COFFEE WITH GOD eBook
COFFEE WITH GOD eBook
A GREAT READ FOR YOUNG AND MATURE CHRISTIANS ALIKE!
Although there is a lot of advice in this book about how to do your quiet time with God, it definitely is not a sort of DIY work on meditation or prayer. It was written in the hope that it would be a help in not only developing our own prayer life, but also of becoming aware that God is with us all the time, not just during our Prayers, or our Coffee with God. Paul tells us to Pray at all times and the intention of this book is to help us understand what this means and then apply that to our everyday life. The aim of this book is to help each one of us to understand exactly what it is that God wants of us and then to do it by coming into such a deep relationship with Him. In the book we will look into many subjects all of which are in a way related to each other and so the different subjects are really only chapters dealing with one subject matter, notably our walk with God by making Him assume prime place in our lives. Let me make myself clear at the outset that although Im no expert in Christian Spirituality, I do I invite you not to just ignore my suggestions, but to at least give them a chance and thereafter feel free to make up your own mind about them. The book is wide-ranging in an effort to show that nothing falls outside of our walk with Him but all of them can and will lead to an awareness of the Presence of God.
Excerpt from COFFEE WITH GOD eBook
I start this chapter with trepidation because I do not set myself up as an expert on the subject. My only qualification to even broach the subject, other than as a Priest, who has had many years of advising couples on the subject, is one of having been married to the same incredible woman for 45 years to date; in fact as she has put up with me for so long, maybe she should be writing this chapter. It is one of those subjects that can and does cause a lot of controversy, especially as there are so many couples nowadays who only live together, rather than getting married.
At the outset let me get this straight out in the open so that nobody can accuse me of springing this on him or her later once they have got well and truly into the topic. Marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman, for life, and I will deal with divorce later on in this chapter. There can never be anything sacramental about a union between one man and another man, or a woman and another woman; therefore such a union is just that, a union and not a marriage. Such same sex unions are, to put it bluntly, not only unacceptable to God but are shameful and hateful in His eyes (e.g. Rom. 1: 30).
Right, now thats been said and hopefully dealt with, let me get on with our cup of coffee with God as we look at various aspects of marriage and the first thing we need to look at is this modern attitude whereby couples decide to merely live together and not actually get married. You couples, I have to be the one to break this news to you but in the eyes of God your living together constitutes marriage, whether you believe in Him or not, and always remember that, no matter what, He always believes in you. Nowhere in the Bible are we given a definition of marriage and the closest we can come to one from the Bible in this regard is from the Book of Genesis (2: 24) where we are told that, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Jesus talks about this definition in Matthews Gospel (19: 5) and actually quotes it there. Paul also quotes it too in his letter to the Ephesians (5: 31). In 1 Cor. 6: 15 - 16 Paul warns us that if you unite yourself with a prostitute, then the two of you become one flesh. To me then, probably the lawyer coming out in me, what makes the man and the woman become one flesh, is that act of making love (sexual intercourse) and the lawyer in me argues that it is actually this act of sexual intercourse that the Bible sees as making a marriage - what the Genesis reading calls united to each other. I actually think that the old Biblical word cleaves gives an even stronger meaning. This is also probably the reasoning behind the modern legal process of couples being able to have a marriage annulled if it has never been consummated.
Does this, in effect, not mean that all the women that men have slept around with, and the same goes for women who have slept with many men, are you not now married to them, united to them? (I think maybe this is what is being hinted at in Jer. 3: 1b). The law of the secular world actually recognises this up to a point and that is why the law will force a man to pay maintenance to a woman with whom he has fathered a child. It is also part of the reason why women can sue men for damages for the loss of their virginity, more commonly known as breach of promise, as the sexual act is deemed to be a proposal of marriage. Although the law does not in fact stipulate any religious significance or reasoning for this, these are undoubtedly part of the reasoning behind them and are in themselves very Biblical (e.g. Deut. 22: 29).
So, it seems to me that the closest we can get to a Biblical definition of marriage, and this is probably why the Old Testament allowed and encouraged a man to have more than one wife, is that of the man leaving his parents and uniting with his wife. I have been unable to find any place in the Bible, Old or New Testaments, where it is necessary for the couple to go before a Priest or Minister of Religion to have the marriage formalized. Im sure there was probably some sort of regulation about this in early times, as the New Testament simply takes it for granted that this does happen. Even Jesus in the Marriage at Cana makes no mention of the actual legalising of the marriage and He just seems to accept that it has happened (John 2: 1 10). It is only in the New Testament that we now find the requirement of a man having but one wife (e.g. 1 Tim. 3: 2) although Im pretty sure this had already started to happen in Old Testament times.
Moving on, Id like to take a quick look at how God desires us, husband and wife, to treat each other. Firstly, we must love each other, as Christ loved the Church and gave His life for it (Eph. 5: 25). I know a lot of people say that in a relationship this is too vague because very rarely, if ever, will a man be faced with having to lay down his life for his wife but I disagree strongly with this belief. While I agree there is very little chance that Ill ever be called on to actually lay down my life for my wife, in a way just making her the focal point in my life is doing just that. I also harbour no doubts that if it really came to it, I would lay down my life for my wife.
A man and a woman should fulfil each others needs (1 Cor. 7: 3) is not only a reference to their sexual needs but to every aspect of their relationship with each other. After all, in Gods eyes, a wife is not the master of her own body, but her husband is; in the same way a husband is not the master of his own body, but his wife is (verse 4). This too must not be construed only as a sexual reference because where Paul writes those highly controversial and so-called chauvinistic words, Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord (Eph. 5: 22), in saying this please note that he also demands that, Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave His life for it. Now if we husbands do in fact love our wives like this, then what has she no fear by submitting, especially as Paul doesnt leave things hanging there, but goes on to admonish us Men to love their wives just as they love their own bodies because, he goes on to point out, People never hate their own bodies. Instead, they feed them and take care of them, just as Christ does the Church (verse 29). Only extremist feminists could possibly have a problem with this submission!
Now, think about the above carefully. Nowhere is it expected of the wife, or husband for that matter, that he or she merely lie down and become a doormat to the spouse. If indeed the husband and wife try to fulfil each others needs and love each other with that Christ-like love that He has for His Church, suddenly that submit word is no longer so threatening. BUT! all of this is conditional upon the couple treating each other in this Christ-like manner. If we husbands take advantage of this requirement we play into the hands of those extremists.
So what if say, the husband, doesnt treat his wife like Christ treats His Church?
This question unavoidably leads us to the problem of divorce. Let me start off by saying that I dont believe that God will find ill treatment and abuse of ones spouse acceptable under any circumstances. But if that ill treatment doesnt include adultery, does God permit the injured party to seek a divorce, because unfortunately injury and abuse is not only physical, but very often is verbal and manipulatory? This in itself is a difficult question, one, which I will try, to the best of my ability to answer but it will still remain a subject that can never be fully dealt with and I believe the Biblical requires that the facts of each situation be treated on its merits as we saw with the Samaritan woman at the well. What Im trying to say here is that there will probably be situations I have not covered and so I maintain each case must be treated on its own particular circumstances.
Passages such as Matthew 5: 31 & 32 are merely a starting point as we endeavour to find Gods mind on this tricky subject. Here Jesus tells us that we can only divorce on the grounds of unfaithfulness (adultery) but although on the face of it this statement would seem to be the end of the debate, we have to take a very careful look at that passage of Jesus at the well talking to the Samaritan woman (John 4).
Here Jesus sees that this woman has been married five times before and is now living out of wedlock with what must be her sixth man. If we take His statement of the Law in the above Matthew reference as the final word on divorce, we would certainly have expected to hear Him reprimand the woman for her conduct in breaking the Law. But Jesus looks beyond the mere letter of the Law (and its important to remember that at no stage does he suggest that the law on divorce has been suspended or relaxed) and appreciates the obvious hardships she has faced in her marriages. And because He cannot change what has already transpired in her many marriages, He looks beyond that too. And because of His concern for the individual and His unconditional love for her He doesnt castigate her and call her an adulterer. And by His treatment of this poor soul, He eventually ends up evangelizing her whole village through His treatment of her.
The Church has over the centuries tried to take its lead on the problem of divorce from its interpretation of the Scriptures and, unfortunately, in its zeal to be obedient to Christs declaration in Matthew 5 above, had failed to see the connection to the John 4 story above. For this reason the Church, in seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this vexing subject, has now in her wisdom seen fit to permit divorced people to remarry, but only after an exhaustive investigation of the circumstances leading up to the divorce. The Church might not always get this right because we are human, not divine, and we make mistakes but were definitely on the correct path. Taking into account the picture given us in John 4, a Bishop can now give permission for re-marriage if he is satisfied that circumstances warrant it, as Christ appears to have done with the woman at the well. So the possibility of remarriage after divorce is no longer a blank wall for divorced persons, and those who gave their first marriage their very best efforts can now seek some sort of relief from the Bishop.
Another thing we must keep in mind is that if a spouses situation becomes so dire, he or she still has the alternate to divorce of leaving the errant spouse, what the secular law calls legal separation. I recommend this no more than I recommend divorce and, like divorce, should be used only as a last resort. Only once professional counseling and other such remedies have been exhausted, would I countenance either divorce or leaving ones spouse, especially if children are involved.
Having said that, I also believe that in the case of extreme abuse one can very often be left with no alternative, and any physical abuse would fall under this category. I also need to warn those spouses, usually these will tend to be the wives, to be very wary of the errant spouse who cries copious tears and promises that it will never happen again. Usually once this abusive conduct has started it will happen again, and before long some sort of pattern sets in and the abusive spouse will come to believe that no matter what he, or she, dishes out, the abused spouse will always forgive and come back after a suitable bit of play acting repentance on his, or her, part.
Another thing we must look at is where a Christian is married to a nonbeliever. No country has laws that would enable the Christian to divorce the nonbeliever on those grounds, and the Bible seems to take the same attitude. Paul talks about this problem in his first letter to the Corinthians. In chapter seven (vs. 13 & 14) he is talking about a situation where one of the spouses is a nonbeliever and there are no other grounds for divorce. Here he says the believer must not divorce the non-believer because the unbelieving husband is made acceptable to God by being united to his wife, and the believing wife is made acceptable to God by being married to her Christian husband. If this were not so, their children would be like pagan children; but as it is they are acceptable to God.
To me what Paul then adds is possibly the clincher and most important point in this whole discussion when he says, God has called you to live in peace (verse 15b). After all, is this not what every marriage should be aiming for, and then Paul adds still another important snippet when he advises, How can you be sure, Christian wife, that you will not save your husband? Or how can you be sure, Christian husband, that you will not save your wife? This saving of those round about us is part of that great commission that Jesus gave each one of us when He said, Go, then, to all peoplesbaptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Mt. 28: 9 & 20). This is part of evangelising that I mentioned in a previous chapter about telling those close to us of the Good News. In this case we should try to make our attitudes and actions also be a witness.
Unfortunately many Christians are more helpful and polite to outsiders than they are to their own spouses, those they have promised God they will care for in sickness and health, for richer or poorer to death shall they part! When we converse with other people we are probably more likely to listen with our hearts and give them our full attention, all to make them know we care. And yet when our spouse speaks, do we give them our full and undivided attention?
More often than not our thoughts are still in the office or are preparing our reply, instead of enjoying that present moment between the two who were joined together into one flesh by God.
Jean Paul de Caussade in setting forth his Sacrament of the present moment philosophy said, The present moment is the most sacred moment. Yet most of us fail in such sacred moments by not giving our full attention to those moments. We must learn to listen from our hearts and be open to others dreams and ideas, just as I hope we would be open to God. By remaining open and attentive, not just in appearance but especially in actual fact, we are telling the other that we are interested in them and love them.
Table of Contents for COFFEE WITH GOD
|DO YOU LOVE ME?|
|EPILOGUE (THE DIY CHRISTIAN)|
Write a review
We deliver to destinations all over the world, and here at Abela, we have some of the best rates in the book industry.
We charge shipping dependant on the book you have ordered and where in the world you are ordering from. This will be shown below the price of the book.
The delivery time is typically dependant on where in the world you are ordering from, Should you need a estimated delivery time, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We pride ourselves on the quality of our packaging and damage rates are very low. In the unlikely event there is damage please contact us before returning your item, as you may have to pay for return shipping, if you have not let us know.
Due to the nature of books being read then returned for a refund, unfortunately we do not accept returns unless the item is damaged and we are notified ON THE DAY OF DELIVERY.