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A “December” Bride


elderly-couple-in-love        It is not good for man to be alone, I will make   him a help meet.

Recently an older couple in my church, in their 70’s were married.  They had become fond of each other and enjoyed the times that they spent together.  Both had been single for several years and welcomed the companionship that marriage afforded them.   This  brought to mind a television show many years ago titled “December Bride”, a story of a couple in their golden years who got married.

In doing a brief reasearch, I was surprised to discover that the percentage of couples over 60 who are marrying is rapidly increasing. This  could be attributed to the fact that people are living longer.  Evidence of health and emotional benefits  of a loving union have created new  possibilities for marriage late in life.   Although love and attraction entered into the equation, it was the need for companionship that sealed the desire to marry.   One gentleman in his 90’s shared that his 70 year old bride  built him up ,changed his life and  gave him a  purpose in life.  He further stated that they had a wonderful reason to marry in that they were both lonely.

Spiritual:  The Scriptures do state that it is not good for man to be alone and this is why God created Eve for Adam.  She was to be his help meet as they served the Lord together.  In Church ministries there are opportunities afforded married couples to serve that are not necessarily open to a single person.  Granted, many opportunities are available for singles to serve but many of these can be enhanced by a married couple.  The prayer life of a man and wife is compounded by the fact that the Lord states that where two or more are gathered together in my name, there I am also.  A man and his wife can encourage each other in the Lord and enjoy immeasurable blessings that otherwise would not be attained as being single.

Older Christian couples seem to have more quality time to spend in prayer, reading scripture and going on visitation.  Serving the Lord and making Jesus the center of your home must be the most important part of deciding to marry.  Thus, we understand the imperative need to make certain that any marriage proposal be the will of God in life of both the man and the lady.

Health:  Research has indicated that older unmarried folk seem to have more ailments than those who are married.  They are at a greater risk for a shorter life span being at particularly at risk for cardiovascular disease.   A lack of a consistent nutritional diet, depression and decrease in physical activity most likely act as a catalyst in bringing on heart disease.  In addition, an emotional, mental and intimate relationship with a spouse can release stress which is a major contributing cause of chronic ailments at any age.

Emotional:  Possibly the most detrimental aliment of an older single person is depression.  Having worked in several long term facilities during my Nursing Career, it was one of the most prominent issues faced by the residents.  Those who had regular visits from family members were as not as susceptible.  So often many of these dear folk have almost forgotten how to smile.  Laughter is a part of their distant past.  Perhaps this is one reason older single people become so attached to their pets.  These little critters provide companionship, love, and joy in the everyday life.  In any case it does not take the place of a healthy relationship with a caring spouse/

Sharing joys and sorrows with another is conducive to emotional stability.  A married couple can often experience a peace of mind that is often lacking in older single people.  Having someone who daily shows by word or action that they care is so comforting.  The mere presence of another human on a consistent basis instills a peace that is unmeasurable.  Have you considered what the effect a wink from a husband has on his wife?

Mental:  The Lord  allowed me the blessing of taking care of a dear sweet friend who was stricken with Alzheimer’s.  One of the most important interventions with this type of patient is to consistently stimulate their mind.  Repetitive comments, rehearsing past accomplishments, and music are effective tools to implement in the care of folks with dementia.  Consider that if these things can minimize the deterioration in mental awareness, how much more needful are they in the lives of all older folks.   I recommend to all of my friends who are Senior Saints to do crossword puzzles, wordfinds and reading to keep the mind alert.

Within  the confines of a marriage, the mind is continually being stimulated as each spouse contemplates how they can best meet the needs of each other.  For him it is often little things like warming up the car for her, carrying in groceries, sharing a funny story or even a blessing from the Bible, that keep his mind active and sharp.  For her there is the meal planning of his favorite foods, making sure his tie is straight, giving him a back rub before bed that help her mentation to remain within normal.  I have learned that older married couples fare much better mentally than those who are alone in their ‘golden’ years.  It has been documented that married people are more likely to have better mental health than the unmarried and for the Christian couple, studying and memorizing God’s word together is a great enhancement of mental stability.

Intimacy :  Older folk are not immune to intimate sexual fantasies.  Because of the sensitivity of the subject I prefer not to dwell upon the obvious nature of this subject except to say that people who marry in old age will find a way to do that which comes naturally.  God blessed the marriage bed and he intended that man should enjoy it to the fullest.  What is often missed within a physical relationship is the mere touching of the arm, or the gentle kiss on the cheek.  Think for a moment of those touches that are enjoyed so much by a child, the cuddling, the snuggling, and the hugging…………these acts are needful by folk of all ages.  The problem evolves when they are performed outside the protection of the marriage license.  unlike children, adults are intimately stimulated by any form of physical touching.  There is a verse in the Bible that states that it is better to marry than to burn.  It is not wise to marry just for physical attraction, lust never leads to a good relationship.

Other factors may need to be taken into consideration that would have an affect on a “December” type marriage such as family, finances and future goals.  Although unmarried  people are generally worse off financially, this factor alone should not be a reason for getting married at any age.

The basic fundamental truth is that if the union of a man and a lady is the will of the Lord, all of these things will work out for the Glory of the Lord and the good of the couple.

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A Tribute to Phyllis


220px-Shetland_Sheepdog_600Totally unexpected; how many times has this expression been used  in reference to the sudden death of a family member or friend.  Such is the case of Phyllis, a Christian, Mother, friend and neighbor.  The personal sadness incurred with her passing cannot compete with the overwhelming joy of knowing that ‘we’ will see her again.  In the meantime, the memories of our life with her will bring us joy, laughter and comfort.  She was a good friend, a true sister-in-the-Lord.

Phyllis left behind  her beloved companions “Sparky” and “Cali”.  Her pets brought her great pleasure and happiness.  We would sit and laugh at the antics of Cali, the cat, attacking Sparky, her beautiful  playful dog.  Most everyday, when the weather was appropriate, Phyllis would take Sparky out to play ball.  I would sometimes open the window and talk to ‘Sparky’ watching him wag his tail gleefully at the sound of my voice. She shared her beloved pets with the rest of the ‘Four Musketeers’ and we a grateful for the memories.  Sadly, not all of her neighbors appreciated Sparky and Cali, and their unkind words troubled Phyllis, piercing her heart.

In addition to her pets, Phyllis had a love for the out-of-doors and God’s Creation.  During the summer months she could be seen outside tending to the flowers and landscaping around the apartment complex.  She single-handedly cleared all the overgrowth, weeds and trash and made it a most appealing sight to gaze upon.  This was one example of her penchant for serving others.

Thelma, our 92-year-old resident ‘granny’ was blessed by the caring attentiveness of her friend, Phyllis.  On many, many occasions, Phyllis would chauffeur Thelma to the Doctor, the grocery or even just out to eat.  There was not a day that went by the she did not check in on her elderly friend.  We were quite often convicted by the compassion and consideration which Phyllis exhibited in her life.   You see, Phyllis did not do these things to make herself look good, or for monetary gain,  she did them because it was the right thing to do.

You see, Phyllis was not an ordinary lady.  She was a blood bought born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Of her own admission, there was a time in her life that she realized that she was a sinner on her way to hell.  She believed that the Bible, the inspired, infallible Word of God stated in Romans 3:23 ‘That all had sinned and come short of the glory of God.’  Furthermore she accepted the truth of Romans 6:23 ‘That the wages of sin is death (spiritual separation from God) but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.   At that particular moment, Phyllis called upon Jesus to forgive her sins and to save her; and she was gloriously and wonderfully saved.  She knew that when she died that she would go to heaven to be with Jesus, and there, my friend is where she is this very moment.

God began a new work in her, and Phyllis willingly sought to serve the Lord.  She was faithful in reading her Bible, praying and attending her church.  She thoroughly enjoyed sharing Jesus with the other members of the Four Musketeers, Nancy, Deb, and Diann;  her Sisters-in-the-Lord.  What great times of fellowship we had studying God’s Word together.  These memories will last for eternity.

You see, my friend, we will see Phyllis again!  Whether is be by death or by rapture, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when we die, we will spend eternity in heaven.  This is not because we have lived such a sinless life or have performed an enormous amount of good deeds; it is because we, like Phyllis, realized that we were sinners on our way to hell; that Jesus shed his innocent blood on the Cross of Calvary, and that he died to give us the gift of eternal life.  We cannot work our way to heaven by going to church, giving money to the poor or any other human attempt at achieving a home in heaven.  It can only come by believing on the name of the Lord Jesus.  Romans 10:13  Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved; because   John 3:16  For God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  We will see Phyllis again,  Will you?

FYI:  Photo is a facsimile of Sparky

Unequally yoked with Believers!


n_36533_4  Laodcian ChurchWhoa, that is not what scripture says, or is it?  We are admonished in Scripture not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers but where does it state that we are to separate ourselves from believers.  The truth is that there are different degrees of separation, one of which includes carnal Christians.

I do not particularly like the expression ‘backslidden’.  The word itself is not mentioned in the Bible although backsliding is mentioned in Jeremiah and Hosea in reference to Israel.  Instead I prefer the phrase ‘out of fellowship with God,’ which seems to have a more convicting connotation.  True, the term backsliding has come to refer nowadays to a severed relationship with the Lord because of sin, but it does not seem to have the soul searching impact as being out of fellowship with God.  In 2 Timothy 4:10 we are told by Paul that God had separated him from Demas because the latter went the way of the world and would have been a hindrance on Paul’s ministry.  Carnal Christians are a hindrance to any ministry and/or personal relationship with Jesus.   Actually, if the truth be known, those who name the name of Christ and are living in sin usually avoid those who are seeking to walk close to the Lord.  The good apple/bad apple scenario would definitely apply in these matters of carnality.

So many times we enter into relationships that are not spiritually healthy.  I know a lady who has affections for a man who is abrasive and somewhat condescending and rude.  She is praying earnestly that the Lord would change his heart so that he would be ‘marriage’ material.  Until then, she is content to remain single. ” Wise Woman!”  A lady who is seeking to be faithful to the Lord has no business fostering a relationship with a man who has carnal tendencies. An acquaintance shared with me that her Pastor had counselled her against marrying her husband because he had a mean and angry spirit;  now she is in an unpleasant marriage of her own chosing.   Another Christian lady who was a widow became interested in a single man in her church.  She was saddened that they only had one date and earnestly prayed that the Lord would allow her to become this mans wife.  It turned out that he was smitten by another lady who lured him into a worldly church,  which indicated that he was not firm in his convictions on separation issues.   Recently I was befriended by a sweet lady who consistently dominated  the majority of our fellowship with stories of her colorful past.  It did not take my flesh long to begin competing with ‘my life was harder than your life’ stories.  Occasional reference was made to the forgiving nature of Christ and His leading in our lives but the main focus was on our own ‘woe is me’ saga.   Although it is needful at times to share pertinent information about ones past and how the Lord has lead you through trials as a testimony to God’s forgiving nature, it should be offered in caution and most certainly with a Saint who is not prone to gossip.  Gossip, this brings me to another reason to separate oneself from a Carnal Believer.

Gossip – Giving Others Self Serving Information Persuasively.  Little phrases like ‘just so you can pray more intelligently’ or We need to pray for so and so because…………………are  sometimes red flags that a request for prayer has a tainted motive.  Granted many prayers needs could be addressed in this manner, but caution must be maintained to assure that the request is legitimate.  Fellowship with a person who is prone to gossip can only lead to trouble and  it is not pleasing to the Lord.  There is so much information about other folk that we do not necessarily have a need-to-know.

The old adage that we are known by the company we keep especially applies to Christiandom.  Those who attend Catholic services are discerned as being Catholic.  Folk who frequent churches with a penchant for Pentecostalism are refered to as Pentecostal.  These are easily accepted as being religious people whom we should separate ourselves in our spiritual walk.  Some fellowships are not as recognizable as being ‘separation’ issues.  For instance, consider those churches who entertain their congregations with Christian Rock.  In my opinion this would be a worldly church, Laodicean perhaps, and it would be wrong for me to frequent their services.  In many communities across America, there are Church sponsored community activities which humanly speaking are worldly beneficial.  Whether it be political or humanitarian, it may be necessary not to participate in these activities because of the Spiritual nature of the churches involved.

We are blessed in this Nation with an abundant of churches that still preach the Gospel of Christ.  Some of these even use the KJV.  Unfortunately for some, this is where it ends.  The altar call, soul winning, visitation and preaching against sin is no longer a part of their ministry.  Like the church in Ephesus, these folk have left their first love.  Recently, I read where a man who was an elder in one of these ‘Ephesus’ churches signed himself and his wife up for dancing lessons.  I do not believe I would be spiritually fed at their church.  A church in a nearby community has become so ‘separated’ that it is nigh unto being a cult.  The man in the pulpit so micro-manages his flock that he usurps the authority of Dad’s in their home.  Children who attend the Christian School of this church are not permitted to talk to let alone fellowship with other  Christian school children.   For years I attended a church in which I did not feel comfortable.  The Lord had led me to this church when the founding father was in the pulpit.  After the Lord called him home, standards changes and I sought the Lord that he might lead me to another work, and through a set of circumstances, He did just that.   Prayerfully consider the church that you are currently attending, if it does not measure up to the Church at Philadelphia, then perhaps you might seek wisdom from God about becoming a part of another work.  Several folk in the church I attend drive a goodly distance to attend the services.

In closing, let me reassure my readers that I am not advocating separating oneself from a carnal brother or sister in the Lord as one would an unsaved person.  On the contrary, just as we are to be witnesses of the Gospel in the world, so indeed are we to live our life in such a way that a wayward one within the flock of Christ will have genuine conviction and return to the fold.  Fellowship with these folk may need to be limited, but not severed unless there is blatant sin.  We must be ever mindful to the truth that if it were not for the grace of the Lord Jesus……………thither go I!

 

Note:  Photo depicts ruins of Laodicean Church which is due to be opened to the Public in 2103.

A Very Good Year – for Friendship


the_woman_at_the_wellHaving a close personal friend has been a desire of mine for years.  During my youth and young adult life I often envied those ladies that had a special person in their life who spent quality time together and shared their joys and sorrows.  Their friendship was not superficial but instead it had developed into a bond that found its origin streaming forth from the heart.  There was an unspoken philio love that could be sensed when they were in the presence of each other.  I often longed for a friend such as this and glory be to God, I was blessed with one this year.

Her name is  Nancy.  Both of us being widows, we have so much in common and yet are opposite is so many ways that seem to compliment each other.  I am a wee bit on the fluffy side and she is a petite slim wisp of a woman.  Her love for the Lord is a rebuke to me and God has used her to inspire me to seek more ways in which I can serve him.  I enjoy fellowshipping with her.  On a trip to Washington DC, we shared a room together and wow, what a wonderful time we had.  We still laugh about some of the antics we enjoyed.  Being a faithful friend, Nancy will call or text to check on me if I am not in church.  And, O, you should see her precious granddaughter, Norah……..just an adorable doll baby! I am so grateful that she shares her with me.  In the coming year I trust that the Lord will give us many opportunities to serve Him together.

This year the Lord brought another friend back into my life.  Almost 40 years ago he was my Pastor.  Now a single man in his very late 60’s, he serves the Lord in the church which his brother pastors.  It has been fun catching up on all the memories.  Jim is a fun fella to be around and manages to bring a smile to my face.  His knowledge of the Bible and his love for the Lord are an inspiration to me.  Once we reconnected, which is a story in itself, he made a four-hour trip just to see me.  I sure felt special!  Anyway,  Jim has an intense love for Jerusalem and his desire is to be able to make a visit to the City of David.  The Lord has used Jim twice in my life.  It was his knowledge of Biblical separation that led me out of a worldly church into a church that came out from among them and remained separated.  In my early years as a Christian he helped me  understand the assurance of my salvation from the Word of God.  This time, the Lord used Jim to inspire and encourage me to start my blog.   In recent weeks I have neglected my writing because of attending a Bible Institute.  I will never be as knowledgeable as Jim, but at least I will better understand what he is talking about in reference to scripture.  In addition, Jim sweetly rebuked me regarding some matters on seeking forgiveness.  This is one of the qualities of a good friend.

Surprisingly, there has been another ‘friend’ evolve in my life and that is my eldest daughter.  She and her husband Pete take that ‘widow’ thing in scripture very seriously.  Now, granted, I am not feeble and fragile but it is indeed comforting to know that I have Biblical caretakers who fulfill their scriptural responsibility toward me.  We have shared tearful emotional times with each other have instilled within us a very special bond.  Many people have mistaken us for sisters, which is sorta of comical in a way.  We have become each others confidants and counsellors.  My life has been blessed by her friendship.

I would not end this article without sharing my love for my dearest and closest friend, the Lord Jesus.  This past year I have learned that I cannot in any way shape or form, out give God.  I need to start a journal to log all of the multitude of blessings that have been mine by the grace of God.  I want for nothing and the blessings of this past year have been beyond anyones expectation.  The Lord provided expense paid vacations to Washington DC and Hilton Head, Virginia and was able to attend the graduation of my firstborn grandson from the Marine Corps Boot.   Through a brother in the Lord, he provided money to repair my air-conditioning in my van.  Most importantly, the Lord has patiently drawn me closer to himself.  He has stilled my heart, calmed my spirit and strengthened my faith.  He works within me both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

Indeed, this has been a very good year for friendship!