Psalm 23 Verse 3b-he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
I was living in Oklahoma, USA, when Dan, my husband and father of four children, announced he was leaving our family without warning.
After speaking to the children privately, I found out he slandered me to them, telling them it was my fault I was leaving.
To my dismay, he grabbed everything 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. I was devastated and suffered a breakdown.
That was in 1994; from then on, 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.
The letter that changed everything
A year later, the week of my 40th birthday, the children and I lived in the UK. To my surprise, my youngest son, who was six then, 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 why he abandoned 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 God told him to leave because the burden of his wife and children hindered him from God’s perfect will. To his absolute shame, he used God to justify his actions. The reality was, unbeknown to me that he had committed adultery for some time 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. He put the onus on God and us to avoid any responsibility. The story that God told him to leave was, of course, fabricated.
Dan did this 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, a typical narcissist personality.
My husband’s behaviour has nothing to do with God’s love revealed to us in the Bible. However, such behaviour is typical of the influence of a false god of one’s own making.
Dan created his own God with his own values to suit his lusts. This God was 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, nor was our relationship with each other .
Be Wise in What You Do
Decision-making, when we are distressed is tricky. It is tempting to make unwise choices as Dan did without fully considering the consequences.
Be careful who you follow because we can be fooled into thinking that so-called well-meaning folk have our welfare at heart. Some scammers make offers we may interpret as an answer to prayer, but we must be alert and discerning. If the paths they offer do not lead to righteousness, they will lead us to sin.
Be watchful; if something does not benefit you, your family, your 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, notice them because God only leads us on the path 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 for a new relationship, more money, a new job or something illegal. Whatever it may be, we can be fooled into believing 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. So 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 gluttony, adultery, slander, dishonesty, unloving behaviour, or engage with anything illegal. The righteous path will not lead us away from the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20 NIV
The Ten Commandments
And God said these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and the land of slavery.
1 “You shall have no other gods before me.
2. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above, 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.
3. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
4. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labour 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.
5. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
6. “You shall not murder.
7.”You shall not commit adultery.
8. “You shall not steal.
9. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
10 “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
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Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love
Paula Rose Parish💕
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