The Gift of Sex – A Review

The last three weeks (1, 2, 3) I covered book reviews of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Love And Respect by Emerson Eggerichs and His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley.  Today’s book review, The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner, more than any of the others, is for married people, although singles can benefit by understanding some of their married friends’ issues.  Remember, the best expert on ANY relationship is Jesus, who was an adult single and never experienced sex, even though He “invented” it.

Gift of Sex“Men and women are different.  Women desire sex and open up sexually when they feel loved by and connected with their husbands; men connect and feel loved through sex.”  This preliminary explanation in the preface sets the tone and direction for the rest of the text.  Men traditionally start this connection by asking a woman for a date and getting to know her.  The Penners compare this process to Christ loving the Church and initiating the model by which a man is supposed to love his wife illustrated in Ephesians 5:22-33.

“The husband loves, adores, and connects with his wife;
His adoration allows her to open up sexually;
His affirmation ignites her passion;
She invites him sexually;
He feels validated, so they both end up happy;
It’s a win, win!”

Two major contentions of the Penners are 1) that a man is never truly satisfied unless his wife is; 2) that a woman must believe she is worthy of pleasure and that she has a right to be sexual; her body is designed not just for reproduction, but also for sexual satisfaction and pleasure.  They note that there are many individual permutations of the assumptions they lay out in the book, but there are general principles that can be applied to enhance sexual function in marriage to make the partnership most satisfying to both.

2021-11-27 Milky Way LoveThe first major section of the book is subtitled “A Biblical Perspective.”  They point out that sex was not a result of the fall or a human idea.  Maleness and femaleness was God’s design to enable humans to understand the relationship between Him and His creation.  “It is part of the original perfect creation of mankind.”  There is nothing dirty or sinful about sex as long as it is practiced in the guidelines the Designer set up: an exclusive monogamous husband and wife in a covenant commitment for as long as they both live.  Throughout Scripture the husband-wife sexual relationship is used to symbolize the Divine-human one.

The Bible teaches sex is for unity, procreation and pleasure and assumes a healthy passion.  “Our sexuality is not something to be diminished as we become more ‘spiritual.’  It is part of us as spiritual, godly persons and is good.”  Its guiding foundation is that men and women are equal – not identical in either roles or behavior, but in terms of value, ability and position before God.  We are expected to give ourselves to each other in marriage under the mutual command of 1 Corinthians 7:2-5, “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband… Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time.”

Paul recognized, that while he would prefer people to be unmarried as he was (he was most likely a widower), human passions are very strong and for many, marriage is the best way to avoid falling into sins of adultery or fornication.  “Let them marry (i.e., and enjoy sexual release) – it is no sin.”  (7:36)

From this basis, Penners go on to describe as clinicians in “The Physical Dimension,” the body parts involved, with more details about the sex organs than many need to read.  However, this also provides helpful material, especially if one is in any measure uninformed about sexual responsiveness of the opposite sex from a biological perspective.

Following this, Penners characterize “The Total Experience” with such chapter titles as “Getting Interested,” “Having Fun,”… “Meshing Your Worlds,” … “By Invitation Only,” “Letting Go,”… and “Cleaning Up.”  With skills developed by teaching hundreds of Christian Perspectives in Sexual Enjoyment seminars, they adeptly address pragmatic details many texts on marriage relations omit, usually on the assumption that Christ-followers will discuss intimate details – an assumption that is often inaccurate.  Frequent references back to the basics of 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5 ground their advice solidly in Scripture.

2021-11-27 When Sex Is Not WorkingAlthough “The Total Experience” mentions a few obstacles that may come up, “When Sex Isn’t Working” goes into great detail to help couples find and explore the roots, evidences, and solutions to problems in a sexual relationship.  The longest section in the book suggests that there are lots of dysfunctions that may occur within marriages.  From “You Want To Do What?” to “Pornography and the Internet,” the Penners take us on a survey of some of the most common obstacles to sexual fulfillment in marriage.

Parts of this section hark back to The 5 Love Languages, Love and Respect, and His Needs, Her Needs“The starting point for resolving any difficulty is always effective communication.”  While the Bible strictly confines sexual activity to the marriage relationship, no guidelines are given about what is acceptable in lovemaking activity.  Again, using Biblical ethics (e.g., Paul’s concern not to offend a brother by eating meat sacrificed to an idol; see Romans 14:13-16) they proficiently address differences in views husbands and wives may hold toward lovemaking actions and move a couple toward a satisfying acceptance of each other.  The entire section is filled with very practical and explicit advice for how to meet and overcome apparent dilemmas in sexual satisfaction.

2021-11-27 Happy CoupleThe final brief section, “Enhancing the Sexual Experience,” explores how to invite God into the bedroom.  Remembering that sex was His idea, the Penners go on to address how to talk lovingly with each other about sexual issues, if outside help in the form of counseling is needed, and they close with some questions asked in various seminars.

Good reading for any couple considering marriage, for enhancing an already good one, and great helps for any in conflict over sexual issues.  And it is helpful for the unmarried to sympathize with married friends.  The underlying assumption, only addressed specifically in Love and Respect, is that the involved parties are people of good will toward each other.  If this in not the case in your life, there are other issues that need resolution first, with books and resources available to help.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.”  Hebrews 13:4

His Needs, Her Needs – A Review

Two weeks ago and last week I mentioned the four books (The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley and The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner) that most influence my thinking on love and marriage, but each has lessons that are applicable to other relationships in life.  In fact, last week my elder sister, who never married, and I were discussing these blogs and her comment was that she grew a lot in her understanding by reading a couple of books on love and marriage.  They helped her in her association with our Father in Heaven, in communication with others and in talking with married friends about their relationships.

2021-11-20 His Needs Her NeedsToday’s review of His Needs, Her Needs is perhaps the most focused on marriage so far, in that his subtitle is “Building an Affair-Proof Marriage.”  In fact, pages 21-34 and the entire chapter 13 (How to Survive an Affair) concerns the assumption that an affair has already occurred.  We will focus our attention on issues he addresses to avoid this scenario, which in turn, can have applications to other relationships.

Dr. Harley has found in interviews with thousands of couples over twenty-five years that most “marital experts” fail terribly at helping couples save or enjoy their marriages.  The common thread he discovered (and what Chapman and Eggerichs allude to) is that people get married because they find each other irresistible; the common problem is that somewhere in their life together, they “fall out of love,” i.e. they need to restore the feeling of love that drew them to each other in the first place.  However well they may communicate and problem-solve, “unless this helps trigger the feeling of romantic love, spouses feel cheated in their marriage… If you’re in love, you are caring for each other the right way.  If you’re not in love, you should learn the right way to show you care… to create and sustain romantic love.”

2021-11-20 Ten Emotional NeedsIn answer to the question, “What could your spouse do for you that would make you happier?,” Harley classifies almost all the responses into “ten emotional needs”: (alphabetized) 1.Admiration, 2.Affection, 3.Conversation, 4.Domestic Support, 5.Family Commitment, 6.Financial Support, 7.Honesty/Openness, 8.Physical Attractiveness, 9.Recreational Companionship and 10.Sexual Fulfillment.

He provides a very helpful Emotional Needs Questionnaire in Appendix B to help the reader determine and evaluate their spouse’s effectiveness in meeting those needs.  (The questionnaire is attached here, and permission is granted by the publisher to photocopy or print for use in your marriage.)  At the conclusion of the questions, he challenges each to rank the five most important of the ten.  This should not be just in terms of most desperate need.  For example, a woman whose husband does not take care of himself, maybe smells bad and is generally a slob, may think that Physical Attractiveness that drew her to him in their dating life is her most important need, where it may be simply the most felt need.  But as he begins to work on meeting her needs, this may slide into the background as she recognizes this simply interfered with their conversation or letting him show affection. 

“Often the failure of [spouses] to meet each other’s emotional needs is simply due to ignorance or each other’s needs and not to selfish unwillingness to be considerate.”  From his surveys and research, he has found that while no “one-size-fits-all,” there is some commonality to how most men and women answer the questionnaire and rank their most important emotional needs.

The First Thing She Can’t Do Without is most often Affection, the “cement of a relationship.”  And he guides us guys on how any man can learn to be affectionate without sex; yet he affirms that within a marriage, “when it come to sex and affection, you can’t have one without the other.”  He suggests asking one’s wife to write up a list of “Affectionate Habits to Create” and another of “Affectionate Habits to Avoid.”  Knowing what your spouse needs never meets that need; we must learn new habits that change that knowledge into action!  Just as James says, “Faith without works is dead,” so good information and intentions are worthless if we do not follow through.  A woman’s need for Affection is one of the most common and deepest emotional needs.

The First Thing He Can’t Do Without is most often Sexual Fulfillment.  “The typical wife does not understand her husband’s need for sex any more than the typical husband does not understand his wife’s deep need for affection.”  And so begins an excellent examination of the differences men and women experience when approaching this intimacy that takes a marriage into the picture of Christ and the Church.  He even notes counseling couples in their 70s who discover sexual incompatibility was simply a matter of not understanding each other’s needs. 

He applies the Golden Rule as Jesus taught, Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.”  Affection and sexual expression must be mutual, demonstrated in a husband’s care and sensitivity to his wife’s needs and if one meets the other’s needs as they would want their needs met, they will usually find a spouse willing to meet theirs.  If either spouse is unwilling to meet ‘your’ needs, the first place to look is at oneself: Am I meeting his/her needs?

The second most common needs found in women and men are Conversation and Recreational Companionship, respectively.  Both of these areas take specific and determined effort on the part of the companion lacking that need to learn how to converse and how to enjoy recreatonal times together.  But Harley does not leave us hanging with a guy wondering, what does she want to talk about and why 🤯; nor the gal thinking of the horror of every Monday night having to watch TV football! 😱

With perceptive questions at the end of each chapter, the readers are guided into discussing how to meet each other’s needs within a framework that will prove satisfying to both; Questions for Her; Questions for Him; To Consider Together.

Remember how we talked when we were dating; we could spend whole nights chatting and wonder where the time went?  Remember the fun we had together as a couple learning what pleased each other?  Each of the ten emotional needs is dealt with per chapter with practical proposals to work out in ways that will enliven each other’s spirits and take a couple “from incompatible to irresistable.”  “Couples start out irresistable and only become incompatible as they leave each other’s basic needs unmet.”  You’ll enjoy reading his description of The Irresistable Man and The Irresistable Woman. 😉

His helpful appendices include a detail on each of the ten emotional needs (Appendix A), the Emotional Needs Questionnaire (B), and a Recreational Enjoyment Inventory (attached here) to help couples explore how they can renew the pleasures of leisure activities they enjoyed while dating.  His hope for couples reading his books or visiting his website: “Learn to become an expert in making your marriage the best it can be.”

Love And Respect – A Review

Last week I mentioned the four books (The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley and The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner) that most influence my thinking on love and marriage, but each has lessons that are applicable to other relationships in life, as Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages for … illustrate.  The principles are easily adaptable to any interconnection that one values.

2021-11-13 Love & RespectLove & Respect (The Love She Most Desires and The Respect He Desperately Needs) begins with The Crazy Cycle.  This is Dr. Eggerichs’ description of the merry-go-round many couples run on day after day, week after week, even year after year.  He presents a “simple secret to a better marriage” as a principle that is much simpler to state than to act out: “When a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband.  When a man feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife.”  I.e., if a man unconditionally loves his wife, she will probably respect him; if a woman unconditionally respects her husband, he will probably show her love.

2021-11-13 The Crazy Cycle“A husband is to obey the command to love even if his wife does not obey the command to respect, and a wife is to obey the command to respect even if the husband does not obey the command to love.”  This leaves no room for selfish thinking on the part of either spouse: “I will love my wife after she begins to respect me;” or “I will respect my husband after he begins to love me.”  Without love a wife will tend to act without respect; without respect a husband will tend to act without love . . . and the Crazy Cycle takes us on a ride that never seems to end! 

It is as though we keep flipping a light switch without lights coming on, and instead of checking a light bulb, breaker box or circuit, and trying to find the cause of the problem, we just stand at the switch like idiots and keep flipping it, wondering why the light does not come on.  “Craziness happens when we keep doing the same things over and over with the same ill effects.”

One of the cultural conflicts he addresses is the idea that respect should be just as unconditional as love!  He notes in Ephesians 5:33 that Paul instructs “let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  In our society we tend to accept the idea that love should be offered even when it is not earned; in fact, if someone does something to ‘earn’ love, we tend to discount that action as self-serving.  In the same way, we should view respect as something that does not require ‘earning,’ but should be offered because the Bible says so.

That unconditional respect is taught in the Bible is clear from 1 Peter 3:1-2: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”  This refutes the deception of our enemy that respect must be earned.

Wives tend to be wired to show love, but without understanding how important respect is to a man, she will not show him love in a way he understands.  God made men in such a way that respect does to the soul of a man what love does to the soul of a woman.  In turn, men try to earn respect by demanding it from a wife who wants more than anything to show him that he is loved.  And his attempts to demand respect nullify any attempts he may make to show her love.

2021-11-13 Blue and Pink SunglassesDr. Eggerichs believes this happens because men and women are wired differently, as though men have blue sunglasses and hearing aids and women have pink sunglasses and hearing aids. What is done and said by a husband with love for his wife does not communicate the love he feels because she sees and hears it through a different lens and hearing aid.  In the same way, a wife may try to express respect for her husband, but because he has different “receptors,” he fails to see it correctly.  And so the Crazy Cycle continues.

2021-11-13 The Energizing CycleThe challenges of the Crazy Cycle are tremendous, but hope is to be found in the Energizing Cycle.  With a clever acronym (COUPLE), Dr. Eggerichs makes valuable suggestions to a man who wants to show his wife that she IS loved, with six chapters to guide a man with good intentions to his goal of loving his wife as Christ loves the Church.

He describes a wife’s basic needs as desiring for her husband to be Close, Open, Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyal and to Esteem her (COUPLE).  If a man faithfully applies the principles the good doctor explains in these chapters, he will go a long way on the Energizing Cycle by showing his wife that she IS loved.  Each chapter coaches a guy even on how to say that he wants to get close, be open, etc..  We guys need directions in spite of our tendency to try to put together Christmas toys and read the instruction sheet later. 🙄

The next six chapters spelling CHAIRS as an acronym will help wives discover how to “spell respect to their husbands.”  An interesting experiment Dr. Eggerichs tried with some women was a challenge for them to test the importance of respect to their husbands: “Spend some time thinking of things they respected about their husbands… then go home and, wait until the husband was not distracted and say, ‘I was thinking about you today and several things about you that I respect and I wanted you to know that I respect you.’…  After saying this, they were not to wait for a response, but just to gently begin to leave and see what would happen.  Then he goes on to help women who may have difficulty coming up with anything to respect about their husbands, which may take a woman back to why she married him in the first place, but emphasizes God’s design for marriage, that alone is worthy of respect.

CHAIRS stands for Conquest, Hierarchy, Authority, Insight, Relationship, and Sexuality.  Each of these is presented in a Biblically sound fashion that does not suggest “the man is in charge,” but rather reflects the way a godly man will see leadership.  Conquest addresses a man’s desire to conquer the challenges of life with success at what he does.  (If you ever ask a man, “Who are you?” most of us will respond with what we do.)  Hierarchy presents a man’s desire to protect and provide for his wife and family; Authority uses Jesus’ model of it:I am among you as the one who serves.” (Luke 22:24-27); Insight deals with a man’s desire to analyze and counsel; Relationship addresses a man’s need for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship with his spouse; and Sexuality deals with a distinctly “blue sunglasses” phenomenon of desiring intimacy through sexual union.

2021-11-13 The Rewarded CyclePart Three of the text talks about the Rewarded Cycle in which his love is expressed regardless of her respect with is demonstrated regardless of his love which is expressed …  And as a new cycle is begun, Dr. Eggerichs explains that the real reason for Love and Respect goes beyond whether or not a spouse responds appropriately.  Unconditional love and unconditional respect will be rewarded!  Matthew 5:46-48 says, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet [respect] only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?… You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Ultimately, you are obeying your Father in Heaven and He is 100% reliable and will reward you according to His grace and love, even if we do not see the results here on earth.

The 5 Love Languages – A Review

2021-11-06 Two In LoveFour books come to mind when anyone talks about love, marriage or personal relationships: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley and The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner.  Each author approaches relationships from a Gospel perspective, i.e., men and women are created in the image of God, expected to build relationships with each other, and are different from birth . . . and ‘vive la différence!’

The best life, they claim, is to follow God’s pattern established in Adam and Eve and explained by Jesus and the Apostles.  It is not a restrictive, “Don’t do that” theology, but a liberating, expansive and freeing philosophy which looks for the best in every individual.  Remember, in the Garden of Eden, Adam’s and Eve’s sin was to eat from a forbidden tree.  BUT that was the ONLY tree forbidden!  Genesis 3:2-3 has Eve telling the Serpent that they could eat from ANY tree in the Garden except ONE.  That left a lot of trees open for consumption.

And for those who think the nakedness was somehow sinful and Adam and Eve were just too stupid to realize it, read again.  They were as God created them, and had nothing to hide until they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the forbidden tree.  When a child has done nothing wrong and a parent asks, “What are you doing?” he will simply answer, “I’m just . . .,” no big deal.  But if he has done something he knows the parent disapproves of, his response will be to cover up his tracks.  “Nothing!” . . . with eyes averted, hastily looking right and left, up and down for any excuse, hoping that his action will not be discovered.  That was the nakedness Adam and Eve were trying to hide.

That is the nakedness we now hide as well.  None of us is without sin, none has lived fully as God intended us to live, and the result is we need clothes to hide who we are.  All of us are afraid, at some level, of exposing ourselves fully, even to someone who loves us, just as Adam and Eve were afraid to expose themselves to their Father, who they knew loved them.  The nudist and the communist make the same mistake of trying to live free from guilt and selfishness before we are fully redeemed in the New Jerusalem (coming soon).

2021-11-06 - 5 Love LanguagesThe Five Love Languages presents the idea that each of us is wired to give and receive love in different ways, and that by recognizing the “language” in which you and your significant others express and accept love will help to identify the roots of conflicts, connect more deeply, and begin to grow closer together  The five languages Chapman describes in detail are Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch.

Everyone’s personality determines how we understand love.  We see love expressed in that language which is most natural to each of us and we usually attempt to show it in the same way.  However, if the person we love “speaks” a different love language, the communication breaks down and the loved one “feels” unloved; their “emotional love tank” becomes emptier without refilling and misunderstanding and conflicts emerge.

Chapman’s website has a Quiz that one can take to help identify your particular love language.   For a starter enticement to purchase one of his books, he provides a seven-day devotional, one for “him” and one for “her” that, even without purchasing a text, can go a long way into improving any relationship, especially a marriage (but not restricted to that).  There are several free downloads for anyone just wanting to learn if one of his books is worth buying.

In Dr. Chapman’s Gateway to the The Five Love Languages he summarizes each of the languages as this:

Words of Affirmation — Actions don’t always speak louder than words.  If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you.  Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important — hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward.  Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

Quality Time — In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says “I love you” like full, undivided attention.  Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there — with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby — makes your significant other feel truly special and loved.  Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

Receiving Gifts — Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift.  If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you.  A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous — so would the absence of everyday gestures.

Acts of Service — Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love?  Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an Acts of Service person will speak volumes.  The words he or she most wants to hear are, “Let me do that for you.”  Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them, tell those with this language their feelings don’t matter.

Physical Touch — This language isn’t all about the bedroom.  A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy.  Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face — they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love.  Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.”

One of the best features of Dr. Chapman’s practice is that The 5 Love Languages is not just for married people.  The 5 Love Languages of Children is available for parents; a Singles Edition for the unmarried; a special edition For Men (probably for those of us who have a hard time getting it! 😏); a special one for Teenagers and another for Military Personnel.

Whether you are in a special relationship or just wanting to develop personal awareness of those around you; children, colleagues, friends; take a look at The 5 Love Languages and see if there may be insights that will help you communicate more clearly to those for whom you care.

On Trial For Being A Christian

“If you were on trial for being a Christian, would the evidence convict you?”

2021-10-30 The Trial
This was a question I read on an Intervarsity Press poster back in the 1970s. (Good stuff, usually, from IVP. 😉)

The question got me to thinking back then, and now again, about whether people recognize that being a Christ-follower is the most important item in my identity.  A man was speaking to a bunch of us working for the census in 2020 and began to explain how we were to perform our jobs, but without introducing himself.  One of the attendees wondered about his qualifications and asked, “Who are you?”

He presented his name, and then to all our surprise said, “I am first of all a follower of Jesus Christ; an American citizen by birth; a philosophical conservative; a census bureau supervisor by training . . .”  Interestingly, no one challenged his claim to follow Jesus nor commented on it.  However, you can bet, he was watched closely to see if he really followed Jesus!

2021-10-30 Jesus WearablesSuch should be our identification: “first of all, a follower of Jesus Christ.”  If you are one of “us,” how many people that you work with know this?  What evidence have you presented, both in words and actions that signifies your priorities?  This must be more than “tee shirt or jewelry evangelism.”  How many lewd songstresses have you seen with sparkling diamond crosses around their necks as they sing about illicit love affairs or angry lyrics about culture or death?  I remember honking at a car in the ’80s that had a “Honk If You Love Jesus” bumper sticker and the driver flipped “a bird” at me with his middle finger! 😒

Wearing jewelry or clothes that signifies one’s devotion to Jesus is fine, but if that is the total of our announcement of who we are, we are far short of what Jesus calls us to be.Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33) 

So how have you presented your faith in the Resurrected One to those with whom you associate daily or weekly?  Do people you have met for a short time know that you believe Jesus is the uniquely born Son of God?  Have you warned your friends and colleagues that an eternal destiny separated from Life awaits them if they do not receive Jesus as their savior?  Do you care about them enough to warn them as though you consider their houses are on fire?

One does not need to be a theologian or have all the answers.  “When someone thinks they have all the answers you have to wonder if they know all the questions.” (Rick Warren)  Like the man born blind in John 9, all you need is this truth,One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25)  If Jesus has opened our eyes to the reality that this life is very short compared to the Life to come, we need to be telling our relatives, colleagues, neighbors, everyone we encounter for more than 30 minutes. 

This does not mean everyone will accept our testimony or receive Jesus.  To work together and fulfill our responsibilities on jobs or in relationships does not require anyone to agree with us.  But they should know that we love them; that Jesus loves them enough to die for them; that He went to the cross and arose from the dead FOR THEM!  If we love them as Jesus loves them, very few will put us on trial.  But if they do, there should be enough evidence for a conviction!

2021-10-30 Convicted

Guest Blog: A Biblical Guide to a Better Sex Life by pkadams, Blue Skies and Greener Pastures

With so many foci on homosexuality, gender dysphoria and transgenderism (as if someone could “feel” their way to being other than the way they were born 🙄) an important issue for Christ-followers to focus on is what the Bible teaches about sexuality.   Remember, sex was God’s idea BEFORE the fall and with His guidance, is not sinful. 

 It has been quite a while since I addressed this subject (see for “Rated R, The Mystery of Marriage,” and before that for four weeks of “Three Weeks of Sex.”)  This week pkadams provided a very excellent Scriptural perspective on sex.  I cover her 10th point about good books in the April 17, 2021 blog.   I suspect an ad slipped into pkadams’ blog and reordered her bullet points, so I renumbered them.

From pkadams, Blue Skies and Green Pastures:

2021-10-23 A Biblical Guide to a Better Sex Life

Lately it seems like there are sex experts on every social media outlet and in bookstores and on cable TV.  So since it’s so popular, I thought I would add a less common perspective, one that is backed up by the Bible and God himself.  Wait!  Don’t click away!  I’m seriously going to give you some good advice on how to make your sex life better.

Podcast link https://anchor.fm/blueskiesandgreenpastures/episodes/You-can-have-a-better-sex-life–Ep-54-e190ing or https://open.spotify.com/episode/3W5FH1YUQPXEI56G3wfVVX?si=Ag75oxxtTSCRF2ix3aSt_g

  1. Become a Christian. Yes, studies show that Christians have better sex lives than non-Christians! It’s a myth that Christians have boring sex lives. Sex is a gift from God and people who see it that way are more likely to enjoy it.
  2. Love your wife or husband according to God’s instructions. Ephesians 5:22-33 teaches us that wives should submit to their husbands, which means she should respect him and his God-given authority in the marriage. It also teaches that men should love their wives as Christ loves the church, meaning as much as they love their own bodies. He meant that in a marriage each partner should love and respect each other, but there is a proper role for each. And the man is to submit to God. In a marriage with this type of healthy respect for God and each other, you are going to have a better sex life because you have peace in the home.
  3. Take care of your health, including your body, your mind and your spirit. Sex involves all of these. Older married people, and some young ones, sometimes ‘let themselves go’ by not getting exercise, eating right, drinking too much, not getting enough sleep, being a workaholic, smoking, and worrying. And too much time sitting and scrolling the internet is not good for you. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so take care of it. God made you in His image. Feeling good about the way your body looks also helps you feel better about sex! Also, take care of your appearance and hygiene; don’t expect your partner to be okay with a stinky, slob. Keep a good attitude and be thankful for your life and marriage. Ask God to transform your mind.
  4. Stay faithful in every aspect of the word. Do not cheat on your wife through any of the many ways that are available nowadays, including text relationships, internet chat rooms, or actual adultery. Beware of emotional attachments to co-workers and friends of the opposite sex. Don’t talk bad about your spouse behind their back. There is a reason that God mentions adultery in the Ten Commandments. It will destroy your marriage.
  5. Remember why you married your spouse and take time for romance and dating even after the honeymoon period is long past. Schedule time to have fun with your spouse, not just have sex. Build the relationship and you will improve the sex. Buy her flowers. Bake him a cake. The volume of scriptures that mention enjoying your wife are a good indicator that God values a happy marriage. A happy marriage also means happy children!
  6. Beware the temptations and traps of the devil that come in the form of seductive women or men. From the beginning, sexual sin has been one of the most destructive sins. The devil knows that the sexual urge is strong, and even though it is created by God for good, it can be used against us. Keep your eyes and mind free from thoughts about other women or men and you will protect your marriage. A pure marriage is a place were both partners can trust each other and feel free to be intimate. Stay far away from pornography. If needed, install porn-blocking software to prevent temptation. And warn your kids!
  7. Be a good person. Yes, be honest, trustworthy, kind, considerate, thoughtful, generous, patient, loving and sensitive! If you do all this, you will be much more likely to find ways to please your spouse in the bedroom. Most of us do not want to have sex when we are angry or resentful for being ignored, mistreated, lied to, or taken for granted, so make sure to show love to your spouse before you have sex, not just after.
  8. Make sex a priority in your marriage. This may not be a problem for everyone, but I keep hearing stories of sexless marriages, or of one person being interested, but the other is not. If you have health or emotional problems that are blocking you from enjoying sex, please seek help. As I mentioned above, poor health such as high blood pressure, being overweight, diabetes, hormone imbalance and depression can affect your sex life, mostly because of the side effects from medications. Don’t give up. Ask your doctor for help. It is not a sin to use Viagra or whatever you need, within a marriage relationship. The Bible says that couples should not deprive each other lest they fall into temptation. If your marriage is unhappy, work on it. If you’re busy, schedule it!
  9. Don’t be afraid to have fun! Get creative and try new things. Sex is not bad, or nasty, or sinful, or dirty. Unfortunately some people are taught the wrong things when they are children or in some religions. God never intended us to feel guilty about our bodies or sex. He just said that we should ONLY have sex within marriage. It’s okay to wear sexy clothes or have sex in the hot tub. Let down your guard with each other. Being honest about what you like increases love and intimacy and trust! If you are the one who is struggling with being able to relax and enjoy sex, I encourage you to pray about it, and know that God really is okay with your enjoying yourself.
  10. If you need more specific help, buy a book about Christian marriage that includes the topic of good sex. Having a spouse and a good sexual relationship is a blessing! Enjoy it to the fullest and be sure to thank God for the joy. Beware of secular sex advice, or at least choose carefully. Lots of ungodly advice out there! As with all pleasurable things, use wisdom if you are not sure about something. God put limits on sexual behavior for our own good. Do not listen to anyone who tells you that having multiple sex partners is okay, whether they claim to be Christian or not.
  11. BONUS TIP! Make your bedroom a special place. Don’t watch TV, use your computer, scroll your phone in bed. You can do that in the living room. Have nice sheets and pillows! Make it smell good with a candle or essential oils. Keep it clean and tidy. Have nice lighting. Have music available. You know, like a hotel room, LOL!

[Editor’s note: I don’t know whether pkadams thinks LOL means “Lots Of Love” or “Laugh Out Loud!” 😊  You can ask her on her blog site in the comments.]

Where Is The Promise Of His Coming? Part 4: God Will Not Send Anyone To Hell.

“They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’”  2 Peter 3:4

2021-10-16 I AM GOD“God won’t send anyone to hell, He’s too loving and nice to do that.”  This is an opinion uttered by many who believe God is all-loving and compassionate.  And with good reason: He IS.  However, those who express this view do not seem to understand the depth of His mercy: He will not violate anyone’s free will.  THAT is how loving and compassionate He is.

Many people will articulate this viewpoint in one breath and then in the next condemn someone who has done something they consider wrong, especially if it was done to them.  They do not like the idea of living next door to a witch, a rapist or child-molester, a murderer, or a greedy thief or liar.  How would they enjoy sharing Heaven with one such as these?

There are evil people in the world, those who get pleasure out of watching others suffer.  There are those whose only joy is to feel powerful over another or to use people as their toys.  Many a shoplifter or liar has stolen or told a fib without any need, but just for the delight of it.  These are the ones Revelation 22:15 calls dogs, sorcerers, sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters and practitioners of falsehood.

“But,” they will say, “when they have learned their lesson by suffering for a while in hell, God will let them out.”  True enough.  In fact, God’s mercy is SO immense that if Lucifer, the devil himself, ever apologized and admitted that he was wrong to try to take God’s place, God would even forgive him!  How soon will that happen?  Try never.  The devil is so self-deceived that he continually thinks that somehow, someday, in some way, he will be able to overthrow The Uncreated One.  Even into the eons of eternity he will continue to plot, plan and program what he believes will be his ultimate win: I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:14)

2021-10-16 The LiarIn the same way, those who have believed his lie, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” (Genesis 3:5) will follow him to their doom.  It is true that if they would learn their lesson, if they would turn from their selfishness, enjoyment of others’ pain, their immorality or greed, Father would forgive them and allow them into Heaven.  But habits are hard to break, and the older habits get, the more set in the avenues of our minds they become until they are unbreakable, even for God.  Thus Revelation 22:11 says, “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

We see this in the judgements of Revelation 16:9, 11, and 17.  Even when they are facing unquestionable judgements of God, instead of repenting and asking for mercy, people curse God and blame Him as though all the problems being visited on them are HIS fault.  Even then, if they would just ask, God would be merciful, but they simply refuse to see what should be plain in front of their eyes. “They did not repent and give him glory.

2021-10-16 Heaven Or HellThe bottom line is that God will not send anyone to hell.  In fact, He did not even make hell for humans“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no hell.” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce)  But God is so merciful, He will not allow anything evil to enter into Heaven.  In His Final Mercy, He will isolate the recalcitrant sinner so they cannot go on sinning, injuring others and themselves.  And that final separation from all others who live in God will be hell.

In this series on The Promise of His Coming, I have presented The Lie, The Truth, The End and Your Choice, details of what The End might look like, and how the enemy of our souls has deceived the whole world with pseudo-science to deter people from believing that Jesus will come again.  It is my sincere hope that someone reading this will begin to investigate: Did Jesus arise from the dead?  What are the implications if He did?  Will He come again?  What will the End Times look like, if not like our present troubles?

There is always hope for anyone, no matter what you have done, how you have lived your life, how ignorant of The God Who Is you have been, how far from God and any goodness you have moved.  All you need is Jesus.  He will forgive; He will restore what was broken; He will give you eternal life . . . if you will receive Him. (John 1:12)

Maranatha, even so, come Lord Jesus.

 

Intermezzo Guest Blog by Alabastersky – Deceived

This guest blog has been edited somewhat with a paragraph deletion, links added and minor changes; if you wish to read Lisa’s original, you can find Alabastersky’s “Deceived: The New Religion” here.  People, we must learn to love Truth more than anything.  Our Father guarantees that if you love the truth you will not be deceived.  Galatians 6:7 commands, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”  The Bible would not give us a command without the ability to fulfill it!  As for those who are deceived, this is because they did NOT love the truth: “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

From Alabastersky:
It occurs to me that as we plummet headfirst more into darkness each day, that we compromise and allow deception to reign. There are those who become so far removed from truth along the way that they will begin to not only believe but to embrace the lie so much that they themselves are convinced by it. The deceivers actually begin deceiving themselves!

I’ll give you some examples. The New Testament of the Bible tells us much about the Pharisees. We always see them waiting to trip Jesus up, or catch Him in some blasphemy, or in an act violating their traditions. They truly seem to be a demonized and hateful bunch, and Jesus often appears saddened and annoyed by them. But I believe their zeal was not only born out of a perceived threat of loss of control over the people, but also out of an actual belief that Jesus was a crack-pot blasphemer who was leading God’s chosen people astray. It was a combination of these two (and probably other motivations not mentioned). But as we can clearly see now, and for anyone who wishes to study it, Jesus fulfills every Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah’s [first coming]* – every single one.
[*Editor’s Note, the only ones remaining are about End Times events.]

Jumping forward to today, I’ve often wondered how multitudes could be allured into buying wholeheartedly into the one world religion of the antichrist that the Bible describes in Revelation 13, but believe the sincere zeal of the Pharisees gives us a clue. From this chapter in Revelation, we learn that the antichrist (or beast* as he is called), together with the false prophet* (or second beast) perform miracles that are so great that they deceive even possibly the very elect (see Matthew 24:24 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). So we know from this that there is great allure and attraction for people to become followers of the beast who sets himself up not only as the Messiah but also as the fulfillment of all other religions, but is in fact the very antithesis of truth.
[*Editor’s Note: these leaders will NOT be called “antichrist,” “the beast” nor “the false prophet” in the media.]

This allure of deception was confirmed when I saw New York’s Governor on a news broadcast recently stating that she needed “apostles” to evangelize people to get the vaccine because “Jesus taught us to love one another,” and that people who’ve gotten the shots are “the smart ones” while those who refuse to get it “aren’t listening to God and what God wants,” Whose god, I wondered, and why isn’t she taking individual circumstance into consideration? I also have to ask if she herself hears “God” when it comes to the murder of innocent unborn (and even just born) babies?

Now if you honestly believe that the vaccine is the best thing for you, then by all means, go for it. That is your choice, and I’m not here to stop you. But if for various reasons there are those of us who do not believe it is the best thing, why is the government working so forcibly to mandate that it is not our choice? One has to consider that if a government (any government) can force you to take the jab, then they can also force you to take the mark of the beast. Compromise is made in small steps, and the lines we cross in the midst of compromise can be dangerously deceitful.

I’m still trying to figure out why those who have been vaccinated need to be protected from those who have not been vaccinated. If the vaccine is as good as they claim, why would that be necessary? If the vaccine is as good as they claim, why, according to CDC data, did the virus almost flat line as far as new cases in the US prior to the vaccine, and then suddenly and aggressively spike after people began being vaccinated? I’m curious to know why there is a higher risk of catching covid after vaccination than there is before, by the very people who have been vaccinated? I’m curious to know why countries like Australia never took the extreme measures they are taking now for covid against such things as the flu, since the flu has higher death rates than covid?  I’m curious about a lot of things, and I know I don’t stand alone in my curiosity.

But I digress… The point I am hoping to make about the governor of New York’s appeal is that she, much like the Pharisees, has bought into this secular empire religion, and as a result not only perceives a threat of loss of control over the people, but also truly believes that those who act in an individual manner against the government-dictated social norms are crack-pots who are leading people astray.

Take that with another news article regarding a letter from a [national] teachers organization, that requested for parents who engaged in protests to be designated as domestic terrorists and treated as such, as if the government has final authority over our children. For anyone who is a Christ-follower, all of this appears to be the height of hypocrisy and lunacy, but to those who swallow the lies “hook, line, and sinker,” they are just as sincere in their belief in the deception as we are in the grounded and absolute truth of the Bible.

This goes along with a book my husband was reading recently, Hitler’s Cross by Erwin Lutzer, which analyzes what happens when a country forgets God, and declares the state in place of God in regards to what you are allowed to believe, and what happened to the church and Germany as a result. In the book he describes one of Hitler’s top enforcers, Heinrich Himmler, who believed in reincarnation. In his warped idea of spirituality based on a mix of Norse mythology, Hinduism, racism, and the occult, he believed that the Jewish people were “lower than the animals.” As a result he also sincerely believed he was actually doing the Jewish people a favor by annihilating them, so they could return on a higher rung of life than before. How absurd! Sin, hatred and the evil in which it is rooted has no bounds. Those who combine an almighty state with total control and a warped spirituality, and racism in whatever form, who deny Judeo-Christian values, advocate for loss of freedom, and the right to one’s life, and deny the right to decide what entails one’s own physical health, are crossing the line from welfare to tyranny.

THIS is why it is so important to know and understand our enemy is not flesh and blood but are the rulers and powers, principalities and forces of this present darkness (see Ephesians 6:12). This is also why it is important to stand and not compromise.

Letting go of our will in order to seek and fulfill His will instead has nothing to do with conformity. We need to understand that unity and conformity are not one and the same. We can all unite as one nation without conformity, keeping our individuality and God given rights. There is nothing more powerful [against tyranny] than being who God created us to be! That is why our founding fathers emphasized being created equal, with equal opportunity. Equal opportunity does not guarantee equal outcome, and the sooner we return to that understanding, the faster all this racist nonsense being propagated by those wishing to divide and conquer through fear will come to an end.

Know this, the truth and understanding of which I speak is only imparted through the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that when we hold to His teachings, then we will know the truth, the truth will set us free (see John 8:31-32). Jesus said He IS the truth (John 14:6). You can know Him too. He is found by everyone who sincerely seeks Him, and He will set you free!

 

Where Is The Promise Of His Coming? – Part 2

“They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’”  2 Peter 3:4

2021-10-02 I Am Not A VirusThe world is becoming more global, communication more instant, money more digitized and immigration/emigration movements more regulated than ever before in history.  Also, alliances are forming that want to eliminate Israel from the map.  New regulations regarding showing vaccination proof are spreading faster than wildfires as nations and communities want to protect themselves against the CCP virus (Chinese Communist Party).  Presently a patchwork of means of identifying who has been vaccinated, the technology is easily in place to document online when and where one gets the shot.  Soon it could be as simple as taking a pill, but the documentation will still be required.
No pill, No vaccine, No entry, No access.

Soon one will need documentation to buy and sell almost anything.  Eventually any transaction will require a government issued “mark” of some kind, either on the hand or forehead.  However, it will not be administered secretly (like hidden in a vaccine 🙄).  It will be clear when you receive this mark that you need it to buy and sell.
No mark, No groceries, No business, No access.

Remember, it is not the Revelation of St. John; it is “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” given to John.  The entire book is from God’s perspective in Heaven, looking at the events on earth.  As such, the timeline is somewhat confusing with flashbacks and foretelling, but to one open the Holy Spirit, it can be clear.

2021-09-25 Just be ReadyEMPHASIS: This is not to predict the next war, earthquake, tsunami or economic meltdown; it is not to read next week’s headlines before they are printed.  Jesus laid down the “Operational Principle of Prophecy” in John 14:29: “And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.” The purpose of studying prophecy is not to amass money or stockpile a bunker for self-protection.  It is to build our faith so as we see Bible prophecy unfold, we will be ready for whatever Father brings into our lives, even if He is bringing our lives to an end.

For the Christ-follower who has “read the back of the Book,” yes, “we win.”  But before we do, there will be trouble in the world, building to a scale as yet unseen in human history.  Never before have we had so many people on earth.  Never before have we had the means of monitoring everyone.  Never before have we had such instant communication around the world in seconds.  Never before has global commerce needed a digital monetary system transferable across national and political lines.  Never before have we seen a coming together of the major factions of religious leaders.

The Gold MineDr. James Christie presents in chapter 7 that there will be a tri-part rapture, or “catching away” of the redeemed.  Explored in his classic text, The Gold Mine, he bases his ideas on an original reading of the last book of the Bible.  By “orginal reading,” I mean he approaches the book as one with minimized preconceived notions of end-time events.  His is an attempt for a “new reading of the book focused on what the text itself says.”   (Page 12)

The first chapter of Revelation emphasized the book’s primary message: the time is near; be prepared.  Compared to Aesop’s fable of the boy who cried, “Wolf, wolf” too often, many have become jaded to the idea of Christ’s second coming.  When the wolf really came, no one believed the boy in the fable and we are being dulled to the idea that there is any truth to the book.  It appears to be just the stuff of Hollywood movies and fantasy.  Ooooh, the anti-Christ, ooooh, 666, ooooh, angels and demons!

Dr. Christie tells us that the Church, those who believe in their hearts that Jesus is the Son of God, will be taken from the earth in a cataclysmic event prior to many events in Revelation.  This is called Pre-tribulationalism, in that the Christ-followers are spared from the troubles to come during the last seven years of this age.

2021-10-02 Horsemen of the ApocalypseHowever, God is not unmerciful and always is open to anyone who wishes to be changed and saved.  Therefore, continued instruction is provided so that those who do not know Jesus at his second coming in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11) can still prepare and refuse cooperation with the Beast who will be taking the world stage after the ‘first’ rapture, and fully revealed at the half-way mark of the seven-year “Tribulation.”

Next, Dr. Christie looks at those in Revelation 7 who clearly are saved out of the Tribulation period (Revelation 7:13-14).  This is Mid-tribulationalism.  There is no indication that these have been martyred (killed because of religious beliefs).  The martyred are referenced in 6:9-11, and they are awaiting for their number to be filled, but there is nothing about this group being among those.  Those who are to join these “souls under the altar” are found in Revelation 14:13: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on,” an event immediately preceding the final harvest from the earth.

These worshipers of Revelation 7 may have suffered terribly in plagues called down by the Two Witnesses of chapter 11, who spoke for God for three and one-half years, but they have survived the first half of the Tribulation.  They are very possibly “the cloud” that surrounds the Two Witnesses.  The call from Heaven and events at the ‘rapture’ of the Witnesses parallels well the rapture of the Church in chapter 4.

Finally, after three and one-half years (a time, times and 1/2 a time) of intensive judgements on the earth (Post-tribulationalism), there is one more group who joins the throngs in Heaven: the Jews who have refused the Mark of the Beast.  They have not been able to buy or sell, and the False Prophet has been hunting them down and killing any he could find who refused the Mark, but he may missed some of them.  Again, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all might come to repentance, so there may be Gentiles in this group as well, those who have refused the Mark.

2021-10-02 AntichristThe Beast’s entry into the Holy of Holies in the newly constructed Third Temple in Jerusalem likely opened their eyes to the Truth that Jesus was their Messiah.  In any case, even if the entry to Heaven of this Jewish cohort is mostly through death, they are assured in Revelation 14;13, that they will be blessed, even if it costs them their lives.

Where does that leave us?  As last week, Jennifier Bagnaschi noted, we can prepare for the End Times in a couple of ways;

  1. Prepare to take the Mark of the Beast* with zero chance of making it to Heaven.
  2. Plan on getting decapitated for refusing the Mark.
  3. Somehow, figure out how to make it through seven years of the most dangerous times in history.
  4. Be ready for Jesus Christ’s return.

*It will NOT be called the Mark of the Beast, just as he will not be called The Beast! 😏

Read the Book.  Begin with the Good News (Gospel) of John.  Read Romans, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation. Each one should only take less than an hour in your native language which is probably available at Biblegateway.com.  In English I recommend the ESV (English Standard Version), but any of the Scriptures here will do.

Receive Jesus as your savior by praying and asking Him to come take rulership of your life, starting with water baptism and finding a group of like-minded disciples.  If you need help finding these, just email me from anywhere in the world at capost3k@gmail.com and I will help you.

Jesus IS coming soon. Maranatha, even so, come, Lord Jesus!

See Part 3 on .