Love Like Jesus–Stay Faithful Like Jesus: Chapter 17

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Today’s post is from my new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus). Last Saturday we posted Chapter 16: Jesus And The 5 Love LanguagesLove Like Jesus is due to be published later this year.

Love Like Jesus — Stay Faithful Like Jesus Continue reading

Adulteress

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Read John 8:1-11.

Adulteress Continue reading

How Did They Do That? — Courage in the Face of Cancer

Survive Trial Cancer Jim Davis Why MeThe following is a guest post by Jim Davis. It’s an excerpt from his new book Why Me? (And Why That’s the Wrong Question) You can learn more about Jim at the end of this article.

What people need to know to survive a trial: A lesson from Mike and Pam Worley

Sometimes a person responds to bad news with such grace and strength, we think, “I want to know how they did it. Because if I ever face a storm like that, I want to be as strong.”

That’s the way I felt when my friends Mike and Pam Worley learned that Mike had cancer. Pam wrote this on Mike’s Caring Bridge site:

We just got back from meeting with Dr. M getting the results from Mike’s biopsy. I wish the news had been better than what we got, BUT it could be worse! Mike has multiple myeloma. It is a cancer of the plasma in the bone marrow… Chemotherapy will more than likely have to be done.

It could be worse? It’s cancer! Well, that’s probably what you just thought you were supposed to say, and now you’ll lock yourself in a dark room and have a breakdown, right? Continue reading

So Your Life Is Falling Apart

How do I become a ChristianSo your life is falling apart. I know, you lost something. You lost your job, or you lost your wife in a divorce, or you lost your father, mother, son, or daughter because they died, or you lost your health. So now you’re in pain, and not the kind that an aspirin can help you with. You’re in the kind of pain that makes you realize you need help–from God.

Well I’m here to tell you some things you’ve probably never heard before about becoming a Christian. You want God’s help, so you’re ready to ask Jesus Christ into your life, but you probably don’t realize what you’re in for. It’s not like you’re buying a gold fish for yourself, throwing him into a bowl of water, and feeding him once a day. Yes Jesus can help you, but remember, He’s the One Who created you. He’s the One Who created the whole world, and more than the world He created the sun and the whole solar system. And more than the solar system, He created the whole galaxy. And more than the galaxy, He created the whole universe. He created quarks, and black holes, and oceans, and mountains, and atoms, and electrons, and clouds, and comets. When you invite Him into your life, yes, you get His help, but along with the power to help you, you get the rest of His power too. He will willingly walk with you through your pain, if you’re brave enough to willingly walk with Him. It takes courage to invite that kind of power into your life.

Another thing about Him: His standards are impossibly high, and you’ll never live up to those standards. Like all of us, you realize you’ve failed in your life. At one time or another, maybe very recently, you’ve lied, or you’ve stolen, or you’ve lusted, or you’ve broken a promise. Other religions try to teach you how to live, but with Christ, God provides you with life. God of course knows about your sins. So God provided His Son Jesus, to die for those sins, on your behalf. Jesus is life. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

You have access to that life, to eternal life, to new life. You have access to Jesus Christ. You can not only experience God’s presence while walking in your pain, but you can experience God’s presence forever. You can live, with Him, in heaven. In fact, God says: If you don’t want to live with Me in heaven, it will have to be over My dead body–the dead body of My Son. If you accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for your sins, if you accept Jesus Christ into your life, if you ask Jesus Christ into your heart, to be your savior, and your Lord, and your friend, then you’ll receive God’s presence in this life, and in eternity.

To accept Him now as your personal Lord and savior simply say the prayer,

Jesus, I’m a sinner. I believe you died on the cross to pay for my sins and I thank you for doing that. I believe you rose again and that you are the Son of God. Please come into my life and into my heart. Be my Lord and my Savior.

The words aren’t magical, what’s important is you opened your heart to invite Jesus into your life. And that’s the beginning.

Now find yourself a bible and read it. (I recommend these bible reading plans on the YouVersion App) Don’t worry about how much you read. Just be sure to read a little from the Old and New Testaments each day.

Find yourself a church that teaches through the entire Bible and attend it. Hang out with other Christians–you’ll be blessed.

Pray, every day.

Tell others about Jesus.

If you have questions, send me an email at kurt@kurtbennettbooks.com.

[Image via Tim Li – Creative Commons]

Marriage, and Mom and Dad: Genesis 2:24-25

Marriage, Mother and Father -- two one fleshFor this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. -Genesis 2:24-25

Cleaving Without Leaving

Many young people today are attempting the first part of Genesis 2:24, becoming one flesh, but leaving out the second part of the verse, leaving their father and mother. I believe many marriages suffer unnecessarily, or even fail, because without the second part, leaving father and mother, the first part, becoming one flesh, doesn’t work very well. Independence from mom and dad is a huge key to a healthy marriage. A husband and wife must form a team of three: the husband, the wife, and their God. When a dad and/or mom is involved it becomes a team of 4 or 5. Or if both sets of parents are involved, a team of seven! God’s way is the best way, and it’s up to us as parents to allow our kids to separate, to leave. Because if they don’t leave, emotionally as well as physically, then they won’t cleave. Parents, don’t fall into the trap of over involvement. Follow God’s plan. Too much involvement in our adult kids’ marriages will make things worse instead of better. Young married people, especially you husbands, insist on independence. Guard your marriage from your parent’s over involvement, in a loving and gracious manner, but with tenacity. For you to be successful in your marriage your spouse must come before your parents, and your God must come before your spouse.

Just Friends

And in case you’ve already successfully left your parents, be sure to leave others as well. Friendship with those of the opposite sex, the kind of friendship that involves time alone together, even small amounts of time alone together, is nearly always found at the beginning of an adulterous relationship. Don’t do it. Don’t invest in that relationship at work or at the gym, even if you don’t feel an attraction. As you invest your heart will inevitably follow as Jesus said in Luke 12:34. And as God says to us in Proverbs 6:27-28Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?

Jesus on Divorce

Jesus quoted from Genesis 2:24 when the Pharisees came to trap Him with a question. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” (Matthew 19:3) They probably thought, “If we can get Jesus to say that divorce is not permitted, not God’s will, then we can quote the law of Moses and, BOOM, the trap is shut, we’ve got him.” But Jesus went back to the beginning, to God’s original plan for marriage, before the law was given to Moses. Jesus from Genesis 2:24,

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

Perhaps at this point the Pharisees, realizing that they’d been out maneuvered, asked the following question, as a last ditch effort to salvage their trap…

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (Matthew 19:7)

But Jesus replied,

“Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:8-9)

Divorce Reality Check

Today we’ve seen a rather large cultural shift from divorce being such a negative to a new perception of divorce as a liberating, freeing, positive experience. A single parent household, a man and woman living together unmarried perhaps with children, these are seen as acceptable alternative lifestyles. What’s being completely ignored is the wellbeing of the children of divorce. The vast majority of children from divorced families surveyed say they’d like to see their original family back together. Have you heard that statistic before? Probably not. Five years after divorce more than a third of children experienced depression. Even at 10 years and 15 years after divorce, many of the children involved had significant problems. Children from divorced families were found to be less successful in life than children from intact families, particularly in the areas of relationships and careers.

Most of the time the custody of the children goes to the mother. What’s not a part of the public discussion is that about half of all single mothers live below the poverty line. And this desperate economic circumstance is not for the short haul — on average it lasts six years. For African American single mothers it’s much worse, 10 years after divorce only 33% of African American mothers were remarried, the rest continued in financial distress. (McLanahan-Garfinkel)

So don’t close your eyes to the devastation caused by divorce. Build your marriage on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His word. Invest in your wife, invest in your husband and your heart will follow. Follow His ways, in life, and in your marriage.

Sex a Gift from God

Finally, notice in Genesis 2:25 that God provided that The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. God very specifically tells us in Hebrews 13:4 that His plan for the marriage bed is for it to be undefiled. Sex inside of marriage is a gift from Him, and shame has no part in it. When you invest in your wife, when you invest in your husband, do so in all areas including your physical relationship. For God tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:4-5

The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.



References:

[Image via: Maria Rosaria – Creative Commons]

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Jon Courson

The Atlantic

Single Mothers and Their Children, Sarah McLanahan and Irwin Garfinkel, 1986