Psalm 23 Verse 3b-he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
I was living in Oklahoma USA when without warning, Dan my husband and father of our four children announced he was leaving our family. He grabbed everything in sight and crammed what he could into the family car. With panic and terror in my heart and voice, I cried out-you can’t leave us with no money! (he had exclusive access to our bank account). With a smile, he slowly reached into his pocket and drew out a single dollar. As he gave it to me, he said, don’t let anybody tell you that I never left you with any money and then disappeared into the night.
That was 1994, and from that date to this, neither I nor the children have seen him again. Dan did not explain his reasoning for leaving, we were terrified, not knowing what the future would bring.
A year later, the week of my 40th birthday, the children and I were living in the UK. To my surprise, my youngest son, who was six at the time, received a letter from Dan his father. The letter was bizarre, not at all one that should be written to a six-year-old. However, through this letter we learned the reason for his abandoning us. The letter stated that he left us to start a new life with another woman. This woman, he explained, was younger, prettier, and smarter than me, and had no children to hold him back. He wrote that it was God who told him to leave because the burden of wife and children were hindering him from God’s perfect will. To his absolute shame, he used God as a justification for his actions. The reality was, unbeknown to me, that for some time he was in having committing adultery even though he professed to be led by God.
The truth is that our Shepherd- God, only leads us in the path of righteousness, not into paths of the unrighteousness of sin. My now ex-husband, was on an unrighteous path leading to nowhere-land and blamed the children and me instead of taking culpability himself. To avoid any responsibility in the matter, he put the onus on God and us. The story that God told him to leave was of course, fabricated.
Dan did this I believe, so he could be free from blame and the judgement of others. Sadly, some people believed his lies for a time because he was so convincing, which is a typical personality of a narcissist. This kind of behaviour has nothing to do with Gods of love revealed to us in the Bible, but a false god of one’s own making. This was a God of Dan’s own making, created by his selfishness, delusion, and sin. In the shock of our sudden loss, we grieved and felt the loss deeply, our lives were never the same again.
Be Wise in What You Do
Decision making when we are distressed is tricky. It is so tempting to make kneejerk choices like Dan did, without fully considering the consequences. We can be fooled into thinking that so-called well-meaning folk have our welfare at heart. There are scammers out there who make offers that we may interpret as being an answer to prayer, but we need to be alert and discerning. If the paths they offer do not lead to righteousness, they will lead us to sin.
Be watchful, if there is something that does not rightly benefit you, your family, future, or anyone else, do not do it! One great rule is- if in doubt- don’t! If you smell something fishy, trash it immediately. When the red flags come up, take notice of them, because God only leads us on the paths of righteousness. Satan appears as an angel of light but is really our foe. Satan’s job is to cause us to detour onto the unrighteous path, bringing us to eventual destruction.
The opportunity you’ve been offered may look incredible, far too good to be missed, it appears as an angel of light. It may be an opportunity on a new relationship, more money a new job or something illegal. Whatever it may be, every one of us can be fooled into believing that this is a good thing, eventually only to find it is nothing but ashes. The best person in the world can be tricked and fall for the promises of a persuasive individual. What are we to do?
The paths that God has chosen for us are clearly marked out for us in God’s Word. No path of righteousness, for example, will ever pass through the field of extramarital sex. No path of righteousness will ever travel over the ground of gluttony, or slander, or dishonesty, or to engagement with anything illegal. The righteous path will not lead us away from the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20 New International Version
The Ten Commandments
20 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
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Paula Rose has a Bachelor of Pastoral Counselling and Theology, Vision Christian University, USA Master of Arts In Counselling & Professional Development, specializing in Spiritual Abuse through The University of Derby, UK.
She Studies the BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK and is a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.
Paula Rose Parish is a Pastor, Author, and founder, of Hope. Faith. Love, and Your Wellness Matters. She studied at the University of Derby and received a Master of Arts in Counselling in Professional Development. Over the years, Paula Rose has served as a pastor, chaplain, counsellor, and coach and taught at a Christian university. In addition, she has led workshops and retreats and spoken worldwide on Christian spirituality.
Author of over 200 articles and two published books, Paula Rose, continues to write on the wellness of mind, body and spirit. Paula Rose is adding a string to her bow and is presently reading Health and Wellness. She has four grown children, five grandchildren and lives in South Wales, UK.
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