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Tag Archives: Charity

Missing Ingredients in Modern Marriages

Back in the 1970’s, divorce was rare, something that happened only as a result of extreme circumstances.  In fact, to the best of my recollection, the Roman Catholic Church threatened couples with excommunication if this option ever crossed their mind.  The King James Version of the Bible does not use the term reputation as our culture does today.  Instead, King Solomon encouraged people make a good name for themselves, Proverbs 22:1, to develop a good repute in their community.

In a typical wedding ceremony, there is a portion devoted to vows.  Some creative couples write their own, others follow the traditions of their denomination and most simply repeat vows first spoken by a pastor or priest.  Ecclesiastes 5:4-7 warn individuals to take their vows serious, especially ones which include “for better or for worse.”  Yet, mere words don’t hold a marriage together.  Rather, one of the missing ingredients in modern marriages is a will to love once feelings fade.

With this in mind, one of the commands Solomon gave his son is detailed in Proverbs 3:3.  Let love and faithfulness never leave you is a joint command, not to be separated.  In the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 13 is one of most popular passages read out loud during marriage ceremonies.  The original translation uses the term charity in place of love.  Thus, Solomon is introducing a concept to demonstrate charity faithfully.

The last portion of Proverbs 3:3 explains how one must carry out this command.  The term bind means to knit together, joining two pieces into one.  When a person fastens love and faithfulness to their neck, its always in their peripheral vision.  However, this still isn’t enough to save marriage.  Therefore, Solomon adds one further instruction to insure love and faithfulness endures.  If you enter, engrave or mark something mentally to remain in your heart, a will to love is born.  Follow the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 to complete these essential ingredients for a life long relationship.

by Jay Mankus

The Mystery of Fear

As a child, nightmares blanketed my thoughts as I tried to outrun Bigfoot throughout my neighborhood, escape the Boogie Man who was underneath my bed or reenact a scene from a Creature Double Feature that I had watched earlier in the day.  While awake, I became afraid of heights after visiting the Empire State Building and snakes during a few close calls where snakes slithered between my legs while cutting the grass in my backyard.  Adolescence brought with it a fear of rejection, especially by girls that added to my already fragile psyche.  Never did I once challenge fear; instead I ran away like a little girl, awestruck by this mystery.

Catholic hymns like Be Not Afraid conveyed a little hope to my soul, exposing this unnatural emotion.  In addition, hearing priests read from Proverbs and Psalms from the Bible produced a sense of peace to ease any remaining anxieties of fear.  Yet, in high school I wasn’t mature enough to ask intelligent theological questions.  On the other hand, the busyness of college prevented me from contemplating the unsolved mystery of fear.  The timing was not right for me to tackle this subject, put on hold for another time down the road toward Elm Street.

Like a scene from Back to the Future, God revealed the answer I was searching for as I opened up Proverbs 1.  According to Solomon, unlocking wisdom in life starts with a reverent fear of God.  The spirit of fear on earth uses apprehension, panic and trepidation to form a constant state of worry.  Biblical fear is the key for attaining the cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude, Proverbs 1:1-7.  These qualities are available to anyone according to C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.  However, this is only half the mystery.

The missing link and final piece of the puzzle is found in 1 John 4:18.  According to John, the disciple whom Jesus loved as a son, proclaims “perfect love drives out fear.”  The only obstacle to obtaining perfect love is sin.  C.S. Lewis states in his chapter entitled Theological Virtues, access is limited to just Christians.  This love comes from the power of the Holy Spirit mentioned in 2 Peter 1:3-4.  Therefore, if anyone seeks charity, hope and faith, you must come to Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5.  The apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:4-7 gives a glimpse of what one can expect when the Holy Spirit helps you conquer the mystery of fear.  “Be Not Afraid!”

by Jay Mankus

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