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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

joseph-and-his-rib-biblepictures-net

Joseph, a young man from the house of David, was probably like every other soon-to-be husband: nervous, but excited all the same.  That is, until his fiancée came to him with shocking news.  Mary was pregnant, but Joseph was not the father.  The world, as Joseph knew it, had collapsed around him.  He felt betrayed, hurt, angry.  Break the engagement, whispered his pride, and walk away from this woman.

Everything had changed.  Plans were ruined.  Reputation was at stake.  Unchartered territory lay ahead.  At this precarious moment in his life, Joseph had nothing to hang on to… nothing, that is, except the Word of the Lord.

The Word gave Joseph courage.  “Don’t be afraid!”  It was the word that showed Joseph how to be faithful.  “Take Mary as your wife.  She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus” (Matthew 1:20-21).

Perhaps, in holding on to the Word, Joseph remembered the experience of his ancestor, Adam.  Perhaps, in a moment of truth and with eyes focused, Joseph could picture Adam standing next to his wife, Eve.  Perhaps, with wisdom only from the Holy Spirit, Joseph recognized the significance of Eve’s creation by God from man’s rib.

God made (literally: “built”) woman using part of man.  With this, He established their relationship within the order of creation.  A rib is structural; it supports.  A rib guards and protects the heart and breath of life, yet it is vulnerable.  Under attack, it can easily be fractured or even broken.  Satan despises the order of creation that God uses to protect the man and woman He so loves.  So, that day in the Garden, Satan set his target and went straight to Adam’s rib.  The man was responsible for using God’s Word to cover his wife, yet he did nothing.  Joseph knew the consequences that followed.

Perhaps, with discernment only from God, Joseph understood that he must not repeat the sin of his ancestor and do to his rib what Adam had done to his.

Perhaps, in remembering what Adam had failed to do, Joseph was given the courage to cover his wife, Mary, and lead her to safety.  Let the village talk!  Adjust carefully-made plans!  Trust the Word of the Lord!  Although it meant leaving his zone of comfort, Joseph did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him to do.  He covered his rib by taking Mary as his wife.  And, when Mary’s child was born, Joseph named Him Jesus.

God wanted Joseph to make a difference – a difference that would impact the world.  But, such a difference could be made only by being faithful.  Such faithfulness required that Joseph leave all that was familiar and put his life and the life of Mary into the hands of God.

Today, when a young man pressures his girlfriend to have sex, he is leaving her physically, emotionally, and spiritually vulnerable.  He has placed his “needs” before hers and, in so doing, left her open to attack.  When a man does not promise to love, cherish, and cover a woman with his name, but simply share living quarters and a bed, he is leaving her open to attack.  When a man fathers a child but does not accept the privilege and responsibility of being a daddy, he is leaving both mother and child uncovered and vulnerable to the world.

But, when a man remembers God and His call to leadership, he is able to make a difference.  A young man who guards his girlfriend’s virtue makes a difference.  A husband who remains true to his wife makes a difference.  A dad who understands the privilege, responsibility, and generational influence of fatherhood makes a difference.  Men of faithfulness have a grand opportunity to defend against chaos and leave a legacy of hope.

Convenience told Joseph to walk away from Mary.  Self-defense told Joseph to think of “number one.”  Pride told Joseph that he could do better.  Fear told Joseph to hide.  But, God told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife.

Joseph did what the angel of the Lord commanded.  He covered Mary, his rib, and the unborn Child whose heart beat under her own.  And, after the Baby was born in the most humble of circumstances, Joseph named the Child Jesus.  Through all the frightening days ahead, Joseph remembered the Word of the Lord.  And the Lord did not forget Joseph.  In the midst of danger, the angel of the Lord warned Joseph.  When uncertainty abounded, the angel of the Lord directed Joseph.

It’s true that life wasn’t ever the same for Joseph.  It certainly wasn’t what he had planned.  But, Joseph remembered the Word of the Lord.  And, in doing so, he received courage to do what was asked of him.  Joseph was faithful to cover Mary, his rib.  He raised her Son Jesus in a godly home and took Him to worship.  Some 2000 years later, the Boy who grew to be a Man in the house of a carpenter is still changing lives.

Joseph made a difference.

by Linda Bartlett
Revised 2010
(image: biblepictures.net)
“Joseph & His Rib” available from LFL

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Eric Metaxas from Breakpoint (10/28) brings something to Ezerwoman’s attention.  Having been concerned about the separation of procreation from sex here in the American culture, I find the following worthy of our attention.  Eric Metaxas writes:

Long-time BreakPoint listeners know about Japan’s catastrophically-low birthrates: by 2060, Japan’s population is projected to fall by a third, the same percentage killed by the Black Death in 14th-century Europe.

Japan’s demographic decline has spawned some creepy adaptations, such as lifelike talking dolls for elderly Japanese without grandchildren, or the borrowing of other people’s grandchildren for a day.

Attempts to encourage child-bearing through economic incentives have failed, as they have in other countries with low birth-rates. Younger Japanese aren’t interested in reproducing themselves.

And now, according to a recent article in the UK’s Guardian, they’re increasingly uninterested in sex, as well.

A 2011 survey found that 61 percent of unmarried men and 49 percent of unmarried women between 18 and 34 were not involved in any kind of relationship. Another survey found that a third of those under thirty had never dated.

Daily_Commentary_10_28_13MMore ominously, a study by the Japan Family Planning Association revealed that 45 percent of all Japanese women between the ages of 16 and 24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact.” More than a quarter of their male counterparts felt the same way.

As the Guardian puts it, “Japan’s under-40s won’t go forth and multiply out of duty, as postwar generations did.” Why? Part of the reason has to do with Japanese attitudes to women in the workforce. As one 32-year-old woman told the paper, “a woman’s chances of promotion in Japan stop dead as soon as she marries.” The assumption is that she’ll become pregnant and have to resign.

While that helps to explain why her generation isn’t having children or even getting married, it doesn’t explain the lack of interest in sex. And it certainly doesn’t explain why an increasing number of Japanese men aren’t interested in it either.

One 31-year-old man spoke for many of his peers when he said, “I find some of my female friends attractive but I’ve learned to live without sex. Emotional entanglements are too complicated . . . I can’t be bothered.”

“Can’t be bothered.” Or mendokusai in Japanese. (Didn’t think I could speak Japanese, did you? Well, I can’t.)

Most of the other possible factors the Guardian cites, including “the lack of a religious authority that ordains marriage and family,” are only partial explanations. Japan’s “precarious earthquake-prone ecology that engenders feelings of futility, and the high cost of living and raising children” don’t explain the increasing lack of interest in sex. But here’s something that does: it’s the lack of interest in having children. The assumption of the sexual revolution was that, having severed the link between sex and procreation, the result would be “better sex.”

Newsletter_Gen_180x180_BBut the Japanese experience suggests that the opposite may be closer to the truth. Having stripped sex of one of its God-ordained purpose, we turned it into just another pleasurable human activity, albeit one that often comes with complicated emotional entanglements.

Since the “urban pastimes” available to younger Japanese provide pleasure without the entanglements, sex can seem like a bad investment of time and energy. Mendokusai.

The Guardian calls Japan’s separation of love and sex “pragmatic.” But the evidence strongly suggests that there is nothing “pragmatic”—as in “dealing with things sensibly and realistically”—about that separation. We human beings simply aren’t wired that way.

In some important respects, the difference between Japan and us is one of degree, not kind. It remains to be seen if a generation of young Americans will one day replace “whatever” with “mendokusai.”

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bride & groom at altarDefenders of marriage at the Family Research Council recently posted a blog entitled “Why Marriage Should Be Privileged in Public Policy.”  What follows is a brief excerpt.

Marriage is the most important social act, one that involves much more than just the married couple. To begin with, extended families are merged and renewed through a wedding. It is also through marriage that the community and the nation are renewed. A new home is formed when a couple marries, one open to the creation of new life. These children are the future. Marriage also has beneficial social and health effects for both adults and children, and these gifts benefit the community and the whole society. Conversely, it is through the breakdown of marriage that society is gravely harmed. The future of the nation depends on the creation of good marriages and good homes for children.

Among marriage’s many benefits to society is an increased respect for and protection of human life, since married women are less likely to abort their children than are unmarried women. Married-parent families contribute to safer and better communities with less substance abuse and crime among young people, as well as less poverty and welfare dependency. Also, married parents help prevent young people from engaging in premarital sex and having out-of-wedlock births; they are also likely to produce young adults who view marriage positively and maintain life-long marriages. Marriage brings many health and economic benefits to society and helps citizens to be more involved in communities.

Because marriage serves a public purpose–namely, procreation and the benefit of children and society–government can legitimately privilege marriage and seek to strengthen it in its policies. Other relationships such as cohabitation and homosexuality do not benefit children and society, and, therefore, should not be supported by government. There is no evidence showing that these relationships have the same positive effects as marriage. In fact, there is considerable evidence that they have detrimental effects on both children and adults.

Please read the entire post on FRC’s blog.  There are a great many reasons for the government to guard marriage.  All of them have to do with the health, welfare and defense of our nation and civilization as a whole.

(Thanks, Bob, for being part of the FRC team!)

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Mr. “Not a Scientist” said he values substantive information, not vague claims or opinions.  To accomodate, I’m offering a few selected resources.

Jeffrey Satinover, a psychiatrist who is a graduate of MIT, Harvard, and the University of Texas and has lectured at both Yale and harvard, reports some of the medical harm that is typically associated with male homosexual practice:

  • A twenty-five to thirty-year decrease in life expectancy
  • Chronic, potentially fatal, liver disease — infectious heptatitis
  • Inevitably fatal immune disease including associated cancers
  • Frequently fatal rectal cancer
  • Multiple bowel and other infectious diseases
  • A much higher than usual incidence of suicide

Satinover also points out a significant contrast in the sexual behaviors of heterosexual and homosexual persons.  Among heterosexuals, sexual faithfulness was relatively high: “90 percent of heterosexual women and more than 75 percent of heterosexual men have never engaged in extramarital sex.”  But among homosexual men the picture is far different:

  • A 1981 study revealed that only 2 percent of homosexuals were monogamous or semi-monogamous — generally defined as ten or fewer lifetime partners . . .
  • A 1978 study found that 43 percent of male homosexuals estimated having sex with five hundred or more different partners . . . Seventy-nine percent said that more than half of these partners were strangers.   (Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth by Jeffrey Satinover, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996)

Society should encourage and reward marriage between one man and one woman.  All societies need babies to survive, and Biblical marriage is the best environment for having babies.  Societies should encourage an institution that provides this best kind of environment for raising children.  A married man and woman raise and nurture children far better than any other human relationship or institution.  The benefits that husband and wife (father and mother) bring to their children are numerous.  Children who live with their own two traditionally-married parents:

  • Have significantly higher educational achievement. 
  • Are much more likely to enjoy a better economic standard in their adult lives and are much less likely to end up in poverty.
  • Have much better physical and emotional health.
  • Are far less likely to commit crimes, are less likely to engage in alcohol and substance abuse, and are more likely to live according to higher standards of integrity and moral principles.
  • Are less likely to experience physical abuse and more likely to live in homes that provide support, protection, and stability for them.

Children who live with their own two traditionally-married parents are more likely to establish stable families in the next generation.  Traditional marriage:

  • Provides a guarantee of lifelong companionship and care far better than any other human relationship or institution.
  • Leads to a higher economic standard and diminished likelihood of ending up in poverty for men and women.
  • Provides women with protection against domestic violence and abandonment far better than any other human relationship or institution.
  • Encourages men to socially beneficial pursuits far better than any other human relationship or institution.
  • Provides a healthy environment for sexual faithfulness (men and women have an innate instinct that values sexual faithfulness) far better than any other human relationship or institution.
  • Provides greater protection against sexually transmitted diseases than any other relationship or institution.
  • Honors the biological design of men’s and women’s bodies that argues that sexual intimacy is designed to be enjoyed between only one man and one woman.  (The above is documented by Wayne Grudem in Politics According to the Bible (Zondervan, 2010, pp 224-225). 

God created marriage between one man and one woman.  We cannot change the “fit” and still call it marriage.  Now, it is something else.  Marriage is the building block of any stable society.  Any society that wants to remain healthy and stable must have governments that encourage, protect, and reward marriage between one man and one woman.  In turn, marriage and family give back to society in immeasureable ways. 

There are countless resources for the curious.  I value the following:

Joseph Nicolosi, President of the National Association for the Research and Treatment of Homosexuality

Exodus International, a ministry for those leaving the muck and mire of homosexuality and starting new lives

Stand to Reason, apologetics for both Christian and non-Christian 

The Family Research Council (click on:  “Marriage and Human Sexuality”)

Focus on the Family

Unwanted Harvest by Mona Riley and Brad Sargent

A Strong Delusion: Confronting the”Gay Christian” Movement by Joe Dallas

The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today by Alan Sears and Craig Osten

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