Canaans Rest

Canaan’s Rest represents a quiet place “set apart” for the purpose of hearing God's voice, growing in intimacy with the Lord, and being renewed in soul and spirit.

Month: August 2019

My Trophy Wife

This blog is a testimony to the grace of God in my marriage of 54 years to the most wonderful woman in the world, Judith Ann, my  trophy wife.  I am prompted to write this blog after an incident in the parking lot of our local Costco store.  A man and his wife ( I assume) were just getting out of their brand new red corvette convertible.  I mentioned to Judy that the guy had a trophy wife, you know, the kind that enhances his status as a man.  It was a classic example of how status even in relationships must be displayed in the presence of others.

I told Judy later that she was my trophy wife.  Or as The Song of Solomon express it, “Yes, compared to other women, my beloved is like a lily among thorns.” (S of S 2:2 NLT)  I told her that I would not trade her for any other women.  She was perfect for me in every way.   Being sincere, I know it meant something to Judy. Men, let me tell you – it will bless your wife if she knows she is your trophy wife.  So why could I call Judy my trophy wife.

First, making the commitment to be a “one woman man.”  For all of our marriage, I have had only eyes for my wife.  That does not mean that I have not been tempted by thoughts  so that my mind would wander to places that are not healthy for our relationship.  This is a part of “everyman’s battle.”  But by the grace of God I have never been in a compromising position.  Judy, knows I am a one woman man by my conduct and disposition.

Secondly, by the grace of God, we have become one in the spirit.  This has been a process of growth for both of us.  This means that Judy is my “soul mate.”  I find strength, encouragement and comfort in our being one in the spirit.  She knows how much I appreciate her spiritual help.  I need her.  She is not a kind of “5th wheel” that I can do without.  No, she is my helpmate in a very real way

Thirdly, how we blend together as a couple.  Paul tells wives and husbands to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  We have always had the concept of knowing that our marriage is a daily dying to our own ego needs, while wanting to put the other first in our marriage.  This has meant honest times of confession, surrender and recommitment to one another.

Finally, after 54 years with the same woman I know Judy like no one else.  I see all the good qualities that Judy  brings to  our marriage.  Men, don’t take these things for granted.  Show your appreciation and gratitude by telling your wife how wonderful she is.

I could have said other things that would relate more specifically to our unique dynamic as a couple.  For these I am very thankful.  Your relationship is unique to your bride.  Focus on those good qualities and thank God for how they compliment your marriage and get into the regular practice of telling your bride, in specific ways why she is your trophy wife.

Another way you can express your love and admiration for you wife is to tell her she is your crown.  “A wife of noble character is her husband crown” (Prov. 12:4).  Or as the Amplified put it, “A virtuous and excellent wife [worthy of honor] is the crown of her husband.”

Apollo 11

As a nation we have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people in history to walk on the Moon.  What has often been overlooked was the celebration of the Lord’s Supper on the Moon.

Aldrin told his pastor that he had “been struggling to find the right symbol for the first lunar landing.”  He wanted a way to express  what man was doing in the mission as transcending electronics and computers and rockets. “One of the principal symbols,” noted his pastor Dean Woodruff, “is that God reveals himself in the common elements of everyday life.”  These elements have traditionally been the elements of bread and wine – common food in Bible days and typical products of man’s labor.

Not wanting to cause a controversy, his fellow astronaut Deke Slayton, who ran the Apollo 11 flight crew, told Aldrin to “go ahead and have communion, but keep your comments more general.”  Aldrin asked listeners to contemplate the event and give thanks.  Then he took a piece of  scrap of paper on which he had written the following words and  he read – “I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit, for you can do nothing without me.”

I never knew this happened on the Apollo trip.  It is another case of the media choosing to ignore the message of the gospel.  As I read about the sharing of communion in space I thought of Col. 1:19, “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and by him God reconciled everything to himself.  He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross.”

The bread and wine shared on Apollo 11 represent the body and blood of our Lord.  It is a tangible reminder of his death for us.  It is by his death that one day all things in heaven and on earth will reconciled and peace will be established because of what Jesus did on the cross. How great that this was being proclaimed out in space.

I also thought of Heb 1:2-3, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” The first man to step foot on the moon remembered the one who, “sustains all thing by his powerful word.”

One other scripture from the Message (Eph 1:22-2).  “He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything.  At the center of all this, Christ rules the church.  The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.  The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.”  The body of Christ is at the center of all things.  Even in space, through the bread and the wine, the church is central to what God is doing.

Praise God that the Lordship of Jesus was declared by the first human to set foot on the moon.  We should not be surprised by this event.  God is sovereign creator of the universe.  He will make this truth known.  Even though many do not acknowledge this truth, we declare Jesus’ lordship  over the heavens and on earth.

Adulting

Millennials who feel they lack some basic life skills can now take “adulting” classes, which are expanding across the country.  The classes teach life skills such as  cooking, budgeting, and time management.  CBS New York reports  young adults are signing up for lessons in person and online.

Experts say millennials are behind on these skills because many haven’t left their childhood homes.  The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2015,  34 % of Americans between 18 and 34 still lived with a parent.  That’s compared to just 26% in 2005.  “It’s more common than living with roommates and more common than living with a spouse,” demographer Jonathan Vespa said.

Adulting is a verb mean, “to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals, for example,  paying off a credit card debt.  It can be exclusively used by those who adult less that 50% of the time.”  In other words, adulting is something you choose to do, rather then become an adult. There is even an “adulting” calendar to reward grown-ups with stickers for completing mundane tasks.

I’m in my late 70’s.  I have worked  intentionally on a Godly masculine lifestyle, but I  have never heard the word “adult” used as a verb to describe becoming a man.  But evidently Millennials  are familiar with the word. I wonder if their is a man reading this blog, who has choosen “adulting” as  lifestyle, rather then becoming a man.  God is looking for full time men, not those choosing selective adulting.

Manhood is a gift bestowed by our creator.  Again we go back to the order of creation.  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”‘ (Gen. 1:27). This is not a selective process of choosing how to “adult” as a man.

Becoming a adult male does not come natural.  “Adulting” is really taking the path of least resistance.  Glenn Stanton in an article entitled, “Manhood is not natural” made this observation about men.  “Womanhood is natural.  Manhood is not…..As a behavior, manhood must be learned, proven and earned. Maleness just happens, but manhood does not.”

Maleness is biological, but manhood is a developed character quality.  “When manhood is not formed and cultivated,” Stanton maintains, “males fail to mature, resulting in the ‘perpetual adolescence’ or ‘failure to launch’ that plagues our culture.” Much of the blame for young men living in perpetual adolescence rests with  fathers.  A young man’s manhood is first learned from his father.  But if the father is not affirmed in is masculinity, many young men will go into the adult years feeling abandoned and fatherless.

Here is some simple advice for any father who is struggling with being a dad to a son.  First, surrender your life the Lord Jesus.  Allow him to bring you to your heavenly Father so that you may receive your affirmation as a man.  Secondly, be intentional about your fathering. You are the exemplar.  Your son has only one father. 3) Let your son know that becoming a man is difficult. Teach him to be “tough and tender” in the midst of the accusations of “toxic masculinity.  Finally, show your enthusiasm and intentionality about being a man.  Let your son know that Jesus and His kingdom are worth dying for.  Their is no room for compromise in being a godly man in the midst of all the confusion of our day.

Building Fences

My bride and I have gotten into a consistent pattern of going for our daily three mile walk together.  I cannot express how meaningful this has been for my present spiritual journey.  In our transition to senior apartment living as well as finding a new church home, we have had to go about building new relationships.

On one of recent walk we discussed “building fences.”  It’s really another way of talking about boundaries. In moving to a new community and establishing new relationships, we have had to talk intently about appropriate boundaries in our relationship with others.  As committed followers of Jesus we want to be a  light in our relationships, not be a stumbling block. “What is important is faith expressing itself in love” (Gal. 5:6 NLT)

It takes real discernment in knowing how to walk out what Paul tells us is the essence of our faith in relationships, especially those closest to us.  Jesus warns us – “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you.  You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves.  Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove” (Matt. 10:16 – Message).  Paul tells us, “Love must be sincere” (Rom. 12:9).  But we are also instructed, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Rom. 12:18).

I think we can all agree that establishing relationships is like walking in relational “minefields” or not knowing when we will be “broadsided.” Men I am learning from my wife, of her appreciation for my talking the lead in dealing with minefields and ambushes in relationships.  In other words, as husband, I am called upon to build the fence or boundary.

Personally, I do not like talking the responsibility for set the boundaries.  It means that I have to take the heat and getting involved in the messiness of relationships.  My wife appreciates when we candidly talk through our mutual experiences with others.  After coming to a clear agreement as to how to handle a relationship, some one has to “pull the trigger.”  Men, don’t expect you wife to do the difficult work of keeping proper boundaries.  This is our job.

I think this part of what Peter means when he exhorts husbands – “In the same way, you husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way [with great gentleness and tact, and with the intelligent regard for the marriage relationship], as with someone physically weaker, since she is a woman.  Show her honor and respect as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered or ineffective” ( I Pet. 3:7-8 Amp.).

I am showing gentleness and being tactful when I listen to my wife’s  emotional needs in relationships, taking into consideration how we doth perceive others and then going about protecting and keeping my wife secure in our relationships  Men, your wife needs to know that you are willing to take “the heat”  by building the proper fence around your relationships

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