A Bond for Life

As I reflect on five years of marriage I am humbled at what a miracle it is to remain married to someone for five years. It’s one thing to make it to five or ten years living with someone with whom you have no real commitment, just a mutual agreement that as long you meet my needs, I’ll meet your needs. If things get too hairy, just pack up and roll out for a couple days and everything will be fine. It’s a different story entirely when you sign the marriage covenant, and take it serious. Then the agreement is that no matter what, we’re in this together Honey. With that, every year is a miracle. Five years, ten, twenty—a grace from above.

I have many friends living under the first agreement. This is by no means meant as an attack upon you personally. I am simply encouraging you that if you really love that person you live with like you think you do, then honor them, and honor God, marry them. Until then, I’m sorry to say, you’re just playing pretend. Your arrangement is nothing more than a mockery of the real thing.

Marriage, and all that it represents, is a precious thing indeed. Far too many take it lightly today. God’s faithfulness to his people is simply astounding. This is what marriage is meant to convey, the faithful covenant between God and his people. That is why divorce is such a horror, and despised by the Lord. That’s also the reason that simply living with someone is nothing more than a mockery, and in all truthfulness, a profanation of marriage. Not only is it a grievous sin to live with someone outside of the bond of marriage, it’s also thumbing your nose at the Creator of the universe.

So in light of our personal five-year miracle, I would like to say “Happy Anniversary” to my beautiful bride.We have endured some serious storms in these five short years. It has been very hard at times, but I do not despair in our sufferings.

Our wedding picture

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

I look forward to growing old with you, for I know that your light-hearted humor will carry us into the years with many smiles. I pray that we will leave a legacy of grace, perseverance, and love for our children to cherish well into their lives. And so, may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope. 

I love you.

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We Are the Reason….. Really?

Now if that doesn’t get you feeling all warm and fuzzy this morning, meh, I don’t know what will. I almost sprouted a goose-bump. Apparently, this Christmas morning we can rejoice, for “we are the reason”! I don’t know about you, but to me, I find that just a bit self-centered. It really does beg a question…

Why did Jesus die for you, Christian? Is it because you were worth dying for? Is it a fact that Jesus dying on a cross for your sins declares your value to God? As we think about these questions, let’s ponder what prompts them. Sometimes, and probably with good intentions, it is asserted to congregations across America that they should not fret because when Jesus died on the cross it was saying that they were worth that much to God, in fact, that we were the reason. They are told that their value to God is so much that he would send his only son to die for there sins, so that they could have a personal relationship with him, should they decide to do so. It sounds good, and it’s a real self-esteem booster. I mean think about it, the Creator of the world thinks I’m to-die-for! But do we attend church to have our self-worth increased? Didn’t a certain character of the scriptures utter the words “he must increase, but I must decrease”? This is what I want to explore in this post.

As a side note before we dig into the word: I am not posting this to destroy your self esteem. My goal is for you to see Christ as your supreme treasure and worth, laying down his life for his sheep, not necessarily because of the worth of the sheep, but for spread of his Glory. Besides, I don’t think you should be esteeming yourself in the first place. Esteem that which is esteem-able, God, then be in awe of His great love for us.

  • To say that Jesus died because we are worth dying for is to make God an idolater. This may hit as strong, offensive words, and they should, for it is an utterly heinous offense to suggest that a sinner could be of equal or more value than the son of God. If Jesus is God (John 1:1, Col 2:9), and God is supremely glorious, then to assign His worth beneath, or less than anyone else’s is idolatry, even for God himself. God seeks his own glory above everything else, for this is the most loving thing he can do for his beloved creatures. John Piper, in his book Desiring God, puts it like this, “He would deny the infinite worth of His own glory. He would imply that there is something more valuable outside Himself. He would commit idolatry.” God cannot assign his worth and his glory to something less than himself. It would make his word untrue. “I am the Lord; that is my name, my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” (Isaiah 42:8) “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” (Isaiah 48:11) Ephesians 1:5-6 clearly states that we are saved according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, which brings me to my next point.
  • To say that Jesus died because we are worth dying for is to rob the Gospel of any and all grace. The bible makes it clear from cover to cover that we are wretched sinners and that it is by grace we have been saved. Isn’t saying that we were worth dying for the same as saying that we deserved salvation. Romans 5 tells us that we were still sinners when Christ died for us, while we were enemies of God. We know that sinners deserve wrath, for we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. There was nothing lovely in us, yet he looked upon our pitiful state, had mercy on us, and overcame our sinful rebellion and resistance, granting us repentance from our sinful inclinations! Praise be to the Holy One of Israel! To say that we were worth it is to say that it was owed to us, and God Almighty is in debt to no one.
  • There is no scriptural basis for making such a statement. None. There are plenty of scriptures that show us that God loves us (Eph. 2:4, Eph. 5:2, Psalm 36:7, Titus 3:4), has mercy on us (Eph. 2:4, Psalm 23:6, Mat. 9:13, 1 Pet. 1:3), and cares for us (Zech. 10:3, Psalm 8:4, 1 Pet. 5:7). I haven’t seen a single scripture that suggests that we deserve any of it.

Don’t take me wrong in all of this, what I’m telling you is not bad news. It is amazingly GOOD NEWS! God saves wretched, undeserving enemies of God: because he wants too! In fact, He has designed it such that this is the way He will receive praise for all eternity. This is jaw-dropping good news! The cross was the ransom paid for your life, not because your life was worth it, but for his glory, according to his purpose, to praise of his glorious grace, and for your joy! We have a reason to rejoice, and that reason is Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

For the Thinkers…

I pulled this little excerpt from this blog post over at rzim.org. It astonishes me that the people claiming to be thinkers don’t think things through. Ironic, don’t yo think?

Take, for instance, Hawking’s statement quoted above: “Because there is a law of gravity the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” Clearly, he assumes that gravity (or perhaps only the law of gravity?) exists. That is not nothing. So the universe is not created from nothing. Worse still, the statement “the universe can and will create itself from nothing” is self-contradictory. If I say, “X creates Y,” this presupposes the existence of X in the first place in order to bring Y into existence. If I say “X creates X,” I presuppose the existence of X in order to account for the existence of X. To presuppose the existence of the universe to account for its existence is logically incoherent. One might add for good measure the fact that when physicists talk about “nothing” they often mean a quantum vacuum which is manifestly not nothing. Could this be “much ado about nothing”?

Hawking here is using the same incoherent “argument” as Oxford chemist Peter Atkins, also a wellknown atheist, who believes that “Space-time generates its own dust in the process of its own self-assembly.” (3) Atkins dubs this the “Cosmic bootstrap” principle, referring to the selfcontradictory idea of a person lifting himself by pulling on his own bootlace. His Oxford colleague, philosopher of religion Keith Ward, is surely right to say that Atkins’s view of the universe is as blatantly self-contradictory as the name he gives to it, pointing out that it is “logically impossible for a cause to bring about some effect without already being in existence.” Ward concludes: “Between the hypothesis of God and the hypothesis of a cosmic bootstrap, there is no competition. We were always right to think that persons, or universes, who seek to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps are forever doomed to failure.” (4)What this shows is that nonsense remains nonsense even when talked by world-famous scientists.