Iron Sharpens Iron

26 02 2021

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Would like to know three secrets of our happy and blessed marriage of 53+ years? There are more reasons, but these three are non-negotiable: Faith, Equality, and Honesty. This post came out of a discussion Doreen and I had this Wednesday about this verse.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”  Proverbs 27:17

I always thought of that verse as “brother to brother” in a spiritual sense, which is true. But now I have seen a deeper meaning when it applies to the relationship of husband and wife. On the “brother” level, it certainly describes the value of  rubbing or sharpening off the rough edges between two believers. But, when applied to marriage, it is life and death. A blessed and successful marriage must embrace the “iron.” Doreen and I rejoiced to see this new understanding from the Lord on Wednesday. And just to make sure we “heard” the Holy Spirit, Doreen’s verse for the day popped up Thursday morning with Proverbs 27:17. How cool is that?

When we first started dating in October of 1964, at Berkshire Christian College, we sort of “stumbled” into three personal commitments that we now know were straight from the Throne of Heaven. We were married June 11, 1967 at the end of Israel’s Six Day War. These three foundation stones of our now nearly 56 years of friendship were laid during a few walks together in 1964.

  1. FAITH – Somehow, I am not even sure how it started, we began to say often: “You and me and Jesus.” We still say that in words and/or action virtually ever day since. We also say “I love you!” multiple times a day. We chose to make Jesus the most important One in our relationship, more important than each other.
  2. EQUALITY – From the beginning we saw the Ephesians order of relationships. Many study husband and wife starting with  Ephesians 5:23 about wives submitting to their husbands. However, to start there is a colossal error. The previous verse is the start point of our marriage: “submitting to one another in the fear of God.” We are equal before God. Jesus speaking through her has more authority than my own opinion, and Him speaking through me has more than hers. Once that is clear, we can proceed to the hierarchy of family structure that follows. It is in this functional equality that “iron sharpens iron.”  One of the first things that attracted me to Doreen was her strength of character and confidence is her beliefs. When we “discussed” anything it was with 100% conviction both ways and we still enjoy these free “discussions” today. We have never shrunk back from standing strong for our opinions. I value that highly in a person. How we reconcile the times we disagree is another story, but we started by agreeing to never go to bed mad.  “Be angry, and do not sin” Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.  Ephesians 4:26
  3. HONESTY – We had a third revelation on our walks. The armor of God in Ephesians 6 starts with: “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth,” Ephesians 6:14  We mistakenly thought that referred to true doctrine, but it instead means honesty. Be honest. Tell the truth to one another. That is the preeminent piece of armor. If you don’t have truth, you are completely vulnerable to the enemy. On our second walk we vowed to be honest with each other. We even share our thoughts with each other when asked. Wow! That has been pure gold for a living relationship. Thank you, Jesus!

These three accidental vows have guided our marriage consistently. It helps that we had the godly examples of our own parents. My folks dated four years and were married 68 years. When Doreen and I celebrated 34 years, I turned to her and said: “Well, we are half way!” That long view is part of what I hope you get from these musings. One of my biggest heartbreaks is that we have not been better at helping others to find what we have found in our Jesus marriage. It is never too late. Follow Jesus!

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and pray for Israel rain (and the March 23 election).

Les Lawrence, voice of Christian Zionists                      (Read more)





52 Years of Love and Friendship

11 06 2019

 

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1967 Maine to 2019 North Carolina with A&W Mug

Today Doreen and I are celebrating our wonderful marriage of 52 years! Please indulge me a few comments on our extraordinary life-long love. We have certainly been blessed more than we deserve, by the favor and blessing of Yehovah God through His Son, Yeshua.

The top picture is from the week before our wedding on June 11, 1967. This was the precise time Israel was fighting the miraculous Six Day War. Our wedding day was the first day after the war. You can understand our attachment to Israel. We have stood with Israel for 52 years and counting. Our calling in ministry is eternally connected to our love for Israel. Our ministry name “Elisha Vision” reflects our prayer, that God would use us to open the eyes of His servants to see His surrounding warrior angels and know that “more are they that are with us, than they that are with them” (the enemies of Israel).

Our love for each other has always been defined by the most blessed intimate friendship two people could possibly enjoy. When we were dating at Berkshire Christian College in Lenox, MA, we discovered a secret to success in our future marriage:

Transparent Honesty – There are other important keys, but this is the first practical priority. Of course, the first priority was to put Jesus first, ahead of each other. But we discovered transparent honesty almost by accident. Now, we know it was God setting us on the right track, without us realizing it was Him.

On our very first date, we were on a Bible college hayride that had many funny moments. A friend and I decided to wear matching ponchos just to be silly, only to pick up our dates and find that they had heard of our plan and did the same thing. So four of us climbed into the station wagon with three more friends to travel two hours across the state to the hayride at which our men’s quartet was the entertainment. October in Massachusetts is a great time for a hayride unless the overloaded wagons are being pulled by sweaty horses at a temperature of 35 degrees with a steady drizzle. Ah! The steam generated by those horses created a cloud which of course the wagons passed through. It was a memorable evening in many ways. When we stopped on the way home at an A&W Root Beer drive-in, Doreen and I had the biggest order, so the proprietor gave us a slightly chipped mug which we treasure to this day! Our first brush with what we later came to recognize as transparent honesty was to occur on the way home after the hayride, the refreshments, the joke and story telling. Things had quieted down and no one was talking. I happened to have my arm on the back of the seat, not with romantic intent, but because of the fact that four of us were crowded into it. About this time I took my glasses off noticing the interesting effect of the stars changing from brilliant pinpoints of light to little blurry suns and back again as I switched back and forth. In the midst of this private reverie, I realized that Doreen was questioning me as to what I was thinking, since I was so quiet. Well, I immediately recognized an opportunity to come up with one of the most romantic lines of all times, but I liked her already too much to fake romance, so I just declined to answer. But she was not about to give up, and she kept teasing me till I finally reluctantly admitted: “The stars are pretty when I take my glasses on and off.”  Of course she was impressed with this surprising glimpse of depth and sensitivity and we laughed and enjoyed the whole evening. Yet, our great discovery did not happen that night, but about a week later. 

We were walking into town one afternoon when I noticed that Doreen was unusually quiet and pensive. She was a million miles away. So I asked her what she was thinking with a note of teasing in my voice. She was very embarrassed and did not want to answer. Never one to back off, I kept teasing and chiding her that I had told her what I was thinking the night of the hayride. Finally, she soberly agreed to tell me with the disclaimer that she would not at all have dared mention it under any other circumstances. Her honest thoughts were about whether I might be the one God intended to be her husband some day. Well I joined her in the embarrassment and we agreed that it was certainly too soon to tell, but that it was in the Lord’s hands. Having quickly settled that point we went on to discuss the amazing concept of being so honest with someone that you would even tell them what you were thinking! It was a great revelation that we would only later discover was in the Bible. It was so good, we agreed to be that honest with one another from then on, and we still are! (Excerpt from our little marriage booklet: 7 Keys to a Happy Marriage)

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. Ephesians 6:13-14 NLT

“Truth” in this verse is not doctrinal purity, but simple honesty. It is the first piece of the famous armor for our spiritual warfare. Honesty is non-negotiable in human relations, especially marriage.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and pray for rain.

Les Lawrence, Voice of Christian Zionists                       (Read more)








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