Chesed

Yesterday we considered several passages of Scripture that demonstrate the faithfulness of God and His unfailing love and presence in our lives. Today I would like for you to consider the word “chesed” which is often translated as lovingkindness.

Here are some notes from A Theological Word Book of the Bible on the word “chesed.”

It is important to realize that though the Hebrew chesed can be translated by loving-kindness and mercy without doing violence to the context, yet we must always beware lest we think that God is content with less than righteousness. There is no reference to any sentimental kindness, and no suggestion of mercy apart from repentance, in any case where the Hebrew original is chesed. His demand for righteousness is insistent, and it is always at the maximum intensity. The loving-kindness of God means that his mercy is greater even than that. The word chesed stands for the wonder of his unfailing love for the people of his choice, and the solving of the problem of the relation between his righteousness and his loving-kindness passes beyond human comprehension.

The word is used to contrast man and God.

  • Isaiah 40:6 – Isaiah used chesed (“loveliness”) in the context of man’s lack of steadfastness or strength. The prophet is contrasting man’s frailty with God’s steadfast reliability.
  • Hosea 6:4 – Israel’s chesed was like the morning cloud which goes away. ‘as the morning cloud, and as the dew that goeth early away,’ a regular feature of the Palestinian climate when once the spring rains are past.

God’s loving-kindness is that sure love which will not let Israel go. Not all Israel’s persistent waywardness could ever destroy it. Though Israel be faithless, yet God remains faithful still. This steady, persistent refusal of God to wash his hands of wayward Israel is the essential meaning of the Hebrew word which is translated loving-kindness.

In light of these thoughts about the “chesed,” the unfailing lovingkindness God, let us pray for God’s “chesed” to be a part of our marriages. May we as men love our wives “just as” Jesus loved us, and may that unfailing lovingkindness flow from our hearts and souls toward our wives.

Interesting thought, when I type “lovingkindness,” it gets underlined in red because it is not part of the dictionary on this program. This term lovingkindness is not familiar to it, but may that not be the case for us in our marriages. Hopefully lovingkindness is part of our “program,” deeply embedded within our souls.

5 Love Languages: Acts of Service

I’m currently reading the 5 Love Languages for Men by Dr. Gary Chapman. Click here if you want to purchase the book for yourself.

Dr. Gary Chapman’s famous approach is that we all speak different love languages, and he categorizes them as:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Gift Giving
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

Today is about Acts of Service

First of all, let’s demonstrate that this “love language” is most certainly Bible-based. Listen to the words of the apostle Paul:

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another (Galatians 5:13).

Dr. Chapman mentions three parts to become truly fluent in acts of service.

  1. Impact. Its the idea of working harder, not smarter. Are you listening to what she really needs? Do you hear her talk as to where she really needs the help? You could work all day doing all kinds of chores, and not add a drop to her love tank, Dr. Chapman points out. However, if you make dinner, clean up the kitchen and put the kids to bed, you might overflow her love tank. It comes down to listening to her needs and wants, not serving where you feel the most comfortable serving.
  2. Initiative. Making a list of things you can do for you wife really means nothing until you start DOING things on the list, particularly the things that mean the most to her. This requires drive, discipline and dedication, Dr. Chapman adds. Don’to let this very important to do list get lost under your mountain of paperwork. Think of what that says to your wife and how she will perceive your love and commitment. So, get busy!
  3. Attitude. Have you ever had someone do something for you, but you ended up feeling bad and guilty because of how that person behaved through the whole task? Motive and attitude are everything, aren’t they (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)? We are neither heroes nor martyrs, Dr. Chapman writes. Jesus says we are servants who have merely done our duty (Luke 17:10). So that means we are not trumpeting our good works before others, especially our wives. This is very hard for some of us! When we do that good deed, we want to make sure our wives really know we did the dishes and cleaned the bathroom, but that is contrary to the heart and attitude Jesus wants us to have.

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly (Matthew 6:1-4).

Pages 80-81 have some great practical tips for acts of service that you can do for your wife. If you have not already purchased this book, please do. It will be a helpful guide in your relationship with your wife. The Bible is of course always the first and best guide, but we also have great help and advice in many other resources like the 5 Love Languages.

 

 

 

 

 

Plumbing the Depths of God’s Love – Transparency

3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.  4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah.  5 I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (Psalm 32:3-5 NKJV)

Are you living transparently with God and with those who mean the most to you?

Remember the points under discussion this week.  We have all sinned, sinned against God, and God alone.  He will forgive us of our sins.  Only He can.  The result of our trust in this…in His mercy through faith is that we can live a blessed life regardless of our circumstance or relationships.  This is a great promise and hopeful perspective.  Yet we don’t always allow God to forgive us…we either ignore or deny the sin in our life and the consequences are grave.

David describes how terrible it was to keep his sin to himself.  His bones wasted away through his groaning all day long. His strength was dried up and the hand of the Lord was heavy upon him.  David is describing the burden of the guilt of his sin.  His sin is eating at him continually and the guilt is wearing him down.

What does this look like in your lives?  Do you carry around sin and the associated pain?  Does your conscience keep after you with ever present reminders of the fact you did something you shouldn’t have?  Sin hurts us individually and it hurts those we care about.  Sin ultimately and initially hurts God!

It’s there for all of us whether it is a sucking chest wound or a mere flesh wound.  It doesn’t matter, it’s there.  Ignoring sin leads to committing more sins.  In fact, what we think of as small sins (flesh wound) grow into more serious sins (sucking chest wounds).  For some reason we truly think we can get away with our actions.  For some reason we think that since we can hide our sins from one another and from our family, God will not know.  This course of action leads to our own spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical destruction.

God is going to work on us to bring the sin to light.  He is not going to waiver in this and when we can see the sin and the destruction it is causing, like David did, we will go from “worldly sorrow” to “Godly Sorrow”.  World sorrow deals with fear of being exposed or sorrow from being caught.  Godly Sorrow comes when we are looking at the Lord and not ourselves and realize we have done all this wickedness to God and we need to make it right.

David is no longer in denial here.  He is not looking for the easy way out.  He is done trying to fix things.  He “acknowledges” and “confesses” his sin and iniquity to God.  No more hiding!

This is man’s part.  We have to go to God with our sin…no more hiding.  God is faithful to do His part…forgive, atone, not impute our sins, transgressions or iniquity upon us.

Let’s change our mind.  Let’s not just expect others to “be right” or “make right” or “be exposed” for what they have done, but let’s demonstrate reconciliation in our own lives.  We are all exposed…God sees…God hurts…God longs for reconciliation.  When we get that right, then our feelings for others go from “being hurt because of” to “hurt for”.  Because we want everyone else to feel the same peace/joy we have found…we hurt when we see them languishing in sin like we did.  We can endure that kind of hurt.  God does.

No more excuses.  No more denial.  No more trying to hide.  No more trying to “fix it”.  Acknowledge your sins, confess them, ask God to forgive.  You and those most important in your life cannot afford anything less.

Plumbing the Depths of God’s Love – God and You

This week the MDB articles will be written by my dear friend, Shane Blackmer. Thanks Shane!


17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—  19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:17-19 NKJV)

The depth of God’s love is that it can receive and cover the sins of EVERY repentant sinner EVERY time!  What does this realization do to how we handle our relationships?

Over the past several months I have been challenged in my relationships at home and at work.  I know I am not alone is this.  All of us are challenged as husbands, fathers, brothers, neighbors, professionals…to fulfill our responsibilities, to love unconditionally despite disappointment and sorrow.  It seems we often view people for how they hurt us.  We have trouble getting past it.  We can’t forgive, forget, trust, grow…this seems like a natural response and challenge.  Further, what seems natural to us men is to “fix it”.  We try to go after the relationship problems and either fix the “issue” or even worse “the other person”.  This is a trap…and a lot of times everyone loses.  So what should we do?

I have learned that in my life I have spent a great deal of time thinking and worrying about what other people think and feel.  Don’t get me wrong…having a genuine concern for others and humbling ourselves in relationships is not a bad thing.  The trouble starts when we become solely focused on the other person or lose perspective on the relationship.  If we have an outward perspective, we are missing the most important relationship…our relationship with God.

Do you believe that this relationship is the most important?  Do you believe that if this relationship is broken all other relationships suffer?  Do you believe we can completely miss this and spend all of our time working on the wrong relationships?  I do.  I have!  What I should do is come to the realization David did:

4Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. (Psa. 51:4 NKJV)

In doing this, I can first get my most fundamental and important relationship right…be reconciled with my Heavenly Father so that I am in a position to be reconciled to my wife, children, brethren, colleagues, etc.  What this does is takes all the judgment, condemnation, resentment I feel for others and turns it inward.  I acknowledge first and foremost I am a sinner…we all are!  Yet, when we sin, come to ourselves, confess, and repent…God forgives us!  And a life forgiven is a life worth living and an empowered life in which we can forgive and love others.

And here is the kicker…God forgives me every time I ask Him with a repentant heart.  Think about that for a minute.  Think about all times you sin in a day.  Think about how many people there are on this planet.  Think about all the times we sin in a day…billions of times…and God is ready to forgive every one of them.  Is that not a deep love?

If we think about that…about how God is the first person rejected in every relationship that is in err…and He is willing and able to forgive every time…won’t that change the way we see conflict in our relationships.  Won’t we come to understand that no matter how much another person hurts us…it is no more than how much we hurt our Father every day.  Won’t we see the grace, mercy, love, and hope we have with our Father despite this terrible wrong we have committed…and think about how we might have that same kind of heart for others?

If we do, we can go from being hurt “because of” someone else and go to being hurt “for” someone else.  We realize that we are all struggling to make our way through this life and we are all rejecting our Father and bringing great grief upon ourselves.  So let’s do our part to bring Him back to the center of our relationships by ensuring He is in the center of our individual lives.

With this in mind, let’s spend the week looking at Psalm 32 (read Psalm 51 too…they go great together) and consider how David figured this out…because he didn’t get it right at first.  He struggled with trying to deal with his sin alone…the influence this had on his relationships…and how he came to repentance, confession and forgiveness and how much more effective he could be as a husband, father…as a man in the world.

We can’t expect our relationships to improve if we haven’t worked on our first relationship…with God.  Once I come to that realization, that we have first sinned against our Father and He is faithful to forgive me, I am well positioned to work on other relationships and demonstrate the same love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and hope…so let’s start with us and get that right first.  Looking forward to a great week with you.

Seeing the Blessings Right in Front of You

“And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him” (Ruth 4:15).

Naomi received this blessing from the women of Bethlehem when her baby grandson, Obed, was born to Ruth and Boaz.

I like this blessing because Naomi was gently reminded by the women of Bethlehem that she had a gem of a daughter-in-law in Ruth. Naomi experienced overwhelming grief and tragedy by losing her husband and her two sons, and no one can take away that grief. But sometimes in our grief, we focus so much on what we lost or what isn’t right that we fail to see the incredible blessings of God right in front of our faces.

Naomi may not have had a husband or sons anymore, but she had Ruth, who was better to her than seven sons. Ruth could not “replace” who Naomi lost, but Ruth was still an amazing blessing from God in Naomi’s life.

And now, on top of that, Ruth and Boaz bring little baby Obed into the world and he lays in the arms of his grandma Naomi (Ruth 4:16). Again, this wonderful blessing doesn’t replace who or what was lost, but this baby will “restore” her life and “nourish” Naomi in her old age.

It’s just a thought for us today, men, to take inventory of the blessings of God around us, especially in our families and churches. Since this is Friday, and we usually make some application regarding our relationship with our church families, let’s do that with Naomi and Ruth.

We are tempted at times to look at our congregations and find what is “missing” or what “isn’t right” or who “isn’t doing their part.” First of all we need to be careful that we first look humbly in the mirror and pray for God to help us see ourselves clearly before passing judgment upon others. But how about looking around in our congregations and seeing the “Ruth’s” that are better to us than whatever it is we think is lost or missing? I believe there are a lot more Ruth’s in our lives than we think, and we should be always in prayer with a grateful heart for the godly, loving and loyal friends in Christ that surround us.

None of this is to take away from the faith of Naomi. I believe Naomi was a strong woman of faith and she served God faithfully. She also showed great love and concern for her daughter-in-law Ruth. But we all need reminders sometimes, no matter how strong or mature we may be, to look around and see the blessings right in front of us.

But Ruth Clung to Her

Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her (Ruth 1:14).

Naomi was bitter…she said so. In fact, she was grieving so bitterly that she wanted to change her name from Naomi which means “pleasant” to Mara which means “bitter” (Ruth 1:20). After the death of her husband and her two sons, she had little room for hope. In her dark valley of grief and despair, she felt as if God was punishing her and had dealt very bitterly with her (Ruth 1:13,20-21). As she began her journey back home to Bethlehem, she tried very hard to send away her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. She did not see any hope that she could provide husbands for her daughters-in-law, so she attempted to send them back to their families and their gods (Ruth 1:8-13,15).

But Ruth clung to her

That is such an impressive statement. Ruth clung to Naomi; she was fully ready to leave her family, her nation, her gods and religion. No matter how hard at this point Naomi tried to push her away, Ruth clung to Naomi. Ruth was leaving all behind to be with Naomi and to come under the wings of the God of Israel for refuge (Ruth 2:11-12).

But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).

That says something about Ruth. Naomi was all prickles and stings at this time in her life, but Ruth still clung to her. That is a true friend. This is what friends and family do. Ruth was loving Naomi through this grief even when Naomi was trying to push her away. Everyone noticed what Ruth did for her mother-in-law (Ruth 2:11), and everyone saw that Ruth was better to Naomi than “seven sons” (Ruth 4:15) even if during the great sadness Naomi didn’t see it.

That says something about Naomi. Just because Naomi at this point is bitter and not thinking clearly does not mean that she always was this kind of woman. I believe Ruth’s respect for and commitment to Naomi gives us a clear indication of what Naomi was really like beforehand. Keep in mind that they spent a decade together before this point (Ruth 1:4). If you continue into chapter 2 of Ruth you will see the old Naomi spring back to life again. This is something that we fail to recognize and appreciate at times, men. As people of God we all have our “moments,” and during those moments we can look ugly, but that does not define who we are as a person. All of God’s faithful people had those ugly moments (Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Peter, etc.). Naomi was no different. She was overwhelmed with the grief and hopelessness of losing her husband and her two sons. God was patient with her, and He will keep working in her life until her eyes open again and she will see God’s marvelous hand and His loving care (Ruth 2:20).

So, men, let’s learn a lesson from Ruth and from Naomi and share these concepts with our kids. We can help our kids to see the value in being a Ruth to others. Also, we can help our kids to see that we all have our “Mara” moments, but thankfully God and His people love us through those moments.

Have You Seen God?

Have you seen God? John was very plain in saying, “No one has seen God at any time.” Do you know what God looks like? Many have undergone the futile task of trying to imagine what God looks like. All kinds of paintings and sculptures have been done through the centuries, and those artistic works reflect the imagination of the artist. They do not reflect reality, because no one could even come close to describing the features of God. God is a Spirit (John 4:24). We see in Scripture that He has hands, eyes, and arms, but we also see God described as having wings. It is all figurative and descriptive.

We go back simply to the words of John, “No one has seen God at any time.” But then again, I ask the question, “Have you seen God?” I can with all certainty and conviction say most positively, “Yes!” I have seen God, face to face, because His image and heart is being reflected and lived out in His people.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit (1 John 4:11-13).

“If we love one another, God abides in us.” Did you see that? God is seen in His people. Christ is reflected in His body. I often preach and discuss the concept of “putting skin on” these Bible concepts. I didn’t come up with that, God did. Notice how John begins his gospel account in chapter 1,

And the Word became flesh (put skin on) and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:18).

See that phrase again? “No one has seen God at any time.” But Jesus put skin on, He became flesh and we saw God in the flesh. When you see Jesus in Matthew through John, you see God face to face. But Jesus doesn’t stop there. Not only do we see God in the face of Jesus, we now see God in the face of the people who walk with Him. Jesus develops His heart and His love within His people and then we reflect the face and nature of God in our lives. We become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Have you seen God? Well, if you like me have experienced the love of God lived out among His people then you can shout from the mountaintops with all confidence that you have seen God.

So who will be seen in our lives today? Will people see God through us? Do they hear God when we talk? Are we reflecting the image and glory of God in our relationships?

May God be seen in us today.

Once and for all

Sometimes it is said that we are going to sit down and deal with something “once and for all” in a relationship. Whatever the issue or problem is, we like to think that we can have a one-and-done discussion and we never have to revisit that issue again. The problem with that mentality is, life just doesn’t work that way.

Even if you think you work that way in your own life, you don’t. Let me ask you, does God have to revisit things with you?

Once and for all

Think about Gideon in the book of Judges. He constantly came back to God for reassurance, and God in His mercy continually gave it. You might think that the first time God promised Gideon, “the Lord is with you,” that Gideon would have had all the reassurance he needed. But Gideon kept asking for more signs and more proof that God was with him. God didn’t say to Gideon, “I dealt with that once and for all, you don’t need any more reassurance.”

A second example is Simon Peter. After denying Jesus and being corrected by Him, Peter should have “once and for all” been put on the right path. By our “once and for all” logic he never would need correction again. He never would stumble again. However, even as an apostle, Peter played the hypocrite and needed to be rebuked face to face by another apostle, Paul (see Galatians 2).

Husbands, in our relationships with our wives, we must consider the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ that was given to us. God has to constantly revisit things with us that He shouldn’t have to revisit. So then, why would we be in turn be frustrated and impatient if we have to revisit things with our wives? What if our wives need reassurance on an issue, and we think, “We’ve already dealt with that!” Wrong. God didn’t deal that way with Gideon, did He?

Relationships take lots of time, growth, reassurance and longsuffering.

There is a “once for all” in the Bible, however, and it is tied directly to the cross of Jesus. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews 10:10). Let’s keep this in mind as we grow in our relationships.

Favor from the Lord

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD (Proverbs 18:22).

Take time to be thankful for the good relationships, especially if you are married to a godly and loving wife.

When we are thankful for each other, we see each other in a very different light. Even when we are fussing with each other, if we keep in mind how thankful we are for each other, it helps to deal with that disagreement and tension in a better way.

Let’s take a piece of paper and physically write down all the reasons why we are thankful for our wives. We do this for our kids sometimes when they are complaining and fussing, we make them write down good things about each other. Big people need to do the same sometimes.

House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD (Proverbs 19:14).

Do Not Be Unequally Yoked

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

What does it mean to be “unequally yoked”?

Picture if I took a rope and joined my 18 year old son’s arm together with my 6 year old son’s arm. I then ask them to walk in different directions. Who is going to determine which way they will travel? The 6 year old will either get dragged around or be forced to walk in the 18 year old’s direction. In the old days before John Deere tractors, you would take a wooden yoke and join together two oxen to pull your plow. Can you picture taking an ox and yoking it together with a goat? You are going to break the goat’s neck! The ox isn’t helped either because he is doing all the work pulling the plow instead of having a strong helper by his side sharing the load.

This is what happens when we join ourselves in binding relationships with people who are not walking closely with Jesus. We are walking in two very different directions, and serious damage is going to be done to the believer.

Look at the words Paul used to help explain being “yoked”:
  • Partnership – What partnership does righteousness have with lawlessness?
  • Fellowship – Does light have fellowship with darkness?
  • Accord – Does Christ have harmony with Belial (symbolic for Satan)?
  • Portion – What portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?
  • Agreement – Does the “temple of God” agree with idols?

Friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).

Does This Apply to Marriage?

Paul’s warnings apply to all relationships, and we can safely apply it to our choice of whom we will marry. Some will argue that Paul is not talking about marriage here, and that is right. He is talking about being in close, intimate, contractual, binding relationships with unbelievers.

Hmm…wouldn’t that apply to marriage?

Yes, it is clear that some Christians were married to non-Christians in the New Testament. The instructions given to them are to seek to convert their spouses and bring them to Jesus (1 Peter 3; 1 Corinthians 7).

However, why would you willingly go into the most binding, intimate covenant relationship with someone who is not walking in the same direction? Young men, that woman who is not walking closely with Jesus is going to be the mother of your children. Young women, that man who does not follow Jesus is going to be leading your children. Does it matter? It better!

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3)

God was very plain and strict in the Old Testament about marrying people from the pagan nations. Why? Was God racist? Not at all. He knew that if His people married those from the pagan nations that they would learn pagan ways (Psalm 106:35). Were there exceptions? Sure! Women like Rahab and Ruth were those who left behind their pagan and idolatrous backgrounds and devoted themselves to follow God.

Examples abound in the Old Testament of those who married spouses from pagan nations. Esau married Hittite wives and brought serious grief to his parents. Samson kept going after Philistine women and ended up bald, blind and bound. Solomon joined in marriage to women from heathen nations and they turned his heart from following God (1 Kings 11). Nehemiah called the people’s attention back to Solomon to remind them of what happened because of Solomon’s poor choices in mates.

“Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin” (Nehemiah 13:23-28).

The Lord goes further to explain why this marriage relationship is so important. He seeks “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15). The children who were raised in confused and diverse religious homes were not blessed for this. They grew up confused and pagan (Nehemiah 13:24). This is not the kind of “diversity” God celebrated.

Do Not Be Unequally Yoked

Finally, single men and women, please take time to think deeply and seriously about this decision. Lots of prayer. Tons of time with your nose in the Bible. Hours sitting down with an abundance of godly wise counselors (Proverbs 11:14). It is worth the time to make sure you are making a wise decision!