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Sapphire Ice, Part 1 of the Jewel Trilogy

Sapphire Ice

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Virtues: The Pleasure of Purity

This post originally ran on September 17, 2009. Please enjoy this series from my early blogging months.

Disclaimer: This is a rather candid discussion about marital intimacy.

feminine appealAmong my current reading list is Feminine Appeal, Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney. This is part four of a discussion on the seven virtues of a Godly wife and mother she amplifies in her book.

Read all of these posts on virtues by clicking here.

The seven virtues she finds revealed in Titus 2:3-5:  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

The Pleasure of Purity

Disclaimer: This is a rather candid discussion about marital intimacy.

ringsMy choice of magazines tends to fall into home improvement or housekeeping magazines. So, the kind of subject matter broached in women’s fashion magazines and the like never really cross my line of sight. I was recently volunteering for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in Boston, and while working in one of my assigned spots, I came across a woman’s magazine. I don’t remember which one it was, but it was a big name.

There was an article in it about women fantasizing, and had a little blurb about a thirty-something married mother grocery shopping and seeing this young strapping bag boy and – hey – it’s okay to have a little sexual fantasy play out in your imagination. It will even get your engines revved for your husband.

I couldn’t even believe what I was reading. I wasn’t even able to finish the article, I was so disgusted with just the introduction.

It isn’t that I have a problem with sex. Sex is a wonderful, glorious, beautiful thing when it’s enjoyed in the way intended by God, the creator of the universe and the inventor of sex. However, as much as God created sex for our enjoyment, he gave us rules about sex, and those include that it be enjoyed after marriage and only between a husband and a wife.

Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 1 Corinthians 7:1-9 (New King James Version)

Even though the next virtue in the referenced text is “pure”, it is not to say that a wife should not be sexually intimate with her husband. There is no sexual purity more pure than an intimate, committed sexual relationship in marriage. Marital sex is a time of deep bonding and intimacy.

In fact, the Bible often uses the word “know” to describe marital sex. In Genesis 4:1 in the Latin when Adam knew Eve the word is cognovit, or complete knowledge. The Hebrew and Greek have similar meanings. It is the most intimate communication a husband and wife can share, and as time within the marriage passes and that knowledge deepens, the stronger the intimacy and “knowing” is gained.

HusbandWife-main_FullContrary to the advice of the so-called “experts”, any kind of sexual straying outside of the confines of a personal involvement with your husband is sinful. Anything from fantasizing about the bag boy to all out adulterous sex with another man constitutes a lack of purity. And again, contrary to what the so-called experts tell us, none of it spices up your sex life. Any of it separates you from your husband and keeps you from abiding in your husband. If there is one area in which men are tuned in to their wives, it is sexually. He may never show you how that affects him, or ever even say a word about it, but he will notice and it will affect him.

Sexual temptation is going to strike everyone – man, woman, young, and old. It doesn’t have any prejudices. We should never assume we are above temptation. And we should never assume that we are “safe” enough to indulge in even a little extra-marital fantasizing, which in any language is a form of fornication.

STATISTIC: 50% of married women and 66% of married men in the U.S. commit adultery (combined, these statistics indicate that about 83%—five out of six—of marriages involve at least one adulterous partner).

There are ways to avoid sexual impurity. As faithful as we thought we have been over the years, my husband and I were embroiled in the world, and our entertainment choices were rife with sexual immorality. We should avoid reading, viewing, or listening to anything that arouses impure thoughts or goes against any Biblical convictions. Gregg and I just cleaned out our movies and book collection. In this way, Gregg offered up his eyes to me instead of to a parade of scantily clad actresses.

As far as me personally, I used to write romance novels. I had to really rethink all of my manuscripts and revamp them; beat those weapons against purity into plowshares, tools that will be used to glorify God rather than to incite illicit or lustful thoughts and feelings.

Women who read secular romance novels often discover lead male characters who are larger than life. “If only my husband would talk this way, or do these things, or act in such a manner as this fictional character,” they think. A grateful heart is a happy heart. Does this mild fantasy lead to an ungrateful heart for what your husband does do, how he does act, what he does say? Is this a form of emotional impurity? Does fantasizing about fictional characters lead to resentment against the living breathing man in your life?

I will behave wisely in a perfect way.
Oh, when will You come to me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not cling to me.
Psalm 101:2-3 (New King James Version)

Even when we’re at home alone, we need to guard our thoughts and our actions.

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 (New King James Version)

Notice the verb “flee”. The Latin is fugite from which we get our word fugitive. The order here is not stand and face. Not battle for your life. Not even walk. FLEE. RUN. ESCAPE. HIDE. If sexual immorality was something we could handle, as humans in a fallen world, God would not have instructed us to run away from it. We need to identify people, places, times, websites, books, songs, movies, TV shows – whatever it is that can lead to a sexual temptation, and remove it from our lives. If we find ourselves tempted, then we need to find a godly mentor who can counsel us and help hold us accountable.

WomenPrayingCouchOur sermon last Sunday night revolved around temptation. Our minister cited a well known Christian counselor who has spent years in practice and written numerous books on the issues that Christians face. According to this counselor, he had worked with many many Christians, many of them national and international leaders within the Christian community, who had all succumbed to sexual temptation and had even been involved in extramarital affairs. He said in every single case, when the affair presented itself, the person was alone. When Jesus was alone in the desert, that’s when Satan tempted Him. We need friends. We need peers. We need Christians we can trust and go to, who can hold us accountable. Don’t face temptation alone, don’t hide your sin. It’s a way that you will fail. Confess your sin and let your friends help you grow in purity.

The Sex Secret the Experts Never Share

In Debra Evan’s The Mystery of Womanhood, Robert Farrar Capon states:

The bed is the heart of the home, the arena of love, the seedbed of life, and the one constant point of meeting, It is the place where, night-by-night, forgiveness and fair speech return that the sun may not go down on our wrath, where the perfunctory kiss and the entirely ceremonial pat on the backside become unction and grace. It is the oldest, friendliest thing in anybody’s marriage, the first used and the last left, and no one can praise it enough.

The number one way to avoid sexual temptation outside of our marriages, the secret to sexual purity, is to keep an exciting, ongoing, sexual relationship with our husbands. In the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, Dr. Daniel Akin says, “One of the greatest gifts a person can give his or her mate in marriage is exclusive and exciting sex.”

Carolyn Mahaney breaks it out in three parts:

  1. Be attractive.

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands 1 Peter 3:3-5 (New King James Version)

Be attractive is not speaking to just physical beauty, but to also the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Let the Holy Spirit work through you. Take up the mantle of the seven virtues as provided in Titus 2, and you will become the most beautiful person in the world to your husband.

couple picture2. Be available.

1 Corinthians 7:1-9 above, “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

3. Be anticipatory.

Think about making love with your husband. Plan for it, look forward to it. Husbands need more than just their physical needs met by passive submission from a bored wife. They long for us to enjoy sex with them, to be eager, enthusiastic, and excited.

I realize that not all wives will be receptive of this message. Pleasure, sexual marital pleasure or otherwise, may not be on the forefront of your mind as you think about your relationship with your husband. It is very likely at the forefront of your husband’s mind because God designed him that way.

He isn’t sick, or perverted, or broken, or any of that. He is a man and crafted by the hand of the most amazingly creative inventor in the known universe. The hormone that is responsible for sexual desire is testosterone. Both men and women have testosterone, just as we both have estrogen. But men have, on average, about 800 times more testosterone than women. Sometimes more (like in the mornings!) and sometimes less (like after a particularly stressful day). Even so, that is roughly the difference between a Chihuahua and an Elephant. If you had an Elephant raging around in your body all day and all night, as opposed to a Chihuahua occasionally yipping at shadows in the next room, you would think about the Elephant a lot, too. Try paying more attention to your Chihuahua.

If you are having trouble finding sex to be a pleasure, remember that God designed sex to be pleasurable between a husband an his wife. Read the Song of Solomon, a beautiful, loving tribute to a sexual relationship between a husband and a wife. God wants us to derive pleasure, find bliss, experience intimacy, so if that isn’t your situation, turn to Him. Whether you don’t feel desire for your husband, or if there is sexual sin that is in the way of your marriage – or anything in between, God can heal your marriage, renew your desire, empower you to change.

Gregg and I have discovered over the years that as we have grown in strength and devotion to God, our marital relationship has grown exponentially and proportionately. I think Carolyn Mahaney says it best:

Purity within the marriage covenant is intended by God, not to inhibit our pleasure, but to enhance our pleasure.


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The Power of a Praying Wife: Chapter 17 – His Relationships

Two are better than one,Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls,for he has no one to help him up.   Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

My husband, Gregg, is a very social person.  He can chat with strangers over any subject matter for hours and never bat an eye.  He can work a room at a party or banquet and enjoy meeting new people, catching up with old acquaintances, and find something in common with just about anyone.  But he has very few very close friends.

When he first went to Afghanistan, as he was traveling, I prayed very specifically that he would find a strong Christian friend, someone in which he could confide, someone whom he could have fun with while living in a war zone, and someone whom he would bond with and love and  know forever.  Because while isolation in small spurts is necessary for spiritual growth and for prayer time with God, we are not designed to be alone.  We are designed to be social creatures, to have friends, to develop relationships.

He traveled for a few weeks before finally getting to his first duty assignment.  The first day we were really able to talk, he said, “My roommate is awesome.  A strong Christian, a good husband and father — I feel like I’ve known him my whole life.”

They have been there in that country together for almost two years.  As Gregg has gotten promotions and moved around, and his friend has gotten promotions and moved around, they haven’t always lived in the same area.  But they work for the same company and their jobs cross paths often.  One day this week, this friend will move to the same base Gregg works, and for the remainder of Gregg’s time there, will live there as well.  I cannot tell you how happy this makes me (and them).  The separation from home is hard – but when there is a friend, a companion, a fellow believer and fellowship, then despite how hard the separation is, the time goes by faster and easier.

Relationships, friendship, fellowship, companionship – those things are important.  And we can’t be all things to our husbands.  They need fellow men.  Together you need other couples.  Your walk with God can only be strengthened with  circle of godly friends.

Read chapter 17 of The Power of a Praying Wife and consider the following questions.  For this chapter, I am leaving the comments on.  However, because I have already started this book in the forum, I will also post the discussion questions here.  Feel free to comment on either place.

1.  What are your husband’s friends like?  Are they godly?  Do you feel they are an asset to him or a determent?

2.  Proverbs 12:26 says, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray. ”  Are there people you would consider to be especially bad influences in your husband’s life?  Does he have any relationships that continually trouble him?

3.  2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”  Does your husband have any close friends who are not believers?  On a small piece of paper, write their names and put it in your Bible.  Pray for their salvation regularly.

4.  Does your husband have close, mature, believing male friends or mentors who counsel him and encourage his spiritual growth?  Is he seeking them?

5.  Does your husband have a good relationship with each of his family members and with each of your family members?  Is there anyone in particular who is especially troubling for him?  Are there some relationships weak or strained?  Pray for those relationships.

6.  Is there any relationship your husband has that is strained or broke because of his unforgiveness?  On a piece of paper, write out a prayer asking God to convict your husband’s heart about his need to forgive.

7.  How is your relationship with your husband?  Do you think it could be improved upon or deepened?

8.  Pray out loud the prayer on pages 134-135 in The Power of a Praying Wife.  Include specifics about your husband’s relationships.


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Praying Through the Night

One Monday night, Pastor Jim Cymbala could not sleep.  It irritated him that he couldn’t sleep, because he had a full day of meetings in front of him the next morning.  So, after tossing and turning for a while, he finally quit trying and got out of bed.

He pulled out his Bible and spent the rest of the night praying to God, immersed in God’s word, talking to God, and meditating on God.  When morning came, he was tired but started his day refreshed in the Word.

About 9AM Tuesday morning, as he entered his first meeting, his cell phone rang and told him about a plane hitting the World Trade Center.  His phone didn’t stop ringing after that.

Jim Cymbala is the pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle.  His congregation lost more people on 9-11 than any congregation in the New York City area. The church also became a sanctuary for those fleeing Ground Zero.  An article from Christianity today said:

Thousands of people, many covered with debris, came running across the bridge into Brooklyn as the World Trade Center came crashing down. As they streamed by Brooklyn Tabernacle hour after hour, church members set up tables with water and cold rags. In the road, which was now closed to traffic, someone used a bullhorn to tell passersby that they were welcome to pray inside.

In the testimony I heard, Pastor Cymbala said that he felt that God kept him up that night to pray and meditate so that he would be spiritually ready for the next day, the next week, the next month.  He said that he was so thankful for that quiet time away from people and responsibilities and meetings and just general day to day stuff, that he had those hours of dark and quiet to focus solely, uninterrupted, on God.

Neither one of my boys sleep well.  Scott is sometimes up all night.  Johnathan, who I thought skipped out on his Daddy’s insomnia, has started waking up several times a night again.  On those long nights, I often forget this testimony and think of it the next day.  But the times I do remember, the times I just get out of bed and pull out my Bible and start talking to God, those are the mornings after when I can function the best even with the lack of sleep.  Those are the days after that I’m not exhausted to the point of tears, and I can make it through my day.

When you can’t sleep, get out the Word.  Take the time, the quiet time, to spend it in prayer.  It may relax you and steady your mind to allow sleep.  It may energize you for the next day.  Or, in the case of Pastor Cymbala, it may be that God is prepping you for a difficult time ahead and you may need that spiritual grounding just as he did.


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I will Sing a New Song to You, O God

I will sing a new song to You, O God; On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You, ~Psalm 144:9

Saturday morning, driving through beautiful West Virginia just north of Charleston, I stumbled upon a gospel music station.

When I’m in my kitchen, I usually have a radio station playing that has a daily lineup of preachers and teachers — David Jeremiah, Alistair Begg, Focus on the Family, some local churches — I enjoy listening to the sermons and conversations.  When I’m not listening to that, I’ll have the radio on K-Love, which plays contemporary Christian music.  I enjoy many of the songs and love the message in most of the songs.

Saturday morning, the only stations I could get were country or gospel.  Actually, I stopped on the gospel station because I caught the tail end of a sermon.  After the sermon the bumper for the station came on and I found out it was a gospel station, right before they played In the Garden.

I LOVE In the Garden.

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet that the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

The next song was Jesus is Calling. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sung that song on a Sunday morning.

Come home, come home;
ye who are weary come home;
earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
calling, O sinner, come home!

A few more songs played then I heard a sermon on Luke 8:4-8, The Parable of the Sower.  Which was just awesome because it tied into my dad’s Sunday School lesson on Sunday.  I’ve heard the parable on it a lot, but it put it fresh in my mind when I needed it there.

Right before I lost the signal of that station, I heard There’s Pow’r in the Blood. Another really nostalgic, take me back to singing out of a hymnal in a Baptist church days kind of song.

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

Saturday evening, at my parents’ house, we watched the Gaither Family Reunion Atlanta special.  More amazing gospel music.

There is nothing like listening to 100 of the top gospel singers ever all joining voices with a huge choir and singing Will the Circle Be Unbroken.

Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, by and by?
In a better home awaiting
In the sky, in the sky?

Or Sweeter as the Days go By.

It gets sweeter as the days go by
It gets sweeter as the moments fly
His love is richer, deeper, fuller, sweeter
Sweeter, sweeter, sweeter as the days go by

And Alpha and Omega makes me want to stand up and shout, “Hallelujah!”  Here is a link to them performing this song.  You don’t want to miss out on this one.

He is the Alpha and Omega
The Beginning and the End
The Son of God, the King of Kings
Lord of lords, He’s Everything
Messiah, Jehovah
The Prince of Peace is He
The Son of Man, Seed of Abraham
Second Person in the Trinity

I wish I had kept the order of services for my parents’ church, but I didn’t.  However, after the beginning of the service, with a praise band leading choruses, the praise band sat back down and the organist took his seat and we sang two songs out of the hymnal.  After the sermon, we sang another song out of the hymnal.  They were awesome, traditional hymns.  I just can’t remember what they were typing this right now.

Through the weekend, I felt immersed in beautiful, traditional gospel music.  I grew up listening to this music, singing this music, watching people perform this music.  It put me in a very nostalgic mind frame all weekend.  It was beautiful.


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The Power of a Praying Wife – Chapter 10: His Choices

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion—  A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles.  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  Proverbs 1:1-7

Gregg and I were discussing this chapter, mainly because I didn’t like the way that Stormie worded it.  I felt a genuine lack of respect for men and husbands in the chapter, and if I had never read another word of hers before, I would have quit reading now.  So, I was a little bit shut off from coming up with something to say, strangely.

In the course of our discussing it, we discussed the fact that God has placed the husband as the head of the family.  Gregg said, “I am responsible for my choices.  If I make a bad decision, God is going to say to me, ‘Why did you make this bad decision?’  If I seek your counsel and take your advice, God is not going to say to you, ‘Why did you give bad advice?’  God is going to say to me, ‘Why did you make this bad decision?’”

I think that sums it all up very plainly.  The decisions and choices our husbands are faced with will impact our entire family.  They, as men, carry that burden.  It is our job as their wives to constantly lift them up in prayer, remembering the burden of their choices that they carry.

Read Chapter 10 of The Power of a Praying Wife and consider the following discussion questions.   Comments are turned off on this post, and the discussion has been created in Hallee’s Daily Brew by following this link:

1.  Do you feel your husband generally makes good decisions?  Why or why not?

2.  Does your husband ask your advice before making major decisions or choices with significant ramifications?  Why or why not?

3.  When you give your husband advice, does he weight it carefully before making any major decision or choice?  How does that make you feel?  How can your prayers help him make wise choices?

4.  Proverbs 1:7 says: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Does your husband seek God before making decisions?  Does he wait for God’s leading before acting?

5.  Proverbs 11:14 says: Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Are there godly people with whom your husband could seek counsel regarding certain decisions he has to make?  Pray that God will send godly counselors to your husband.

6.  Pray the prayer out loud on page 101 and include specifics related to your husband’s choices.


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Seeds of Faith: Illusion of the Ideal

Seeds of Faith Team Member
In continuing my discussion of Vicki Courtney’s 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter, we enter into Chapter 2, “The Size Demise and the Weight Debate” which I refer to as the Illusion of the Ideal.

The average woman in America is 5 feet 3.8 inches and weighs 163 pounds.

The average runway model is 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 120 pounds.

It’s no wonder that 53% of American girls are unhappy with their bodies, and that by age 17, 78% are dissatisfied. It’s also no wonder that spending 3 minutes looking at fashion magazines lowers the self esteem of 80% of women.

I am blogging at Seeds of Faith today. To read the rest of this article on Seeds of Faith and check out more inspirational content, click here.

To continue reading here, click MORE: Continue reading

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Love & Marriage

I was reading a message board a couple of weeks ago and came across a post by a married woman who was upset at her husband.  Her birthday was a Friday, and he’d made plans for some overnight guy thing (hunting? fishing?  I can’t remember) for Saturday-Sunday.  He apparently had these plans for weeks, and in the corresponding arguments they’d had about it, he said that her birthday shouldn’t span an entire weekend.  That Thursday, the day before her birthday, she posted this story.  In the comments section, she added that he’d had a root canal that day and that he called her after it was done and said they’d had a problem with a nerve and that he was in so much pain he couldn’t talk – he had to go throw up.  She added to that, “Karma is on my side.”

Everything about that post, from the original intent to the comments calling him all sorts of evil names to the glee in the pain he was experiencing made me sad.  It made me so sad that I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind and this couple has been heavy on my heart since then.

I don’t know their relationship.  I don’t know what kind of person he is or what kind of person she is.  I just know that there is a perfect model for marriage, and they aren’t living it.

When God said, ” It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him,” (Genesis 2:18) there are two Hebrew words that could have been used for “not good.”  One is ‘ên tôb, which means that something is lacking.  As in, this coffee is lacking cinnamon, or these mashed potatoes are lacking salt.  The other is lõ’tôb, which means positively bad.  As in, it is positively bad that man is alone, so I will make for him a helper.

We are designed to want to be in a relationship with someone.  We are commanded by God to make that relationship monogamous, permanent, and, above all, a reflection of Christ’s relationship with us .

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,  that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  Ephesians 5:25-27

What does that mean?

What it means is that Christ loves us so much that He died for us.  He stepped up, was beaten until he didn’t even resemble a man anymore, then nailed to a wooden cross until his lungs filled with fluid and suffocated him.  And he did it because he LOVES us.

Husbands are supposed to love their wives that much.  God’s perfect model for marriage has husbands loving and adoring their wives to the point that they would step up and die for them.

My mom and a co-worker were discussing a movie one time.  I wish I could remember what movie it was.  But the action hero was rescuing his wife from some bad guys.  The co-worker said, “What kind of woman would want a husband who would be willing to die for her?”  My mom’s shocked response was, “What kind of woman wouldn’t want that?”

Conversely, women are to love and respect their husbands.  To hold them in high esteem.  To give to them the kind of unconditional respect that rivals the unconditional love their husbands should have for them.  To love them tenderly, affectionately, and passionately.

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.   The heart of her husband safely trusts her;  so he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.  ~Proverbs 31:1-12

Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  The term “one” used here is the same term used in Deuteronomy 6:4 describing the holy trinity: “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” I think that is a powerful message from God that puts man and wife as one – one flesh, one in the eyes of God as much as the trinity of God is one.

When a husband loves his wife with the perfect, agape love of Christ, and when his wife gives him unconditional respect and a tender affectionate love in return, then you have a perfect model of a marriage as given to us by God.  Then you have the two becoming “one” – a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Men have hearts that crave respect.  Women have hearts that crave love.  When a relationship is formed and love and respect are withheld, then you have unfulfilled and discontent hearts.  When I see that, when I know the perfect relationship that could be, it makes me sad.

To dismiss a wife’s hurt over a scheduling conflict is not loving her.  To take delight in a husband’s physical pain is not respecting him. To have them both happening together within the same marriage makes me long to be able to wave a magic wand and heal the big gaping wound of hurt that is obviously that relationship.


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Not all of Washington, D. C. was shut down this past couple of weeks . . . These are the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Old Guard keeping watch regardless of the weather conditions!

John Piper on Women in Combat

Gregg and I are currently watching a DVD series with John Piper.  During one of the segments, he read aloud this article he wrote.

I am an Army brat.  My husband is an Army brat.  Both of our fathers were career military and retired after serving their country for a combined sixty years.  Gregg is a combat veteran of two wars.  Gregg’s sister is a high ranking career Army officer with an impressive resume that includes time spent deployed to a couple of different wars.

That said, I love this article.  I love how clearly John Piper spells out how he feels.  I love that he has such courage of his convictions to be so clear about it.

Co-ed Combat and Cultural Cowardice

By John Piper

November 2, 2007

(This article is also published in World Magazine.)

If I were the last man on the planet to think so, I would want the honor of saying no woman should go before me into combat to defend my country. A man who endorses women in combat is not pro-woman; he’s a wimp. He should be ashamed. For most of history, in most cultures, he would have been utterly scorned as a coward to promote such an idea. Part of the meaning of manhood as God created us is the sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of our women.

Back in the seventies, when I taught in college, feminism was new and cool. So my ideas on manhood were viewed as the social construct of a dying chauvinistic era. I had not yet been enlightened that competencies, not divine wiring, governed the roles we assume. Unfazed, I said no.

Suppose, I said, a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.

And collectively that is what society does—unless the men have all been emasculated by the suicidal songs of egalitarian folly. God created man first in order to say that man bears a primary burden for protection, provision, and leadership. And when man and woman rebelled against God’s ways, God came to the garden and said, Adam, where are you? (Genesis 3:9), not Eve, where are you? And when the apostle described the implications of being created male and female, the pattern he celebrates is: Save her, nourish her, cherish her, give her life (Ephesians 5:25-29).

God wrote manhood and womanhood on our hearts. Sin ruins the imprint without totally defacing it. It tells men to be heavy handed oafs or passive wimps. It tells women to be coquettes or controllers. That is not God’s imprint. Deeper down men and women know it.

When God is not in the picture, the truth crops up in strange forms. For example, Kingsley Browne, law professor at Wayne State University in Michigan, has written a new book called Co-Ed Combat: The New Evidence That Women Shouldn’t Fight the Nation’s Wars. In an interview with Newsweek, he said, “The evidence comes from the field of evolutionary psychology. . . . Men don’t say, ‘This is a person I would follow through the gates of hell.’ Men aren’t hard-wired to follow women into danger.”

If you leave God out, the perceived “hard-wiring” appears to be “evolutionary psychology.” If God is in the picture, it has other names. We call it “the work of the law written on their hearts” (Romans 2:15). We call it true manhood as God meant it to be.

As usual, the truth that comes in the alien form of “evolutionary psychology” gets distorted. It is true that “men aren’t hard-wired to follow women into danger.” But that’s misleading. The issue is not that women are leading men into danger. The issue is that they are leading men. Men aren’t hard-wired to follow women, period. They are hard-wired to get in front of their women—between them and the bullets. They are hard-wired to lead their women out of danger and into safety. And women, at their deepest and most honest selves, give profound assent to this noble impulse in good men. That is why co-ed combat situations compromise men and women at their core and corrupt even further the foolhardy culture that put them there.

Consider where we have come. One promotion for Browne’s book states, “More than 155,000 female troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002. And more than seventy of those women have died. . . . Those deaths exceed the number of military women who died in Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War combined.”

What cowardly men do we thank for this collapse of chivalry? Browne suggests, “There are a lot of military people who think women in combat is a horrible idea, but it’s career suicide to say it.” In other words, let the women die. I still have my career. May God restore sanity and courage once again to our leading national defenders. And may he give you a voice.


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Happy Birthday to (Say the name)

Christmas: Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

Say the Name of Jesus

Happy Birthday to the man named…

Jesus (Matthew 1:21)

Adam, the Last (1 Corinthians 15:45)
Advocate (1 John 2:1)
All & in All (Colossians 3:11)
Almighty (Revelation 1:8; Matthew 28:18)
Alpha (Revelation 1:8; 21:6, 22:13)
Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8; 21:6, 22:13)
Altogether Lovely One (Song of Solomon 5:16)
Amen (Revelation 3:14)
Anchor (Hebrews 6:19)
Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9-11; Revelation 1:13-16)
Angel [of the Lord] (Genesis 16:9-14; Genesis 48:16)
Anointed, His (Psalms 2:2)
Apostle (Hebrews 3:1)
Apostle of our Profession (Hebrews 3:1)
Arm of the Lord (Isaiah 53:1)
Atoning Sacrifice for our Sins (1 John 2:2)
Author (Hebrews 12:2)
Author and Perfecter of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2)
Author of Life (Acts 3:15)
Author of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10)
Balm of Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22)
Beginning (Colossians 1:18)
Beginning and End (Revelation 22:13)
Begotten (One and Only – John 3:16)
Beloved (Ephesians 1:6)
Bishop of your souls (1 Peter 2:25)
Blessed and only Ruler (1 Timothy 6:15)
Branch (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12; Revelation 11:1)
Bread (John 6:32-33; 6:35)
Bread of God (John 6:33)
Bread of Life (John 6:35; 6:48)
Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15; John 3:29; Revelation 21:9)
Bright & Morning Star (Num. 24:17)
Brightness of His [God's] glory (Hebrews 1:3)
Capstone (Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7)
Captain of their salvation (Hebrews 2:12; Josh. 5:4)
Carpenter['s son] (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3)
Chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20)
Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)
Chief[est among ten thousand] (Song of Solomon 5:10)
Child, [the young] (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 2:8-21)
Chosen of God (Luke 23:35)
Christ (Matthew 1:17; Mark 8:29; John 1:41; 1 John 2:22;Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:23)
Comforter (Isaiah 61:2; John 14:16)
Commander (Isaiah 55:4)
Consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25)
Corn of Wheat (John 12:24)
Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20; see also Isaiah 28:16)
Counsellor (Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 40:13)
Covert (Isaiah 32:2)
Creator (John 1:3)
Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16)
Day Star (2 Peter 1:19)
Daysman (Job 9:33)
Dayspring from on high (Luke 1:78)
Deliverer (Romans 11:26)
Desire of all nations (Haggai 2:7)
Door [of the sheepfold] (John 10:7, 9)
Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14; 8:8)
End (Rom 10:4)
Eternal Life (1 John 1:2; 5:20)
Express image of His [God's] person (Hebrews 1:3)
Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11)
Faithful and True Witness (Revelation 3:14)
Faithful Witness (Revelation 1:5; 3:14; 19:11)
Father of Eternity (Isaiah 9:6)
Fellow of God (Zechariah 13:7)
First and Last (Revelation 1:17; 2:8; 22:13)
First begotten of the dead (Revelation 1:5)
Firstborn Firstfruits [of them that slept] (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23)
Firstborn From the Dead (Revelation 1:5)
Firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15)
Forerunner (Hebrews 6:20)
Foundation (Isaiah 28:16; 1 Corinthians 3:11)
Fountain (Jeremiah 2:13; Zechariah 13:1)
Friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34)
Fullness of the Godhead (Colossians 2:9)
Gate (John 10:9)
Gift of God (John 4:10; 2 Corinthians 9:15)
Glory of God (Isaiah 60:1)
God (Matthew 1:23; John 1:1; 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8; Romans 9:5; 2 Peter 1:1;1 John 5:20; etc.)
Good Master (Matthew 19:16)
Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)
Governor (Matthew 2:6)
Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14)
Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20)
Guide (Psalms 48:14)
Head [even as Christ] (Ephesians 5:23)
Head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23)
Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2)
Helper (Hebrews 13:6)
Hiding Place (Isaiah 32:2)
High Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 7:1)
Holy and True (Revelation 3:7)
Holy Child (Acts 4:30)
Holy One (Acts 3:14)
Holy One and the Just (Acts 2:27)
Hope (1 Timothy 1:1)
Hope of Glory (Colossians 1:27)
Hope of Israel (Jeremiah 17:3)
Horn of salvation (Psalms 18:2; Luke 1:69)
I AM (John 8:24, 58)
Image of [the invisible] God (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15)
Image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Immanuel (Matthew 1:23)
Intercessor (Hebrews 7:25)
Jehovah (Isaiah 26:4; 40:3)
Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 21:11; 26:71; Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67; 16:6; Luke 4:34; 18:37; 24:19; John 1:45; 1:46; 18:5; 18:7; 19:19; Acts 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 6:14; 10:38; 22:8)
Jesus the prophet [of Nazareth of Galilee] (Mt 21:11)
Judge (Micah 5:1; Acts 10:42)
Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42)
Just One (Acts 7:52)
King (Zechariah 14:16)
King Eternal (1 Timothy 1:17)
King of Israel (John 1:49)
King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16)
King of the Ages (Revelation 15:3)
King of the Jews (Matthew 27:11)
Kinsman (Ruth 2:14)
Lamb (Revelation 13:8)
Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36; 1 Pet 1:19; Revelation 5:6, 12; 7:17)
Lamb Without Blemish (1 Peter 1:19)
Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45)
Last (Revelation 22:13)
Lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22)
Life (John 14:6; 1 John 1:2; Colossians 3:4)
Light (John 12:35)
Light of the World (John 8:12)
Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5)
Living One (Revelation 1:18)
Living Stone (1 Peter 2:4)
Lord (2 Peter 2:20)
Lord [& Saviour] (1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Peter 1:11)
Lord of All (Acts 10:36)
Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8)
Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16)
Man (John 19:5; Acts 17:31; 1 Timothy 2:5)
Man from Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:48)
Master (Matthew 8:19; Luke 5:5; 8:24; 9:33)
Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5)
Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15)
Merciful High Priest (Hebrews 2:17)
Mercy Seat (Romans 3:24-25)
Messiah (Daniel 9:25; John 1:41; 4:25)
Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6; 63:1)
Minister of the Sanctuary (Hebrews 8:2)
Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)
Nazarene (Mt 2:23; Mark 1:24)
Nobleman (Luke 19:12)
Offering (Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 10:10)
Offspring of David (Revelation 22:16). See also Root.
Ointment poured forth (Song of Solomon 1:3)
Omega (Revelation 1:8; 21:6, 22:13)
One and Only Son, see Son. (John 3:16)
Only Begotten Son of God (John 1:18; 1 John 4:9)
Our Great God and Savior (Titus 2:13)
Our Holiness (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Our Husband (2 Corinthians 11:2)
Our Protection (2 Thess. 3:3)
Our Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Our Righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Our Sacrificed Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Peace, our (Ephesians 2:14)
Physician (Matthew 9:12; Luke 4:23)
Plant of Renown (Ezek. 34:29)
Potentate, Blessed and only [and Savior] (Acts 3:15; 5:31)
Power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24)
Precious Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6)
Priest (Hebrews 4:14)
Prince, Blessed and only (Acts 3:15; 5:31)
Prophet (Acts 3:22-23)
Propitiation (1 John 2:2; 4:10)
Quickening (life-giving) Spirit 1 Corinthians 15:45
Rabbi (John 3:2; Matthew 26:25; John 20:16)
Ransom (1 Timothy 2:6)
Redeemer, Redemption (Isaiah 59:20; 60:16; 1 Corinthians 1:30)
Refuge (Isaiah 25:4)
Resurrection and Life (John 11:25)
Righteous Branch (Jeremiah 23:5)
Righteous One (Acts 7:52; 1 John 2:1)
Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16; 1 Corinthians 1:30)
Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4)
Rock of offence (Deut. 32:15; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8)
Rod (Isaiah 11:1)
Root (Revelation 22:16)
Root of David (Revelation 5:5; 22:16)
Rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2:1)
Ruler of God’s Creation (Revelation 3:14)
Ruler of the kings of the Earth (Revelation 1:5)
Sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2)
Same, the (Hebrews 1:12)
Sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Savior (Ephesians 5:23; Titus 1:4; 3:6; 2 Peter 2:20)
Saviour [of the world] (Luke 1:47; 2:11; 1 John 4:14)
Second Man (John 19:5; Acts 17:31; 1 Timothy 2:5)
Seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16, 19)
Seed Servant (Isaiah 42:1; 49:5-7; Matthew 12:18)
Shadow of a great Rock (Isaiah 32:2)
Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)
Shiloh (Genesis 49:10)
Son (Isaiah 9:6; 1 John 4:14)
Son of David (Luke 18:39)
Son of God (John 1:49; Hebrews 4:14)
Son of Man (Matthew 8:20)
Son of the Most High God (Luke 1:32)
Source of Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 5:9)
Sower (Matthew 13:37)
Star (Num. 24:17)
Stone (Psalm 118:22)
Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2)
Surety (Hebrews 7:22)
Teacher (Matthew 26:18; John 3:2; 11:28)
Tender Plant (Isaiah 53:2)
Testator (Hebrews 9:15-17)
The One Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5)
The Stone the builders rejected (Acts 4:11)
True Bread (John 6:32)
True Light (John 1:9)
True Vine (John 15:1)
Truth (John 1:14; 14:6)
Vine (John 15:1, 5)
Way (John 14:6)
Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30)
Wonderful (Isaiah 9:6)
Word (John 1:1)
Word of God (Revelation 19:13)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days…


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