"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV

Friday, July 30, 2010

Highs and Lows

I’ve just experienced a week that doled out raspberries dipped in dark chocolate along with dried liver spread on burnt toast. 

Sunday I learned my husband’s $3200 Mac Pro died. Monday I received an invitation to submit my manuscript to my “dream” publisher. 

One financially hard to swallow. One deliciously sweet!

I spent Tuesday evening with girlfriends celebrating a husband’s successful battle against cancer. 
Then on the way home I crashed the car my dad gave me before his cancer killed him. 

A fantastic, uplifting start. A dreadful, frightening end.

And so the week went. 
Highs followed lows and lows followed highs. 

Many years ago my sister’s family introduced a mealtime tradition called “High and Low.” Each one seated at the dinner table would share the best and worst part of his or her day.

Shortly after we moved to the country (and inherited a Billy goat from the previous owners) we invited a family for dinner. Just before sitting down to eat, the goat broke free and ran down our street. The husbands and children took off after it with a rope and steely determination.

When we finally settled at the dinner table, my husband said his “low” was when the goat got out. Our friend and his sons laughed to admit the wild goat chase was their “high.”

What different perspectives. Kind of like mine and God’s. 

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV 

I’m learning that God’s plans may include computer crashes, car smashes and cancer. 

I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. Isaiah 45:7 NIV 

I’m learning to focus on the size of my God rather than the size of my problems. 

Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:7-10 NIV 

My unwavering calm throughout the circumstances of this week proved I’m finally learning to accept that God’s plans include both highs and lows.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV 

I’m learning to trust.

Trust is the secret to remaining steady in a life flavored with highs and lows. 

This morning I awoke to discover my front yard shrouded with toilet paper. Here we go again…

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wisdom is Supreme

Have you ever wished you were smarter than you are?

I have!

Some people are naturally bright, others learn at a slower pace, but all of us gain knowledge through study.

Wisdom, on the other hand, comes only with experience.

When I was in high school good grades came easy for me. I never understood why my friends refused to hang out with me the night before a test. Instead they would hide away to study, and show up on test day stressed out and exhausted.

Not me!

Then I went to college and my grades took a nosedive.

It took me a whole semester to wise up.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 NIV

If you decide to pray for wisdom, don’t be surprised by the way God answers.

God once offered King Solomon anything he wanted. He didn’t ask for intelligence. He asked for wisdom. Later he wrote, “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

Maybe you have heard the admonition, “Be careful what you pray for.”

In order to be wise you must acquire understanding, and you can’t understand something you’ve never lived through.

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7 NIV

Whether you have a genius IQ or you fall on Forrest Gump’s side of the bell curve, you can gain wisdom. But it comes at a very high price.

Pray for it anyway.

In the words of the wisest man who ever lived: 

“Wisdom is supreme.” 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Memory Verse Monday

The Bible says if we pray according to God’s will:
  1. we can be sure He will hear us
  2. we can be sure we will receive what we’ve asked of Him.

(See 1 John 5:14-15… perhaps I’ll make that next Monday’s memory verse.)

Do you know how to guarantee you are praying according to God’s will? 

It's important to learn, because when you pray that way 
you can count on receiving a “yes” answer (in God’s time.)

The way to know for sure that you are praying according to God’s will is to pray Scriptures.

Pray God’s Word. He will hear. He will answer.

Our memory verse for today is one of my favorite (and frequent) Scripture-based prayers.

Read it and ask yourself...

Why wouldn’t God answer a prayer like this one?

Today’s Memory Verse:

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Reason to Break the Rules

I’m new to blogging, but I know enough to know I’m about to break a major “rule.”

Don’t make your blog about you!

Sorry, but today it’s all about me.

Well, actually it’s about my daughter.

More than any other person on the planet, that girl has the ability to yank my heart right out of my chest (or off my sleeve) and plunge it into the depths of every negative emotion you can think of.

Then—while I’m struggling to the surface to catch my breath—she scoops up that aching heart and sends it exploding with joy into the stratosphere.

Am I making sense to other parents?

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalms 30:5b NLT

It happened again this week. I’ll skip the depths of sorrow element, but I will share the “yep, that’s MY daughter” part.

I’m a writer not just of blogs, but also of advertisements. 
My husband and I have been creating television and radio commercials forever. So obviously we were proud when our daughter and her roommate advanced to the finals with a couple of videos they produced for their employer’s “Confidence” competition.

I realize there is nothing “spiritual” about posting the “award-winning” videos created by two sales associates at CarMax.

But, after all, I’m not just a Bible teacher. 

I’m a proud momma.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Noticing What Others Miss

My husband, Steve, and I live close enough to Yosemite to make it a regular destination. So when the temperature hit a scorching 106ยบ recently, my husband came home for lunch and said, “Let’s go to Yosemite.”

We loaded up our bikes and left the heat for the hills.

Steve is a photographer, and he had several locations on his agenda in mind. What’s known as “The Tunnel View” was not one of them.

If you’ve ever seen that glorious picture with El Capitan on the left, Half Dome just right of center and the cascading beauty of Bridal Veil Falls on the right, then you’ve seen

“The Tunnel View.”

The first timer comes out of the mouth of the tunnel compelled to pull into the parking lot for a long look. After decades of regular visits, I’m every bit as compelled to stop.

My husband has dozens of photographs taken there, but knows of my habit of sitting on the wall and softly singing God’s praises as I behold His masterful creativity.

(There's a reason the monumental landscape features names like Cloud’s Rest, Sentinel Rock and Cathedral Rock, not to mention Half Dome. What they call it is what you see.)

So as we neared the mouth of the tunnel he gently asked, “Would it be okay if we didn’t stop here this time.”

I acquiesced and silently prayed we’d visit my favorite vista on our way home.

We did!  

But this time instead of singing, I gave God a round of applause. (My favorite part about my demonstrative behavior is the fact that no one ever seems to notice!)

Several men with big cameras mounted on tripods discussed proper exposures and the latest filters, but I noticed my husband was not among them.

Where was he?

Of all places, I spotted him crouched with his camera at the mouth of the tunnel with his back to the glorious view!

Later on our way down the mountain after the sun had set on the perfect day, I asked him what he saw that no one else saw.

I’ve learned that about gifted photographers. They not only take great pictures of obvious beauty like Half Dome, but they also notice things others miss.

His best attempt at a description made no sense to me, so he emailed me the picture the next morning with the subject line: 

This is what I saw

I headed off to the gym with that striking photograph alive in my memory. I sent up a thankful prayer for the gift God has given my husband.

I also thanked Him for the grace He’s poured out on me. I love that I simply cannot behold “The Tunnel View” without singing or clapping! Without a doubt, the urge to respond that way could only come from God.

I arrived at the gym, grabbed my water bottle and stuck my ear buds in my ears.

I absolutely love God’s timing, because the first song my iPod randomly selected from my “Gifted Godly Men” playlist was this Steven Curtis Chapman song:

Wake Up and See the Glory!

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20 NIV

I hope and pray not to miss the opportunity to see God in all His glory today!

P.S. I asked my husband to please send me a few of his other pictures from Yosemite. When he does, I’ll post them here. (I’m praying I’ll have them by tomorrow.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Memory Verse Monday

The exact wording of today’s memory verse has long been my undoing. 

Okay, maybe “undoing” is too strong a word, but I continually struggle with when to say “my” and when to say “your.”

But I promise you it’s worth the work of building a storage shelf in your brain to set this one on. You will pull it out time and time again.

Whenever I question God saying, “What were You thinking?” He uses this particular verse to remind me He thinks on an entirely different level.

No wonder I can’t figure Him out. (And they say women are complicated.)

Today’s Memory Verse:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fasting Formula

The last time I poured the thoughts in my jar onto this page, I told you of God’s tangible intervention. Only then did I realize how desperately I needed to feel God’s breath on the back of my neck.

I wish I could discover the formula that promised—with one simple application—God would instantly intervene.

I’m convinced the ingredients for such a concoction—if they even exist—will never be revealed by God to man.

However, I do believe in the power of prayer and fasting. Something about my empty, noisy stomach grabs my Father’s attention.

So the day after my last blog posted, I fasted. (Please don’t think I’m saying this out of spiritual pride. God called me to it, equipped me for it, carried me through it, and even arranged for me to be late for a lunch appointment so I wouldn’t be tempted. To God alone be the glory!)

So I skipped breakfast, lunch and dinner on Wednesday, and then Thursday morning instead of eating breakfast, I got face down and lifted my voice over the sound of the rumbling in my tummy.

O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:1-3 NLT

My prayer was not very original.

In addition to praying David’s words from Psalms 5, I cried out this familiar tune:

Lord, I’m so discouraged.
I’m tired of trying.
I want to press on but I’m ready to give up.
My spirit is willing, but my flesh is so weak.
I desperately need You to love on me.
Please intervene in a tangible way.

God heard and answered my broken record of a prayer.

He not only sent someone to speak an encouraging (and very specific) word to me later that morning, but He also sent me as an encourager to speak truth to someone else later that day.

Blessed to be a blessing… who could ask for more?

I’m not saying that going without food is a sure-fire way to wiggle God’s ear and move God’s hand.

But I can promise that when you earnestly seek after God, you will not go hungry.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalms 63:3 NIV

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

God’s Tangible Intervention

Yesterday I received an email with a subject line that read:

Please intercede for a friend.

Here’s part of what it said:

Would you pause a moment and pray for a friend of mine in the book writing arena? She’s very discouraged and feeling particularly under attack right now. Please pray for specific deliverance. Pray for a lifting of the stress. I fear she’s very overwhelmed and needs God’s sweet love and intervention in very tangible ways.

The caring author of this email sent it to nearly 70 people. Many of them are also writers. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the only one who immediately identified.

Change the phrase “book writing arena” to any other field of endeavor, and every adult on the planet relates.

I heeded my friend’s request and took time to pray for God to intervene “in very tangible ways.”

I call it “feeling God’s breath on the back of my neck.”

I love that acute sense of His presence. I don’t know what I’d do without His “tangible” expressions of love.

In late April 2002 I was minding my own business when God called me out of my familiar arena to pursue a new endeavor. I would soon discover the journey involved an uphill climb, barefoot over rocks. (Allegorically.)

At times I was as tenacious as Jacob wrestling with God. I’d made the decision to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding, to acknowledge Him in all my ways and rely on Him to direct my paths.

But other times I’d weary of walking by faith and not by sight. I’d wonder if I’d wandered off course in the darkness.  

In late April 2009 I began to doubt my calling.
Had I spent seven years chasing after the wind?

And that’s when a dear friend sent me a birthday e-card. She’d written she knew my birthday was in November, but when she came across the animated email card she felt compelled to send it to me.

A soft piano began to play as one of my favorite Scriptures danced across my computer screen.

The message so captivated me that I forgot it was a birthday card… until the butterflies landed on a page reading “Happy Birthday.”

At that very moment I heard God speak into my heart.

“Happy Birthday, Shawna.
It’s been seven years.”

I knew instantly my journey was right on course. I hadn’t noticed the calendar until that moment. Exactly seven years had passed since I’d left my familiar arena to pursue God and His call at any cost.

Thank God for His sweet love that intervened when I needed Him most.

I pray He’ll do the same for the discouraged woman in the book writing arena. And I pray He’ll do the same for you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Memory Verse Monday

My pastor (Dale Oquist) is in the middle of a sermon series based on 2 Corinthians 5:17.

I figured if he can come up with 3 Sundays worth of messages on one verse, then it’s a verse worth memorizing!

The message Dale gave yesterday reminded me of a fantastic song by John Waller . I found it on YouTube and couldn’t resist posting it again here.

If we truly believe 2 Corinthians 5:17, then John Waller’s lyrics should have us nodding in agreement.

But my pastor keeps saying that he doesn’t think we truly believe what this verse has to say.

Take a look at how The Message interprets the portion of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians containing today's memory verse.

Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. 
2 Corinthians 5:14-19 The Message

This phrase jumped out at me:

We don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look.

Do you agree? (Forget for a moment that it comes from the infallible Word of God and ask yourself, “Do I agree?") 

What if it were worded this way:

I don't evaluate myself by what I have or how I look.

If you truly believe 2 Corinthians 5:17, then you can shout the above phrase with absolute confidence.

What is your true identity? (If you’re not sure, listen to John Waller’s song again.)

Today’s Memory Verse:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dreams that Speak

Picture a huge outdoor amphitheater like the ones at Disney’s MGM theme park or Universal Studios and you’ll be able to imagine the scene of an unsettling dream I had.

(Come to think of it, all the dreams I’ve written about have been unsettling. Thankfully according to Scripture, I may be stirred—but never shaken.)

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. 
Psalms 16:7-9 NIV

In my dream the stadium seating formed an enormous arc around the stage. Several thousand spectators were glued to the action below. (It was something like the Indiana Jones stunt show at Disney World.)

I sat in a row way up high near the back. A grassy hillside sloped gradually away from the theater.

I turned from the high-octane entertainment on the stage far below me, and gasped at the sight of a lion on the prowl. He slowly crept up the hill toward the amphitheater.

Like a wildfire, an awareness of the approaching danger spread through the crowd. I stood up and shouted, “Do not be afraid.”

Who knows why, but my voice rang throughout the stadium and the panicked people quieted. I’d gained the attention of everyone, even the actors far below.

“Believers in Jesus have authority over this lion,” I declared with calm assurance.

By now the lion paced along the last row. Terrified eyes shifted from me to the lion and back again to me.

I walked up to the lion and in a loud voice ordered, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave this place.”

The lion froze and stared me down. “You cannot harm those belonging to Jesus,” I declared. “Go away and leave us alone!”

The lion turned and walked away. At once, a cheer went up. I realized the crowd was shouting my praises. “Who is this woman that a lion obeys her?” they said with awe and wonder.

Swept up by their adoration I tried to break free. “It’s not me the lion obeyed!” I deflected. “The only authority I have comes from Jesus.”

But they wouldn’t listen to me.

I felt sick. I did not deserve their adulation. It felt like worship. I emphatically pointed to Jesus, pleaded with them to give Him the praise.

But they wouldn’t listen.

Suddenly someone cried out, “Look at the poor puppy!”

There on the grassy slope cowered the cutest little puppy. The lion circled closer and closer.

I immediately began declaring the same orders I’d given just moments ago. But the lion ignored me and continued stalking the puppy.

Why can’t I help the puppy?

Instantly yanked into wide-eyed consciousness, I asked God, “Who’s the puppy?”

I heard His still small voice say, “Your daughter.”

Okay. THAT freaked me out! What did it mean?

I waited until a reasonable hour of morning and then called my girlfriend, Laura. She’s really tight with the Lord and has tremendous insight.

I told her about the dream and asked her what it meant.

“Sarah’s at an age when she has to take responsibility for her own spiritual battles,” she said. “You can teach her about the armor of God, but it’s up to her to use it. She can no longer depend on your knowledge of Scripture to fight Satan. Sarah needs to stand on the Word on her own.”

I hung up the phone and spent the next hour talking with my daughter about how to resist the devil and make him flee. She reacted with fear at first, but after she called Laura and heard her gentle instruction, Sarah settled down.

Stirred, but not shaken.

My friend, Lyn Swanson has just completed a family Bible study based on Ephesians 6:10-18. I’ll let you know more about it when it becomes available. Until then, please draw your kids around you and teach them how to put on the full armor of God.

They may be our cute little puppies, but they must be mighty warriors as well.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Am I Relevant?

            rel•e•vant adj
1.     having some sensible or logical connection with something else, for example, a matter being discussed or investigated.
2.     having some bearing on or importance for real-world issues, present-day events, or the current state of society[1]

I'm clueless about post-modern culture.

I don’t own a TV. I don’t read New York Times Bestsellers. (Wait, I did read The Shack.) 
I don’t pick up the magazines strategically placed at the grocery check out line. 
I rarely visit the movie theater.

I used to.

But in my early 20’s God called me to a “fast” of sorts. I know that I know He doesn’t want me reading or watching what virtually everybody else is reading and watching.

Is it any wonder I'm clueless about post-modern culture?

Until recently I would routinely ask God why He called me to be such a "prude." It seemed so unfair.

I couldn't understand why He let godly men and women I love and respect watch and read things that were "off limits" to me.

One such friend wrote this in her blog recently:

I have friends who write exclusively about spiritual issues and they need to keep the world and the culture out of their lives. As a humorous fiction writer, I don’t have that. Instead, I need to keep abreast of the culture and society. I need to know which envelopes are being pushed and by whom and how far.

God blessed me with a steel-lined mind so I can read and watch those things. I also make sure to fill it with God’s Word as well.

I knew I was one of the friends she was thinking of. And once again, I felt like I was missing out on something. Don’t I also need to keep abreast of the culture and society?

How can I possibly be relevant to a culture I know so little about?

These questions plagued my thoughts and prayers. But the admonition of God’s Word and the encouragement of one of His servants finally silenced my queries regarding my calling to “prudehood.”

Here’s what God told me:

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’ How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father, ‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother, ‘Why did you make me this way?’”
This is what the Lord says—the Holy One of Israel and your Creator:  “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command. Isaiah 45:9-12 NLT

Then I heard a Charles Stanley broadcast where he related a vision he'd had about God instructing him to walk a very narrow, centerline. Thanks to Dr. Stanley I know I'm not alone.

God has a reason for His "rules."

I’ve said it before and because I believe it wholeheartedly I’ll say it again:

God is responsible for the consequences of my obedience.

I still fear my “fast” from cultural influences renders me irrelevant.

But that’s God’s concern, not mine.

[1] Encarta® World Dictionary © 1999. Microsoft Corporation, All Rights Reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Memory Verse Monday

Last Friday I included the entire text of Proverbs 2 in my blog post. Today I have one short verse for you from that collection of wise sayings.

I memorized it yesterday.

I promised back when I began this regular feature that I would never ask you to commit to memory a Bible passage not already lodged in my own brain. For that reason, the verses appearing on Memory Verse Monday have long been familiar to me.

Not today’s.

My pastor quoted it yesterday morning at the start of our worship gathering as a reminder to American citizens celebrating Independence Day.

Thankfully, because of sacrifices made by our founding fathers and countless patriots over the passed 234 years, Americans are independent and free.

However, in God’s kingdom, true freedom does not always come with independence.

Thankfully, because of the sacrifice made by God’s Son, you and I can be completely and forever free. 

And this precious freedom is ours only when we declare our dependence on God.

Today’s Memory Verse:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Loving Well

Today would have been my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, but my dad left my mom on March 2, 2009. Cancer robbed them of the opportunity to celebrate this milestone.

My parents deserved the privilege of spending today arm in arm. They engaged in an amazing marriage. The reason for their success is simple.

They knew how to love.

My dad was “a man of the cloth.” (For those unfamiliar with liturgical “Christianese,” the phrase means he served as an Episcopal priest.) Dad loved God and every person God created. 

He knew that love is more than a feeling. Love is a decision.

Dad knew how to love, and he decided to love well.

Anyone who remembers “the catch” knows of Joe Montana and Dwight Clark. Twenty-three years ago my dad walked me down the aisle, gave me away, and then took the platform to lead Steve and me in our vows. When he faced the congregation, the first thing he said was that he felt like both of those 49ers rolled into one.

(Loving well requires a sense of humor.)

I don’t remember a lot about my wedding ceremony, but I’ll never forget the advice my dad gave Steve and me. He told us to read a Proverb every day.

“The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters,” he said. “And there are 31 days in most months. If you read one chapter a day every single day of your marriage, your marriage will succeed.”

(I should probably mention we were married on January 31st.)

“So, since today is the 31st," my dad continued with a mischievous grin. “I expect you to go back to your bridal suite and read every single chapter tonight.”

(Did I mention that loving well requires a sense of humor?)

My sweet sister and her two beautiful daughters are headed to San Francisco with my mom today. The city by the bay is the city my parents owe a lifetime of love to. This weekend my dad’s bride will revisit the place where they met over 50 years ago.

I’d appreciate your prayers for my mom. Loving well means feeling deep pain… and intense joy.

Since today is the 2nd day of the month, I thought I’d share the 2nd chapter of Proverbs with you. 

I can’t imagine a better adage for my parent’s anniversary than this.

Proverbs 2
Moral Benefits of Wisdom

 1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
 2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
 3 and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
 4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
 6 For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
 7 He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
 8 for he guards the course of the just
            and protects the way of his faithful ones.
 9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
 10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
 11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.
 12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
 13 who leave the straight paths
to walk in dark ways,
 14 who delight in doing wrong
and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
 15 whose paths are crooked
and who are devious in their ways.
 16 It will save you also from the adulteress,
from the wayward wife with her seductive words,
 17 who has left the partner of her youth
and ignored the covenant she made before God.
 18 For her house leads down to death
and her paths to the spirits of the dead.
 19 None who go to her return
or attain the paths of life.
 20 Thus you will walk in the ways of good men
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
 21 For the upright will live in the land,
and the blameless will remain in it;
 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the unfaithful will be torn from it. NIV
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