Pray For India; Wordless Wednesday

Our hearts and prayers are with India that The God Who Is will bring a speedy end to the suffering of its people.

2021-05-12 Wordless Wednesday Pray for India
Multiple funeral pyres of Indian victims of COVID-19 burn in a New Delhi area converted for mass cremation on April 24.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/may/pray-for-india-christians-covid-19-virus-oxygen-cremation.html

Coming Soon To A Planet Near You – Part 1

Earth AsiaThis is familiar ground, if you have been following this blog.  However, “to write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.” (Philippians 3:1)  Some may think my urgency in addressing these issues is because I am facing my mortality in perhaps 10-15 years (more or less?).  Yet, there is no denying the world is shaping up differently in our age in order of magnitudes greater than every other world-shaping event.

Allow me to give you a brief synopsis of the End-Time-Events.  When these events will occur, no one knows, and the exact order of some are uncertain; they could begin to fall into place today, tomorrow, next year, 10 years from now or in the next century, and due to the format of the Prophets and Revelation, these details are unclear for good reasons. (*See below.)

So why worry about them now?  First of all, do not worry!  The testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy (Revelation 19:10), has told us these things so we do not need to be frightened.  In the 21st century, what will make Christians distinct from the rest of the culture is not what they do or don’t do or shouldn’t do. What will make them stand out is that they won’t be afraid.” (Marilyn Elliott)  But to enter the seasons of our world that will wrap out the end of this age, we need to BE READY

In other blogs, I have noted how quickly things changed on the world scene in history.  The Return of Jesus, to begin the last age of the Earth will happen extremely suddenly, like a lightning bolt, like a “thief in the night” (Matthew 24:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:2).  Jesus instucted us not to “get ready,” but to BE READY. (Luke 12:40)

So here is a synopsis of End Time Events, more reliable than any Hollywood hokum.

  1. At a time which NO ONE, not even Jesus knows (Mark 13:32), He will return to Earth and appear to those who believe in Him and “catch” them away (1Thessalonians 4:16-17). This will be an abrupt global event where every Christ-follower will be “evacuated” instantly and without warning (why we need to “BE READY”).
  2. I suspect, but do not know, that this event will trigger world-wide chaos as huge segments of the nations’ populations will suddenly disappear.  Also, all babies and the world’s youngest children will be gone! (See August 7, 2016 for my confidence of this.)
  3. We know that this will open the door for a world leader (aka Beast) to arise from the people of Earth who will have a logical and rational explanation of this event and recommendations on how to proceed forward. Governments will be in an uproar and global war will begin, but unlike WW1 or WW2, the madness will be nations fighting locally, but everywhere.
  4. We know the economic chaos will be immediate and prices for basic foods will skyrocket. This will bring on a global payment system, developed over 42 months, where money is digitized and one will have to have an account, registered by a “Mark” on the right palm or forehead in order to buy or sell anything.  At the end of the 42 months, this will be mandated.
  5. We know that death will be everywhere as one quarter of the remaining population on Earth will die.
  6. We know that at the arrival of the Beast, two “witnesses” will take a stand against him and they will declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ, miraculously preserved from attacks for 42 months.  Most likely, they will operate from Jerusalem.  At the end of 42 months, the Beast will overpower and kill them.  Their bodies will be on display in Jerusalem for three and one-half days, after which they will be miraculously revived and removed from Earth to Heaven.
  7. We know that the Beast will lead nations in war against Israel, (suspected, but not known to be most likely a Russian-Iranian-Chinese alliance) and subdue Israel.  However, in order to bring international peace, he will establish a Third Temple in Jerusalem, either in place of or along side of Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  He will convince the Arab world, descendants of Ishmael, to make peace with Israel, descendants of his half-brother, Jacob.
  8. I suspect, but do not know, that in this conflict the Beast will be injured with a fatal wound, i.e., killed, but will still survive, which will amaze the world’s inhabitants.
  9. We know that after 42 months, he will go into the new Temple and claim to be the Messiah, the Madhi, the Savior of the World and enter the Holiest Place, essentially declaring himself to be god.
  10. We know that there will be a secondary leader, a “false prophet,” who will arrive at the end of the 42 months and he will perform miraculous signs, even calling down fire from the sky.  He will instruct everyone to worship the Beast.  He will cause “an image of the Beast” to be set up, and will make it appear to come alive.  He will order anyone unwilling to worship the Beast or his image to be executed.
  11. I suspect, but do not know, that this will be the moment when the Hebrews will recognize that Jesus was their Messiah and The God Who Is will remove them from the Earth in another “catching away” that will take them to Heaven.
  12. We know that after the 42 months almost everyone on Earth will give allegiance to the Beast, and buying and selling will be restricted to those with an “account,” indicated by having the “Mark of the Beast” (although it will not be called that, just as “the Beast” and the “false prophet” will not be called by those titles. 🙄)
  13. I suspect, but do not know, that the Prostitute of Revelation 17 and 18, who is hated by the Beast, is organized religion of any brand.  The Beast’s claim to be god and entering the Holiest Place in the Temple is consistent with this.  He will ban all religions in favor of worship of himself.
  14. We know after the first 42 months, God’s wrath will be poured out on the rest of the Earth (except on those refusing the Mark of the Beast; these will be hunted down and executed by the false prophet’s minions).  Over the next 42 months, life on Earth will be horrible, but people will not recognize that the judgments of God are intended to lead them to repentance.  Instead, they will become angrier at God and curse Him, blaming Him for all their self-inflicted troubles.
  15. We know that at the end of this second 42 months the Beast will marshal almost every army and weapon on Earth to fight against Jesus, who will appear in the sky.  With simply a Word from His mouth, Jesus will destroy the armies and their weapons.  The Beast and his false prophet will be thrown into an Abyss for 1000 years, the last age of this Earth.
  16. We know that Jesus will be here on Earth for this 1000 years, ruling “with an iron scepter” along with those who take part in the first resurrection. At the end of the 1000 years, Satan, the Beast, is released for a short time to deceive the world again.  He will muster everyone on Earth who has resented Jesus’ rule and will be determined to make war against those who took part in the first resurrection.  This will be the Final Battle, when Jesus will call down fire from the sky on the Beast one last time. 
  17. We know that The Final Judgement occurs at this time, when everyone who ever lived on Earth is resurrected and we will each give account of our lives and be judged for the sins we have committed. BUT, if your name is in The Lamb’s Book of Life. you are released from the judgment for the things you have done.

There is much more I will say about these events, but one word of caution.  Do NOT be afraid!  To have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, all you need to do is receive Jesus.  Pray to Him and invite Him to be your Lord, to claim ownership of your life and your decisions.  Admit your need since you know you have sinned, and accept His forgiveness.  He wants to forgive you, but cannot unless you let Him.  If you want to contact me for help, please email me at capost3k@gmail.com.

The following is a list of previous blogs along these lines of the Last Days.
Lastly, check out this free PDF by Dr. James Christie, The Gold Mine.
And I hope to see you in Heaven someday!  Jesus loves you and we do not want anyone to miss Heaven.

for-what-will-you-be-ready-in-the-end
, be-ready-for
https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/september/is-amazon’s-new-hand-scanner-the-mark-of-the-beast
too-little-too-late-but-better-late-than-never
, in-our-lifetime-digital-money-wars
, nearing-the-end
, will-that-be-check-cash-or-retinal-scan
, what-in-heavens-name-can-you-imagine
, the-end-of-the-world-as-we-have-known-it
, the-end-is-nearer
, what-kind-of-people-ought-you-to-be-2-peter-3
, the-last-days-do-not-be-deceived
, corporate-judgment-will-god-judge-america-and-if-so-how-soon

*If The God Who Is had told us Jesus would return on July 22, 2053, how many people would live selfishly until July 21, and then try to “get right with God” on the last day?  And how sincere could their hearts be, leaving them outside of God’s grace?  And what if deaths occurred before then?  By keeping it a mystery, He calls on us to Be Ready at all times, thus developing our hearts and dedication to Him.  In this way we can grow and learn what He is like, what He requires of us, how to really enjoy Him, and to become fully His children.

For the First Time in 69 Years the President Has NOT Designated a National Day of Prayer

2021-05-05 WW Natl Day of Prayer

In 1775, the U.S. Congress first called for a national day of prayer, but it was not recognized as a formal celebration until 1952.  However, for the first time in 69 years, no prayer service will be conducted at the U.S. Capitol as the use of the “People’s House” for prayer has been denied by President Biden.  But barricades, security, and politics in Washington, D.C. cannot stop Americans from observing this day and praying for our nation.
On April 17, 1952 a bill initiated by Mr. Conrad Hilton and Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas was passed (Public Law 82-324) that the President of the United States was to set aside an appropriate day each year, other than Sunday, as a National Day of Prayer.  Harry Truman signed it into law.
Wednesday, May 7, 1988 – Senator Strom Thurmond’s bill to designate a day for the National Day of Prayer passed unanimously in the Senate (later in the House).
Thursday, May 8, 1988 – Ronald Reagan signed Public Law 100-307 designating the first Thursday in May as the annual observance for the National Day of Prayer.
August 12, 1998 – Bill Clinton signed Public Law 105-225: The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.
There’s is no law prescribing the National Day of Prayer be be celebrated only by members of one faith.  As America has grown as a multicultural, multi-religious nation, it is widely celebrated by more than those in the Christian community.
Even though our President and Vice-President do not seem interested in building people in faith in Someone bigger than themselves, we do not need a specific place or time to pray for them and for our nation.  So tomorrow, the first Thursday of May is STILL a day for the nation to come together to pray.

Join here with hundreds of thousands tomorrow to pray, and consider making this your daily habit, to recognize there is a Higher Power that can free people from sin, deliver from addictions, preserve the most vulnerable lives, and that even the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will.” (Proverb 21:1)

2021-05-05 WW Headline Prayer

Guest Blog by Päivi Räsänen, Member of Finland’s Parliament

2021-05-01 Finland Parliament Building

The following is a news release by a Finnish Member of Parliament.  Whether you follow the Ramayana, the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Tipitaka, the Gathas, the Jain Agamas, the Dharma Wheel, the Bible or any other religious literature, this case before Finland’s Court can affect any religious practice by which people try to guide their lives.
Finland is a democratic republic along the lines of the US, but closer to Israel in number of parties and coalition type management of the government.  And since becoming part of the EU, it is anyone’s guess as to how EU diktats will affect their historically egalitarian governance.
Since Finland is part of the EU, the following bears watching as it may impact laws and policies continent-wide, and could spill over the Pond to challenge the US and Canada to follow suit.  “No man is an island.”
I encourage you to pray for Ms. Räsänen and the nation of Finland as they waddle into dangerous waters which may well be a watershed moment for religious freedom around the globe.  Ms. Räsänen has kindly put me on her email list and I am confident she would welcome any message of support from any place in the world (email below), and most of all, that we who follow Jesus are praying for Finland. 
Jesus is coming soon.  “Even so, Lord Jesus, come!”

Press Release April 30, 2021

Three charges filed against a Member of Parliament, Dr. Päivi Räsänen.
“I am ready to defend freedom of speech and religion as far as it needs.”

Yesterday morning, I received by phone the information that the Prosecutor General has decided to prosecute me in three cases. The application for summons has been delivered to the District Court of Helsinki. I am accused of criminal agitation against a minority group, which carries the sentence of a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of two years. The three charges filed against me are about the following cases. Firstly, a pamphlet I wrote in 2004 “Male and female He created them – Homosexual relationships challenge the Christian concept of humanity.” A charge has also been filed against Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola, the Dean of Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland. The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland published the pamphlet.

The second charge is about a tweet I published 17 June 2019 in my social media accounts. In addition to Twitter, I published my tweet in Facebook and Instagram. In the tweet, I questioned the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s official affiliation with Helsinki LGBT Pride 2019 and accompanied my publication with a photo of Bible verses from Romans 1:24-27.

The third charge is about my views presented in one program of the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation, when I visited a talk show series hosted by Ruben Stiller and discussed the topic “What would Jesus think about homosexuals?”.

The decision of the Prosecutor General is surprising, even shocking. I do not think I have committed threatening, defaming or insulting actions against a minority group. In all these three cases, the question is about the Bible’s teaching about marriage and sexuality. Ultimately, the three charges brought against me have to do with whether it is allowed in Finland to express your conviction that is based on the traditional teaching of the Bible and Christian churches. I would not have in any way defamed homosexuals whose human dignity and human rights I have constantly said to respect and defend. The Bible’s teaching is, however, very clear in the teaching that marriage is a union between man and wife and that practicing homosexuality is against God’s will.

The Apostle Paul’s teaching is not only about defending marriage between man and woman, but about how a human being is saved into eternal life. If the teachings of God’s word about sin are rejected, the whole core of Christian faith is made empty: the precious sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the sake of everyone’s sins and the way He opened into eternity.

There is a difficulty here far greater than a sentence of a fine or an imprisonment: a demand for censorship; an order to remove my social media postings or a ban on the publication of the pamphlet. If one defies the court’s verdict, it leads to demands of penalty payments. This sort of judgement would open up an avenue leading to further publication bans for similar texts and modern book burnings.

It is noteworthy that with regard to the pamphlet case and the tv episode with Stiller, the police stated that there was no reason to suspect a crime. The pre-trial investigation should not have even commenced according to their decision. The police stated in their decision: “if some of the views in the Bible were to be regarded as per se fulfilling the criteria of an agitation offense, the dissemination of or making the Bible available would in principle be punishable as an offense of agitation.” This has deeply to do with free speech and freedom of religion.

I will go to the court with a peaceful and brave mind, trusting that Finland is a constitutional state where the freedoms of speech and religion, which both are guaranteed in international agreements and in our constitution, are respected. A conviction based on the Christian faith would be more than a superficial opinion. The early Christians did not renounce their faith in lions’ caves, why should I then renounce my faith in a court room. I will not step back from my conviction nor from my writings. I do not apologize for the writings of the Apostle Paul either. I am ready to defend freedom speech and religion as far as is necessary.

The offense of agitation requires intentionality. In our Criminal Code the concept of intentionality is placed as criteria regarding the purpose of the author and the fact that the author perceives the nature of the act as a culpable legal infringement. In evaluating guilt, one must strive to genuinely understand the background and purpose of the author. As a Member of Parliament, I have been involved in the enactment of this precise amendment to our legislation.  It did not even come to mind that my tweet or my opinions based on Christianity could be defamatory or insulting in any aspect.

I want to encourage others to use their freedom of speech and religion. This indictment shows that right now is the time to defend these foundational freedoms and rights.

The Prosecutor General has previously publicly said that she has, because of my cases, received inappropriate messages. I hope that no insulting messages would be targeted against her.

Contact:
Ms. Päivi Räsänen
Member of Parliament, Finland
paivi.rasanen@eduskunta.fi

Evamaria Kyllästinen
evamaria.kyllastinen@eduskunta.fi
Assistant to MP

Finland Persecutes Christian Lawmaker

As recommended in The American Conservative blog, consider writing a polite but firm email to Ms. Raija Toiviainen, the Prosecutor General: valtakunnansyyttaja.syyttaja@oikeus.fi and to the Finnish Ambassador to the US, His Excellency Mikko Hautala, at sanomat.was@formin.fi.

Summer Snow? Nope, Maple Helicopters! – Wordless Wednesday

Now that the pear blossoms have been washed away by real spring snowfall, it’s time for the Maple Helicopters to come down!  I did not catch very many in the photo; sometimes it looked like a hurricane!  Lining different streets than the pear trees, the maple helicopters seem more numerous this year than ever before!   When the wind blows, they look like attack choppers raiding the countryside. 😀

Intermezzo: “Traditional” New England Boiled Dinner

So THIS is how you make a traditional New England Boiled Dinner (🙄), which I have never done before!  I lived in R.I. for eight years and no one ever served this nor had I heard of it.  I copied the recipe from a new friend, Dorothy, and then made some variations that make it very different from her “traditional” NEBD, but it is still delicious.  Basically, you just throw any and all veggies and meat together in a cooking pot, slow cooker, or pressure cooker and call it your own “Traditional New England Boiled Dinner.” 😁  Dorothy is from Vermont, though, so hers is the real McCoy and worth checking out!   (Do they even have McCoys in New England?  That may just be a KY/TN phenomenon.🤠)

As always, gather your ingredients before you begin, to make sure you have everything you want for any recipe.  But this one is almost “anything goes” so it may not matter as much

New England Boiled Dinner
1 quart stock broth (veggie, chicken or beef)
1-1/4 pound beef brisket (really want to try this with lamb shank next time! 😋)
1/4 cup lentils
1/2 large onion chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
==================
1/2 head of cabbage
2 large carrots
3 medium potatoes
1 meduim bok choy (or Swiss chard)
1 Roma tomato
3 or 4 Portabella mushrooms
1/2 cup Snap peas (or green beans)
2 fresh large beets (or a 15 ounce can not drained)
10 ounces (50 mL) ketchup
6 bay leaves
1 ounce lemon juice

Directions:
Put the broth in a medium saucepan with the onion, lentils, olive oil and butter to precook these ingredients.  Heat for about 20 minutes until onion begins to clarify.  I use Royal Prestige Waterless Cookware, so I cannot look inside until the whistle blows at 180⁰F (82⁰C), but this is about the time it took for mine to cook in the smaller saucepan.
If you like garlic, you can add a minced clove in the pot at this step as well.

Prepare the rest of the vegetables, cutting the cabbage into large slices, coining the carrots, chopping the potatoes into large chunks, slicing the bok choy, tomato, and mushrooms.  If you are using fresh beets, cut them into large chunks.

After the broth has clarified the onion, transfer to a slow cooker and put the potatoes on the bottom and then pile on most of the other veggies.  Put the meat with the bay leaves on top, and top with the remaining veggies.  Put in the ketchup and lemon juice.  (The tomato and ketchup can be replaced by tomato sauce.)  Add additional broth or water as much as you will need to cover about 3/4 of the dinner.

Put the slow cooker on high for a faster time (I went for two hours), or if you are preparing earlier in the day, you can simmer it on low for as long as you like, until poking a potato is easy.  I used our Royal Prestige Cookware 4 quart Dutch Oven with a Slow Cooker Base

IMG_2553 You can spoon the broth over the victuals, or you can serve it like a stew, but we think the broth makes a great stand-alone soup.
The leftovers from a New England Boiled Dinner are traditionally used for breakfast or supper, reincarnated as Red Flannel Hash, if there are any leftovers!  In my case this recipe made SO much for just the two of us, we had NEBD for four nights and one brunch!!  But I am not complaining. 😋  But next time, I will cut the recipe down substantially to accommodate just a couple meals.

Red Flannel HashRed Flannel Hash:  Afterward if you want some variation on the NEBD, dice up the leftover vegetables and sauté in olive oil over medium high until the vegetables begin to dry out.  Serve with an egg on top!  One dish, two New England traditions!  Bon appétit. 😉

Guest Blog by Gary Fultz: Who Woulda Thunk?

The sun came up to a cloudless sky this morning, April 21, 2021, and it started snowing.  Totally weird.  I thought it was frost coming off the trees.  I guess at 20⁰F (-7⁰C) the moisture in the air began falling out of the sky in the form of snowflakes up to 1-1/2 inches big.  I tried to take a picture.  Don’t judge my skills yet, please.

2021-04-21 Snowing On A Clear Sunny Day
Yea, Snowing on a clear sunny day

2021-04-21 Snowing In The Sunshine
Yep, snowing in the sunshine!

2021-04-21 Snowflake On DeckAn animal shaped snowflake on the deck.  It measures an inch and a half; looks like several flakes bonded in the air.
[Editors note: This is the rare precipitacious hexagonolus.  Catching a photo of this beast is equivalent to getting one of Sasquatch!]

Something else happened today that took me totally by surprise.  I received my first “Like” on a blog written 10 years ago. For all I know they were the first to read it.  I wrote it under the assumption that if one writes something, others will read it.  Ten years later I know better.  Like all “Likes” received, I had to look this person up.  All the way from Germany (my home country on the Fultz side), a delightful artist found my old blog.  Check out Roswitha’s delightful painting/artist blog depicting a modern day “Emmaus Walk After Easter.”  It’s worth it.  I wonder if Roswitha is related distantly to several of my Geisler friends in northern Minnesota?

2021-04-21 46 Inch Pike
Me and One big Pike.  We won’t swim in that lake anymore!

Please check out my old blog.  My writing is changed a bit since then but I made a decent case for taking a wilderness adventure.  I caught and released the big pike (pictured above) from a canoe on a wilderness adventure trip.  Check out my old blog here.  It will be worth it as the pictures alone will make you want to go.  In June, 2021, I have my 65th BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) trip planned.

Who would have thought that Ohio and other states would have their biggest snow storm (at this point of spring according to an old college roommate) in 120 years overnight? As my grandfather used to say “Who Woulda Thunk”?

So, you and I; what are we still doing writing blogs?  For what?  It’s a question worth answering.  Ten years of writing for me and I’m working on a book.  Who Woulda Thunk?  Not me!

Ten years of learning how to write.  Learning to connect with people in writing, edit out the 90% fluff, connect with people in their comments, figure out SEO (Search Engine Optimization), connect with people in their blogs, listen, learn and hear.  Last of all, I feel as if I’m finally becoming connectable as a person.  I care and just maybe it shows.
WWT? (I heard that, grandpa.)

Gary
posted by  Gary Fultz, April 21, 2021

April SNOW!! The Real Thing! Wordless Wednesday.

Last week, , my Wordless Wednesday was “April Snow? Well, Kinda.”
This week Lexington, Kentucky actually got REAL SNOW last night!  With temps in the mid 40s (5-7⁰C) it will not last long, but it is a beautiful “swan song” to the fierce winter past.  (Proof of global warming, too, don’tcha know? 🙄)
For more thoughts on snow, see , , , and .

My apologies to Aarushi Sehgal, it’s melting too quickly to collect to send any to you!

Rated R: The Mystery of Marriage

The word “mystery” in the Bible does not mean what most people seem to think.  The first definition of the word is anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown.”  However, other definitions are more fitting: “an event that remains unsettled until the very end,” or specifically, “any truth that is unknowable except by divine revelation.”  I.e., a mystery is not something about which we are still in dark; it is something that is being or has been revealed, though it was once hidden.

Now to the singles reading this, I will offer very little to aid you in your sexuality, other than to note that Jesus was a young adult single.  I can offer (in another blog sometime) advice on this matter, but only as an observer and student of Scripture, because I am “the marrying kind.”  Jesus, the apostle Paul and others, both men and women, were not, and they lived fulfilled and purposeful lives without spouses, and with complimentary relationships without sex.

As for the MPA Rating, the R is a slight overstatement.  Spoiler: there is no lewdity, nudity, or excessive foul language or violence, but the subject matter IS something which you probably don’t want children to read without parental input.  If you have come here for the R rating, please stick around for a few minutes and read about the mystery of a marriage.  Regarding Same-Sex marriage, I refer you to an earlier blog.

Consider for a moment what most modern American marriage relationships look like.  Now this a VERRRY broad generalization and not to be taken as a model for how a marriage must work, but just an observation of how most in our nation work.
He mows the lawn, maintains the vehicles, does minor repairs around the house, works outside the home, and sometimes shares some of the housekeeping or cooking.  He maintains the checkbook, figures their taxes and spends some time with the children.
She does most of the cooking and housekeeping, organizes vacations, makes reservations and is primarily responsible for raising the children even though she may also work outside the home.
And he shows love to his wife and she shows respect to him, and they satisfy each other sexually.

If they are more affluent they may hire a landscaper to maintain their lawn, and they will take their autos in regularly for maintenance.  If anything in the house needs attention they just call a repairman.  They may hire a CPA to do their taxes and may even have a personal financial manager to pay their bills, and tell them how much they can spend on amenities each week. 
Perhaps they will employ a cook and a housekeeper or order meals from a service that provides on time delivery.  The cook may do the grocery shopping and the housekeeper maintains their cleaning supplies.  They may sign up for a cruise or tour group and leave the travel arrangements entirely to the tour company.  A nanny could be hired to come in daily, or an au pair may live with them and share meals with the family.

All of these services can be hired without incurring any personal guilt or judgement from society.

However, if they indulge in sexual infidelity, there will be consequences.  These may involve separation, legal actions, social stigmatism, and maybe divorce.  There will be changes in family relationships beyond the couple, including children, in-laws, shirt-tail relatives and family friends.  There may be job losses or changes, housing rearrangements, financial hardships, and a complete reorienting of their lives.  All because of violating one feature of the marriage relationship.

This suggests that there is something unique about the sexual relationship in a marriage that makes it apart from all of the other intimacies and details of the “normal” marriage.  The Bible supports this idea in 1 Corinthians  6:18: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” 

The husband who does not tend to his wife’s sexual desires risks pushing her away, either into the arms of another or into volunteerism or vocational obsessions.  The wife who does not tend to her husband’s sexual desires may find him falling for promiscuity, prostitution or pornography to gratify them.  The unique thing which elevates their marriage above every other relationship a husband or wife may have is their sexuality, specifically their sexual fidelity.

Every marriage is as unique as the couple involved.  No two are exactly alike, but there are certain commonalities that can be recognized in any successful and pleasant marriage. 

The first is a common faith, a recognition that the marriage is not just for their happiness, but is a “mystery,” a reflection of Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5:31-33)

Let’s reveal this “mystery!”  Jesus said the pattern for marriage was laid down by God at the creation: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh.”  (Matthew 19:4-6)

Problems in marriages come because none of us is completely sinless as Jesus was (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15).  So when you put two fallible people together and tell them to love and respect each other (Ephesians 5:33), there will inevitably be conflicts, as each of them needs the other to discover where their selfishness lies.  It is in the curing of that selfishness that married couples become a model of Christ and the Church.

2021-04-17 Marital FidelityThe second is a developing intimacy that will increase and expand as they live together.  Sexual expression will likely be a part of that intimacy even when age or illness deteriorates the actual sex act of consummation.  An acceptance of a spouse’s body in the same way one sees his or her own body will grow in this intimacy (Ephesians 5:29).  Just as one looks at his or her reflection in a mirror and tolerates developing wrinkles or extra body fat or minor defects, loving and respectful husbands and wives will become more comfortable with each others’ bodies, and can enjoy physical intimacy that reflects what the Scripture means when it says “the two shall become one flesh.”  (Genesis 2:24)

Note the inclusivity and exclusivity of this expectation:  Nothing is forbidden in the marriage sexual relationship as long as it is mutually agreed and not harmful.  However, it is ONLY for the two committed to the marriage.  (See for more about this.)

As books have been written on these subject, I will simply refer you to some of best I have encountered and encourage you to explore this wonderful subject of what makes cohabitation a marriage by reading a couple of these references:
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman
The Gift of Sex by Dr. Clifford and Mrs. Joyce Penner
The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
His Needs, Her Needs by Dr. William Harley

See https://www.marriagebuilders.com/ for an excellent online resource from Dr. Harley.

Mystery solved.  Revelation resolved.

 

April Snow? Well, Kinda.

On April 2 (unpictured), with 40⁰F (4.5⁰C) we actually saw a few, though very few, real snow flakes falling from the clouds.  But every year our “Spring Snow” is from the Aristocrat Pear trees, beginning this year on April 1.  A week later, April 8, the petals were falling like a blizzard!  By April 12, the trees were almost all green with only a few “snow-petals” left to fall.  Today’s rain will probably wash the rest off the trees and away down the storm sewers.  Summer is just around the corner.