Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The promise and hope of spring

  I hate winter. I really, really hate it. The only redeemable feature I see of it is Christmas, but Jesus most likely wasn't born in the winter, so that means we just observe His birth at the deadest season of the year. Kind of weird, but then we celebrat His resurrection during Spring, the most hopeful and alive season of the year. Maybe we need to move Christmas to summer.

 I don't like the cold, I don't like the snow. Driving on snow and ice covered roads scares me far more than it used to, and I have become a slow white-knuckled driver. Just yesterday, it snowed all day, and I had to walk a long distance to my car from work, clean 4-5 inches of snow off of my car while it snowed and I waded in at least that much snow in shoes that were no match for that much snow. Then I drove 5 and 10 mph down a steep and very slick hill, then 30 more miles on roads that were very bad and snow-covered.

  My white car needs washed badly. It is amazing what a mess white snow can make on a vehicle.

  I deal with depression 365 days a year, but it is much worse in the winter, and any doctor will tell you that is the case. Mine verified it. Everything is so grey, dead, ugly, dark, cold, and the weather gives a sense of hopelessness and despair that the people who love winter and never understand or relate to.

  I long to visit the covered bridge near me and walk on  the bike trail with my iPod,,,,,, but it is too cold, and I don't walk in the snow.

  I long to drive along with my car windows down and feel the warm air going across my skin.

 I long to walk outside without having to bundle up in warm clothes.

 I long to see green and pretty flowers everywhere, instead of barren trees, and dead grass and plants.

 I long to not feel cooped up inside, to go to bed in shorts and a t-shirt, and not have to burrow under a couple of blankets.

 I long to see the sunshine...... and feel the sunshine.

 I long to walk barefoot at the beach and feel the water around my feet.

A "friend" said stupidity is hating winter and living where it is cold. If I were wealthy enough, I'd go where it is warm during the winter, but I love my family too much to move that far away that I'd be where it is warm all year long..... so I guess I will remain here and be stupid.

  But we have a hope and promise of warmer weather. Spring is coming. The day is not far off when flowers will start popping their heads up through the soil. The brown grass will turn green. Birds will sing more, ugly and barren trees will burst forth with color. The sun will shine, and we will FEEL it, not just see it. The snow and cold will go away for several months.

 I will again get a better handle on this depression and hopelessness that plagues me and feel happier and more hopeful again.

 It happens every year, and we know it is coming. Spring, the season of hope and new life. The season Jesus rose from the dead, after lying dead in a tomb all week-end.

  I have been thinking about this lately, the hope and promise of spring. I am looking forward to it, and counting the days down to when I get my sandals and cooler clothes out, of when I can jump in my car and take off without needing to warm it up or brush snow off of it. And a thought hit me....

  This life can be like winter. I for one, weary of the devil hounding my every move. I weary of feeling so alone at times, wishing I had someone to love and love me. I weary of this increasing anti-Christian and anti-God sentiment that is growing in our country, fueled by godless politicians and media. I weary of getting up every day and going to work whether I feel like it or not. I weary of struggling with my weight, weaknesses, pain, ruts of normalcy, financial problems, monotonous days, always feeling tired, of not having enough time to just relax and have fun.

  But just as we have the promise and hope of Spring, we have the promise and hope of Heaven. For all who serve God faithfully, we will leave this all behind us some day and have eternal Spring. Yes, I believe it will be Spring in Heaven......forever.

There will be no pain
There will be no cold and snow
There will be no death
No betrayal of friends
No devil to tempt and hound us
No loneliness
No dark days

  The weather will be perfect, we will be surrounded my friends who love us. We will be able to eat whatever and how much we want, and not worry about weight gain. There will be no good byes. We'll never have to clean snow off of a car again or worry about wrecking on bad roads... or of hitting suicidal deer.

 We know when Spring is coming, at least a general idea. Sometimes winter doesn't like to let go...... but we know within a certain time frame when it is coming, and that gives us winter haters, those who suffer with seasonal depression some hope. Better, brighter, and warmer days are coming...... and they aren't too far off.

  Heaven? None of us knows when it is coming. For some, sooner than others. But the day will come when we shed these earthly bodies and step through the gates of our eternal home and kneel before the One we have followed here on life, and hear those words "well done, thou good and faithful servant." And then we will start an eternity of spring, happiness, and eternal life. That is our promise and hope.

 The sky seems gray above me
      And I can't see the light of day
      There's a ray breaking through the shadows
       And the smile can't be far away
       Thank God for the promise of springtime
        Once again my heart will sing
        There's a brand new day a-dawning
         Thank God for the promise of spring

         Though the earth looks bleak and barren
          And the seeds they're brown and dead
           But the promise of life grows within them
           And I know spring is just ahead

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A long walk home

I just did something brave. A friend posted a pro-50 Shades of Grey post on Facebook, and I politely gave a very watered down opinion of why I disagreed with her that the movie and books are OK and people shouldn't have an issue with them. I think we are still friends.

  I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who is Calvinist. We discussed Calvinism and I tossed out some reasons I don't believe that way, and we had a good discussion on it. I didn't throw everything I had at him, and he came back with his answers to my questions. We parted as friends and he assured me I did not offend him with my questions.

  The world has become a crazy place in many ways, and one way is that no one can disagree with anyone anymore. If you do, you hate them, and are a bigot.

Dare to say homosexuality is wrong, and that you believe that gay marriage is not Biblical or right, then you are  homophobic, hate gay people, and you need to be shut up.

Dare to oppose abortion and call it what it is - killing a baby - you hate women and don't believe women have rights.

Oppose a black president because his policies are so opposite yours there is no way you'd vote for him, then you are a racist and hate all blacks.

Speak up against radical Muslims, and you are accused of hating all Muslims.

  There is rarely any polite and civil disagreement anymore. From the political scene to the religious world, no one can disagree anymore without it becoming a verbal sword fight. Even those who try to be civil are attacked and shredded by those whose viewpoints they disagree with.

 Newsflash: We are all unique individuals who are raised in different backgrounds. We are not always right, nor are we always wrong (unless you're Barak Obama,,,,, can't think of anything he has been right on......). And just because someone disagrees with us, does not mean they hate us, or that we are hateful bigots.

  Do I think 50 Shades of Grey is a horrible pornographic, S&M movie that no one should see? Yes, a thousand times yes! Does that make me hateful, judgmental, or a prude? No! I have good reasons for believing that way, and I believe I am right, or I would reverse my belief.

 Do I believe homosexuality is a sin, that gay marriage should not be legal? That God's Word condemns it as a sin, and His Word only allows for marriage between a man and woman? You betcha. Does that make me a homophobic bigot? Absolutely not, though I have been accused of that, which is very, very ironic,

 Do I believe abortion is murder and should be outlawed? Man, do I. Does that make me anti-women, or anti-women's rights? No way. I am all for women's rights, but killing her baby is not a right, and I am weary of that argument.

 Do I believe Calvinism is right? No. I see a lot of holes, especially in 5-point Calvinism. Does that mean I hate Calvinists or believe they are going to hell? No way. I do believe only God knows our hearts, and there had better not be any sin there when we meet Him.

  I think it is sad that we live in a world where you can't disagree without accusations such as we get for disagreeing. I do believe some things are more important. I could hotly debate someone on abortion, and don't believe you can be a true Christian and support it, or consistently vote for pro-abortion candidates......but that doesn't give me the right to hate pro-abortion people, or refuse to be their friend.

  People CAN be Christians and disagree on stuff. It is part of the political game and agenda of the militant pro-gay people and others, to paint anyone who disagrees with them as hateful, and they use that kind of rhetoric to try to shut up those who disagree with them. While we should not let that stop us for exercising and protecting our freedom of speech and the freedom to have our own beliefs and opinions, we should never use that kind of rhetoric against those who disagree with us. It may sometimes be true. One only has to look as far as radical Muslims who do hate Christians and Jews, and there may be factions of the gay community and abortion industry who hate us for disagreeing with them, but we must always love, and never stoop to that kind of thinking, language, and rhetoric when people disagree.

  Those who truly follow Jesus need to band together. The day is coming when we will face persecution here in the USA. It is already happening to some on a small scale, usually if one doesn't agree with gay marriage, but if this country keeps sliding down the slippery slope we are on, it will worsen and it could be illegal some day here in this country to say some things are wrong, and it may be illegal to even be a Christian.

 If we Christians keep fighting among ourselves, it will be a long and lonely walk home. We need each other, and it is OK to disagree on different things, but one should never let those things split churches, families, and friendships.

  I do believe there are bigger issues where Christians may not, and should not, worship and run shoulders with others who twist Scriptures and teach a lie or false doctrine, but we should be careful in these areas. We truly need to come together and love each other and be there for each other. Christians should be known by their love, not by what we disagree on.

Long Walk Home

Verse 1
One man's trying to build a wall, one's trying to tear it down
One man hears a battle cry, the other hears a peaceful song
Some say once always saved, some say you fall from grace
But if we don't learn to love each other, listen when I say

It's gonna be a long, long walk home
Walking in our differences
It's gonna be a long, long walk home
If we don't walk in the love Jesus gives
If we spend all our time trying to be right
And fighting over who's been wrong
It's gonna be a long walk home

Verse 2
A local congregation singing “Just As I Am”
I hear the preacher saying “some day we''ll walk hand-in-hand”
I can't help but wonder why we don't do that now
If we don't lay aside our pride and learn to reach out

It's gonna be a long, long walk home
Walking in our differences
It's gonna be a long, long walk home
If we don't walk in the love Jesus gives
If we spend all our time trying to be right
And fighting over who's been wrong
It's gonna be a long walk home

Friday, February 13, 2015

A bachelor looks at Valentine's Day

  Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. It is a day dedicated to telling those we love that we love them. It seems to be mostly centered on romantic love, and the card companies really capitalize on that.

  Tons of cards, candy, and other gifts will be given tomorrow. Couples will dine out and wait in long lines to eat together on the day of love. There will be love, love, and more love. Wonderful love.

 I don't really like Valentine's Day. I am single, and will always be single. I'll never marry, never have a special someone to be with on Valentine's Day, so it isn't that special of a day. It is a reminder of what I cannot have.

 But I don't really boycott the day. I have always gotten my nieces and nephews a Valentine's Day card and money or a small gift, though money has become easier. If someone wishes me a Happy Valentine's Day, I don't growl "humbug" at them, but wish them one back.

  And if you think about it, how special is a Valentine's Day gift anyway? Everyone does it, or almost everyone. Most couples exchange cards and/or gifts, they may go out for a meal or have a special one at home....just like most couples across the country. It is the day to do it. It is expected. Guys, you will be in the doghouse all year if you don't buy a card, roses, a gift, etc.....

 I posted a somewhat anti-Valentine's Day post on Facebook today, and my wonderful cousin Natasha said this in reply:  We don't really "do" Valentine's day either. Who wants to go to a restaurant when everyone else is packing the place out? Also, I appreciate the thoughtful things my husband does randomly, unprompted by some holiday. "Oh, you stopped by the bakery and got me a treat on some random day." means so much more than "you bought me chocolates and flowers on the day you're expected to."
  And she has a great point. What good are gifts given on the 14th of February, if the rest of the year there are no cards, no roses, no back rubs, no romantic dinner out or at home? If there are no "I love you's" spoken on the other 364 days, why do it tomorrow?

  Some people need some motivation, but the way marriages are falling apart, no couple should save up all of their love and gifts for one day of the year. I know, I am a bachelor who hasn't dated since the early 90's, but I am seeing so many marriages fall apart, families torn apart, men and women who claim to know Christ, yet choose to not honor the vows they made in front of the God they serve. The same God who says marriage is forever.

 Maybe it is a good thing I won't ever marry. If marriage is so wonderful, if people are truly so much in love, then why do they jump ship so easily when that "for worse" they promised to hold on through comes along?

  If Valentine's Day is the only day a couple does the card and gifts and whatever other things married people do on the great day of love, that is sad. They should be doing those things all year long.

 Some months back, two Jehovah Witness women came to our door. I told them the usual "I have my own church and you aren't going to change my mind, and I am not going to change your mind" speech. Then for fun, I added "Besides, you lost me already with the not celebrating birthdays and holidays. I love getting and giving gifts, and it would stink to be a Jehovah Witness and not have that." The ladies stared at me like I'd grown two heads, and then one spoke up "Well, we believe in giving gifts every day of the year." Had I been on my toes, I should have shot back with "good, what did you bring me?"

  I still think it would stink, but what they said should hold true for married and dating couples. Do special things all year long. Put the toilet seat down once in a while guys. Leave it up once a while, ladies........OK, start with something small like strive for world peace and work your way up to leaving the seat up for your husband,,,,,,,,,

  And we all need to do that. Love is for everyone. It isn't just for married and dating people. We all need love, and we all need to love.... and show that love all year long. To all of those in our lives. And to God.

  It is easy to feel left out on Valentine's Day, but we all have the greatest love of all available to us: The love of God. Romantic love will fade and wither away. Marriages will crumble and fall. People will disappoint us and hurt us, but God is love and always loves. So if you're like me and don't have that special one in your life, focus on the most Special One of all: Jesus. It isn't just a nice little thing to say to make me feel better about being single. It is true, and what better day to focus on that, than the day devoted to love. St. Valentine has nothing on Jesus, so forget about him tomorrow, and love everyone, and especially God. And when tomorrow ends, keep on loving everyone in your life, and show it often. Don't wait until Valentine's Day. It could be too late.

  And here is a helpful hint: if you decide to pass up Valentine's Day and do it another day, you can stock up on all of the things they sell 50% off after the day is over.......

 And lest you think I am not a romantic at heart, and am anti-love and anti-marriage, I shall end with the lyrics and video to one of my favorite songs, a love song. Ever Faithful to You, a song I would have sung at my wedding, had there ever been one. Happy Valentine's Day.

Ever Faithful to You by Jeff and Sheri Easter

Verse 1
We stand here together with choices we have made
We give ourselves completely to start our lives this day
We join with each other asking God to lead
Knowing He'll be faithful to us eternally

I give you my heart
I give you my unending love
I give you my word that I will be yours
As long as there are stars above
And as long as there are sands in the sea
I promise that I'll be
Ever faithful to you

Verse 2
The years will have their hard times, but this I know is true
We'll count on each other when each day is through
We will pray together asking God to lead
Knowing He'll be faithful to us eternally

I give you my heart
I give you my unending love
I give you my word that I will be yours
As long as there are stars above
And as long as there are sands in the sea
I promise that I'll be
Ever faithful to you

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

50 shades of porn

The movie 50 Shades of Grey opens in theaters on Valentine's Day. Based on the book by the same title, the movie is more a S&M and lust flick than a tale of romance. Ironic that it is coming out on the day devoted to love.

  I didn't read the book, nor will I watch the movie, though I did watch the movie trailer.... and I am not impressed with what I have heard about the book and movie, nor was I impressed with the movie trailer. The story is about a young college senior and a charismatic entrepreneur, Christian Grey. Mr. Grey likes to be in control of everything in his life, including his women. The brief movie trailer gives a glimpse of restraints, whips, blindfolds, and the young girl restrained and blindfolded on a bed.

  There is a lot of discussion about men and pornography and the effects on men and their relationships. Most normal women have a problem - and rightly so - with the man in their life looking at pornography. There is even recognition outside of the church and Christian circles of the dangers and problems of pornography. Many women have been hurt by finding out her boyfriend or husband is viewing and is addicted to pornography. It does seem to be more a male problem than a female problem. Even one of the most well known women's pornography publications, Playgirl, is mostly viewed by gay men, not women. So pornography is more a male problem than a female problem.

  Or is it?

  Many have the misguided notion that pornography is limited to pictures and videos of naked people, alone or engaged in sexual acts, but it is not. 

  Walk into any bookstore or library and start looking at their romance novel section. You will find row after row of books with shirtless men on the cover, accompanied by a woman with her clothes falling off of her, or barely covered with a revealing item of clothing. If a book has a cover like that, there is a 99.99% chance that the book has graphic sex scenes..... although sadly, I have seen some Christian books that have covers that are edging that way. Here is a news flash: these books are pornographic. Oh yes they are. If the same book was acted out on a video, no one would disagree that it is pornography, and it is still pornography when the sex act is described in detail on paper. There are websites that are 100% pornography that have erotic stories..... and though the content is most likely more graphic overall than the sexy romance novels, the novels still have pornographic content in them.

  Sadly, there are many Christian women who will be going to see 50 Shades of Grey. And though it is hypocritical of most of them and of some non-Christian women, the same women who have a problem with their husband or boyfriend viewing pornography, will go and view this pornographic piece of trash. A movie does not have to show sex organs or visible sexual penetration to be pornographic. And it is time we stopped giving women a free pass with their sex-filled romance novels.

  I take major issue with Christian authors and publishers putting curse words in Christian fiction novels, and have blogged about it. I had one woman who would consistently disagree with me on the issue, and she was a Christian lady. She even went so far as to say she would have no problem with sex scenes in a Christian book. There was another Christian lady whose blog I used to follow for book reviews. In addition to reviewing and giving away Christian books, she also reviewed and did book giveaways for the sex-filled novels I have been talking about. It seemed incongruous to read a blog post about the morning worship service at her church, then go on to the next blog post that featured a novel with half naked people on the cover, and sex scenes inside the book.

  In Philippians, we are told to think on things that are pure, honest, of good report. Most of what is on TV does not line up with that. Many romance novels and other novels do not line up with that. And 50 Shades of Grey definitely does not line up with that.

Christians have been accused of being too close-minded about sex. And in some ways we have been. I don't think we talk enough about sex in the right way, and too many Christians think it is a dirty word and a dirty act. In the boundaries of marriage, it is neither, but outside of the boundaries of marriage, sex is wrong... whether it be between 2 unmarried individuals, in a novel, or on a movie.

  Purity is a hard thing to strive for in these days. Men do tend to be more visually stimulated than women are, which is one reason why women should dress more modestly, though men are not exempt. We don't need to be putting things in front of our eyes that are going to make the battle more difficult. Things like sex-filled romance novels, movies like 50 Shades of Grey.

  We Christians should have higher standards. Our marriages are falling apart as fast and easy as marriages of the world, and that is sad and pathetic. I am not married, but even an unmarried guy knows that the things we watch and read can influence all areas of our lives, even a marriage. I don't know everything that destroys a marriage, but I would stake my life on the fact that sex-filled romance novels would be up there on the list, and possibly even romance novels that paint unrealistic pictures of love and marriage.

  We all need to be more careful of what we put in front of our eyes. There are some things beyond our control, but we can work on the things we can control. That involves being more careful about what we read and watch. And avoiding movies and books like 50 Shades of Grey.

  And might I add, if you're going to see a movie this week-end, go for one like The Song, or a host of other good love story movies. And if you are one who wants to go to the theater, then check out Old Fashioned, a movie that is being marketed as the opposite of 50 Shades of Grey. 

  But whatever you do, do your marriage and soul some good and don't go see 50 Shades of Grey. Love is patient and kind, and never grey.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A lifetime of lent

For a lot of my life, I thought Lent was just a Catholic thing. I was well into my adult years when I found out that people from all denominations observe it. I have never observed it, and really don't hold the idea of it in that high of regard. I have my reasons, I didn't just decide to boycott it for no reason, though I wouldn't say I actually boycott it. I just don't do it.

My reasons:

1) I think it is kind of weird that many people go out and indulge heavily the day before. If it is so great, why not start earlier, and work  your way up to it?

2) I can't imagine that God is that impressed with giving up something for 40 days, and then you go right back to it the next day. If you're counting down the days til you can have chocolate, coffee, or whatever else it is..... you may as well give in and do it.

3) I try not to jump on fads and bandwagons. And it is a bandwagon. I think it can be good to fast from some things for a period, but  why do it during that time when everyone else is doing it? If you're going to fast from something, do it at another time when it isn't the in thing or cool to do it. It is easier to follow the crowd and do it when the crowd is doing it.

  If we do this thing of serving God right, we will live a lifetime of Lent. A lifetime of giving up things for Jesus. Each day is an exercise in taking up our cross, denying ourselves, and doing His will, not ours.

We must give up our plans and dreams and find His for our lives.

We must give up fear and instead trust

We must give up sin and embrace righteousness

We must give up complacency and let God stir us and move us

We must give up hate and anger, and live a life of loving others

We must give up the throne of our heart to God to be the Lord of our life.

  There are some styles of music we should give up, singers, books, movies, TV shows, some ways we entertain ourselves.

  The Christian life is a lot about denying ourselves, obeying God rather than man, of setting aside what we want for what God wants.

 I don't think observing Lent is a bad thing to do. I do believe it is empty and meaningless for many, especially for those just jumping in to join the crowd of all of the others who are giving up something for the 40 days leading up to Easter. Be different. Do it another time, or find something to give up for always

Sunday, February 1, 2015


  I just read a book. That in itself is no earth shattering news, as I read a lot of books. However, this book was one of those that grabbed me and just about beat me over the head with a message. The book is a romance novel, and I don't normally read romance unless it is romantic suspense, and someone is trying to murder someone in it..... but this book sounded good, and I had the chance to review it, so I requested it.

 The plot is this:
Christian Music agent Kellen Rossiter has everything he ever wanted: A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now. Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that's what she thinks. For Better or Worse But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation? How does love survive when its foundation is shaken? When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion.

   The dates are coming up when I need to post a review of the book, and since the snow kept me in today, I started reading it, and kept reading it. The story is fictional, but is a story that happens all of the time. A couple starts drifting away from each other, a beautiful woman or man comes into the picture, and someone breaks their marriage vows. This isn't the book review, but it really is a great book.

 The guy in the book didn't mess up out of the blue. He started skipping church, not spending time in prayer and Bible reading, and when temptation hit, he was an easy mark. Although the story is about a couple working through infidelity to forgiveness, devotion, and restoration of their marriage, there is also another them in the book that stuck out to me: devotion to God.

  The author may have intentionally written the book that way, but the story seemed to me a picture of the Christian and God, or God and me to be more exact. I found myself thinking about my relationship with God as I read the book, and the question kept coming to my mind "Am I truly devoted to God?"

  Today is Superbowl Sunday. I'm not watching it, nor having a Superbowl party. I hate the sport, don't understand it, and don't understand how people can be so excited about watching a game that has teams they don't normally follow. Besides, I don't think that is the best way to keep the Sabbath holy, but that is beside the point..... obviously, people who are watching the game today, in spite of the fact they don't follow either team, are very devoted to the sport. They will set everything aside this evening so they can watch a bunch of guys throw a weird shaped ball and chase each other and knock each other down. Some will skip church to watch. Some will skip work to watch. Many will set aside their families so they can watch. They are devoted to the sport called football. Today, nothing else matters.

  And yet, too many of us, myself included, have a hard time fitting God into our day and life. We can't set much of anything aside for Him. Oh, we go to church on Sunday and maybe Sunday evening if our church has evening services.

  We flirt with the world and temptations. We have God as our heavenly Father, and an audience with Him any time of the day and night, yet we constantly fill our time and life with things of the world that drain us and cause our love for God to wane. We cheat on Him constantly by getting too close to the world and living too close to the edge where we could fall off into giving into temptation and sin.

 In the book, the wife had a hard time forgiving her husband for his act of infidelity..... God isn't like that. He instantly forgives, and doesn't hold back forgiveness until He feels better about it or feels He can trust us again, It is the best relationship we can ever have in this life, and too many of us are careless and don't work at our part enough. God always does  His part. Sadly, we don't always.

  Life has dealt me a deck that has made me a bachelor for life. I'll never vow to love and cherish a woman at the front of a church with family looking on. That isn't always an easy thing to handle, but a relationship with God is so much better than any love we have here. Even between a husband and wife.

  And yet I have messed that up so many times. I've cheated on God and on my time with Him. I have served Him with one eye looking longingly at what I know I shouldn't want and cannot have if I am to truly serve Him. I have made vows, and then broken them. Yet He always forgives. He willingly forgives.

  Hosea is a story of a prophet God commanded to marry a prostitute. She of course was not faithful to Hosea and he had to go buy her back after her life of sin put her on the auction block. It was to be a picture of God and Israel, but it is a picture of all who wander from God and are unfaithful. I want to be faithful and devoted. It is great for a couple to be devoted and faithful to each other, and that is how it should be. It is far greater and more important to be faithful and devoted to God, the lover of our soul, the lover who is always loves, forgives, and is faithful no matter how unfaithful we may be.