“Love Is a Many Splendored Thing”
Amen! Some of you will probably remember this classic love song about romantic love which had such an inspiring melody that it was later transformed into a Christian song about the love of God. Actually, that is not a big stretch anyway – didn’t God Himself inspire an epic song about romantic married love to be included in the Bible as the Song of Songs and use it as the basic description for the love of Christ (The Bridegroom) for His church (The Bride)? Immediately after the introductory verse, verse 2 of Chapter 1 of the Song of Solomon, says “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth – for your love is better than wine.” The Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write: “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself…..This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:24-28 & 32-33 (NKJV).
Also, the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7 (NKJV). I have often semi-jokingly told others that this is the hardest command in Scripture to obey. Why? Doesn’t everyone know that it is impossible to understand a woman? Yet, this verse commands a husband to dwell with her with understanding! Sometimes I have asked Della, “How am I supposed to understand you when you often don’t even understand yourself?” (Actually, there are times when men don’t understand their own actions and reactions either.) I also have a book entitled, “What I Know About Women” (written by the eminent authority). I jokingly tell those I show it to that I’ve read it from cover to cover. When you look inside – it is blank on every page!
Have you heard the “story” of the man on a California beach, who stumbled on a bottle partially buried in the sand. When he uncorked it, a genie came out and thanked him for freeing him from his captivity. In appreciation, the genie told the man he could have one wish fulfilled, so the man asked for a bridge to Hawaii. The genie explained to him that his wish would be nearly impossible and then asked, “Don’t you have another wish?” The man replied, “Well, yes! I wish I could understand women!” To this the genie replied, “Would you like that bridge to be two lane or four lane?”
Men, I have great news for you! Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn authored a small book, “For Men Only” – (A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women) – that really does help a man to begin to understand the complex workings of a woman’s mind. Shaunti also has a great book to help women, uniquely titled “For Women Only”. A few years back both Della and I gained much insight from the book, “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerich. Even though Della and I celebrated our 55th anniversary on December 14, 2017, we still keep learning and growing in our love for each other and our Lord. We also love to share with others as we learn.
Does God really approve of romantic love? Absolutely! Isn’t He the One and Only who created the first pair male and female? Isn’t He the author of marriage and family? Isn’t He the One Who makes love a many splendored thing? Doesn’t that thought remind you of a many faceted diamond that sparkles fantastic beauty with every turn? It is Satan who comes to steal, kill and destroy our love and our lives with his lies. Satan’s distortions of God’s provision of romantic love promise immediate pleasure – yet produce long-term pain. Jesus’ call to discipleship (discipline) is for us to deny self, take up His cross, and follow Him. The result will be short-term pain (as in “no pain – no gain”) – then long-term pleasure – joy forevermore! And in the midst of the pain of discipline we can experience His peace that passes all understanding. Also in His presence is fullness of joy! For now! Forevermore!
Evidences of Our Corrupted Culture
There are obvious evidences of how much our corrupted culture has distorted God’s pattern for wonderful, lasting romance in marriage. Here are some examples:
1. The phrase, “friends with benefits,” has become in our corrupted culture a euphemism for immorality (also called fornication in the Bible).
2. “Having an affair,” is the euphemism for committing adultery.
3. “Gay,” in our distorted culture no longer means carefree and happy, but has become the “polite” term for the sin of sodomy.
Our corrupted culture has become so distorted that I recently heard an advertisement for something dubbed “wicked awesome”! How is it possible for those two words to fit together – especially to advertise a product or service? Is something awesome because it is wicked? Actually the word “awesome” has been trivialized for years because only God Himself is awesome. But to call something you are trying to sell, “wicked awesome,” seems to me to be the epitome of perversity. Doesn’t it just make your stomach turn? Shouldn’t we who wear the name of Christ, Christian, speak the truth in love while using the proper terms? Shouldn’t we call sin, “sin,” and label it as God has labeled it? Peddlers of propaganda know that he who controls the speech patterns controls the outcome. Shouldn’t we take seriously what God inspired the apostle Peter to write?
“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 4:11 (NASB)
Distorted View of Love
When I was a young teen my view of love was so dominated and distorted by the music of our times about romantic love that I actually wondered how God could command us to love Him – heart, mind, soul and strength. I was indoctrinated by culture to believe that love is emotion (infatuation, actually) – and you can’t command emotion. It just comes over you, or you just fall in it (like falling through an open manhole after dark). Think, “Young Love – First Love” by Sonny James or “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra: “Love is just a glance away – a warm embracing dance away.” Worse yet was Elvis Presley’s song, “It’s Now or Never! My Love Won’t Wait!” That is a song about lust – not love. True love waits! True love waits for God’s leading, God’s timing, God’s blessing! And I’ve learned by His Word and my own experience that it is abundantly worth waiting for! Jesus said: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV) Amen!
The Greek language actually had four words for love, and only one of them had to do with romantic love. The other three were family love, friendship love and godly love (agape) that could even love enemies.
Distorted Speech = Distorted Concepts
Actually distorted speech is nothing new. God already pronounced woe to them who call evil good and good evil. He created humans as sexual beings, male and female, and designed marriage as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman. This is not only the basis for the family, it is the basic unit of society – and has been recognized as such by practically every culture for thousands of years. Our corrupted culture is intent on distorting that obvious fact. Sex is a sacred trust – not to be violated. God has spoken – and He didn’t stutter! He inspired Paul to write:
“Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (ESV)
He also inspired John to write:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life]—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV).
Now I want to share with you a small portion of Chapter 4 in our book, More than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes. The title of Chapter 4 is, “Phony Matrimony versus Merry Marriage.”
How to Handle Conflict
Because of our innate differences, any two people (or more) who live together will sometimes irritate each other, and because we all inherit a selfish nature, sometimes our wills will clash. There will be conflict. The key to having good relationships is learning how to handle conflict. Some conflicts will be mild; some may be explosive. Since not one of us is always right, there are four phrases that make a marriage work:
I was wrong.
I am sorry!
Please forgive me.
I love you!
These four phrases are based on the Biblical principles of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. In fact, these same principles and phrases build beautiful relationships – not only in marriage, but also in family and friendships. However, don’t try using these phrases as a gimmick. No one loves and appreciates a hypocritical con-artist. Honesty is the best policy!
By the way, in my growing process I am still learning (and trying not to forget) that my logic will never trump her emotion! (And it doesn’t matter how emotional I get in presenting my logic!)
Besides the need to learn how to handle conflict within our own homes, we also need to learn to expect conflict and persecution from our corrupted culture.
From Our Mailbox
The first two letters below are responses to my request to read the revised text of “Is the Bible Without Any Errors?” and write a review.
The next two are responses to our letters, and the last is the first quote in Joe Garman’s list of “Great Missionary Quotes.”
Yes, I will gladly do this. Please send it to me as soon as it is ready. This is a privilege for me.
May God bless you and your ministry, Maryana” Vakula (Wife and co-worker with new church planter, Volodya Vakula. Maryana has served many times as an interpreter for missionaries.- R.D.)
Thank you for sending your text! What a nice surprise to receive it today. It is one thing to know that the Bible is true, but another thing to be able to communicate its truthfulness to other people. We appreciate the literature (tools) that you so generously offered us.
I don’t think we let you know how much we enjoyed your sermon yesterday. We were disappointed when you had to wrap up speaking so quickly, and we would have enjoyed listening and learning from you for much longer.
Blessings to you and your wonderful wife and family and to God’s work you that you do. – Kami Rasmussen ”
“Thanks for your recent prayer letter. I appreciate your comments so very much. I think it’s amazing how so many of the points and Biblical ideas you mention have been things that the Lord has been having me ponder also (like Psalm 73 and Romans 12).
R.C. Sproul is one of my favorites too. I am so glad to receive his final letter from you.
David Horowitz has also been a delight to observe since I first heard him years ago as a guest on a TV show like Glenn Beck or some other talk show. Your letter to him is fantastic. I hope and pray that he takes it to heart…..
Blessings to you Rick.
“……I appreciated your enclosures. Rich material. Truly Christ exalting. I thank God for everyone, such as yourself, who is standing faithfully in defense of our Savior and the precious Word of God. So pleased to know of the Northwest Science Museum. (At my brother, Earl Chambers’ memorial service, in Sacramento a year ago, brother Charles Crane gave me two books he had recently written in defense of the integrity of the Scriptures.)
In His Happy Service,
Great Missionary Quote: “Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument later. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him. Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.” – J. Hudson Taylor
Praises & Prayer Requests
First, I want to share an idea for you to consider: I always pray for our prayer requests, but I don’t always pray consistently. However, over the past few months I’ve been putting our prayer letter for the month next to my chair where I read and pray in the morning so I can review and pray for all the requests day by day. It’s a great reminder. Please try it – you might like it!
1. Please pray for our good friends, Vernon and Ellen Landreth. Vernon is healing from recent knee surgery, and they are grieving the loss of their eldest son, Curt. Please pray for Curt’s wife, Deanne, as a young widow – and for all the family. The memorial (home-going celebration) for Curt on Saturday, Feb. 10, was one of the most inspiring services we have ever experienced. The last two songs were like a summary to the essence of the Book of Job: They stressed that we can trust God in the midst of the storm and we can trust Him when we don’t understand and can’t answer why.
2. Please pray for God’s miraculous healing touch for little 2 1/2-year-old, Embyr. (She is Della’s cousin, Jan’s great-granddaughter.) She fell in a swimming pool several days ago and was resuscitated and transported by ambulance to the hospital. This little girl is still in a coma and the reports from the doctor are not very encouraging. However, we know that “with God all things are possible!” Please hold this family up in prayer.
3. Please continue to pray for Georges and LaVerne Carillet – for serious health issues, sale of “The House on the Hill”, and for strength and peace for Georges to keep up with a heavy schedule.
4. Please continue to pray for revival – huge spiritual awakening – in America, in Russia, in Ukraine, in Israel, in Germany – and world-wide.
5. Please keep praying for God to heal Stan Lutz and for God to provide a skilled business manager for Northwest Science Museum to take lots of stress from Stan. Also pray for the funds to expand to buy our own building and hire additional staff to move forward with our amazing evidence for creation science and the Biblical flood.
6. Please pray for Della to constantly dwell in the shadow of the Almighty and His peace in spite of all the stress we’ve been experiencing recently, and recent tests that shows that she does need hearing aids (expensive), and various other health issues. (I’m praying for healing for her “from head to toe”.)
7. Heinz Lycklama, Founder/Director of Apologetics Forum of Snohomish County, Washington, had a surgery in mid-November to remove a growth on his pituitary gland. However, complications have greatly slowed his recovery. Please pray!
8. Please continue to pray for completion and re-publication of “Is the Bible Without Any Errors?” We’re getting closer. WestBow Press was a big disappointment by pricing “More Than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes” out of the market. Please pray for another publisher and for positive impact on many souls for Christ.
9. Please pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
10. Please pray for the “endangered species” of Ukrainians living in the war zone of eastern Ukraine, and for the multitudes of displaced persons who fled for their lives. Pray for provision, protection, and salvation.
11. Please pray for the YouTube presentation of my overview of the book of Job, “Monstrous Problems – Awesome God” to also strengthen many believers and reach unbelievers for Christ. (Heinz Lycklama put it on YouTube for Apologetics Forum last summer.)
12. Thank God for another divine appointment! I recently met a one-armed man at a Les Schwab Tire Center, where he works. I told him my dad lost his left arm in a tractor accident and asked him what happened to him. He told me that he fell from a ledge at Shoshone Falls. “Really? When did it happen?” I asked him. “About a year ago,” he replied. I told him that is amazing, because I had heard of his accident on the news and had prayed for him along with my family. I asked his name and told him that God must certainly have plans for him or he wouldn’t even be here. Why? To fall from a ledge above Shoshone Falls and to be here to tell about it is amazing providence! Please pray for Chris!
1. February 14, Valentine’s Day, will be 55 years and 2 months since my bride, Della Lou, said “I do!” – and I did too! It was the second best decision of my life – the best being my decision to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…” (NKJV).
2. On Friday, February 16, I have the privilege of taking Trinity Hope, our six-year-old granddaughter, to the Father/Daughter Ball at Eagle Christian Church. (Grandfathers and granddaughters also accepted.)
3. Last evening, February 12, I had an exciting phone conversation with Olga Krachun. She and Oleg, her husband, are now in Sacramento, staying with her sister until they can get their own apartment. This is a fulfillment of Oleg’s dream for new opportunity. He has long desired to become a better provider for his wife and family, so he left his job in Mykolaev, Ukraine, where he has worked for many years. Olga is already fluent in English, so please pray for her job search and for Oleg’s English classes. Also pray for their pastor in Ukraine, my friend Alexander Rudenko, to find an adequate replacement for Olga to lead the children’s ministry for the Christian Church of Reconciliation. (Pray hard – Olga has faithfully served for 20 years in that role, and it may be very difficult to replace her.)
Olga was excited to tell me that Alexander Rudenko had distributed copies of the Ukrainian edition of my book, “Millions of Miracles – The Evolutionist’s Dilemma”, to the youth at church and told them it was their assignment to read it during school break. One 14-year-old boy, Sasha, was intrigued by it and asked Olga to teach more about creation science. She invited him to prepare a lesson and teach it to the other students. Pastor Rudenko offered to help him do that – so he did. Praise God! Let’s pray that God raises up this young boy (and others from that vital congregation) to become creation evangelists. And please continue to pray that the key officials in Ukraine will approve my book and the creation science textbooks, which Sergei Golovin has provided in Ukrainian, to be distributed in school and public libraries all across Ukraine!
4. Last Sunday (Feb. 11th) I had opportunity to speak at Heritage Christian Church in Emmett about the need for Northwest Science Museum. Roy had an elderly man with him as a guest. Following the service, Roy handed me a note that his guest had written to me. It read: “I was raised by a serious non-believer. Thank you strongly for telling me the TRUTH!!!” Praise God! Please pray with me for this man to come home to Jesus!
A Tribute to Curt Landreth
by Mary Hopkins
Yesterday (Feb. 10th) hundreds of people gathered at the Ten Mile Christian Church to honor their friend, Curt Landreth. The church was packed. Almost all of his friends from Crossroads were there to say Good-bye to the friend they loved. His influence was far and wide. He touched many lives. The service was inspirational.
Curt had spent his entire life loving and following Jesus. His was a life dedicated to God. He led his children in the faith.
After a very productive life, a storm came, in the form of the dreaded disease, cancer, that would test his faith and that of his family. But in the next few years, it would show the depth of this man. He never gave up, he never complained, he never asked, “Why?” He just kept on going, fighting the disease with everything he had. But all the while, he said, “Whatever you want, Father, your will be done.” He knew that God doesn’t make mistakes. The final result would be up to Him. He kept his spirits up. Deanne went on the journey with him, always at his side. In the end, the disease won out. He graciously accepted God’s answer. He had fought courageously, he faced death courageously. He may have lost the battle, but he won the war. That’s because for the Christian, it’s a Win-Win situation. We are more than Conquerors through Jesus. He left this earth as a Victor. Praise God’s Holy Name.
“It will be worth it all
When we see Jesus
Life’s trials will seem so small
When we see Christ.
One glimpse of His dear face
All sorrow will erase
So bravely run the race
Till we see Christ.”
Good-bye, dear friend. We’ll see you Up There.
Are you dancing with Jesus? Are you in awe?
We can only imagine.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Blessed by Your Friendship!
Giving yellow roses can tell someone the joy they bring you and the friendship you share.
As we think about Valentine’s Day, we thank God for so many faithful friends, and we want to give each one of you a couple of yellow roses and express our deep-felt gratitude for your friendship.
God has truly blessed us through you!!!
In the bond of Christ,
Rick & Della