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Kevin DeYoung has a great little post about Valentine’s day, particularly in his advice to married couples. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I read the following regarding pursuing your wife:

Words are wonderful, but pursuit may be even more powerful. Now listen, guys, don’t get all weird and stalker-like. Remember, you should pursue her as she likes to be pursued, not as you do.

DeYoung has a quirky, tell-it-like-it-is sense of humor that I absolutely resonate with deep in my bones. Maybe you didn’t find it as funny. Nonetheless, check out the whole post. It short, instructive and encouraging.

I have really enjoyed the opportunities that God has given me to provide pastoral leadership and counsel to couples entering into marriage. The first wedding ceremony I led was for my sister and brother-in-law ten years ago. I have to admit that I had very little understanding of the significance of my role at the time. While I took my responsibilities seriously, my thoughts about the significance of marriage in relationship to the Gospel had only recently been conceived in my own heart and mind. I saw my role in their wedding as a mere formality. Yes, it was a privilege because it was, after all, my sister getting married. But I was ignorant of how I might be used my Redeemer as an instrument in their marriage. It wasn’t until I got married myself that I really began to understand the profound significance of covenant marriage between a man and a woman. Consequently, as I have been embracing the implications of the Gospel on my own marriage, it has significantly shaped the pastoral counsel and wisdom I’ve sought to pass down to couples about to enter into marriage.

I enjoy counseling with couples prior to the wedding, but one of my great joys in being a part of the wedding celebration is the God-given opportunity to present a charge to the bride and groom. A charge is an opportunity to encourage the couple and point them to God’s Word as the source of authority and wisdom for their marriage. My goal in every charge is two-fold: 1) Make it personal; and 2) Center it on the Gospel. Read the rest of this entry »

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion (Proverbs 18:2).

Communication is a critical element in any relationship. However, communication implies a two-way conversation. One of the things I’m learning about myself is that in my communication I often want an audience, not an equal participant. In other words, what I love is my own voice and my own opinion more than I long to gain understanding in my relationships. At the root of this foolishness is the sin of pride.

Proverbs 18: 2 reveals several important (and destructive) truths about pride:

  • Pride loves to talk, and at the heart of this talk is self-exaltation.
  • Pride is quite content with what it already knows.
  • Pride assumes that I already understand everything I need to know since I take no pleasure in understanding.
  • Pride assumes that I don’t need help.
  • Pride denies what the gospel reveals about my fallen condition (Proverbs 10:19).
  • Pride sinfully prejudges the response of others to what I am saying because of my failure to listen in response to all of my words. It assumes that what will be said in response is of no benefit to me.

If you are interested in learning more about this issue and the appropriate response to this issue (which is humility), I encourage you to read chapter four titled “Relational Intimacy” in Gary & Betsy Ricucci’s book Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace.

This past week there was an explosion in the blogosphere and I missed it. Lisa Miller wrote a piece for Newsweek called “Our Mutual Joy” and the pundits and opponents of gay marriage waged an all out war in cyberspace. One of the best responses is by Al Mohler and you would benefit from reading it.

This morning I had an opportunity to reveiw Miller’s article. I am shocked that Newsweek  has chosen to cast its lot with such a poor piece of journalism, especially since this subject has such far-reaching cultural importance and implications. If what is at stake regarding the fight for homosexual marriage weren’t such a blatant, hostile assault on one of the most fundamental social instutitions on the planet, the case made for gay marriage in this article would be almost laughable.  The blatant disregard for and misrepresentation of biblical teaching is grossly irresponsible by Miller. There are many things to point out that are simply wrong with this article, but let me narrow it down to a handful. Read the rest of this entry »

Al Mohler has a good post about the purpose of marriage.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony; which is an honorable state, instituted by God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church.”

That familiar language from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, recited thousands of times each week in various forms, presents a vision of marriage as a deeply Christian institution–even a necessary portrait of the love that unites Christ and His church. As marriage signifies this “mystical union,” it points to an understanding that takes us far beyond the relationship of the husband and wife. Do most Christians have even the slightest understanding of this? Read the rest of this entry »

So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every other living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:27-28

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. – Psalm 127:3-5

Except for those who are called by God to a life of singleness (1Cor 7:7-8), God’s ideal is that a monogamous, heterosexual, life-long commitment to marriage would be crowned with the gift of children. Because we life in a fallen world cursed by man’s seduction to sin, God’s ideal has been marred by abortion, infertility and abuse. Contraception, which God’s Word is largely silent on explicitly, yet not in principle, has also complicated our understanding of the command to “be fruitful and multiply”. Other issues such as economics and the surging population of orphans incorporate other complex factors into the equation.

Because of the curse not all married men and women are able to bear children. But this is a different issue than image-bearers who prostitute themselves to sinful desires and longings which quench their desire to even want children though there is no obvious obstacle to conceiving children. The question is then: is it sinful to willfully and permanently close the womb to prevent one from having any children? Furthermore, is it sinful to have no desire to obey God’s explicit command from Genesis 1:27-28? Read the rest of this entry »