Thursday, June 25, 2009

I have been studying Colossians and was challenged by Paul's description of the Christian's lives in Colosse and Laodacia. He had never been there, but he had heard about their faith in God and their love for the saints. Paul stated that this faith and love sprang from the hope that they had of the heavenly prize. Their life behaviors were controlled by their focus - that one day they were going to stand before their Savior and receive reward; a GREAT reward. They ordered their life and behaviors around their focus - heaven and being in the presence of Jesus.

Here is my issue...... I intellectually know that God will give me a great reward - that the hope that I have in heaven is beyond my imagination. However, in my heart I sometimes struggle that this is really true. When I look at the world around me and see the pain that Christians suffer (in particular my mom), it is hard to believe that God is good; it is hard to believe that my reward is going to be really that good if life on earth is not that good. Again, I mentally understand that God is good and gives good gifts to me (see James 1:17). It is just hard to rectify the gap between my heart and my head. When this gap begins to form, my heart begins to minimize the value of my heavenly reward.

Here's the problem: if I don't believe that what is laid up in heaven for me is that good, then my hope will not be placed in it like the Colossian's was. I will not order my life around the future. I will become short sighted and live more for reward today than for eternal reward. In essence, I will live my life more like "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die" instead of living for the hope that is laid up in heaven for me. When I loose my focus on this hope, I CANNOT have the faith and love that spring from this hope (seems like a statement of the obvious doesn't it).

How do I overcome this? I have to remind myself that sin is at work destroying the goodness of God, that God IS good and that I am not living for today. It is that simple. I have to believe what God says instead of believing what my heart and my senses say.

I also know that if I find myself not living in faith and loving others, I can be assured that my hope is misplaced. A monitor to keep my focus on the right thing!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

OK, so it has been a while since I have written anything. I still have not settled into a rhythm of life with family, mom, kids and work. It seems like I am always running around or trying to rest my mind....

Monday my wife and I turned 25 years old. It is hard to believe that we have been married 25 years - the time has zipped by. It seems like just yesterday we were walking down the aisle and then trying to start our life together despite a rocky start on our wedding night (if you want that story, ask my older brother; it was mostly of his doing).

What have I learned in 25 years of living together with my wife....

1. Marriage is hard. There are times when I did not like my wife; never stopped loving her; just didn't like her. It takes total commitment during these times to focus on obedience to God about the covenant that I made with her. Kind of like God must feel when I sin and He has to rely on His covenant with me.

2. Kids are the hardest part of a marriage. It seems like most of the friction that we have in our marriage is in the area of raising our kids. This is not to say that kids are bad, it is just saying that they are the lightning rod to teach you about how different you are. Because of the way we were brought up in two different families, our different approaches to life, our different focus on what areas of training are needed, etc. I have found that we have the same goals, we just try and reach the goals with different strategies (which causes friction!). I find that when we are alone without the kids we revert back to what it was like sans kids. having said that, I think that having kids has given me the greatest potential to identify what parts of me need changing and what parts of me need to grow.

3. Loving someone is hard; being loved is hard. I really don't like it when my wife talks to me about something in me that is sin. I know that she is doing it for my good, but it still stinks. It is hard to be loved; I mean REALLY loved. it is also hard to love. I really don't like confronting my wife - I would rather have peace (short term) instead of emotion. Loving her is sometimes hard and I have to wade through it and not shut her down.

4. It is worth it. I know that this will be true ultimately and I see glimpses of it almost everyday (sometimes big, sometimes small) if I am aware.

5. Whenever I do a wedding, I focus on Ephesians 5 - the part of marriage being a picture of Christ and His bride; the church. I feel constrained to love my wife and have a good marriage so that others can understand what Jesus' commitment to His bride is. It is infinitely harder for Him but I want to be a good picture!

Not a real romantic picture of marriage, but hey what did you expect from an engineer!