for the wife to fulfill her vow, and the wife deserves for the husband to fulfill his vow.  Neither party deserves to be treated with abuse, cruelty, violence and hatred.

The Bible also teaches that a husband or a wife can behave in such a monstrous way that they ultimately forfeit the benefits of this covenant, but that is another post for another time.

I have much more to say, but I have wearied the reader enough for the day.

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To the one about to marry my daughter

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;(Eph 5:25 KJG)

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1Pe 3:7 KJG)

There is a growing problem among young men today.  Pornography is so available that a large majority of men are not able to love a real woman, even physically. A young woman is simply an object, whose sole purpose of existing is to cater to a man’s whims and moods. A real woman is to be understood and loved, and this is too much to ask for today’s young man.

It is easier to drop out of reality, turn on the screen and love a fantasy, which is simply another word for loving yourself.

This is not love.

Men have become perpetual children, demanding and petulant.  A woman is seen as an impersonal collection of various body parts, designed to be used until she has no more to give – and then discarded.

A child demands sex; a man longs for intimacy. A child refuses to give anything; a man gives his heart.

So the streets and the clubs and the bars are filled with children, demanding satisfaction, searching for their next toy to use and destroy.

Some young men seek marriage, but are unwilling to give their heart.  They play with a woman’s heart until they “find the right one” and then they inadvertently “fall in love” – Cupid’s next victims.  But a victim of Cupid is a victim, not a man.  He was not man enough to choose a wife; he was not man enough to love the one he chose.  He simply allowed the currents of desire to carry him this way and that. He falls in love.  He falls out of love.  He leaves behind him the wreckage of broken and hurting young women who were naïve enough to believe him when he said, “I love you”.

This also is not love.

 

The question that I have for you is this: Are you man enough to love a woman?

Are you man enough to love your wife as Christ loved the church?

Are you man enough to live with her with understanding; or do you simply wish to never be inconvenienced, smashing the vessel of her heart on the floor like a cantankerous child?

Are you strong enough to protect her heart? To never do anything that would damage her reputation?

Would you rather die yourself than do the least thing to damage the soul of the one you love?

Are you strong enough to ask forgiveness? Courageous enough to call her lovingly to repentance?

Are you bold enough to reconcile?

Are you man enough to turn off the television and listen to her?

Do you understand her fears, her desires, her longings? Do you have the courage to hear her?

Do you have the courage to open up your heart to her?

Do you have the courage to talk to her about your fears, your desires and your longings?

Do you have the courage to admit that it is not good for you to be alone?

 

A child desires a mother.  A man seeks a wife.

A mother is a tremendous blessing for a child.  She nurtures, feeds, cleans, bathes and provides for the child’s every need.

But a mother is not a wife.

Are you man enough to leave your mother and your father and cleave to your wife?

It is a great calling – but most are not strong enough, courageous enough or man enough to take a wife.

It is easier to turn on the computer and fantasize about pixels of ink, rather than love a woman, so most choose the fantasy.

They do not know that it is for their life.

 

But a woman wants a man.

A man is strong enough to give himself for his wife. He demands nothing; gives everything.

He is man enough to make her place in his heart safe; he is man enough to win her heart and trustworthy enough to keep it.

He is courageous enough to hear the question “What are you thinking?” and actually understand it and answer it.

He is courageous enough to hold her in his arms and wipe away her tears.

He is man enough to see when she is at her end, and cook a meal, do the dishes, watch the kids, clean the house and still have enough left to hold her and pray for her and know the right things to say.

He is man enough to at least try to understand her, without resentment, bitterness, impatience or rage. If he is a man, the understanding will come in time.

He is man enough to forsake all others and cleave unto his wife.

He doesn’t whine and complain when there is dust on the windowsill or dinner is late – these are the actions of a child, not a man.

He has nothing to prove; he will not hide behind a façade of bluster and words; he never has to be the “man of the house” nor the “king of the castle”.

He is strong enough to take the lowest place; be the servant of all; wash the dirty feet himself.

For he is man enough to know that being a leader doesn’t mean being the boss.

A child tells everyone what to do.  A man leads the way by being the servant of all.

 

A man is strong enough to set his wife as a seal upon his heart, as a seal upon his arm:

For a man knows that love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. (Sol 8:6)

A man is strong enough to keep the flame going; bold enough to never play with a woman’s heart; courageous enough to never use a woman as a toy to be discarded at whim.

A man is one who trusts the Lord with his whole heart. He therefore does not seek proof of his manhood on the earth, for it is safe with his Lord.

The man who trusts the Lord is ready for a wife; for a man who trusts the Lord has nothing to prove to anyone.

Only then he is ready to love a woman.

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June 5, 2014 · 2:24 am

What the husband of a chronically ill wife wants her to know.

My dear wife recently sent me a list of three things that a chronically ill person wants her loved ones to know.  You can access that article here

It is very well done, and puts to words all that you are feeling.

My darling, I know.  I’ve heard you.  I understand.

I also want you to know that there are three things that a husband of a chronically ill wife wants her to know:

  1. I want you to know that your value to me is not connected to how many chores you can accomplish.

I don’t love you because you do stuff.  I don’t value you because of your efficient shopping and laundry skills.  I know you have them; I brag about them.  I know that you long with your whole heart to be healthy enough to do chores; and I admire you for that.

But I don’t love you for what you do; I love you because of who you are.  I love you because God has joined us together and my life would be black and white without you in it.  I love you because you are a daughter of God and with your whole life you point me to the beautiful Savior.  I love you because we have something quite special: in our union we picture Christ and the church!  In our relationship, we are something far greater than simply two people who share chores.  We are one flesh, linked together by covenant as Christ is forever united to His church.

I love you because you are my half of the orange; my flesh and my bones.  When you hurt, I hurt.  When you grieve, I grieve with you.

When all you can do is reach out when we are sitting together and touch my hand, the universe moves.  It may seem small, but worlds pass between us.  You aren’t a maid, a laundress, a schoolmarm – you are my wife.  Your touch moves my world.

  1. I want you to know that life consists of more than activity.

I don’t dream of the next party, the next activity, the next thing.  All of that is nothing if you are not there.  My life is already full of too much activity.  What I dream of is simply sitting with you; talking, watching, praying, thinking.

My life is not full because I do a lot of stuff.  I know that you apologize for not being able to be there, but I’d rather bring a meal to you in your chair than dine without you in the banquet hall of the great ones.

I want you to know that when you are here, I’m not missing out on anything.  You may feel useless and a drain on us all, but you have no idea how much we all lean on you.  You are our stability, our home, our comfort.

  1. I want you to know that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I say this – even though I grieve with you; even though I pray and long for your health and strength; even though I do get weary and overwhelmed sometimes.  But what it all comes down to is this: When I vowed “in sickness and in health” I wasn’t just saying words.  I know that health and sickness only come from the hand of God, and that He is good.

I know that all things must work together for our salvation.  I know that He has linked my life to yours, and we are in this together.  We will grieve together; we will pray together.  And if you NEVER recover strength, we will lean on our God together.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s you and me.  I’m with you.  That’s where I belong.  Let’s do this thing together.

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised” (Sol 8:6-7 NKJ).

 

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Please don’t love on me.

There’s a disturbing new trend in churches.  I see it frequently.

I know that many have no respect for the English language, and perhaps use this phrase without thinking about it.  But I would like for you to think about it.

While you are thinking about it, I beg you – please don’t “love on me”.  I know that your pastor has perhaps told you that “we just want to love on ya!”  But I beg you to stop.
Treat me with kindness.  Listen to me.  Don’t gossip or slander me.  But please don’t love on me.

Respect my family.  Say a kind word.  Listen to me; I will listen to you.

Don’t jump to conclusions about me; don’t be quick to speak or hear of evil about me.  But please don’t love on me.
Don’t join in condemning me; don’t hate me and speak all matter of evil against me falsely.  Don’t lie about me.  Tell me the truth.  But please don’t love on me.
Bear with me; tell me if I’ve offended you and give me an opportunity to reconcile.  Untangle me from sins that you may see me tangled in.  Point me to Christ.
Be kind to my children.  Pray for us. Smile at me; I am smiling back.
But please don’t love on me.

The problem is that pesky preposition “on”.  Someone thought it was folksy and clever, and it has spread like a virus.  But it spoils everything.  It makes love an act of aggression with me as the victim and you as the perpetrator.
It also takes away from a very beautiful concept.
Love is a powerful word filled with powerful content.

God loved us and gave us His only begotten son.
Love one another, even as Christ loved His church.  Jesus washes us with His blood; cleanses us with His Spirit, releases us from bondage; defeated death and sin and misery on the cross – because He loved us.  He has sent His spirit to work love in our hearts – love for God and for our neighbor.

Loving ON someone, however, is an entirely different concept.  If what you mean is what the Bible means by love – then please just say “love” and leave it at that.  Better yet, just show your love by your works.  Love is a bit like fame.  If you have to tell someone you are, then you aren’t.  Love, like fame, is easy to spot and doesn’t need to be announced.
I don’t even know what “loving on you” means.  But I tend to think that if I catch you loving on my wife, I might react strongly against it.  If I find you loving on my kids, I may just call the police.
Please don’t make me a victim of your love.  That somewhat defeats the purpose, does it not?

 

 

 

 

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