Seven Sacred Gifts

If nothing is sacred, then everything is disposable. In today’s highly disposable world, reverence is getting rare. With secularism on the rise, we need a better grip on what is sacred. This takes faith. Webster defines sacred as that which is devoted or dedicated to a deity or a spiritual purpose, or entitled to veneration or religious respect. Christians hold that anything God selects for us or sets apart for special use is sacred. Here’s a short list of sacred gifts from the greatest gift-giver of all:

Human Life:

The sanctity of human life is foundational for seeking its meaning.

  • “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27).
  • “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.” ~ The Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 6:19).


Matrimony is holy! Add fatherhood and motherhood to this since the demise of marriage replaces them with “whateverhood.”

  • “[At] the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female…’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh,’ hey are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 19:4-6).
  • “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.” (Hebrews 13:4).


God is Truth like water is wet. Get rid of God and Truth will no longer exist, even as a museum piece. Cleanliness is next to godliness but truthfulness is its full embrace! By contrast, lies make us putty in Satan’s claws.

  • “Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being.” ~ David (Psalm 51:6).
  • “The Bible may hurt you with the truth but it will never comfort you with a lie.” (Author unknown).


When a woman anointed Jesus with expensive perfume, Jesus’ disciples failed to behold her deed as beautiful. When Jesus said, “she did a beautiful thing” (Matthew 26:10), he affirmed that beauty was found in the deed itself and not in the “eyes” of the disciples.

  • “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31).
  • “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).


Words are a vital carrier for truth or lies. When we abuse and exploit words for ill-gotten-gains, the enterprise of human communication is distorted and often destroyed. The keepers of nomenclature hold great power to manipulate and control you. Thought itself is degraded. Words can hallow or profane. Use them to hallow.

  • “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 15:11).
  • “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 12:36-37).


God is love. Thus, He hates evil. Evil not only destroys people, it kills love itself. Jesus said, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12). Indeed, when evil goes up, love goes down. Evil must not be ignored. Repentance is the sacred ground from which love grows.

  • “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17).
  • “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation.’” (Isaiah 30:15).


Repentance may be sacred but it is not a blessing if not followed by forgiveness. Then, forgiveness creates the church (the assembly of the forgiven). Our popular culture considers the church as “primitive,” “narrow,” “irrelevant,” and “provincial.” The truth is, popular culture will soon be all those things in the eyes of future generations. Jesus’ bride (the church), by contrast, is eternal.

  • “You know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins.” (1 John 3:5, describing Jesus’ mission).
  • “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ~ Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744).

A Sacred Blessing:

Butterflies are not particularly sacred. However, if one flutters peacefully by when you desperately need a sign of hope from God, it takes on a sacred role. Most rocks are not sacred, but I have a “sacred” one in Malibu where I have sung and played many a song to a canyon. Then there are rainbows. If they are not sacred, I’m not sure what is. God uses such things to bless His children.

Actually, what may be sacred is the painful softness of the human heart that creates our need for butterflies, rocks and rainbows. If nothing is sacred, then pain is unredeemable. But God says it is! There is even transportation power in pain. It can transport some straight to bitterness and grudge-grinding envy. For others, it is the soil from which many tender virtues grow. The invisible factor that makes the difference between these two directions is sacred.

    “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

(A Legacy of Love)

The following tombstone inscription is in the Grove Street cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut:

    In memory of Mrs. Chloe, late wife of Mr. Peter Johnson and daughter of Capt. Andrew Tuttle deceased. She was a dutiful child, a faithful wife, a tender mother, a friend of the distressed and a lover of virtue. Died, 1773, age 34. She is gone we trust to inherit the promises…

The rest was unreadable.

Chloe Johnson died before the Declaration of Independence was penned. As a subject of King George III, she probably never heard of George Washington. I dare say that for centuries her memory has been entirely lost on the world, until now.

One day, I noticed Chloe’s humble tombstone and felt moved to copy down the message above that honored her memory with adjectives like “dutiful”, “faithful”, “tender”, “friend” and “lover”. Her character qualities, inscribed in stone, made me say; “Wow!”

Grove Street Cemetery
Throughout the consecrated ground on Grove Street, near Yale University, women are honored for noble choices. Many beloved women resting beneath the grassy turf were admired with epitaphs using words like integrity, virtue, duty and faithfulness. One stone simply says, “What a woman!” Legacies of love abound in the countless tributes to women of times past on stones still standing in their memory. Women were praised for their tireless devotion to family, church, community, friends and the needy (men were often noted for military offices, public service or vocational accomplishments). The selfless service of women, when laid to rest, did not go unappreciated in the so-called “olden days” and old cemeteries convey this with profound eloquence.

Life was hard and opportunities were few for women and men in centuries past. I am grateful for our progress over time. But if you have the impression that women long ago were not well loved and honored, exceptions notwithstanding, then you have been misled by angry agenda historians. Old cemeteries (and countless other primary resources) prove my point. Actually, it was not so much “men” or “women” being honored in such primary sources, but virtue! Virtue transcends gender.

Today, Chloe Johnson would make a boring guest on daytime TV. By current standards (or lack of), her love of virtue alone would disqualify her. But even today, if women became steadfast lovers of virtue in greater numbers, men would reform–rushing toward kindness and character– as fast as you can say, “Chloe Johnson.” I wonder if women realize how much their love motivates men. As virtue lovers, women today would decimate ratings for daytime trash TV. Exploitation entertainment would vaporize under the sunlight of feminine admiration for better things. What enormous power!

Chloe Johnson could have chosen another legacy. She could have mocked virtue. She could have sought pleasure over purity, might over right, feeling over faith and consequences over truth. Instead, she chose a legacy of love—REAL love. Such legacies never come easy or by accident. They require a lifetime of tough choices.

Women, more than men, have long been known to make more room in their lives for family. Thus, home erosion often hurts women more. In her book, Choices, Mary Farrar wrote, “The well-being of women has always been tied to the well-being of the home.” Protect the family and you stand tall against the vulnerability of women (of all ages) to the things that hurt them most. Do we admire women enough for their sacrificial pro-family choices? Not lately.

The home-enriching choices made by the Chloe Johnsons of the world rarely bring fame or fortune. Sometimes, you have to visit old cemeteries to see such women praised. I often see it at church too. But in a celebrity culture bent on glitter, glory, glamor, wealth, power, pride and pleasure, we rarely see such virtues as selflessness and humility being actively praised and pursued in public.

What if the epitaph for Chloe Johnson went like this?

    She graduated summa cum laude from Yale, organized humanitarian aid for millions, owned a thriving business empire, served on the Supreme Court and became the first female president of the United States.

I would be greatly impressed. But I wouldn’t be any more impressed than I already am with the legacy inscribed on Mrs. Johnson’s tombstone. I fully support any woman’s right to develop her gifts and make her own choices. I respect a wide variety of alternative options. Virtue can be well lived and loved under widely diverse circumstances. Cookie-cutter virtue is not the point. Nevertheless, a woman’s freedom to make great choices is hindered when old legacies of love, like those of Chloe Johnson, are forgotten or dismissed.

Women of Honor

As a single man, here the two things I want most:

  1. A close relationship with God made possible by His forgiveness.
  2. A close relationship with a woman of honor who has #1 above.

The second desire is a far cry from the first. Nevertheless, it is the focus of my thoughts below.

Unfortunately, I live in a culture holds honor in low regard, especially for women. Yet, my hope springs eternal because women still exist who hold their honor and faith above and beyond culture. More power to such women.

Dishonoring women (or women dishonoring themselves) defines much of modern American culture today. It generates big bucks. Rap music that dishonors women is a fast track to fame and fortune. Porn dishonors women and it is more rampant in today’s America than ever before. Using women to sell things is not new, but degrading them in the process has reached lower depths than ever.

Notice the way Obamacare was advertised. At our expense, a group called ProgressNow marketed the “Affordable Health Act” to Millennials suggesting that it would enable them to sleep around with no consequences. Consider the text of one ‘brosurance’ ad:

    OMG, he’s so hot! Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers to pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers. I got insurance. Now you can too, thanks to Obamacare.

Update: Rampant sexual chaos dishonors women.

Seeing Miley Cyrus dishonor herself on stage is considered as wildly exciting entertainment today. Her image on a major magazine cover recently was used dishonorably (see last week’s post: Cosmopolitan Concerns). Culture icon Lady Gaga is not known for honor and her influence on young celebrities (and others) is also huge. She dishonors her own fans by calling them “little monsters.” This is postured as a term of alleged affection and her fans love it, but that does not make it honorable. Even Super Bowl halftime shows, featuring “wardrobe malfunctions,” are not safe for honorable young girls any longer. We honor the wrong women in America all too often.

Why is this happening? One possible motive is that if powerful men can get more women to see themselves as dishonorable, it becomes easier to manipulate them to behave dishonorably. Getting dishonor to stick in a woman’s minds places her in the clutches of dishonorable men for dishonorable purposes. Using women is a lot easier than loving them.

Dishonoring motherhood is another way for a culture to dishonor women. Nothing dishonors motherhood more than widespread legal abortion. Actually, it dishonors life itself and motherhood is a huge collateral casualty. America has glorified legal abortion to the extent that our government helps pay for them. Even the slightest opposition to it brings the vicious accusation from the most powerful political party in the nation that you are waging a “war against women.” That’s perversion but it’s popular enough to get many politicians on the left elected. We are also redefining marriage to minimize the merits of motherhood. In some 16 states today, marriage has been redefined so that motherhood and fatherhood (functioning as a family unit) has been replaced with “whateverhood,” as if we don’t care that children grow up with a mother and father in the home.

As for men, a word from C.S. Lewis will suffice:

    In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.(The Abolition of Man)

Women of honor, don’t lower your price tag. Our culture often switches price tags so that things that are truly valuable (like modesty, purity, fidelity, patience and unselfish love) are devalued while things that destroy (porn, M-TV, adultery, homosexuality and more) are glorified and rewarded richly. That’s America today! That’s why too many men undervalue women and why too many women surrender their honor so easily. It’s time for a moral rebellion — time for women of honor to hold out for men who honor them and protect their honor. Don’t be available to dishonorable men at a discount.

Finally, pain, heartbache, disappointment and trials are no reason to abandon your honor. When all is said and done, if you come away from adversity with your honor standing tall, you win! You are better for it. And for those who have slipped in the past, look first to the highest priority on my list above: a close relationship with the God who made you and can re-make you in His image as you seek His forgiveness.