Welcome to a new weekly feature on the blog, where I'll do a Weekly Top 40-style look back at what we were reading/discussing this week of years gone by.

As it so happens, as I was looking back four years at the first week of August, there was one of my own early attempts at a Spiritual Life article, based, coincidentally enough, on another time I was doing some rummaging:

Rummaging through our junk drawer this week, I came across a gift from my wife that has brought me nothing but trouble...

What I had found was a book of Love Coupons my well-meaning wife had stuck in my stocking one Christmas. Cool. I tried to redeem one... from a sweaty, tired 8-months-pregnant woman.

Body language is an amazing thing. Val said nothing, but I suddenly felt as if her love were a dairy product and I was three weeks past the expiration date. With one look from her, I very clearly heard the following paragraph thunder between my ears:

“Are you kidding me? I’m eight months pregnant and about to pop in the middle of summer, and you have the audacity to bring me a COUPON? If there’s anybody who should be receiving a massage tonight, mister, it’s me! In fact, if you really loved me, you’d know when I was too busy or moody or tired!”

The coupons, I promise (I know because I checked), did not have any disclaimers. There was no fine print about conditions or expiration. Love isn't about being nice only when you feel like it, right?

Well, that works both ways, doesn't it?

Fortunately, though, it's different with the promises of the immutable, unchangeable Lord.

Holding fast to promise in difficult times was a major theme for New Testament authors. These are just a few examples of the encouragement they offer through telling us what’s available to the believer through Christ (all quotations from the New Living Translation)...  

To learn the lessons I learned - including how to tread lightly and with much loving tenderness - around a pushed-to-the-limits wife (and to laugh at how raw my writing style still was), click here to re-visit "Love Coupons from the Lord" from early August 2005.