Posts Tagged ‘love’

It’s very gray this morning… and windy and cool.  It should be gray on Good Friday.

All creatures should walk solemnly today as we contemplate the Savior of the world.

This Jesus, whose sinless life fulfilled all the righteous demands of the law which we were helpless to do.

This Jesus, who on this day of all dreadful days cannot restrain his love.  He gives a Gentile governor numerous opportunities to follow conscience and to know the Truth which sets men free (John 18-19).  He warns the mourners who follow him on his road to the cross – “Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:27-31).  He prays from the cross for his accusers – “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  He bestows forgiveness and gives eternal hope to the believing criminal crucified next to him (Luke 23:39-43) and He cares for his mother (John 19:26-27).

This Jesus, will willingly suffer torture and humiliation on this day at the hands of his creatures.  He asked, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53).  Yet, He submitted to the will of the Father to proceed with their plan crafted before the foundations of the world were laid (Luke 22:42).

Pilate’s weakness will not only lead to Jesus’ crucifixion, but add to his sufferings as he tries to appease the blood-thirsty crowd by having Jesus tortured.  He orders Jesus flogged, whipped with leather straps studded with bits of lead and pieces of bone.  Jesus is then led back before the angry crowd in this bloodied state clothed in a purple robe and crowned with thorns, the result of cruel bullying by Pilate’s soldiers.  He is cast out of the Jews’ beloved Jerusalem, bearing the disgrace of an execution “outside the camp” (Hebrews 13:13).  At the cross, He is stripped down his chiton, the garment worn next to his skin.  The attending soldiers throw lots for his clothes, judging the clothing to be of more value than its owner, the God-man who hangs nearly naked before them.

Then, of course, there comes the greatest transaction in the history of the world.  By the end of this day, all of Christ’s righteousness will appear as available credit in the accounts of sinful men.  Before this though, Jesus will become sin – my sin, your sin, the sin of all mankind.  He will absorb all the punishment for it in wave after wave as He hangs on the tree and turns away God’s wrath from rebellious mankind to himself.  By the end of this day there will remain for God’s people not a single drop of wrath left toward us, all of it spent on his Son.  There is only goodness and love left toward me, his child.

ah me…

Oh look!  I see the sun has broken through!

It should be sunny on this day.

“And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I have is grace!”

– – – – –

Illustration by Christopher Powers, Full of Eyes, for his music video set to Sovereign Grace’s song, “All I Have is Christ.”

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Appreciating spouses clip art

A dear friend of mine has another brand new son-in-law.  Four days into his new marriage he bravely posted an article (below) on how to show appreciation to your wife.  I know… I can hear the audible gasp.  Those of us who have been married for a while have learned that we don’t play our hand quite so openly as that. I don’t know if men ever even read such articles (which is a bit frustrating if they don’t); but women, who often do, learn quickly to read such things on the sly so as not to be held accountable (or worse, deemed uncaring or insensitive should we fail).

Well, in three days, July 14, Dana and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary (another audible gasp… I know). Also our oldest son has just proposed to (and been accepted by) a dear girl and will spend the year ahead preparing for their life together. It seems as good a time as any to humbly acknowledge my need and desire to continue to try to be a better and better wife. I know so much of this goal is wrapped up in showing appreciation (which is different than simply being appreciative). The Oxford on-line dictionary defines appreciation as “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.”

I don’t know anything about Chris Ayres, but she has put together a couple good lists to help us show appreciation for our mates. For appreciating our husbands, Ayers sought the advice of her husband and some of his friends as to what wives can do to make their husbands feel appreciated. She compiled the appreciate your wife list with the help of her own friends (many of whom are spouses to her husband’s friends). All in all, they seem to be fair lists and would certainly be a good place for any of us to start. It may mean opening myself to scrutiny and correction, but perhaps flying a visible standard will better hold me accountable for what I know and desire (instead of dabbling on the sidelines and claiming ignorance).


• Communicate effectively

o Say please when you ask him to do something for you.

o Use kind, gentle words when speaking with him.

o Praise him in the little things that he does for you every day.

o Encourage him gently, without being pushy, while striving to make the journey together.

o Be calm in your heart and avoid acting harshly with him.

o Do not escalate fights. Be peaceful and don’t cause drama over little things.

• Be supportive

o Recognize his effort at work and what he does for the family.

o Believe in his potential, in what he can do and in what he needs.

o Love him unconditionally. This includes looking past his imperfections.

o Remind him about small imperfections, but focus on his good qualities.

o Inspire him by your firm determination to act in life and be the best person you can.

o Be positive; have hope and fight together for a better future for your family.

o Be his understanding companion.

o Leave notes telling him that you appreciate his acts and appreciate him in general.

• Show unconditional love

o Forgive easily. Do not hold a grudge or resentment.

o Look into his eyes with love.

o Help and ask for his help to keep the house clean and organized; make sure that it gives off the vibe of “welcome home!”

o Take care of yourself and your appearance.

o Be positive and have a good sense of humor.

o Make an extra effort to always have a smile on your face, especially when he comes home or does something for you.

o Want to have an adventure together. It shows that you like being in his company.

Show him respect

o Be punctual.

o Do not complain about your life or his work; the hard work that he does for you.

o Ask for his help for difficult things.

o Respect his ideas and opinions in all parts of your family.

o Be honest but subtle.

(in no discernible order)

• Give her flowers for no reason except to say, “I love you!”

• Try and help to keep the house clean, especially the kitchen and the places that you use.

• Respect her opinions and come to an agreement together.

• Plan dates with little surprises.

• Leave little love notes before you go to work.

• Check the doors and windows before you go to bed; sleep closest to the door.

• Cover the bed on cold nights and keep her covered if you are out of bed.

• Be the Man in situations that show courage and honesty.

• When you are ready to make-out make sure that you smell good and brush your teeth.

• Try to leave work at work and pay attention to your wife and family when you get home.

• Use to your advantage the power of touch. Touching produces oxytocin, a hormone that diminishes stress and increases confidence, either through hands, hugs or kisses.

• Be interested in what she has to say and pay attention to her ideas.

• Never put her down, especially in front of other people.

• Plan times that you can spend together and do your very best to make it happen, to show that you love her and want to spend your time with her.

• Ask for forgiveness when you do something wrong and forgive her when she does something wrong.

• Be grateful for the dedication that she has for the family and everything she does, like cleaning the house, doing the laundry, dishes, cooking and everything else, every day.

• Demonstrate that you appreciate her more with actions than words.

• Always remember important dates like your anniversary and her birthday.

• Do your best to keep the toilet seat lid down and clean.

• Be a reliable father and spend quality time with the kids.

• Work to agree with your wife when it comes to the kids.

• Compliment her on her appearance, especially in the morning when she just woke up, has no make-up and has messy hair.

• Stay a little longer in bed with her in the morning.

• Don’t rush her.

• Send her Instant Messages and text messages for no reason, always say good things.

• Be affectionate, hug her and kiss her even if she isn’t in the mood for sex.

• Include her when you make plans.

• Come home from work quickly because you miss your wife.

• Worry about her health and always try to take care of her.

• Make her smile with a joke, or with a mischievous smile.

P.S. Please don’t judge me for the clip art.
This is really one of the things I appreciate of Dana.

In his stand-up routine, Tim Allen talks about all the choices women have:
Women now have choices. They can be married, not married, have a job,
not have a job, be married with children, unmarried with children.
Men have the same choice we’ve always had – work – or prison.

I have always appreciated that Dana heads to work each day,
year round, without question; literally, our pizza-winner.
Likewise, I’m always thankful that he shows appreciation
for the work I do in the home (as well as away these days).

Thank you, Danie.

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“O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!

“Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!”

(Samuel Trevor Francis, 1875)

A theology of rest…

I’d never heard such a thing. While growing up, the practice that was considered most virtuous was definitely not rest, but work. My parents seemed always engaged in some productive task or labor. Our Sabbath-keeping always included church on Sunday mornings, but the rest of the day belonged to tasks that did not get done earlier in the week. While I am grateful to this day that I learned the value of work and productivity, I am beginning to see that God’s Word would have me reevaluate the idea of rest and to embrace it in its proper boundaries as a gracious gift from my Creator.

Joe Rigney offers up a balanced theology of rest in a message he gave at the weekly chapel for Bethlehem College and Seminary. Rigney does not spend time arguing if Sabbath-keeping is still a mandate to be observed under the New Covenant. Instead he approaches the subject looking for wisdom… “Is there wisdom to be gained on the subject from Scripture (both the Old and New Testaments) about how God has made us to need rest?” His premise in promoting a one day-in-seven rest comes from the conviction that because God loves us, He gives us rest. I have taken the liberty, below, to put to print as much of his 33-minute message as needed to present his biblical case and to encourage us (reader and writer, alike) to glory in this good, Fatherly gift of rest.

“The God Who Loves Us by Giving Us Rest” by Joe Rigney

To begin, Rigney points out that the reality of time being regulated is a given. Our time does get regulated, whether by a school calendar or by our jobs and obligations or by merchants promoting Christmas in October. It’s not a matter of will our time be regulated, but a matter of who will regulate it and by what standard. A self-proclaimed work-aholic, Joe finds himself under the growing conviction that the way we regulate our time is “a big deal.”

The God Who Loves Us in Creation and So Gives Us Rest

It is Rigney’s argument that one way God’s love manifests itself is in the establishment of rest for mankind both in creation as well as in redemption. Rest is an expression of God’s creational love, given by design for the benefit of his creatures. It is God who determined the pattern of work and rest which culminates in the “blessing” of the seventh day, making it holy (Gen. 2:3). Since Jesus tells us that God is always at work (John 5:17), it is helpful to note that God is the first person in the Bible who is said to rest. Indeed, in Hebrews we are told that on the seventh day, God entered his rest and remains there, still awaiting man to join him (Hebrews 4). This guards us against the notion that rest is the ceasing of all activity; it’s not.  It’s about stopping one kind of activity in order to more fully participate in another kind of activity.  It is more about the consummation and enjoyment of completed labor.

Jesus made an unexpected statement in Mark 2:27. He told the indignant but law-abiding Pharisees a truth of deeper magic from [the very dawn] of time as C.S. Lewis might put it, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Jesus doesn’t say that the Sabbath was made for the Jews only, for the covenant people of God, but for “man.” God created the pattern of work and rest to suit our frame, he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust (Ps. 103), he knows our cares, our inclinations and therefore makes the Sabbath for us. The whole creation narrative springs from his Fatherly love in making a habitat for his people, setting up a temple in which his image-bearers can dwell.

So when God finally codifies a day of rest in Exodus 20:8, He effectively declares: I love you! I love your sons, your daughters, your servants, your livestock, the sojourner among you… I love you! Stop working, one day in seven. I love you!

Yes, we are to labor, yes, we’re to have dominion, yes, we are to subdue the earth, work the garden and keep it; but we must never forget that the whole target is that we, like Yahweh, might enjoy the fruit of our labors. Work exists for the sake of something else, it has a direction a trajectory which is Sabbath rest.

The God Who Loves Us in Redemption and So Gives Us Rest

We also observe God’s redemptive love in Deuteronomy 5. When the law is restated 40 years after its first giving, the Sabbath is rooted, not in creation, but in the Exodus. After years of slavery and sojourning and wandering, the Lord was finally going to bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey, a land with cities they did not build, good things they did not fill, cisterns they did not dig, vineyards and olive trees they did not plant (Deuteronomy 6), a land of rest. They were leaving off their slavery… for rest. In this rest, God would make for himself an everlasting name (Is.63:14).

To be sure, there is an inward rest obtained by the redeemed, those who mix the gospel with faith (Hebrews 4:2), who rest from their futile works and strivings (v.10). Hebrews expounds on this… that because of Christ’s redemptive work of which he now rests (Mk. 16:19), there remains an eternal Sabbath “rest” for the people of God (Heb. 4:8-9). Our Sabbath-keeping is an external reminder of the rest that the redeemed will enjoy throughout eternity.

Sabbath is not meant to be dull or a burden; it is meant to relieve burden. Leviticus 23 includes the Sabbath observances with the feast days (v.3), a festival to Yahweh, a day of celebration, of joy, of delight. More profoundly, Isaiah says if we will make the Sabbath a delight, then we shall take delight in the Lord and ride on the high places of the land (Is. 58:13-14).

This truth converts the keeping of the Lord’s Day (which I use interchangeably, here, with Sabbath-keeping) from a list of off-limit activities to a day of delight. We are finally free to do all the things that the hustle and bustle of our daily work keeps us from doing. It is a day we get to do something which most of the time we are prevented from doing because we have to work. What a delight. A one day-in-seven rest is God’s love, his care, his kindness, his provision both in creation and in redemption.

The Benefits of Sabbath-Keeping

On the practical side, what are the benefits of Sabbath-keeping? Rigney offers four to consider.

1) Keeping the Lord’s Day is a protection against vain anxiety (Psalm 127:1-2).

Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.

It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Your labor can be vain, your watching can be vain, your rising early and staying up late can be vain if it’s done with an anxious heart, “in anxious toil.” Because God knows this about us, in love, he gives us sleep, making us unconscious for roughly eight hours a day. There is this constant hum of low-grade anxiety in our lives (papers to be written, books to be read, activities to go to, bills to be paid, a house to care for, laundry to do, and on and on). God gives us nightly rest from that, but also provides a day of rest in the midst of six days of toil. It is a reminder that the fruit of our labors is ultimately not in our hands; we’re not God.

2) Keeping the Lord’s Day re-orients our understanding of fruitfulness.

Many of us worship at the altar of efficiency; sacrificing our families, our relationships to the god of productivity. We know our lives don’t consist of the abundance of our possessions, but how many of us live as if our lives consist of the length of our to-do list or better, the number of things we’ve checked off today. We define ourselves by our achievements and accomplishments, by our productivity.

Sabbath rest reminds us that fruitfulness is not only a quantitative term, but a qualitative term. It orients us to consider the quality of our lives, not merely the quantity of our completed tasks. Rest does not exist that you might enjoy pause before getting back to work; work exists so you might rest, so you might enjoy what you have done. The whole trajectory of history is moving toward an eternal Sabbath rest. Yes, we work, but it has a goal. It’s not that rest exists for the sake of work, but work exists for the sake of rest. Sabbath rest reminds us of that weekly; a weekly reminder of what’s coming. Like God, we labor in order that we might enjoy its fruit.

3) Keeping the Lord’s Day teaches us the difference between escaping from our work and resting from our labor.

There is a difference. When we look forward to escaping, we are desperate to stop doing something. It is “a running from.” Rest, however, is “a running to.” We look forward to rest, we are desperate for it.

Escape hates work and tries to mute it for a moment, to drown it out, but it is still going on in the background. Rest turns it off that we might listen to a different tune entirely.

Escape is death. It’s lifeless, it’s mindless, and it’s dull. Rest is life. It’s vibrant, it’s refreshing, it’s fruitful. Escape numbs us, rest awakens us.

Escape makes the burden of work heavier. We feel burdened by our work, so we take breaks to email or Facebook or etc., but when we return we feel more burdened. In contrast, rest makes the burden lighter (Matthew 11). Escape dreads Monday, Rest laughs at Monday, like the woman in Proverbs 31, rest laughs at the time to come (v. 25).

4) Keeping the Lord’s Day helps to avoid a creeping Gnosticism (a belief that the physical world is bad and that only the spiritual world is worthy). Such thinking corrupts the glorious reality of resting in Jesus which can become an empty slogan if it justifies a never-ending work week – “I don’t really need to physically rest, instead I seek only the spiritual rest I have found in Jesus.”

“Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). There is a tendency to neglect rest because our striving have ceased in a sense and we are resting in Jesus all the time, but this is a dangerous attitude, hazardous to our physical and spiritual health. However, when we intentionally and gladly weave into our lives this amazing reality of the inward rest, that Jesus bought for us by his blood, with a regular rhythm of work and physical rest, we gain an amazing opportunity to experience the fullness of God. Take a spiritual lesson from Elijah – sometimes the most spiritual things you can do is take a nap (1 Kings 19).

Practical Suggestions for Keeping the Lord’s Day

Rigney identifies himself as a toddler just learning to walk in the practice of Sabbath-keeping, but he wants to get better at it. He offers a starter’s list, in no apparent order, of tangible ways to begin living this all out.

1) Define the boundaries of time. Joe and his wife, practice their Sabbath-keeping from Saturday evening to Sunday evening. As a college instructor, Joe needs some time Sunday evening to prepare for his students the next morning. In this way, he is given the freedom of mind to attend to those things even while keeping the Lord’s Day. He wanted a 24-hour period which provided a good night’s sleep where he was not thinking about all the things he has to do the next day; this solution works for him.  Define your boundaries.

2) Avoid LIKE THE PLAGUE, blogs, FB, Twitter, texts, etc. One step further? Put computers away completely to avoid mindlessly spending time on the internet or watching movies instead of resting.

3) Eat a really good meal, eat a really good long meal, eat a really good long meal with friends and lots of laughter – make it a delight. It is, after all, a feast day, so feast.

4) Go for a walk; go for a walk with some friends or your spouse or by yourself.

5) Play a board game or a game outside (Frisbee, football, play catch, shoot hoops, go for a jog, etc.)

6) Sleep in or take a nap; do both! Rigney spells out a system he and his wife have designed that allows each to get an extended period of sleep in during the day even with little ones who haven’t learned that the Lord’s Day is a day of rest (@ 29:15” for all of you tired parents).

7) Refuse, absolutely refuse, to prepare for next week, whatever it is. Even as a college instructor speaking to students, Rigney says, “If you’ve got school work, put it up.” Enjoy the fruit of your labor.

[Of all points, this causes me the most fear, not in the setting aside of work on that day, but in the frenzy of the week past or to come as I must now cram my usual seven days of work into six. What will that mean for those six days? I’m thinking that this is an area I would need to take by faith, to watch and see how God takes care of the labors of my other six days. ~ky]

8) Read the Scriptures, a biography, a fiction book (put the study books up); fall asleep doing it ( :

9) Worship with God’s people; look forward to it, anticipate it, linger over it, arrive early and stay late.

10) Invest in family; make it a goal for your children to grow up with Sunday the highlight of the week (looking forward to it on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday – looking back, thankful for it).

11) Cultivate gratitude. You’ve been saved by grace, you live in it, you’re swimming in it, so by all means be grateful… specifically. General gratitude dies; specific gratitude grows. Spend time enjoying and thanking God for all of his gifts to you.

12) Use this one day in seven to cultivate a longing for the heavenly Sabbath; awaken it. Infuse it with the anticipation of that great and glorious day when all shall be well and we will sit down to the marriage feast of the Lamb, to feast with Jesus and truly find our rest in Him.

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What is the difference between lust and love?

Simply put…

Lust is me-focused and will seek an object (or present itself as one) to fulfill its desires.

Love is other-focused and will look for and protect what is good for the other, often to his or her own hardship or loss.

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We were in Minneapolis this weekend helping my daughter and family move down the hall from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom apartment (more Calvin time too).  This move is just one more example of God’s kind provisions for this young family.  They will certainly benefit from a little more space and it will allow parents and baby to have their own rooms.

We visited my son’s church Sunday in downtown Minneapolis, Bethlehem Baptist.  Pastor John Piper taught on John 14:25-31.  His message as usual gave me much to consider.  Let me share two teachings that have attached themselves to me.


(1) John 14:30 “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming.  He has no claim on me.”

Jesus explains to his already worried friends that Satan, who entered Judas, a is coming; Satan is coming and the events of the next 24 hours will be set in motion.  However, Jesus assures his followers that Satan has no claim on him.  What is about to happen is not of Satan’s doing.  The tempter and accuser has no claim on Jesus, a sinless man.  There is no chink in his armor, no hook, no allurement by which Satan can entice Jesus to sin or accuse him before the Father.

I want you to know, Jesus says, and I want the world to know that demonic betraying and demonic denying and demonic lying are not ruling this night. Love is ruling this night. I am obeying the Father (verse 31b) “so that the world may know that I love the Father.”


(2) John 14:31 “…I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.  Rise, let us go from here.”

Jesus himself sets the evening in motion by finishing his quiet time with his disciples with the resolute command, “Rise, let us go…”  Using a contemporary phrase, Jesus is saying in effect, “Let’s roll.”

Before they depart, though, Jesus would have his disciples know the motivation that will cause him to accomplish what his Father has asked of him.  The motivation is none other than a visual for the world – that they may know that he loves the Father.  “God so loved the world,” c and that will be demonstrated in the next day.  But here we see that Jesus so loved the Father that he would endure the upcoming day to declare it.  This sinless One would willingly become our sin and absorb the wrath of his Father upon that sin.  Yes; he would do as commanded…so all would know that Jesus loves his Father.  This eternal love was put on display for all the world to see, and because of it our salvation was secured.

The cross was not at root the coercion of evil; it was the compliance of love. The roots of the cross reach back before creation into the eternal Godhead where the God the Son has always infinitely loved God the Father.


Oh, we have a great Savior!


a John 13:27

b Rev. 12:10

c John 3:16


[Painting: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621-1674)]

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Happy first year anniversary to my dear lovely daughter, Ashley, and her fine husband, Andrew!  Can it be a year since that beautiful wedding ceremony that made so much of Him who had brought you together?  Weren’t we blessed with a <<<warm>>> sunny day for your outdoor pictures, a joy-filled ceremony (with poppers and all), and a lovely setting for your reception and dance?  I know your desire was to see Christ high and lifted up as you began married life – a living parable to the world of Christ and his bride – and we have seen that already as you finish up your first year together.  God has proven Himself most gracious to you, hasn’t He?

This has been an incredible year for this young couple – they got married; Andrew continued in his third year of seminary while Ashley took a full-time job as a personal banker even while completing five distance classes to finish up her college coursework; they found themselves expecting several months into their first year (the Lord’s good and blessed timing for this family); Ashley took (and passed) both her education and her music certification exams; Andrew interviewed and was hired for full-time church employment as Pastor of Discipleship; and surely the highlight — A & A became parents to little Calvin just five days ago — whew!

Dad’s and my prayer for you is that you would go forward into the world, drinking deeply from the fountain of Christ’s love and may you continue to see the Lord’s good hand in his protection and guidance for you and your family all of your days.

– – – – –

In remembering a blessed day one year ago, I share the excerpt of a poem that Andrew chose for their wedding ceremony.  It is a wedding poem of advice by Pastor John Piper to his own son, Karsten, called “Love Her More and Love Her Less.”


If you now aim your wife to bless,
Then love her more and love her less.

If in the coming years, by some
Strange providence of God, you come
To have the riches of this age,
And, painless, stride across the stage
Beside your wife, be sure in health
To love her, love her more than wealth.

And if your life is woven in
A hundred friendships, and you spin
A festal fabric out of all
Your sweet affections, great and small,
Be sure, no matter how it rends,
To love her, love her more than friends.

And if there comes a point when you
Are tired, and pity whispers, “Do
Yourself a favor. Come, be free;
Embrace the comforts here with me.”
Know this! Your wife surpasses these:
So love her, love her, more than ease.

And when your marriage bed is pure,
And there is not the slightest lure
Of lust for any but your wife,
And all is ecstasy in life,
A secret all of this protects:
Go love her, love her, more than sex.

And if your taste becomes refined,
And you are moved by what the mind
Of man can make, and dazzled by
His craft, remember that the “why”
Of all this work is in the heart;
So love her, love her more than art.

And if your own should someday be
The craft that critics all agree
Is worthy of a great esteem,
And sales exceed your wildest dream,
Beware the dangers of a name.
And love her, love her more than fame.

And if, to your surprise, not mine,
God calls you by some strange design
To risk your life for some great cause,
Let neither fear nor love give pause,
And when you face the gate of death,
Then love her, love her more than breath.

Yes, love her, love her, more than life;
O, love the woman called your wife.
Go love her as your earthly best.
Beyond this venture not. But, lest
Your love become a fool’s facade,
Be sure to love her less than God.

It is not wise or kind to call
An idol by sweet names, and fall,
As in humility, before
A likeness of your God. Adore,
Above your best beloved on earth,
The God alone who gives her worth.

And she will know in second place
That your great love is also grace,
And that your high affections now
Are flowing freely from a vow
Beneath these promises, first made
To you by God. Nor will they fade.

For being rooted by the stream
Of Heaven’s Joy, which you esteem
And cherish more than breath and life,
That you may give it to your wife.
The greatest gift you give your wife
Is loving God above her life.

And thus I bid you now to bless:
Go love her more by loving less.


[Photo: Reeves Photography]

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I can’t even think of words worthy of this love story.  Enjoy.


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