Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jesus and Marriage

As many of you know, Fireproof, a Christian movie about marriage was released at the end of last year. I was excited to see this movie, mainly because there are no good films dealing with love in marriage. This would be revolutionary in many ways. While this post is not a review of the film, I must mention a few things that I thought were disappointing. First is the use of this "Love dare" book to restore the marriage. Second was the "men are always wrong" attitude; the wife did not have a core "problem" that overtly contributed to their marriage breakdown. (I think many women watching this movie did not think she did anything wrong.)
Here's the primary issue I see facing our culture: the loss of marriage, and the band-aid solution from the Church. If something goes critically wrong in a marriage, anything, it is because of a lack of self-denial. All sins stem from a focus on self, on the ego. So, when Christ says: take up your cross and follow me, or if you save your life you will lose it, He is being literal. This can only be done after being born again, His Spirit birthed in you.
So the "love-dare" book and any 10-steps to improving your marriage is absolutely worthless apart from the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. And once the Lord puts His Spirit within you and causes you to walk in His statutes, you don't need 10-steps or 12-keys. In fact, they would only serve to limit you. You will be able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that is required. You will submit to your husband because it pleases the Lord, husbands will love their wives for the same reason. Let us run from the mountain of morality, where we would die in our sins trying to keep the Law, and let's embrace the grace and truth that come through Jesus Christ.
The second thing that bothered me about the movie, is that the wife was justified in her anger. This is really an observation of the Church at large, because of the second-generation feminist movement, to say anything about the need for women to submit to their husbands is taboo. The pastors jump through hoops to get around this sensitive issue. But it is God's truth, right? I am a woman. I must submit to my husband. Why? Because the Lord tells me to. Who am I to go against the order my Creator ordained? Just because men abused their role in the 50's doesn't justify my unwillingness to submit. This is not easy to do, but again it comes back to self-denial. Paul says "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."
One thing is needful- that we sit at His feet and learn of Him. Marriage and all else will fall into place after doing this. May God give you understanding, and open your eyes and hearts to His truth.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Less is More

There is a false doctrine commonly taught in Christian circles that we are to live our lives in ease, with financial wealth, successful careers, etc. This doctine takes many forms- prosperity, name it claim it; it even comes in subtler forms such as Your Best Life Now and the Purpose Driven Life. The subtle message that has worked its way into our daily lives is that our lives are ALL about us. That somehow, as Christians, we should be waving wands and making our troubles disappear.

But this is an anti-biblical notion. Let me show you why:

The posture of the heart- humility

In John 3:30, John the baptist declares "He must increase, but I must decrease" , referring to Jesus, the one whose sandals he is not worthy to untie. Here, John reconizes that Christ is Someone greater than himself. This attitude of worship leads him to have a proper posture of his heart- humility and brokeness. I am unworthy of Him.
Isaiah 6:5 "Woe is me for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people with unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King the Lord of Hosts." Similarly, when Isaiah sees the Lord seated on the Throne, his attitude is not pompous or arrogant. He does not ask what he might recieve from the Lord, no he instead is instantly aware of his sinfulness. This is what a true experience with the Lord produces- we can not help but realize how unworthy we are, and this changes our attitude towards Him. We need Him, He does not need us. The Lord is so great and mighty, and worthy to be praised.

The truth of human nature-

This may come as a shock, but we are not essentially good. The tendency in our hearts is toward evil "The heart is decietful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9. This is that apart from Him we are lost in our ways, completely blind to who He is. If you turn on the news, read the paper, watch a movie, the reality of our culture is obvious. It's not just that people are killed and children are abducted, but that we revel in this. I'm guilty of it as much as the next person- you turn on the tv and WANT to watch these things. Secretly, there is a desire to see the car wreck, to hear about a terrible incident, etc. This desire is evil, and even though we may not do these things, we take pleasure in those who do them. We need to be saved- from ourselves.

New creature in Christ-

"And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to obey My statutes." Ezekial 36: 27
Following the realization of who we really are (not who we want to be, or "our best life" or our goals) but who we are without Him, we draw comfort from who He is- eternally. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. We change, because we are sinful, He does not change because He is perfect. He is not angry at us in sin- the wrath and anger of God is directed at the sin that destroys us. He is angry FOR us. "Behold I make all things new." Rev 21:5 He wants that we leave the destructive life and darkness, and follow Him, the only help from our sin. When we realize there is a lot less about ourselves that is worthy, we realize there is a lot more of Him that we need.

If we focus on ourselves- our best life, our pupose, etc.- we will be the most miserable. We are because He is, and it is all for Him. It's my prayer that I continue to walk in light of the realization that when I am weak, He is strong.

Monday, November 19, 2007

That we may know Him

I'm not religious. In fact, I find that religion gets in the way of the truth. If you have read the bible, you know that Jesus Christ spent a lot of time trying to show the religious people of the day, that he was the answer for the questions that plagues man- what is meaningful? Is life coherent? Is there any purpose?

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except by me. ~ Jesus

The pharisees challenged Jesus, without knowing him. They did not know who he was, just as many don't know who he is now.

The real problem was not one of intellect. It was (and is) a problem of the will. The pharisees spent all their energy trying to devise a way to kill Jesus, and did not care to listen to what he had to say. Many people today are the same way. They claim to have intellectual reservations, but do not bother to research the historical accuracy of the accounts.

The idea of a real God who is intimately involved in our lives, can be somewhat disconcerting.
That is, before you know him. I'm sorry to say that many Christians don't spend enough time KNOWING Him, myself included. We forget that it is about a relationship with our Savior.

That we may know Him.

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Conversation with an Atheist

The following is a mock converstation between an atheist and a christian.

A. How can you believe the bible? It's written by a bunch of people, many who didn't ever see what happened.

C. Have you ever read the bible?

A. Yes... I read a few chapters here and there.

C. How do you justify not believing it?

A. It is logically impossible. The things it says happen... I like to think of myself as an intelligent person. I mean, it's okay if you want to believe it, but I think it's an offense to reason to argue that "God" created everything in six days "poof" and here we are... plus science gives reasonable evidence for evolution.. all the bones found, and carbon dated have told us the hard cold facts.

C. You suggest it to be logically impossible... do you have infinite knowledge of our universe?

A. No.

C. Then how can you logically argue or prove the impossibility of that which you do not know?

A. In science we use reason and empirical data to arrive at the conclusions of life.

C. That's fair, but reason and empirical data measures the physicality of life, not the essence of it. If you have a family, a mother, father, and two children, and one of the children dies in a car accident, the data reassures the family that 4-1 is still 3. But that is not sufficient to describe the true emotion and nature of the loss.

A. So, are you suggesting that life is based on feeling?

C. No, I'm suggesting life is based in and around relationship, and the Lord I serve created us to join in a beautiful relationship with him. We broke that relationship by sin, and He came in the form of man to repair that which was broken.

A. I still don't understand how you can believe in "God" when he hasn't made himself known to man; he hasn't poked his head through the clouds... if He is real, why doesn't he just show himself?

C. That's what I was alluding to early, God's nature is to reveal himself to us... but because he created us, he knows our responses better than we do. God did more than poke his head through the clouds; he was born into the world that we might know him. He lived among us, and taught us his precepts. He is embodied by logos (greek), the spoken word, that became flesh and dwelt among us. If we cannot believe this, then we will not believe, even if he poked his "head" through the clouds.

A. Okay... whatever. I still don't see how a loving, kind God, could allow a world like this to exist. Look at all the evil in the world.... what is the evidence for God's existance?

C. It is not by reason alone that we can come to understand what God allows to happen. If we could understand that, then we would be God ourselves and have no need for him. The evidence for him is clearly seen in the miracle of creation, in our ability to think, our desire to create order, to live in a coherent universe. Science points to God, in the intricacies of snowflakes, and by the laws by which the universe opperates. The world, however, is not now how it was when God created it. Sin has entered, and all of creation groans with the weight of it. So the evil is the result of the broken relationship, the result of a rejection of the good.
God is allowing all of this for a season, that all who respond to his nearness can enter in to the joy of the Lord. It is by his mercy that he tarries.

A. Okay, you said it's not by reason alone?? What

C. Yes, faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. It is rationally believing that there is Someone in who all reason lies, and in whom Reason itself originates. It is the desire to know this One, and recognition that He is worthy to be praised. It is the ability to say that my reason is not infinite, not self-sufficient, but I know that there is a Reason beyond my reason, that can explain all that is, and can make all things new. Faith is taking my reason and using it to determine that there must be a greater Reason than that which I can determine. He tells us: lean not unto your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him... he will make our paths straight. He will take the confusion and disillusionment and bring a clarity beyond what we ever could have imagined it to be. The knowledge of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

A. Well, you've said a lot. I agree that there is a need to recognize that we cannot understand everything... but that does not mean you should be justified in making up a God, to explain everything. You're parents were christians, that's why you are.

C. What did your parents believe?

A. They didn't believe in "God" if that's what you mean... I don't know what they believe.

C. Is that why you don't believe in God?

A. No. I've had the education to know that God doesn't exist.

C. Okay... well, yes my parents are Christians. And for a long time I was a "christian" because they were. I didn't understand what it meant. Now, I've had the education, through reading God's word, to know that He is real. We cannot logically conclude that because a truth has been passed down, that it is merely tradition. Science, Math, Language are all real things that have been shared. If something is true, you want to share it with your children. That does not make it any less true.

A. Point taken, but you are still lacking in evidence.

C. Do you know everything?

A. We have been over And neither do you.

C. Correct. Can we, for arguments sake, assume that you know half of everything.

A. I guess...?

C. Is it possible that God exists in the half that you don't know?

(to be continued)

Friday, January 19, 2007

A New Year

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
- 2 Cor 5:17

It's been quite a while since I have posted... I'm still here, just getting busier (and more unorganized) than I had anticipated.
College is getting the better of me now- with six months left, it's hard to believe all of my formal education will officially end. I guess, when you are in school for your entire life, it becomes a way of life. It will definitely be different once I enter the real world.

Anyways, I appreciate everyone's comments, and I apologize to those of you who commented and never heard back from me. I am planning to continue this blog with a similar dialogue, discussing who Christ was, who He is now, and what it means to us. I will discuss this in light of scripture, and different opinions of those who are well-versed in the bible and historical facts to hopefully present meaningful proof for you. I hope to have engaging discussions with anyone who is interested.

So, more coming soon!!!



Saturday, October 14, 2006

Christ's Sacrifice

I often find myself returning to the foot of the cross, fraught with wonder and awe that God would so humble Himself to come in the form of man and redeem us. Is it not amazing that He could love us with such love? Who is man that God is mindful of him?

The dilemma for many is belief. Believing in Christ is not saying a prayer and walking to the front in a church (unfortunately it has become such a ritual in our day), nor is it going to church or reading the bible, or being a good person. Paul says that he has fought the good fight, he has kept the faith, and he has finished the course. The goal of a follower of Christ is so much more than ritual, it is a return to the foot of the cross, and building a relationship with a Person, with our King.

If you find that this does not make sense to you, ask yourself if you want to understand it. If you do, then it is not by might, nor by power, but by the His spirit. Ask him to show you. I had to overcome that huge hurdle after I came to college and then committed myself to Christ. I love knowledge, and intellect, and I really believed that everything had to be logically proven before it could be true. But this is not the case, for there is a Logic that exists above our logic, and Reason above our reason. If we only subscribed to what we comprehensively understand then we would have a lot explain, would we not?

Oh the wonderfull Cross
Oh the wonderfull Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderfull Cross
Oh the wonderfull Cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless Your name

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Knowing Christ

I think the most important decision we make in life is whether or not we believe Christ is who He claimed to be. Choosing to believe in Him is a choice of the heart, then the intellect. I am continually renewed in mind and spirit through the knowledge of Him.

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. " John 17:3

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:31

"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:36

My prayer is that you will sincerely seek the Truth.
May God soften your hearts, and help you to see the simplest truth is the deepest reality.