Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Constrained by love

Currently reading, and loving, this biography of Robert Murray McCheyne.

Here's the story behind the cover:

'The rusty key symbolises some aspects of the security found in Christ's love. The key was allowed to rust because, once it was used to lock securely, it was never required again. 

In the same way the believer is secure in Christ's love, Christ does not let the beloved slip from His grasp, but holds them firmly throughout eternity.'

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The few things that truly matter

From Airdrie Baptist Newsletter 22 Apr 10

I read recently of a Christian man nearing the end of his life with terminal cancer. He was asked about his faith and said as time went on he believed ‘more and more about less and less.’ This man clearly had come to the realisation that only a very few things are of eternal significance. Only a few things really matter. This is true as we face death, but also if we want to know fullness of life. John Piper says:

“You don't have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by a few great things.”

What are these few things that really matter? Paul says:

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.”
(1 Cor 15:3-5)

We need to know that Jesus died for our sins; not for his own (he was sinless), not because of a random serious of events or just as a victim of people’s corruption. Jesus death had a purpose- to atone for the sins of all believers. Secondly he was raised. Death couldn’t hold him, he conquered the grave. Thirdly all of this happened ‘according to the Scriptures,’ God is proved faithful, faithful to his people and faithful to his promises.

Do you know these few truths? Are you mastered by them? Do they thrill you? Do they cause you to leave your old sinful life behind and daily make him your Lord and King?

If so, Jesus victory over sin and death is your victory too.  If so, you will know him forever. What you really need to know, in life and in death, is Jesus.

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil 3:8)

Grace and peace,


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Husband- how do you rate as a lover?

I had the privilege of conducting a wedding ceremony a couple of weeks ago, and am preparing for another in the near future. The more I see suffering and sickness and sadness in pastoral ministry, the deeper my appreciation of the profundity of the marriage vows.

"For better, for worse,
for richer for poorer
in sickness and in health"

The weightiness of these words perhaps doesn't fully strike the excited young couple on the mountain-top experience that is their wedding day, but it is a staggering commitment to make before God and man.

There's no doubt our world acknowledges the importance of love, a listen to the charts or a walk through a bookstore will leave us in no doubt about that. But the problem is that the world is utterly confused as to the nature of love- what love is. It's not a fluffy feeling which is here today and gone tomorrow, nor is it lust. Love is a choice, a decision. We must decide daily to love our spouse for better for worse, for richer for poorer in sickness and in health.

One resource I've found recently which is a great help in walking through the implications of this, is Wayne Mack's 'A Homework Manual for Biblical Living (vol 2 family and marital problems).'

I've scanned a page which highlights the importance of deciding to love- when it's easy and when it's costly. It also helps us husbands to examine ourselves honestly. How are you doing?

(Click on the picture to enlarge)