Russell and Duenes

Archive for July 2016

Courage: The Need of the Hour

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Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of [the other nations], for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Dt. 31:6).

Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the Lord commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed. (1 Chron. 22:13).

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:13).

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:6).

I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. (Ps. 3:6).

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Ps. 27:1).

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:6).

I read somewhere yesterday that, in these times, the virtue Christians most need to cultivate is courage. I have an old friend who used to pray routinely for courage and humility. This prayer is more urgent now that Christians in the West are coming to be viewed as the “troublers” of civilization.

Courage will not mean an arrogant boisterousness in the face of those who oppose God’s gospel. But it most certainly will mean standing firm on the truth God has revealed. It will mean affirming and suffering for God’s sovereignty and lordship in absolutely every arena of life. It will mean affirming, in public ways, that God defines reality and has not left the defining of it open to us in any part of life. God created us “male and female” and we must courageously affirm that sinful human beings do not have the power or authority to try and define sexual reality for themselves. God invented marriage and He decides what it is and isn’t. He has determined the nature and purpose of sex and sexuality. We must stand with Peter and John when they said: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you be the judge.” (Acts 4:19).

God is the one who says that people from every tribe, tongue, nation and language matter to him, both the born and the unborn. God defines justice and with Him there is no favoritism.

As Os Guinness has said, there is no god but God, and so we must courageously obey Him in all things. His Word must be our constant standard of truth and reality. It will take courage to affirm the Bible’s truths, to defend its precepts, to proclaim its very words, to avoid softening or bastardizing its language and teaching, and to demonstrate its beauty with our lives.

We will not do this in our own power. Yet it is sobering, and indeed terrifying, to remember what God says: “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:7-8).




Written by Michael Duenes

July 23, 2016 at 11:51 am

Rejoice in the Wife of Your Youth

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The Preacher says: “[R]ejoice in the wife of your youth.” (Prov. 5:18b). Husbands, this is a command, and as such, by the power of the Holy Spirit, it can be joyfully obeyed.

I have officiated at numerous weddings, and at my most recent one, I told the bride and groom, in effect, that their frail and fleeting human love does not give rise to the marital promises. It’s the promises, in the power of Christ, that allow the love to grow and flourish. This is something the world rarely, if ever, acknowledges. We are told that when the love is gone, the relationship is as good as dead. But it’s the commitment, the promises, that give rise to the love, and that allow it to grow even in the midst of struggles, conflict, losses, and suffering, which will inevitably come.

So God would have us “rejoice in the wife of our youth,” whether we have a storm of emotions about it or not. We must set ourselves to do it. I say “must,” but God’s commands are never a drudgery. We have the privilege of such rejoicing, and in my experience, when we decide that we will indeed rejoice in our wives, the wonderful fruit of joy, warmth, attraction, intimacy, longing, pursuit, sacrifice and service burgeon in our hearts and lives.

Husbands, I commend this to you. It is the way to happiness and contentment in your marriage. It is not fake or disingenuous. To obey God is always the path of goodness and satisfaction. Further, it is something you can do no matter what the state of your marriage. You can obey now, today, and find that what God commands he also enables his children to do, as Augustine said.

If you set yourself to “rejoice in the wife of your youth,” you will find that you are, in fact, “rejoicing” in her, which means taking joy in her, finding delight in her, seeing the good things in her, longing to do her good and contributing to a greater foundation and possibility for romance and intimacy.


Written by Michael Duenes

July 14, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Duenes, Marriage