Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
These posts are not making a case against good, air-tight arguments. I’m just saying something else comes first, prior to making defenses of intellectual (even biblical) positions. What comes first? Things like this: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17–18). Truth and solid arguments are served well when the things on this list come first and permeate the interactions.
In the delicate interactions between a husband and a wife, a wise husband gains a hearing before saying what he has to say to her. Otherwise whatever he says may just roll off her back. I am pointing to the crucial importance of drawing a wife which is very distinct from compelling a wife.
Not all things that are totally true belong in the mouths of certain individuals.
Consider: The Lord said, “this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me” (Isaiah 29:13). Apparently they are saying right and true things, but God doesn’t “hear” them because their behavior gives the kind of evidence that disqualifies them and devalues their speech. Until their hearts are near, their words are cheapened and not gladly heard by the one to whom they say them.
I presided at two outdoor weddings this past weekend.
One was on a lakeside farm—under a heat index advisory, with blistering sun and tropical humidity. Everyone was dripping. Men were shedding their sport coats and loosening their ties. Women were fluffing their skirts and waving the printed programs as fans. Shade was prime real estate. Even with sunglasses there was a lot of squinting. Coolers full of bottled water on ice were available to try to beat back the oppressive heat.
Leading up to the 42nd anniversary of our wedding last week, I jotted down a list of books that I have read over the years about marriage. From memory I was able to list 36 books.
It has been my belief and practice for married persons—especially husbands—to always have reading material on their active reading shelf about marriage.
After 36 books, plus uncounted articles, sermons, and retreats, wouldn’t a guy think he’s learned enough? No. We are lifelong learners in many areas, and marriage is one of them.
On the Sunday following the Friday on which the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling on so-called gay marriage, Bethlehem member John Baumgartner prayed the following at the Sunday morning prayer gathering at 8:45 (the public is always invited).
I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would but as a fool. Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.
Yesterday, March 30, was my bride’s birthday.
I have been married to her 13 years longer than I knew my dad. (In fact, I have known my children several years longer than I knew my dad). At this point in my life, my dad’s influence has plateaued, if not declined, whereas Vicki’s influence continues to deepen and widen.
How does she influence me?
“J.D. Unwin, a British social anthropologist who spent seven years studying the births and deaths of 80 civilizations, reported from his research that every known culture in the world’s history has followed the same sexual pattern: during its early days of existence, premarital and extramarital sexual relationship were strictly prohibited. Great creative energy was associated with this inhibition of sexual expression, causing the culture to prosper.
I have found favor from the Lord. How can I say such a thing? Answer:
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.—Proverbs 18:22
It is not nepotistic fawning over my wife for me to praise her. “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). A woman who fears God is to be praised. Praise is what you do with a woman who fears God.
So indulge me, while I give three reasons to praise the woman with whom God has favored me.