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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

When you think of the biblically teaching on husbands and wives, what immediately comes to mind?  To some, it may be the arguments behind the egalitarian/complementarian debate.  For others, maybe a specific passage comes to mind.  “Live with your wife in an understanding manner” is a popular one.  Or perhaps the standard, “Husbands, love your wives.”

What most people forget is that not only is there a command, not only an illustration but also a purpose.  Seriously, I hear it being tossed around often that men are to love their wives “as Christ loves the church.”  But what I don’t hear being discussed is how this is.  Oh, I hear talk about self-sacrifice, about being caring, about being patient – but the text itself is clear about what Paul has in mind.

The text reads:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Eph 5:25-27)

Clearly the love husbands are to have for their wives is a sanctifying love.  For those considering dating, perhaps one of the first questions to be asked by a woman is how the man is being sanctified himself.  One of the questions that a man should ask himself is whether he is willing to bear the responsibility, and often difficulty, of involving himself in the sanctification of another.  In a relationship, we must ask ourselves whether the relationship is aiding us in the process of sanctification, and if the activities help us to grow in holiness and love for the Lord.  And when married, this is an expectation.

All to often people choose mates based on emotion.  Let’s be honest; people seek the good-looking, the easy-going, the fun-loving, the humorous, the skilled, the popular, the fashionable, the accomplished – you name it.  Do people look for the godly?  Often that isn’t the most exciting, and in fact it at first seems to dull the fun in the lives of others.  But marriage is not a game, not entertainment, and not a whim.  It is a covenant, a commitment, a vow.  It is not to pass the time and make it most exciting on earth, but to prepare us to enjoy heaven all the more.

Oh, I believe that godly relations are filled with the most love, joy, and peace.  But I believe they are also filled with much hardship, difficulty, and pain as well.  As iron sharpens iron, as silver is purified, as our bodies must be exhausted in order to be built up, so too must godly relationships.  I can only hope that many young adults today catch this vision and distinguish themselves by godliness than by anything of the world.  After all, our love for another will never exceed our love for the Lord.

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Virtual Friendships

Facebook, Myspace, Xanga – this one is directed to you!

John Mark Reynolds has a post about virtual friendships that is worth reading.  Here is his conclusion:

I must be with my kids to parent them.

I must be with my friends to be friends.

I must be with my students to teach them.

I must be with my wife to love her.

God help me, but often I am too distracted to be with immortal souls. It is as if I am getting ready to be with people, by talking about them or writing about them, but run out of time to be with them. I am like the stupid business man who earns money for his family, but is never with his family while they spend it.

This week I will work hard to be there. I am incarnate and I will not try to hide from it!

HT: Justin Taylor

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In our lives, clearly we may have many acquaintances but only few friends who truly know the struggles and issues of our heart, that are with us in adversity, and rejoice with us in success.  We all desire intimate relationships, but still we spend our time talking about clothing, work, others, sports, politics, church, and so many other pseudo-personal topics that never get to the heart.  This topic becomes even more pointed when we realize that we must dig deep to truly have a personal ministry.  When we assume, we not ask.  If we not ask, we open ourselves up to a world of invalid conclusions and misunderstandings.

Paul David Tripp explains, There are many reasons why our relationships are trapped in the casual:

  • We despair of squeezing ten dollar conversations into ten cent moments.  There are times when we would like to tell our story, but there doesn’t seem an opportunity to do so.  We all deal with the disconnect between our public reputation and our private struggles.  We wonder what people would think if they really knew us.
  • We buy the lie that we are unique and struggle in ways that no one else does.  We get tricked by people’s public personas and forget that behind closed doors they live real lives just like us.
  • We all find the searching light of true friendship a bit intimidating.  True friendship calls you out of the darkness of personal privacy into the loving candor of mutual concern.
  • We do not see.  The Bible has much to say about how blind we are.  Sin is deceitful, causing us to see others with greater clarity than we see ourselves.
  • No one asks.  The typical rhythms of our lives mitigate against going below the surface.  In the busyness of life it seems intrusive to ask questions that cannot be answered without personal self-disclosure.

The genius of personal ministry is that it is personal.  It is the careful ministry of Christ and his Word to the struggles of the heart that have been uncovered by good questions from a committed friend.  This means that effective, God-honoring, heart changing personal ministry is dependent on a rich base of personal information.  You cannot minister well to someone you do not know.

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Book Sales!

Ligonier is commemorating Reformation Day this Wednesday by offering their Reformation Study Bible for $15.17.

Meanwhile, WTS Books decided to put on one last sale of their staff-recommended books, special pricing ending Friday Nov. 2nd:

Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution
Jeffery, Ovey, & Sach (foreword by John Piper) $25.00 $15.00 (Intro price – 1 week only!)

And..

Jim Weidenaar’s Picks

When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage (Paperback) by Harvey, Dave
$13.95 $6.98!

Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Revised and Updated by Tripp, Tedd
$13.95 $6.98!

Resurrection and Redemption: A Study in Paul’s Soteriology (Paperback) by Gaffin, Richard B.,
$11.99 $6.00!

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Hardcover) by Lloyd-Jones, Sally
$16.99 $8.50!

Randall Pederson’s Picks

Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life by Packer, J. I.
$25.00 $12.50!

Meet the Puritans: With A Guide to Modern Reprints (Hardcover) by Beeke, Joel R. and Randall J. Pederson
$35.00 $17.50!

Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics by Kapic, Kelly M.
$19.00 $9.50!

Mark Traphagen’s Picks

Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation (Hardcover) by Goldsworthy, Graeme
$25.00 $12.50!

The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Hardcover) by Wright, Christopher J. H.
$38.00 $19.00!

By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation (Oakhill School of Theology Series) by Gaffin, Richard B.
$16.99 $8.50!

God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible (Paperback) by Roberts, Vaughan
$12.00 $6.00!

Micah Bickford’s Picks Chun Lai’s Pick

Heaven on Earth: Capturing Jonathan Edwards’s Vision of Living in Between by Nichols, Stephen J.
$12.99 $6.50!

Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction by Ferguson, Sinclair B.
$10.00 $5.00!

Daniel Willson’s Picks

Exegetical Fallacies by Carson, D. A.
$15.99 $8.00!

Why Does It Have to Hurt? The Meaning of Christian Suffering by McCartney, Dan G.
$9.99 $5.00!

Competent to Counsel? The History of a Conservative Protestant Biblical Counseling Movement (Bound Manuscript) by Powlison, David A.
$69.95 $34.98!

Jeffrey Shamess’ Pick Janice Mason’s Pick

Christian Ministry by Bridges, Charles
$32.00 $16.00!

The Big Picture Story Bible (Hardcover) by Helm, David
$22.99 $11.50!

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Go and visit Boundless for a short and interesting article on relationships:

For couples who’ve been dating a year or more, it’s as simple as this: Get married or break up. Here’s an excerpt from Scott Croft’s “From ‘Hi’ to ‘I Do’ in a Year” explaining why.

To put it simply, “not acting married before you’re married” … gets exponentially more difficult the longer a pre-marital relationship persists. If … our goal is to move positively toward God-glorifying lives (rather than simply to “walk the line” by attempting to satisfy our fleshly desires as much as possible without sinning), wisdom and godliness would seem to counsel keeping relationships shorter.

And if you think your circumstance (e.g., long distance relationship, in college, etc.) warrants a longer relationship, Scott provides some compelling reasons why it doesn’t matter.

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Recently a friend and I discussed the implications of the Facebook announcements for everything that our friends might want to share. In a sense it has become overwhelming since we don’t need to know every post or profile picture update, and the updates to relationship status seem very voyeuristic. Yet, one useful feature is the birthday reminder feature. Of course, it is useful either because don’t know their birthdays (and if we aren’t close enough to know, is it really all that important?) or because we’ve forgotten (in which case our memories need a tuneup).

Well, today a post at 43folders caught my attention because it speaks to this same phenomenon, since it isn’t limited to Facebook only. He quotes the original article:

This summer, neuroscientist Ian Robertson polled 3,000 people and found that the younger ones were less able than their elders to recall standard personal info. When Robertson asked his subjects to tell them a relative’s birth date, 87 percent of respondents over age 50 could recite it, while less than 40 percent of those under 30 could do so. And when he asked them their own phone number, fully one-third of the youngsters drew a blank. They had to whip out their handsets to look it up.

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A recent post at Boundless Line caught my attention and reminded me of an article at Reformation21 not very long ago. Of course it is not real news that our world is becoming more superficial, but the outrageousness often slips by and invades our thinking when we don’t acknowledge it for the sin and danger that it is. A timely reminder:

Boundless:
Don’t just blame opportunistic surgeons or idealized cultural standards. Much of the problem lies with men, and the women who try to please them. It’s all about expectations.

According to Sharlotte Brikland, a 39-year-old mom with a 20-year-old son, “There is more pressure on mothers today to look young and sexy than on previous generations. I don’t think it was an issue for my mother; your husband loved you no matter what.” Ms. Birkland recently remarried.

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