Rooted In . . .?

I have discovered another spiritual application as I continue to work in our desert yard. It relates to roots. There are some small Cholla cactus that have taken root from the segments that drop to the ground. Especially now, with so much summer rain they are growing profusely. I probably pulled up 20-30 of them. They pull up pretty easily since the roots are still small.

There are others, however, which have been allowed to grow for many years and because they are such a nuisance we are removing some of them. They are also called Teddy Bear cactus, but they are far from cuddly! Their roots are big and spread out. I was able to root up the small ones in the time it took to root up one older Cholla.

What does the Bible have to say about roots? Mark tells Jesus’ parable of the sower.

And He was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching He said to them: Listen! behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had not root, it withered away.

Mark 4:2-6

Mark goes on to explain what Jesus meant by this seed with no root.

And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.

Mark 4:16-18

This one with roots in the rocky ground, was not rooted in the word of God to know God’s faithfulness and His character.

Then there are the bad roots which may grow in hearts for years.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

1 Timothy 6:10

Money itself meets our needs; it is not evil. It is the love of money, the pursuit of money, the craving for money that causes all kinds of evil. Money is deceiving because it appears to be the answer to all of our problems. However, money cannot buy lasting peace or satisfaction; only the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us can bring fulfillment. We don’t have to worry and starve, God will meet all of our needs.

One more: the root of bitterness.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift up your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he decided to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

Hebrews 12:11-17

How does bitterness get into a marriage? Unforgiveness has a way of festering under the surface of a relationship if you do not fully deal with a conflict. If you are still rehearsing a conflict and problem in your mind repeatedly, then you still have unforgiveness. Unforgiveness leads to resentment and eventually to bitterness. The roots become larger and more entrenched.

In a marriage, what would happen if one spouse gave in to the other and said, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” That battle would be over. Then you might be able to sit down and calmly talk about the issue and arrive at truth and a real resolution.

We are so afraid of exposing our inner selves that we keep up fronts that hide our real needs. Thus, we never enter the oneness we desire in our marriage through trust and intimacy which we can achieve through conflict resolution. A kiss, a dinner, even sex does not resolve it. There must be conversation, understanding, humility and honest forgiveness.

It is through Christ’s love in us. Here is Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus, the church of Jesus Christ. We are to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. It is through his Spirit in us.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts though faith–that you being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you be filled with all the fulness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19

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Song of Solomon 5:2-3

Broken Relationship

In Chapter 10 of our book, we look at a broken relationship and how to restore it according to the word of God. Whatever the conflict or breakdown in a marital relationship, God has a plan for restoration. We all fail from time to time, whether in small things or larger things. If we are willing to acknowledge our sin and repent, God works through marital conflicts to teach us and bring a change in us.

Anytime there is a break in a marriage relationship it’s an issue of the heart. Oftentimes, the issue of the heart is selfishness. You and your spouse are different in many ways. You are male and female. You were raised in different families with different traditions and practices. You look at problems differently. You solve problems differently. You even listen to each other differently. You express yourselves differently.

When there is break in your marriage relationship, you need to ask God to search your own heart first. God wants to change things in your heart. It’s not an issue of how right you think you are. We are all sinners and God uses our marriage to expose the sin in our hearts that we didn’t realize was there until we got married. It’s not our spouse causing you act the way you do, it’s our sin nature. This is wrong thinking: “I was never this way until I got married.” No, that sin was already there and God is using your marriage to show you what is there.

Song 5:2-3

I sleep, but my heart waketh:

it is the voice of my beloved 

that knocketh, saying,

Open to me, my sister, my love, 

my dove, my undefiled:

for my head is filled with dew, 

and my locks with the drops of the night.

3) I have put off my coat; 

how shall I put it on? 

I have washed my feet;

 how shall I defile them?

Selfishness

The honeymoon is now over and it is time to daily live out the marriage covenant. This is when marriage becomes real and not always easy. The voice of her beloved is wakening his bride out of a sleepy, languid state. It seems she has been in this sleeping state for quite a while since her beloved came home well into the night with dew on his hair. His urgent knock, meaning “to press severely” or “to beat” and the fact that he calls her four times with four different names indicates some urgency for her to open to him. Her lethargic state is not likely a first-time occurrence, but has perhaps been going on for some time. She does not respond immediately to him with “awake,” “let” and “come” as on their wedding night but responds with selfish excuses about the disruption of her comforts. She is more concerned about defiling her feet than defiling her marriage.

Her selfish excuses are a sign of misplaced priorities, causing a breakdown in their relationship. In Luke, Jesus uses a parable to teach that those who make selfish excuses do not receive the blessing. 

Notice “I have’s” in Song 5:3 link to the selfish excuses of the “I have’s” in the following scripture from Luke.

Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 

Luke 14:16-20

Such selfish excuses lead to a breakdown in a relationship and will lead to a breakdown in a couple’s sex life. Divide and conquer has been a strategy of Satan and frankly every military regime in the history of the world. Why? Because it works. Satan relishes every opportunity to divide marriages, families, churches, governments, countries and allegiances. You notice I put marriages first because they are the foundation on which the others are built. When the foundation of marriage is broken, then the family, the church and the other entities become greatly weakened.

Selfishness is certainly not the only reason for a broken relationship, but let’s face it, the sin nature desires self to be on the throne of our hearts Whatever causes a break needs to be exposed because it is serious. A kiss, a dinner, sex, is not enough to resolve the matter. Transparency comes through honest conversation with understanding, humility, repentance and forgiveness.

This process of restoration continues in Chapter 10 of our book as this couple’s relationship is restored.

Bottom Line

By Larry Priest

If a woman does not achieve full orgasm, she is deprived of the hormonal stimulants, regulators and balancers which she needs to relieve stress. Yet, she may not be aware of her need. 

She doesn’t have to understand how it all works, but instinctively feels that somehow It is her husband’s fault. Even without knowing why, she may become critical of him, aware of all his faults and shortcomings, and begin to feel that he is just not good enough. It could lead to disrespect and a withdrawal of her love. Thus, the oneness and harmony God desires for their marriage is, at least in some measure, compromised, if not destroyed. 

Many couples make believe things are OK, until the relationship reaches a breaking point. They need counseling but do not understand why. The counselor may not understand either. The problem they present to a counselor, is rarely the real or underlying problem. The word of God, revealed in the study of Song of Solomon, could change their lives. 

Men, spending the time and effort to do things right when serving your wife’s needs results in great reward. Like everything else, doing a halfhearted, haphazard job brings disappointing results. God blesses a life of service to each other. 

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Hormones and Sex

By Larry Priest

To Explain Sexual Chemistry a Bit

Powerful brain chemicals are released during foreplay and orgasm. This is why it is important for wives to experience an orgasm as powerful as her husband’s. 

Men

Vasopressin Is one of the main hormones released in men during orgasm. It is a great sleep aid which allows men to fall asleep soon after having sex.      

It also increases a man’s desire to bond with his wife and his children because he associates the feeling of satisfaction with his spouse and the family situation. It releases the desire to own, keep, defend and reign over them. 

Men get a certain feeling of satisfaction in knowing they have fixed something, built something, or conquered something. When a husband has brought his wife to complete orgasm, this feeling of accomplishment is released. Unfortunately, this is a missing piece of the puzzle in many marriages. 

Oxytocin plays a smaller part in men than in women but is still particularly important.

Women are more complex. 

Oxytocin, the hormone known as the love hormone, is closely related to vasopressin. It is an important hormone and more active in women. Touch releases this hormone and increases the desire for more touching. It is important for bonding and developing trust and long-term commitment with her husband. 

It also lowers blood pressure, improves digestion, reduces cortisol which is responsible for belly fat, brings relaxation and helps with better sleep because it comes from the hypothalamus of the brain, which regulates sleep and arousal. Also, oxytocin counters anxiety, depression and stress.

Dopamine is another important hormone because it causes a couple to be addicted to sex with each other, having an even greater effect on women than men. 

Dopamine triggers the reward signal of the brain, making one feel they have done something exciting and relevant. It makes us feel good, giving a sense of accomplishment and well-being. It gives the desire to repeat the activity which released it. There’s a close link between dopamine and how you experience pleasure.

Nearly all pleasurable experiences, from eating a good meal to having sex, involve the release of dopamine. Dysfunction of the dopamine system might also contribute to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. More research is being conducted in this area. 

Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. This hormone impacts your entire body. It enables brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with each other, including the nerves involved with our sexual parts. 

Serotonin also helps with sleeping, eating, and digestion.

Serotonin affects emotional processing, which can have significant effects on mood. While both dopamine and serotonin are found in your digestive system, serotonin plays a much larger role in digestion.

The nine essential amino acids, are largely supplied from animal based foods in the diet because the human body lacks the metabolic pathways required to synthesize these amino acids. 

Tryptophan enables the production of serotonin. 

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is important for the production of serotonin in the body. 

It is also key to brain function and has a role in healthy sleep.

Imbalances or insufficiency in amino acids can also affect the thyroid, and the immune system. Vegetarians must be very careful to get all the right foods to make up for not getting amino acids from animal based foods. All these things can affect moods, well-being, a healthy and satisfying sex life and the marriage. 

God’s design for sex is totally awesome. 

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