Thursday, April 30, 2009
April 30, 2009: Day 30: The Property Tax
April 29, 2009: Day 29: The Medical Records Tax
April 28, 2009: Day 28: The Child Care Tax
April 27, 2009: Day 27: The Birth Certificate Tax
April 26, 2009: Day 26: The Driver Record Tax
April 25, 2009: Day 25: The Phone Tax II
April 24, 2009: Day 24: The Air Emissions Tax
April 23, 2009: Day 23: The Boat Registration Tax
April 22, 2009: Day 22: The Vehicle Environmental Impact Tax
April 21, 2009: Day 21: The Hunting Tax
April 20, 2009: Day 20: The Gas Tax
April 19, 2009: Day 19: The Great Lakes Water Compact Tax
April 18, 2009: Day 18: The Assisted Living Facilities Tax
April 17, 2009: Day 17: The Investment Tax
April 16, 2009: Day 16: The Garbage Tax
April 15, 2009: Day 15: Right to Keep and Bear Arms Tax
April 14, 2009: Day 14: New Upper Tax Bracket
April 13, 2009: Day 13: The Hospital Tax
April 12, 2009: Day 12: Easter Sunday, No Release
April 11, 2009: Day 11: Vital Records Tax
April 10, 2009: Day 10: BadgerCare Plus Tax
April 9, 2009: Day 9: UW Tuition Increase
April 8, 2009: Day 8: The Capital Gains Tax
April 7, 2009: Day 7: The Work Permit Tax
April 6, 2009: Day 6: The Tailgate Tax
April 5, 2009: Day 5: The Seed License Tax
April 4, 2009: Day 4: The Justice Information Tax
April 3, 2009: Day 3: The Cigarette Tax
April 2, 2009: Day 2: The Phone Tax
April 1, 2009: Day 1: The Nursing Home Bed Tax
Good Lord... The people who voted for this guy owe me soooo much money. This is OUTRAGIOUS!!!!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
When I was called to preach the Gospel and give my life to the service of His Church, many things went through my mind. I wanted to attend Moody Bible Institute but after two attempts I failed to gain entry. So my Pastor at that time, Dr. Phil Barnhart, took me under his wing and started a Homiletics class for me. We met often and the class was heavy on Bible study and book reading. I took this class seriously and was given many opportunities to preach once I had the skills honed enough.
But a thought began to enter my mind as I progressed. I am sure it must enter every students mind as they enter the study of Theology. In a world so occupied by liberal thinking and infused with progressive thought, can I trust my teacher to instruct me in the ways of God? Because indeed a students learning process is defined by who’s feet you sit at. Very often, a student’s instruction comes from one or two professors that mold the student into what he will be.
The first thing a person who is called to preach must do, is turn over their life to God. To relinquish that sovereign power we have on our self. A movement from non-being into being. The acknowledgment that God created me for a purpose, and he infused the spirit in me in my Mother’s womb to fulfill that purpose. To surrender all to Him, for His task, can be as difficult as it is gratifying. But it is also necessary, to become a God fearing and spirit filled preacher of His word. For if we fail to practice what is preached, we slip into hypocritical loss of authority and implausibility.
The cardinal mistake most people called to preach make is we look at life and we look at people and we look at the baby and we look at the Bible and we look at ourselves and we never ever look through them. It’s like having a telescope in your home. You gaze at it in all it’s wonderfulness and the shape and all the mirrors and fittings and we say, “Oh my! What a marvelous thing! What is it?” But only when you bend down, look through the lens and you see the craters on the moon and the rings of Saturn and the beauty of a nebula, are you able to understand and appreciate it’s existence. In order for life to have value, you must go through it. It’s the journey, not the destination. This takes discipline. Discipline not only to understand, but sometimes to go back and objectively read the scriptures again and see them in new and fascinating way we may have missed the first time. To remember events in our lives and look at them from 20 / 20 hindsight.
This is where my conservative nature is derived. And it is why I believe liberalism should be labeled for what it is: A religion. And it should be labeled such because it is faith based, albeit foundationless. It should be removed from schools because it is a religion. If I be called “old school” then thank God. Because where the new schools are going I have no interest to follow, for they base their values and vision on feelings. Feelings are not based on any moral ground. They come from inside you, not the word of God. Teaching and instruction and knowledge apart from God, goes against life it’s self for there would be no life without God. Liberals and their ideas sound oh so good at the time and they seem to mean well. But meaning well is never enough. And when the promise made at the beginning is nowhere in sight at the end, it has the appearance of the devil, who’s empty promises pave the road to damnation.
Conservatives base their ideas by not simply looking at today and looking at tomorrow, but always taking a look back to see if this has been tried before: To glimpse if an idea is relevant and good and worthy of effort. Or if we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past by a lack of understanding where we come from, and how we got here.
Where we are, is not where we aspire to be. If you fold the cards you’re dealt, you do not know how to make the best of what has been handed you. Nor do you have the desire to see it through and to realize the potential of life. Peter had nothing. But he stepped out of the boat and walked on the water. When he took his eyes off the Master, he began to sink. What a metaphor for life that anecdote is.
Those who have to tell you they are Christians usually are not. They may be saved, but their walk is frail. As the song goes, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love”. Actions are what make a Christian authentic. It’s what we do that makes what we say significant and noteworthy. And when what we say comes from the mind of God and His word, we truly are doing, and not feeling.
How man perceives us is not how we are perceived by God. God sees us through eyes of grace, repentance, and love that can only come from the creator of life. Man cannot come close to this.
I was called to be a foster parent about a decade ago and took up the task for the sake of the children I was watching get hurt by abuse. I came face to face with this week with one persons perception of what I did. This has now caused me such great pain, I questioned my own faith and my own life as God’s servant.
A while ago, I was reading a paper that comes to every residence and business in Walworth County. I hardly ever read this paper for it is mostly advertising and fluff. But for some odd reason I was paging through it and I came upon an article that caught my attention. It was a story about a child’s long dark journey through the foster care system in our county. I had been a foster parent for many years so I glanced at the article. The girls name was altered to protect her identity. But by the fifth paragraph I was taken back by what I was reading. The story was too familiar. And I only had to read 10 more words to realize my fear. This was my foster child. The way she described her stay with us made me shutter. She claimed that she was scared to eat our food for fear we would scold or punish her. She claimed she felt alone even though we had another foster girl of similar age staying there at that time. She described a place I could not distinguish by her recollection. Was this the same girl? Was this how we treated her? Did I do this?
I will not go into details here about how dreadful she made her stay with me look. Suffice to say I was stunned and upset. Her descriptions bore no resemblance to my memory. I sat down at my desk, and emailed the editor. This foster child’s story had not been corroborated or challenged and I was appalled at its inaccuracy. I called the paper and asked to speak to the author but was not given the chance. The editor told me it was not his job to investigate the child’s accusations, just to print them. I asked the editor if the child had mentioned that I took her in to protect her from her abusive parents? Did she say she was given a bedroom and a bed and chest of drawers and desk to study at? Did she tell you we took her shopping the next day for clothes and anything she might need to make her stay pleasant? Did she say she was welcomed with open arms? Did she tell you she went to Church every week and was taught by me in Sunday school? Did she tell you she had the best birthdays and Christmas’s of her life at my home? Because that is what she told me at the time. Did she tell you how in the summer of 1999 we spent nearly every day jet skiing on Lake Geneva and shopping for whatever she desired? Did she tell you that even after she left my home, I brought her gifts for her birthday and Christmas and offered to help her learn how to drive? “No” he said, “She did not tell us any of those things. We wanted to hear about what she went through in foster care. We may have only printed what was bad, but we were only interested in finding the truth about foster care”. I then called my daughter, who was there at the same time and was this foster child’s friend. I read her the article. She was stunned and amazed at this girl’s selective memory. “It was not like that at all Dad”, she said, “You were the one thing in my life I could depend on. And you were there for her too. It’s very extraordinary she would talk of us this way”. This young girls bizarre account was untrue, but the lies were printed and the public now stands ready to accuse me of the behavior she relates. My own daughter has had to come to my rescue to tell the truth this paper could care less about. They want to sell stories and products and sensationalize the liar and make a perpetrator of the falsely accused.
When people take liberty and publish the lies, the damage can be extensive. Tell a lie often enough, and it becomes reality in the minds of the unknowing and truth in the eyes of the blind. I learned a valuable lesson this week. Do God’s will and help those who need it. Just don’t expect any appreciation. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. Not for what you’ll receive from the world. You will not ever get what you deserve from the world. Only God sees to it you are paid in full. The world makes you pay now. God pays at the end. Being called to spread the Gospel is not something you do to get rich. Your treasure is stored in heaven.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Mathematicians and Physics professors round the globe have tried in vain to decipher the chances of life forming after what they call, “The Big Bang”. Most are willingly looking for ways it could occur naturally. And all have come to the same conclusion. It just can’t.
John Polkinghorn, professor of quantum physics at Cambridge, in one of his many books says this: “If you examine the early relationship between expansion and contraction in the early pekoe-seconds of the universe, you will see that the exactitude was so precise that the margin of error, and the precision required would be like taking aim at a one inch square object 20 billion light years away on the other end of the universe and hitting that object, bulls eye!”
Do you know what a “pekoe-second” is? It is the time it takes an object traveling at the speed of light to travel the distance the breath of a human hair. We can’t even comprehend such a thing. It exists only in theory. But how can we even begin to imagine how impossibly difficult it would be, to create the universe simply by chance, or a “Bang”? For those who would censure and denounce the creation of this planet by God, this proves them to be erroneous, invalid and the idea of a universe without a creator, utterly ludicrous. Even those without faith and with a pre-disposition to not believe in God, acknowledge that the chances of life anywhere in the universe are 10 to the 40,000th power. And if you want to know how slim a chance that is, it would be like having 60,000 people by tickets to a football game and after randomly buying those tickets, accidentally be seated in alphabetical order for 1 billion games in a row. It simply cannot happen.
Today, many people simply do not want there to be a God, but they live in constant fear that there is one. Some spend their lives, trying to teach people that there is no God, but the fact is they can’t prove their proposal in the arena of ideas and reality. They simply have faith that there is no God and they hope they are right.
No matter what God sent to these unbelievers, be it Solomon, Moses, Jonah, John the Baptist, even Jesus Christ himself, no matter what God sends, they are determined to suppress the truth God gives and the evidence that He exists, and try to find the contradictory to suit their convenience.
Faith is not just believing. It is not just walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Faith is a confidence in the person of Jesus Christ and His power, so that even when his power does not serve my end, my confidence is in Him, because of who he is. Faith in Jesus Christ is a passionate cognizant moral commitment to that which stands up to scrutiny of the mind and the heart and the conscience. Faith in Christ is not credulity, its explanation. Trusting the natural and the supernatural because of the person of Christ.
Outside of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I know of no other hope for mankind. Your body is the temple of the living God and if you do not believe that, then you simply have not asked Him in. I know of no better compliment, then for God to look at my body, and say to me, “This is where I want to live”. Do you know a better compliment then for God to look at you and say to you, “This is where I want to make my home”? You didn’t come to the sanctuary friend; you brought the sanctuary with you!! No other deity would ever tell you this. Not Mohammad or Buddha or Krishna or Zorro Astor.
Jesus, after turning over the moneychanger’s tables, is accosted by the leaders of the religious community and asked, “By what authority do you do this?” And he says to them, “"Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." I’ll tell you, that is faith. For these scribes did not understand whom they were speaking to. But at the cross, they’re eyes would be opened and everyone who knew of Him, knew he was the Son of God. Jesus’ faith in His father is shown by giving up his powers in heaven to become a servant of man and of God and to dwell with us in this place. What he did that day in the Temple would follow him all the way to Calvary. But the skeptics were the leaders of the faith at the time. They did not believe. They would not see that this was the Savior of the world, the King of the Jews. There is a subtlety in the answer Jesus gives. The truth does not have to be easy. Do not always assume that truths are simplistic or can be given in a sentence or a paragraph. Sometimes we must have the discipline to go back and read scripture again because the truth may lie under what seems to be apparent in the text. Jesus of course talked of raising the temple in three days, and he meant his body, not the temple that took 46 years to build. And this went right over the heads of the scribes.
When Jesus turned over the tables in the temple and was asked by what authority do you do this, Jesus said Destroy this temple and in three days I shall raise it up. But he was speaking about the body. How we need to keep it clean. Keep our body’s desires and wishes at bay and be sure that what we do is sacred and holy. That’s why the sanctity of marriage. That’s why the value of good health. That’s why God tells us to take care of this mortal vessel. That’s why we must live within the parameters of what he intends for us, because it is the temple of God. He abides in us. And we must treat it as though it is his house.
The question is not “What do I have to lose” but “What do I have without God”. Those who say there is no God, those who claim the Bible is not truth, will one day, be dust.
Is it possible, that people have doubt in Christ today, not because of a problem they have in the mind, but because of the implications belief would have for their body? Do we doubt, not because it is intellectual, but because they know the moral entailments of our body? Let him in and you will be liberated from the enslavements of the flesh and the sins of the secular. Freedom for the faithful. That’s liberty we can live with…..Forever!!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Are you not happy that our faith and your beliefs are under attack? Is it not delightful that our quest for Christ is harassed and condemned? I am joyful and we all should be. It is in times such as these where men and women of God must defend their faith. Can we give reason for our religion and offer convictions in our character? If we are not willing, in a time of war, (and make no mistake, as Christians, we are at war) to stand up and fight for what is good, just and virtuous, what does that say to our God? What does it say about us? If you are a Christian and you cannot defend this (The Bible) then you need to increase your knowledge in the Word and prepare for battle for the world waits to ambush those who are fragile and flimsy of Faith.
Teenagers today who attend religious youth groups, gatherings and Sunday Schools are an interesting assemblage. There before them lies their entire lives and most cannot defend the book they are asked to read from each week. But what’s worse they have a propensity to attend these meetings to congregate with their peers rather then to define themselves as individuals in the body of Christ. Long before the world was made, God had a plan for me, and you and every one of the young people scattered among us. But what is the bride of Christ doing to help them find God’s purpose for their existence?
For so many years the question, “Who am I and where am I going?” was on the lips of my generation. Books were written and read and answers scant and scarce. Everyone thought they knew the answer and felt obligated to tell everyone how they found it. And now it seems the authors of those books flounder and struggle for meaning still. They were placed here by God not to give us the answers but to show us they do not have the answers; they do not hold the key. God does! The “I’m Ok You’re Ok” generation is…..well, not ok.. As a matter of fact it, is far from it and it trickles down into the generation that follows in a seemingly endless plight of non-conversant kids unprepared for the will of God and the mission he subscribes to our journey.
The application of the will of God to our lives is a discipline of discipleship many will not master, either by choice or by following false ambitions of currency, supremacy and gluttony. Is living a principled life too much to ask in an age of ethical anarchy?
No. It’s not. But you need faith. The inescapable fact is that without faith, life becomes mundane and cruel. It turns reward-less and cheap. Faith comes from a belief that something is real and true, but holds little or no earthly value.
I read a story of a minister who was asked to visit a very sick young man. He went to the home of this boy and met his parents. They took the pastor into the boy’s room, which smelled of death. The boy was pale and unresponsive and looked to be hours if not moments from death. The parents told the pastor that a faith healer had been by that morning. The mother said, “Do you see that jar on his night table there?” The pastor looked and saw a jar filled with a purple spongy mass, sprouting roots in a briny fluid. He said “Yes I see it”. The mother said that her husband had sent for this faith healer and he had come that morning and seemingly like magic, without a knife or a cut he had reached into her son and pulled the cancer out of him.” The pastor looked, prayed and spent a few moments at the side of the boy’s bed. He then gave the parents his card saying, “Call me if you need me. I will come right away”. The boy died within an hour but the pastor only heard days later. But the mother and father believed that this was their only hope. They put faith in this person they had only heard of to come and heal their son. It was a false hope, but it was faith, nonetheless. The pastor knew that God heals if it is his will. But when you look at this kind of credulity, the naked trust of one never met, then the question of faith, unwarranted by anything except a dire need, that someone has the power to rescue you out of this terrible situation, comes to a head and we see what faith really is.
The flip side of this is a man like Bertram Russell, a devout, hard-nosed atheist who was asked by someone this question. “Mr. Russell, what if when you die and you stand before the Almighty living God and He asks you ‘Why did you not believe’ what then, will you say to Him? And being the undaunted atheist that he is, said he would tell God, “You did not give me enough evidence to believe in you”.
The problem with non-believers is not the absence of evidence to believe,
It is the suppression of it!
In John chapter 2:12-20, Jesus is going to Capernaum and John writes:
12After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. 13When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables. 16To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" 17His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me." 18Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" 19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." 20The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
This is arguably one of the two most courageous things that Jesus ever did. The other being the passage in Luke 4:14-21 where after being in the wilderness for 40 days, Jesus goes to the synagogue and stands before the people and he is handed the scroll and quotes Isaiah where it reads,
“18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Then Jesus says, “ Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”.
Jesus, after turning over the moneychanger’s tables, is accosted by the leaders of the religious community and asked, “by what authority do you do this?” And he says to them, “"Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." I’ll tell you something right here and now, that is faith. For these scribes did not understand whom they were speaking to but at the cross, they’re eyes would be opened and everyone who knew of Him, knew he was the Son of God. Jesus’ shows faith in His father by giving up his powers in heaven to become a servant of man and of God and to dwell with us in this place. What he said in the Temple would follow him all the way to Calvary. And this went right over the heads of the scribes.
One thing I loved doing as a youth leader is set up debate teams and have students challenge the believers on their faith and make them defend it. And even more fun is watching the non-believes try to defend their lies and shallow beliefs. God smiles when scripture is given in the face of adversity and decent. The more you read and learn, the easier it is to be right.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
"The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations. ... The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institution may be abused by human depravity. ... It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors." --George Washington
"Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.' So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, 'Rejoice!' So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him." --Matthew 28:1-9
Monday, April 6, 2009
Isaac Takes Rebekah
A Sermon By Eric Graff From Genesis Chapter 24:10-27
The word love so mistreated and trampled by the world. It has caused as much happiness as sadness. It has made great unions and has ended lives in tragedy. Take for illustration two short poems I've written with love as the subject. No need to remember these they are for illustration only.
LOVE IS LIKE AN ONION,
YOU TASTE IT WITH DELIGHT
BUT WHEN IT’S GONE YOU WONDER,
WHATEVER MADE YOU BITE
LOVE’S A FUNNY THING,
JUST LIKE A LIZARD
IT GOES UP AROUND YOUR HEART
AND JUMPS INTO YOUR GIZARD
LOVE IS SWELL,
IT’S SO ENTICING
IT’S WONDERIOUS SMELL
LIKE STRAWBERRY ICEING
IT’S CHOCOLATE MOOSE,
IT’S ROASTED GOOSE
IT’S HAM ON RIE,
IT’S BANNANA PIE
LOVE IS ALL GOOD THINGS
WHITHOUT A QUESTION
The other is very short:
SLIPPERY ICE, VERY THIN,
PRETTY GIRL, TUMBLES IN
SAW A BOY, ON THE BANK,
GAVE A SHREEK, THEN SHE SAINK
BOY ON HAND, HEARD HER SHOUT
JUMPED RIGHT IN, PULLED HER OUT
NOW SHE’S HIS, VERY NICE,
BUT SHE HAD TO BRAKE THE ICE.
The word love has many different connotations and meanings in the Bible. You have the love of man for man, the love of parent for child, the love of child for parent, the love of brother for brother, the love of man for God, the love of God for man. But out of all these relationships, there is only one where there is a physical consummation. That is between a husband and a wife.
I want to share with you today a few thoughts on the how God tells us how to build a successful home. This is most important for young people who are considering marriage or may already have someone they wish to share their life with. These points are undeniable principles and truths. The Bible spells out how God wants us to live as husband and wife and I tell you without reservation tonight that if you do not follow these guidelines you will end up proving the word of God, not braking it. The word of God is eternal and irrefutable
The story of Isaac and Rebekah is as old as it is wise. It is ancient as it is relevant to young people who are searching for a mate to spend their lives with. The reading today is from Gen. 24 verses 10 thru 27, but we need a little background here to set this in context. Abraham is dieing, nearing the end of his earthly journey. Abraham asks his most trusted servant, Eliezer, to go to the land of his relatives and points the servant away from the Canaanites where Abraham was living. He makes the servant promise to go where he tells him to find a woman for his son Isaac.
At this point something very pivotal happens that those of us here in the west are not accustomed to. Isaac was not the only one involved in the selection process. Abraham had prayed, Eliezer was the servant asked to do the search; God was prayed to and involved as well. To the young people reading this today this may seem foreign and peculiar. I’m sure you young adults would be distressed if you did not play the major role in the selection process of your mate.
But let me warn you here young people, and listen please. You see, when we begin dating and get involved in a romance, it is very easy to get our hearts involved so quickly that our minds get left behind and cease to function almost entirely. Your mind is shut down. This is where the fraise “love is blind” is derived from. But in our blindness and unwillingness to listen, young people tend to shut out the wisdom of their parents and look upon their parents as interrupters of the relationship rather then as wise ones, assisting you in seeking out the right candidate. And I will not say absolutely here, but the chances are, if you enter into a relationship in violation of your parents will, I suggest you are playing a dangerous game with God. If you are going to violate an authority placed there by God, you must be twice as sure, that you are doing the right thing. And this is particularly important if your parents are men and women who love God.
Your parents know without question, that love is hard work. Let me explain. On my wedding day I can tell you the feeling that erupted from my heart when I saw my bride coming down the isle of the Church, there is no word in the English language that could begin to describe the feeling in my heart today except possibly the word “Wow”. And she came up to the alter where I was standing and my heart was all a flutter and it was quite possibly the happiest day of my life. She looked grand, absolutely grand!! But 5 years later, she had these funny things in her hair at night, which prompted questions like, “What stations are you able to get under the influence of such an apparatus?” Somehow the first word that leaps to mind is not the word “Wow”.
But you still love because the feelings are true and deep and right. But love will test you at your most vulnerable times. It is an enormous commitment. It will force you to deal with pride, lust and greed and anger.
If you are taking an oath before God, then this is no diminutive act.
Jesus uses this analogy in his relationship to us. Of all the analogies of this world, Jesus takes the parallel of a bridegroom and of all the categorizations of the Church, Jesus chooses the loveliest of them all, a bride, and if greater love has no man then this, that he lay down his life for his friend, that’s why I implore you to seek out the wisdom not only of God through Jesus, but of your parents, before you make this decision. That moment of decision, you must not make alone. It needs God and those God sent to be your principle, your parents.
Seek the advice of someone you love and respect. One you also believe feels that for you. Do not try to do all of this on your own. The romantic emotions you are feeling are not alone proof of God’s will for either of you in a relationship. So please do yourself the favor and seek the wisdom of friends and family.
One thing that leaps off the page from this text in Genesis for me is the unselfishness and generosity of Rebekah. It says she was pure and a virgin and had not laid with any man. She is so kind.
Have you ever wondered how much a camel drinks? She said to Eliezer, you just relax sir, I will not only give you the water, and I’ll water all your camels as well. The sense of graciousness and chivalry that Rebekah displays is truly remarkable seeing that she had never met Eliezer.
One of the first things people will always notice about a couple, no matter where you go in this world, is if a couple is not kind in their relationship to each other. And I want to go so far as to say, there is never a reason, for you to be unkind to one another as a couple. And this is not exclusively for the guys but it is directed at the men, you may disagree or struggle, be frustrated and flustered or even uncomfortable with comments or attitudes that one may display to the other, but no act should cause one to be unkind. And I have always strived to not use this word because I seem to lean on it in the military sense, but marriage is a series of compromises.
I want to say something to the young men here now and I do not say this in a humorous way, but a woman’s mind, being what it is, there are times she will look at you and say to you, “ I’m feeling down and very unhappy and I really can’t tell you what the reason is, all I know is that I need to be loved”. There are times when no amount of talk or reasoning is what she is looking for. Sometimes all she is feeling is distance between her mate and she needs that arm of yours to come across her shoulder and for you to just hold her. She has no need for long speeches or explanations or apologies. She needs you to just be there, touching her and explaining to her that she is cherished.
Lastly, and I speak from a position of knowledge on this; you need to turn from the temptations of the flesh. Hear me carefully, for you may mock me on the inside young people, give in to temptation and you will soon be justifying more illegitimacies to your mate. Desire will turn to deceit and disrespect if not hatred.
A Methodist minister, Clovis Chapel, gave a great example of where this kind of illegitimacy starts. You may think Rev. Chapel archaic but hear him out please. He talks about modern dance and modern films. He says, “Mark you, in saying this I am not declaring that every girl or boy who dances is immoral, that is not my prerogative to say so. But what I say is this; the tendency of the modern dance is to take the fine edge off the modesty of both young men and young women. A blacksmith can no more handle the tools of his trade without hardening his hands, then a girl can be grasped in the arms of permisques men, and still keep her sensitiveness to the questionable and the unclean. When we consider therefore, the thousands who are engaging night after night in the modern dances, our wonder is not that so many wrong, but rather that so many can keep there footing in such slippery places. Take for example our stage folk. They are nether better nor worse to begin with then the average, they are just ordinary human beings. But they play at lovemaking so much, that it loses all its sacredness. Caresses become cheap and commonplace to become dispensed to almost any passerby. Such a girl becomes like a cluster of grapes above a common path, where everybody that passes takes a grape. He who takes so does it without reverence. And the golden coin of real and abiding affection, such spend-thrifts soon become bankrupts.”
It is up to you how sacred your relationships will be. It is up to God to help you but He only will help if he is asked. If you choose to love, understand how sacred this is to God and how important the God given purity you have is to your chosen. I would have not a single reservation to telling my daughter, “Yes, I give you my blessing” if she found that man praying. It is the one principle in my life I have tried not to violate since becoming reborn in Christ, and that is to spend those moments with God, every day. You want your union to last forever? Stay close to the everlasting God. You will find it rubs off on your union in such a way, you will never want for more. A successful marriage is when a couple lives happily EVEN after!!