Tag Archives: John

4 Quick Thoughts on Marriage

One of the things I absolutely love about my seminary is that they truly value the marriages of their students. As a result they have a couple’s banquet every year where the married students are served dinner by the professors, child care is provided, and a miniature sermon about marriage is presented. This year one of my professors, Carl Laney, gave four reasons why marriage should be held in honor and I thought they were so great I’d share them here.

  1. God ordained it. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24).” Marriage is the first institution created by God. Any other time God has made a covenant with man it has been regarded as something sacred and holy. In the same way, marriage should be viewed as a sacred institution that was created by God.
  2. Jesus blessed it. Jesus blessed marriage by turning water to wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-12). He did this because marriage is something that deserves to be celebrated. Furthermore, Jesus said that there is a supernatural element to marriage. God joins the husband and wife, and we ought not separate what God has joined (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9)
  3. Children illustrate it. From the beginning, the biblical view of children is that they are a blessing. When a child is born, they have DNA from both the mother and the father. This is an illustration of the bond that occurs at marriage. Children are a vivid reminder of that unity that God creates when he weds a man and a woman.
  4. Death alone ends it. Marriage is intended as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman in the sight of God and their family. The Bible says that wives are bound to their husbands as long as he is alive (Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:39). It also says that men are to love their lives to the point of dying for her (Ephesians 5:25-30). This lifelong devotion is meant to serve as a picture of Christ’s devotion to the Church.

There you have it! May your marriage be blessed and may it be a blessing.

Never Alone

On the night He was betrayed, Jesus told His disciples many things but one that popped out to me this week was His simple statement in John 16:32: “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” Jesus knew He was about to be betrayed by one of His first disciples and abandoned by all the rest within hours. He knew that as soon as He was taken into custody His boldest and most enthusiastic follower—Peter—would deny Him to a servant girl.

“Yet I am not alone,” he said. Not alone? Why? Because “the Father is with me.”

We love those verses where God says He will never leave us or forsake us (like Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5, 8; etc.). We feel encouraged when we hear Jesus promise that He will be with us always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20). The only problem is that we don’t truly believe those verses. Not truly. We are discouragingly quick to develop spiritual amnesia and quickly forget the extravagant promises made to us.

The truth is, any time you feel abandoned, alone, companionless, deserted, estranged, forgotten, forsaken, isolated, left, lonely, lonesome, outcast, rejected, renounced, or withdrawn you have forgotten the reality that you are never alone. That feeling of loneliness is an illusion; a lie. You are not alone, for the Father is with you.

For many years I used to feel alone when I was surrounded by a crowd of people. I completely understand the feeling that no one understands you. I also know the loneliness that you feel, because no one, not even your closest friends (not even your spouse), truly understands you. And yet the desire to be understood is universal to all of us. People say things like “he just gets me” when we describe how we feel about our friends. But the truth is that no one truly understands us except for God. We know a God who knows us better and deeper than we will ever know ourselves.

For the first time in my life I do not feel alone because I’ve learned to turn to God for understanding, comfort, and companionship. He TRULY gets me! And only He will ever get me. He knows when I wake up and when I lie down. He knows my words before they are on my lips. He knows me. I can’t tell you how real this has become to me over the last few months. Leaving Alaska and the military, starting over at a new church, starting seminary. None of those people get me. They could never. The truth is, as long as God is here with me, those feelings of loneliness are an illusion. God promised to never leave me nor forsake me, He knows everything about me, and so I rest on His promise that I will always be understood and I will never be alone. I encourage you to look up for understanding and not to your left or right. You are not alone, for the Father is with you.

One of us

Joan Osborne once inanely crooned the question, “What if God was one of us?” She sang this as though it had never been answered. Well, if God was one of us, He would have come full of grace and truth (John 1:14), speaking the truth in love. He would have been a perfect, exact image of the Invisible God (Col 1:15). In our blindness we would have rejected Him (John 1:11, Colossians 1:21). Yet in His grace, He would have reconciled all things to Him through His blood on a cross and made peace between a rebellious people and a Holy God (Col 1:20). He would have done this to make us sinless, spotless, and blameless (Col 1:22). In fact, he would have gone so far as to give us the privilege to be call ourselves the children of a God against whom we had once rebelled (John 1:12). He would have, once and for all, delivered us from darkness to light (Col 1:13). He would have taught us what our Heavenly Father was like (John 1:18) because he has been with Him since eternity past (John 1:1).

How do I know all this? Because God was one of us! God did come down to earth. Because Joan Osborne’s question was answered almost 2 thousand years before she was ever born. Joan Osborne opens her song by asking, “If God had a name what would it be?” If God were one of us, His name would be Jesus. And, although He was equal with God the Father, he humbled Himself and became a servant (Philippians 2:6-7). He lived the life we were supposed to, paid the penalty we earned, conquered the death we deserved, rose from the grave by which we were imprisoned, and now grants us a gift we could never purchase:  reconciliation and peace with God. And one day, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14).