Friday, November 6, 2009

Back to the Basics

I've been learning a ton this semester, but sometimes it is the basics that need to be revisited and often missed. One of these lessons came recently from a new friend that I made at my local Starbucks. Let's call him Tim. It's his name, so I think it's appropriate to call him that. So Tim and I were talking about God after he got off work and he was telling me of a recent revelation he had (forgive me, he said it better than I will). He said "You began the Christian life on your knees and you live the Christian life on your knees. It is only when you move from that position that you get it trouble."
Wow. The reason why we follow Christ in the first place is because we can't do it, and what sense does it make for us to think that we can do it after? This got me thinking about my dependance on God and my constant need for Him.

This morning I went to a book called The Valley of Vision, which is a collection of old Puritan prayers, because in the past they have helped me in my prayers to God. When going through them I found one called A Convert's First Prayer. Please take a minute to read this and see that whether you have been following Jesus for a day or for your whole life, this prayer is always relevant and needs to be on our lips. . .

My Father,
I could never have sought my happiness in thy love, unless thou had'st first loved me.
Thy Spirit has encouraged me by grace to seek thee, has made known to me thy reconciliation in Jesus, has taught me to believe it, has helped me to take thee for my God and portion.

May he grant me to grow in the knowledge and experience of thy love,
and walk in it all the way to glory.

Blessed for ever be thy fatherly affection,
which chose me to be one of thy children by faith in Jesus:
I thank thee for giving me the desire to live as such.

In Jesus, my brother, I have my new birth, every restraining power, every renewing grace.

It is by they Spirit I call thee Father, believe in thee, love thee;

Let the Spirit continually reveal to me my interest in Christ,
May he abide in me that I may know my union with Jesus,
and enter into constant fellowship with him;

By the Spirit may I daily live to thee,
rejoice in thy love,
find it the same to me as to thy Son,
and become rooted and grounded in it as a house on a rock;

I know but little--
increase my knowledge of thy love in Jesus,
keep my pressing forward for clearer discoveries of it,
so that I may find its eternal fullness;

Magnify thy love to me according to its greatness,
and not according to my deserts or prayers,
and whatever increase thou givest, let it draw out greater love to thee.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Intro to New Media Project

Although this isn't my normal kind of blog post, I just wanted to let you know what was going on in the Life of Richard. I'm in a class at Crossroads that is about New Media and this is an introduction to my semester project. It will be a video (not one of me, but a video nonetheless) about why we need Biblical Counseling available at all churches. The truth is that we are all messed up by sin and we will be getting advice and counseling from somewhere and if it is not Biblical, we need to evaluate where it's from. So stay tuned here for updates on that and how that is coming along.

P.S. I do think that I will have a more normal blog post by this weekend. . .

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beautiful. . .

A couple of week I attended a second wedding in the last month and it's made me do a lot of thinking. I actually sat down at my computer Labor Day weekend and started this post, but my brain still had much to think through. I have been thinking and dwelling on this for the past month now and can hopefully get out some semblance of what God has put on my heart.

So these weddings were amazing. One was Sara and Ryan who got married about a month ago now and the other was a friend who I went to college with for a year. Both weddings were beautiful and showcased God and His design for us along with the covenant of marriage. As I sat there at the second wedding, my thoughts turned to the first couple, Adam and Eve.

The first chapter and a half of the Bible is God creating and everything being good. God makes something and sees that it is good. He makes something else and that was good. Moving forward to Genesis 2:18, "Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'" So now we see that everything up until this point has been good and beautiful and right, but then we see that this one thing, for man to be alone, is not good. So to remedy this, God brings all the animals and we see in verse 20, "The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him." I think God knew this was coming. I don't think he was crossing His fingers saying "Oh man I hope Adam finds something as a suitable helper!" He is God. But because he did this what happens next becomes more beautiful.

After seeing that something to be done, God did one of the most beautiful things ever. "So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.Then the man said,

'This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.'
(Genesis 2:21-23)

How beautiful is this scene. God sees that it is not good for man to be alone, and He creates this counterpart for the man. Not that He was forced to, not that He had to, but out of overflowing love and joy within God, He created the woman. He could see right from the start that man couldn't do it alone and needed a helper.

We see this distorted all the time, where the man takes this idea to an unhealthy level and marriage is essentially signing the woman into servitude. On the other side, we see this distorted by an overbearing woman who the Bible says "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife" (Proverbs 21:9) and "A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day" (Proverbs 27:15) But neither of these are what God had designed in the Garden. We live in a broken world and those things God made beautiful are now tainted by our depravity.

So now what? How do we take this thing that was beautiful and then was destroyed, how do we make it beautiful again? This relationship between husbands and wives, like everything else, now needs to be reconciled. Paul addresses this in Ephesians 5.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

Here we see Genesis 2 being lived out. She comes alongside and helps (cause we all know he can't do it alone). He loves, cherishes, and leads her, not lording it over her. There is mutual love, respect, honor, and it is beautiful again.

I know that this is the way it is supposed to be now and therefore not easy at all, but that doesn't dismiss these commands.

Paul in this passage ends with the conclusion of the Genesis 2 passage, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:24-25)

I know I am not married, but I see this being lived out in the lives of those around me and I see the beauty that God made it to be and it makes me smile and hope for my future. See, when you don't have something, you want it. Once you get it, and have been married to it for a while, it can loose it's beauty in your eyes. Please don't let it do that. If you are married, please take time to tell your spouse how special they are to you. Please don't forget how beautiful God made this thing. Live out how He commanded you to and show those of us who aren't married that not only is it possible, but that it is beautiful. . .

Richard's Musical Recommendations. . .

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