Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Foundation of Marriage

For five thousand years, marriage has been the foundation of our society. The concept of marriage originates in the Bible in Genesis 2:18-25 where God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." God then created the woman from the man he had made, “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” The Lord brought Eve to Adam the way a father presents his daughter to the man she marries.

From this passage, we come to understand that marriage represents the legal and moral obligations a man and a woman have to each other. It is both permanent and exclusive. The fidelity and monogamy of marriage are unique in this the most intimate of all relationships on earth. Marriage is a public covenant that announces to the world his and her acceptance of these responsibilities with the utmost sincerity and reverence. Marriage provides stability for children born to this union and gives an example of what a mother, father, husband, and wife are to the children. Marriage satisfies the sexual and emotional desires of both the husband and wife. Of course, not all marriages are a success, but that does not diminish the concept of marriage and its potential.

The new alternatives to marriage today are cohabitation and same-sex marriage. Marriage, they say, is nothing more than the union of two people who love each other and are committed to each other.

Cohabitation is in many ways the joining of two individuals who continue to live as individuals without expecting the total commitment that marriage demands. The result is that the longevity of cohabitation is nowhere comparable to traditional marriage. Cohabitation has more difficulty joining two individuals and their extended families because of its lack of permanence and commitment.

Same-sex marriage denies the natural basis for marriage, which is procreation. All major religions of the world support traditional marriage, underscoring the natural view of marriage. Same-sex marriage also lacks the longevity of traditional marriage.

The new proposals for replacing traditional marriage will now face new challenges. Who is to say that polyamorous relationships are not legitimate? Biblically speaking, marriage is not just a social and legal arrangement but also, most importantly, a moral covenant that is made clear in the first book of the Bible.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


While we may not want to admit it, we have been outmaneuvered. We thought we could manage our lives just fine. We were sure we knew best. We thought we were making the right choices, but all the while we were making bad decisions with devastating consequences. We couldn’t have been more wrong. We look back at our lives and feel regret. If only I had known this would have turned out like this, I would have done it differently. God knows when we make a bad choice, and he doesn’t say “I told you so.” He just opens his arms and lets us come home.

The prophet Isaiah pointed to ancient Judah as an example of how we try to handle things on our own but fail. Judah faced an ominous threat from the powerful, aggressive nation of Assyria. Instead of trusting God, they did everything they could without asking for God’s help. First, they went to Egypt, and then they tried to buy their freedom from the Assyrians. It finally dawned on them, as they saw their stupidity demonstrated right before their eyes, that they had been played for fools. The Assyrian horde had taken their money and double-crossed them. The Assyrians never had any intention of leaving. They were preparing to attack. Now Judah called on God—not the noblest motivation because God was their last resort. What is so surprising is that God heard their cry and came to their aid.

Here is their prayer, “O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning,
our salvation in time of distress” (Isa 33:2). The amazing thing is that when we finally do trust God, we find that he is more than enough to take care of us. We realize how foolish it was to not go to him from the very start. They cry aloud in the streets and are a broken people (Isa 33:7-9). They have made a mess out of things and have no idea how to fix it.

Now here we are at this broken state with our messed up lives. We do not even know which way to turn, and we have no idea how to fix the problem. The best thing that has happened to us is that in our brokenness we begin to see our stupidity of not depending on God, and what stupidity it is. Why didn’t we go to him in the first place?  The one good thing is that our brokenness invites God into our lives. God says, “"Now will I arise," says the LORD "Now will I be exalted; now will I be lifted up” (Isa 33:10). That “now” is a beautiful thing because it represents our brokenness as God’s opportunity to work in our lives.

Now that we have turned to God and repented of our rebellious ways, we can see God in another light. Isaiah says, “Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar” (Isa 33:17). We could never see God, and now we can see him in all his beauty. What a wonderful thing it is to see how lovely Jesus is. As Solomon wrote, “he is altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:16). With that loveliness comes a sense of purpose and direction for our life.

Sunday, November 18, 2018


The more we learn about our universe, our planet and its moon and its place in our solar system, and the placement of the other planets, we are awestruck. It appears that no other planet has the capability of sustaining life as our planet earth does. The 23 degree slant of the earth is a marvel. If it were not tilted at that precise angle, we would not enjoy our seasons. We would either freeze to death or burn up. If our moon did not function in perfect relationship to the earth, we would be flooded by the tides. All of this is the work of our divine creator.

Moses writes, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Gen 2:2-3). God rested from all his work of creation. The omnipotent God needs no rest, as we do, regardless of any power that he exerts. His power is infinite. The rest means to cease. God rested from his creative work.

God blessed the Seventh Day and made it holy, setting it apart from the other six days. God made this day of rest a day that can stimulate and enrich our lives. A day to rest not only our bodies but also our minds and spirits. It is a day for us to look beyond our temporal circumstances to eternal vistas. The heavens remind us that we have a creator. It is a day to contemplate what God wants in our lives both now and in the future. Isaiah said that when we honor the Sabbath, it will become a day of delight (Isa 58:13-14).

The Sabbath also reminds us of our redemption from sin and the transformation that God has done in us. The rest of the Sabbath reminds us, as it did Israel, that we celebrate two important things on this day. First, the remembering of our creator—which tells us of where we came from and how we got here. Secondly, of redemption. As the Israelites celebrated their exodus from Egypt, we too celebrate our exodus from our own Egypt.

One of the reasons I believe we suffer in so many ways is that as a society we profane this Holy Day. God made it for us, and it is our opportunity to rest and honor him, and as a result, we are refreshed. Jesus knew our need of rest as it is stated in his famous invitation to rest:

Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."