Friday, 7/28/2017

 

Good Morning, It is Friday…Again!

 

Monday was a day of weariness. I thought that I received a good night’s rest by my Father in heaven. But, I must be needing more rest after preaching a message on the subject on Sunday. I worked on some projects until about 12:30 p.m. or so and headed home. No, it was not to rest, but to run 5.2 miles and then take my shower and go to bed for a long nap (1.5 hours). The run was invigorating and it is always good to complete the course that one has set out to finish. The course I choose had the same hill twice in the run. It is about 300 yards long and gets steeper as it proceeds to the top of the hill. The time to complete this run was 50 minutes and 15 seconds. As usual from a longer run for this old-timer, I sweat profusely which is my reward for a good run. It is time for a cup of warm water and my wife had a plate of delicious fruit for my lunch. It was delicious as I watched the birds coming in for some seeds for their lunch. The day was a delightful 73 degrees, but on our patio it was closer to 80 degrees. It is such a blessing to be outside and take in the summer day with a slight breeze and the sunny day. Here I am near the end of the day writing my last devotional for the week. May you have a super weekend!!!

 

1 Corinthians 7:5 - Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (ESV)

 

Subject:  Satan Will Invade Your Marriage

 

Satan is like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is lurking with his demon host all around the world trying to get each of us to fall into sin. For some, it may be the last time that they sin and meet the end of their life with drugs, alcohol, or suicide. He is in the business of making Christians sin so that they become ineffective for God’s glory. He will do all he can by the permissive will of God to destroy your marriage.

 

He has been working on your marriage since the day you said, “I do!” He will continue to look for opportunities to make you and me fall into sin with great zeal and joy when we do fail to live godly lives before God. He is in the business to tempt you and me to sin. He will do as much as he can to accomplish this feat and he will use all the means at his disposal to make it happen in our lives. He will use people around us, the electronic media, the world, and strive to get us so busy that we do not have time to meet with God each day.

 

One of the schemes to destroy marriages is to have one or both spouses deviate from their commitment to each other in the area of morality. You made a commitment to your spouse to be faithful for the rest of your life on the day of your wedding. All goes well for a while…this may be a short while or a long while…there comes a time in most marriages that it hits a wall. For some reason, we find ourselves dissatisfied and even trapped in our marriage relationship. We do not have our emotional or our physical needs met. We begin to ask the question, “Why did I ever marry this person?” Or, maybe you find someone else more attractive or someone gives me more attention and listens to what I think or say.

 

Satan uses different schemes on each person. His demon host watch and wait for the right time to bring someone into your spouse’s life. They lure your spouse away from their devotion to you and just like a fish in the lake, the spouse is hooked and it is not easy to get off that hook. Self-control has gone by the wayside and we give excuses of why we are thinking or doing that are sinful actions. Soon our marriage spirals downward and the one-time commitment to the marriage crashes like humpty-dumpty on the wall.

 

It is critical to be very sensitive to your spouse’s sexual needs. It is important to talk about this subject, even though it may be uncomfortable. You may not know how to begin such a discussion, but it is critical to your marriage. Take the plunge and talk with him or her about what is going on inside of you. Allow the other person to respond to the need and get you “off the hook” of the temptation. In this way you prevent the demon world from invading your home and your marriage.

 

As it says in 1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Verse nine says, “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” Yes, he is a world-wide predator and he will slay all that he can. So, be watchful and resist him!!!

 

Protecting my marriage,

 

Pastor Les

 

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, 7/27/2017

 

Hi, Christian,

 

I had my mind set on running in the Waterford 4-mile run, but I may be changing my mind on the matter. It is not that I have changed my mind on running or even running 4 miles. It is because the course that Keri and I ran a week ago last Monday was not what I envisioned. The course will be run by about 400 people. We ran the course in Hales Corners by about 1,100 people. It was a great course in comparison. This course in Waterford is a running path for the greater part of the way. It is only about ten feet wide on most of the trail through the woods. People will be running and walking both ways along the trail making it difficult to pass. The trees on both sides of the trail will obscure most of the light from the moon along the way and a flashlight may not be sufficient to help to see ahead of a person. To top it all off, the trail has a lot of work to be done to make it “runner-safe”. There are places…quite a few places where the trail could tear an ankle or a knee by running. I am sure that they will fix the trail up before the race, but will it be sufficient. My body is more important to me at this time in my life than a race…in fact, there are many races this summer and fall that I can participate in with others from our church. I am looking at an alternative right now. The last concern for many of the runners are the mosquitoes. They are thick…I do not mind them, but because of the wet spring and summer, there are lots of them wanting my blood. I do not mind giving up a little blood, but I do not enjoy the itching. Well, you have a good rest of the week and I shall see what transpires with this running on August 5!?

 

1 Corinthians 7:5 - Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (ESV)

 

Subject:  Self-Control in Marriage

 

How well do you do in controlling your mind, your tongue, and your body? It is an important factor in our lives as we relate to others. It can build or break a relationship and especially a marriage. It is critical when it comes to the sexual act between husband and wife. Whether they talk to each other about the subject is really immaterial. It is a matter of honesty and integrity along with a desire to please the other person.

 

Paul begins with an imperative (command) of not depriving (take back this authority) one another. In the previous verses He speaks about the authority that each spouse has over the other person’s body when it comes to the sexual relationship. What we do as a husband or a wife is to surrender our will to our spouse and being sensitive to meeting the sexual needs of the person we love.

 

Paul does give an exception in which both agree (a joint decision) for a limited time (a little while) that each of you devote yourself to prayer and spiritual matters. This is something that is not discussed by pastors when preaching or teaching very often. Each person in the marriage relationship must understand that if either one of the partners deprives the other person of sex, it is likely that sin will crouch at the door of that home. Satan, the adversary, will tempt (trap) one or both of the partners because of the key ingredient of self-control is missing or weak.

 

For the woman, the emotional and physical connection in the marriage relationship is very important. It does not need to be the act of sex, but a time of cuddling or just enjoying each other in the bed that is undefiled (Heb. 13:4). For the husband it is “wandering eyes” and the heart is often right behind those eyes so that lusting and mental adultery take place. It will lead to a physical relationship with another woman down the road…sooner or later.

 

Sex is not to be used as a “reward” or be held back because of a “punishment” regarding a decision made or something not going one’s way. Satan is quick to trap the person who has their sexual needs unmet in a marriage. Be careful to be sensitive and caring for the other person in the relationship. Please communicate with each other where you are and work together for unity and love towards each other.

 

Finally, remember if there is a need of self-control in the marriage in this matter, it comes from the Holy Spirit of God and not within yourself (Gal. 5:23). Yes, it begins within you as a choice, but the dependency upon God’s Spirit is the victory. He is the one who gives this as one of the nine characteristics of the “fruit of the Spirit”.

 

Depending upon the Spirit,

 

Pastor Les

 

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 7/26/2017

 

Good Morning, Again!

 

One of the things that we do often in our church is to send out prayer requests as we receive them from people within and outside our church body. It is an opportunity for us to join together to ask God to get involved in a situation, a concern, or an affliction in people’s lives. One of the most recent prayer requests has been a couple in our church, P.J. and David, and their two older kids. As with many marriages after a divorce, there are problems that arise from the ex-husband or ex-wife wanting things their way. I have seen this on both sides of the past married spouses. It is not a healthy and enjoyable journey striving as a Christian to be godly and yet be firm in what one wants to see happen with the kids. Anyway, there was a desire by P.J.’s ex-husband to have the children more and he has not had much of an interest in either child for the past many years. So, litigation was begun and we began to pray for God to intervene. The older child a couple of months ago it was decided by the courts to allow her to make her own decisions about going to her biological father’s place for visitation…they allowed her to say, “No.” We thank God for that decision. The younger of the two children over a week ago had a court date for a desire to have him come over more often and even to have equal custody. The courts closed the case without any court meeting saying there will be no changes in the times the father can have the son. It was a monumental answer to prayer. Our God is a great God…prayer works on our behalf. All glory goes to our God! May Jesus Christ be glorified!

 

1 Corinthians 7:3-4 - The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

 

Subject:  Who Owns Who in Marriage?

 

We may not like the thought that we are owned by the other person in a marriage relationship. But, the truth of the matter, we are possessed by the spouse that we married. We, in essence, lose our freedom to be single, to do our own thing without consulting the other person, and to be sensitive to the other person to meet their needs. The word “free” or “freedom” is not the password for a good marriage relationship. It is the word “bound” or “glued” together to meet our responsibilities as a spouse.

 

The husband and the wife are to give (imperative – a command in the Greek) their conjugal (marital) rights to one another. We must fulfill our marital duty to one another. For neither of the two spouses has authority (rule, reign) over their own body, but the other person does. We may not like that arrangement, but that should have been thought about before the marriage took place. It is too late at this point.

 

This is not speaking about immoral conduct in the sexual relationship or forcing the other person to do something that is not natural and normal in the love-making relationship. I have known of some men that have had their Christian wives watch pornographic videos or movie clips to enhance their sexual drives. This is not what Paul and God are speak about in this passage. We are talking about communication to be sure that we are meeting the other person’s sexual needs in the marriage relationship.

 

It is important to be sensitive to one another in this area of the marriage. It is important to listen to each other as you discuss this delicate matter. It may not be easy for either of you or just one of you…it is important to be thoughtful and understanding with each other in this vital part of the marriage bond. God made sex to be a beautiful thing in the marriage and not the way the world has made it to become. We must care about each other in this critical subject with each other.

 

As we shall see tomorrow, it can make or it can break a marriage relationship. So, please think about what is being stated and pray about how to respond to each other in these days of your marriage.

 

Committed to my wife,

 

Pastor Les

 

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 7/25/2017

 

Good Morning, Believer in Christ Jesus,

 

Sunday was a good day for me in worship. I enjoyed the singing and exalting God during our song portion of our worship. I enjoyed proclaiming the Word of God to the assembly that came on Sunday. The message was: “Why Did God Rest?” After He created the universe from nothing, why did God have to rest? It tells us in Isaiah 40:28 that He does not faint or grow weary. We cannot fathom the inexhaustible power and might of our everlasting God! Yet, He rested…the word for “rest” means “to cease from creating” in the Greek text. He did it as a pattern for us in our lives. The intent that we find for the Jews and the people of Israel is that they would be given a pattern to rest on the seventh day (Saturday as we know it) according to the fourth commandment of the “top ten” in Exodus 20. Yet we are told that God made a covenant and this Sabbath-keeping would be a sign (a visible mark) of a distinction of a Jew in this world (Exod. 31:12-18). From the time of Moses even to the time of Jesus the Christ, the Sabbath was an important edict for the Jewish people. There are some in our “Christian world” that believe that we should still keep the Sabbath day of rest even today. They would see that this is critical for the Christian life, but they do not also take the rest of the command literally. That is, if one should work on the Sabbath (Saturday) he is to be stoned to death. And, God did not exchange the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday in the New Testament. But, the fact that God ceased (rested) from His labors does tell me that we should take one day a week (any day is acceptable) and just rest. It does not mean to stay in bed all day, but it does mean to cease from our work. It is not easy in our culture to pull back since we are busy people always seeming to go, go, GO! May we learn to pull back and rest (cease from our work) and focus upon our God!

 

1 Corinthians 7:1-3 - 1Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.

 

Subject: Fulfill Your Marital Duty

 

Sexual temptation and immoral relationships are common in our culture. They appears in the literature that we read, in movies that we see, and even in everyday life that we live. It happens all the time with people that we know. We hear about it, talk to people who are involved in the sin of morality, and we are exposed constantly with billboards, advertisements, and innuendoes about sexual liberties.

 

One of the means by which God has given for us to be delivered from sexual sins is to get married. However, getting married is not necessarily “an out” for not sinning morally. It may help some of us, but it is no guarantee of moral purity. But, it can help keep a couple pure in this area of their lives, if they do some things well.

 

Each person, the husband and the wife, must realize that they have a marital duty to one another regarding the matter of the sexual relationship. The key word is “duty”. This means that each has a responsibility or obligation to one another to fulfill that part of the marriage from the first day they say, “I do” until death do they part. That is a long time in most relationships.

 

I have a responsibility to love my wife as a husband. Part of that duty to my wife is to make sure that I satisfy her physical, sexual needs. One of the ways that we are able to do that is to talk about the matter of sexuality. It not a subject that most husbands and wives are free to discuss with each other. It is like talking about money or some hot topic that gets pushed into a corner in most marriages. They exist on the fringe of the moral obligation and not ask the question, “Am I meeting your sexual needs in our marriage?”

 

It was not something that I learned from my parents…to talk about sex. I had to learn about it on my own and not from the “birds and bees” discussion from my father. Of course, his past was probably filled with his father not discussing it with him as well. The only time in our culture growing up was to make fun of the sexual things, make jokes about it, and laugh over the immoral issues that were discussed among men, just as I am sure, among women.

 

If you are married, take some time to discuss this with your spouse. You may find it awkward and make you very nervous. It may not be easy, but it is just as important as talking about your kids, money, or any other subject that affects your marriage. Take the plunge. It is not easy, but it is a way to make your marriage healthy or healthier.

 

Obligated to my wife,

 

Pastor Les

 

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Monday, 7/24/2017

 

Good Morning,

 

Last Friday and Saturday became moving day for us to get involved in Steve and Chelsea’s lives. We have been involved in every one of our kids’ families when they moved on one or more occasions. Sarah moved three times and we were present each time over the past two decades not counting a move to and from Grace Bible College in Michigan. Daniel was living in New York when we, along with Buzz and Deborah Korich, moved them from Fort Drum to Wisconsin. That was a memorable trip. We have moved them a couple times since in our area. David moved from their Waukesha apartment into their first house in West Allis. David and I were alone on that move. I remember that day…I was tuckered out and ready for some sleep. And now Steve and Chelsea’s move was only across the “street” in their apartment complex…from one that was small and cozy to one that has a large loft. Linda called some men to come and help and we had a great crew of people from our church plus some of Chelsea’s relatives. We were done in one hour in the moving of items from one apartment to another. What a blessing to see God’s people come to the “rescue” and move on a warm and humid day. That says a lot about our church and about our people at the church. We are grateful!!!

 

1 Corinthians 7:1-2 - 1Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

 

Subject:  Do NOT Touch

 

Have you ever seen a sign: DO NOT TOUCH? It causes some people to do just the opposite. That is basically what happened to Eve when she was confronted in the temptation by Satan of Eve to eat the fruit that God forbid them to eat. It has an opposite psychological affect in some people to want to do just the opposite.

 

It might be that same response from parents who teach their young adults as they grow up that they should not have any sexual relations with the opposite sex. Paul in this chapter is responding to a letter from the Corinthian believers about the matters of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. It is not an easy chapter to preach or teach because of our culture is so open for anyone to have a sexual relationship with a person of the opposite sex no matter what the situation may be. But, it was that way in the city of Corinth. It was a highly immoral city of unbelievers, yet this church had a couple who were living together and committing incest and had an immoral relationship. A man was living with his step-mother.

 

The one word that stirs our hearts as humans is the word “not”. We do not like to be told what we cannot do. We have a tendency to rebel and do just the opposite of what is being told. We think we may be missing something good in life when we are told NOT to do something for our own good.

 

The translators of the English Standard Version Bible have taken the Greek idiom (expression, phrase) and given the translation: “not to have sexual relations”. The literal rendering from the Greek text is “not to touch a woman”. Instead of touching a woman, one should get married. When a man and a woman begin with a friendship relationship, the potential of a more intimate bond and association can intensify in a short time or they can wait until they get married.

 

As we watch movies, television shows, and read literature, there is a great emphasis upon the love-making relationship of a man and woman. For those who are more open to sex with anyone at any time, that relationship can move from meeting someone and the same night going to bed with that person and having a sexual relationship. It begins with a touch, a holding of hands, a kiss, and leaps from there to a full-blown sexual activity.

 

Even as I told all of my kids, “it is better not to touch a woman” until after you get married. It does mean that holding hands and appropriate “touching” is acceptable to God, but inappropriate “touching” is not approved in God’s sight.

 

For my children, it is all history at this point and now they have children of their own. What will their counsel and advice be to their children as they grow older? Paul is very conservative about commenting on the matters of the Corinthians’ matters. He gave great advice and yet it is not heeded by most of the youth in Christian homes today. It is sad to see and watch them fall into immoral relationships and have to face God one day with their actions. We are free to go our own way and do as we wish, but there are consequences of disobedience by a just and fair God.

 

Ready to obey God,

 

Pastor Les

 

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.