Monday, February 23, 2009

Move Over, Mr. Knight...


I read a review recently of a book called Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey. I'm not endorsing the book because I haven't read it. But there was an intriguing excerpt in People Magazine that's worth a second glance. According to the author, there are three ways to tell if a man loves you:

1. He professes it.

2. He provides.

3. He protects you.

I'm missing a bit of context here but I wonder if the author is onto something. For those afflicted by excessive Hallmark Hall of Fame sentimentality, it suggests that we are perhaps looking at our guys through lacy doilies and maybe missing the real virtues. Todd, for example, doesn't come charging through the back door after a hard day contemplating the outlook for energy on a big, old white stead with a rose between his teeth (well, not too often, anyway). This kind of behavior, Harvey might argue, "is not in his DNA." This sent me to Scripture to see what we can learn from Jesus.

The Biblical Husband

Husbands, loves your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... (Ephesians 5:25a)

Much has been written about what loving one's wife as Christ loved the church means. While we will never appreciate in the mortal sphere what this utterly selfless love really implies, it serves as an ideal for human love... something to strive for. As I think about Harvey's three-point love grid, I wonder if Christ's love for the church sets the standard here.

Christ professed His love.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)

Christ provided mortal and eternal sustenance.

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted... (John 6:9)

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world though him. (John 3:17)

Christ protected.

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)

So, ladies... if your husband is professing his love, trying in some way to provide for you, and protecting you, give him a hug today and tell him you appreciate all that he does!

Pic by One Lucky Guy... click here for restrictions.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Gracie


Heartbreaking news from a classmate at Dallas Seminary whose baby went home to the Lord on Saturday. They have written about their journey with precious Gracie here. Please keep this family in your prayers.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

About Replacement Costs


You can judge who deserves the bigger thwhack on the head: the one who left the brand, new cell phone in his pants pocket in the dirty clothes (that would be my 12-year-old son) or the one who washed the pants without checking the pockets (that would be me). So there sits his long-coveted cell phone in black-out mode in a bag of organic brown rice on a counter next to the jar of newly hatched sea monkeys that mysteriously went from seven to one overnight (sniffle, sniffle... more on that later). The Verizon guy said water damaged cell phones occasionally dry out in rice, so that's where we are.

Todd and I resisted the "But everyone else has one" guilt trip for many months before caving in and buying our tween a cell phone. I, personally, viewed with some, dare I say, judgment the accessorizing of our pre-teens with technology they really don't need. But, as our family increasingly fans out like an NYPD SWAT team over Texas ballparks, guitar studios and kenpo dojo's, it was becoming clear that a cell phone might, indeed, serve a purpose.

The Deal We Couldn't Resist

We acquired our son's phone as part of a "sign up" deal that commits us to a service contract and basically throws a nice phone in a minimal or no cost. But we learned yesterday, that the cost of replacing that good deal would be more than $300. So replacement costs are a bugger.

(Todd remembered he still had his "old" cell phone which really isn't that old. It's got a little aluminum finish chipping off and the picture window has a nice-sized crack. But, hey, it turns on! I enthusiastically rushed this over to my son expecting to see a grin of relief. "It works, it WORKS!" I chirped. "Uh, did you notice that has an antenna?" Which left me wondering when antennae became un-cool..)

Salvation: What Are the Replacement Costs?

So, we got this complimentary phone a while back with a service contract. And while the replacements costs are high, the phone could be replaced. I could go to the Verizon store this afternoon, lay down $300, and we could walk away with a new phone. It's not free anymore. But, it is obtainable. I flashed in my mind to things spiritual. Is there a salvation analogy here?

Salvation is free.

You've heard it said, perhaps, that the gift of salvation is free. This is what that means: Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again. All who trust in this truth are spared an eternity of separation from God. You are saved. You don't have to do tricks. You don't have to perform. You don't have to excel. You don't have to compete for anything. It is yours... free... for the asking. The gift made possible by a merciful and gracious God.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

But there are no replacements.

Unlike my son's dead cell phone, there is not an option once you die to "sign up" under different contract terms. If you pass on the free gift of salvation and you expire, you have made an irrevocably bad decision. It's something that can't be undone or renegotiated. There's no bargaining or bartering.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

There is but one path to salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

My son fired up Todd's old cell phone last night and got himself a Bon Jovi ringtone. He has reconciled the fact that we will not be smacking down $300 for a Lexus-level cell phone for someone who doesn't even smell of after shave. The shiny, new phone still sits in a bag of rice awaiting a technological miracle of some sort. But it's all good. Cell phone, schmell phone. He's going to heaven and that's the main thing.

Are you?

Photo by b2tse... click here for restrictions.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Pride Is... What?

Stand tall, don't you fall.
Oh, for God's sake don't go and do something foolish.
All you're feeling right now, is silly human pride

(Lyrics from "Stand Tall" by Burton Cummings)

OK, I don't have this song in my iPod library. I don't actually like this song. I find it kind of corporate-marketing-meeting cheesy. That of course is just my opinion (I don't have any Bruce Springsteen songs in my collection, either...). But there's something in the verse about the "silly human pride" that's worth a look. A careful look.

What does the word "pride" mean, anyway? I'll bet if you took a person-on-the-street poll, you would get answers like: "Someone who can't say she's sorry." And that would be correct. Or, "Someone who can't accept help." And that would be correct. This is probably the popular, normative understanding of the word. But as it relates to what God finds upsetting in the spirit of the creature, is there more to the story? Have we taken a truly reviling and ignoble human quality... a mortal fault... and turned it culturally into a kind of euphemism? Narrowly defining it such a way that we miss the point of what it is that leads God to allow for sometimes painful correction in our lives?

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

I was trying to sketch out a kind of "trajectory" of what precipitated some legendary "falls" in the Bible. To see if there is a pattern of some sort. I looked at Satan (who was of the highest angelic order before he fell), Moses (who had a top job but wrestled with "people" issues), David (who defied God and counted his men and also sinned with Bathsheba), Solomon (who amassed a fortune and turned his affections to pagan women). There are lots of other falls, of course, but here we have a sample for illustrative purposes. All those mentioned got to the top of something. Is it possible that, like a dripping faucet, there was something "leaky" in the ascent that created a heart condition that led them to sin and, ultimately, fall? Could we call it selfishness? And is this selfishness a manifestation of pride?

Pride: noun (from dictionary.com)

1. a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc

Larry Crabb wrote an illuminating book called Inside Out that deals with the perils of living our lives fixated on self. And it's popular to assail the problem with "pride" in our Christian walk. "That's a pride thing," we say somewhat knowingly. But, more and more, I wonder if I really have a clue as to how this pride really manifests. And so long as culture has me thinking it's a "silly" or narrowly defined she-won't-accept-my-offer-of-meatloaf issue, am I inclinced to properly deal with it? I'm beginning to wonder if I have a clue as to what pride really looks like... and that's, uh, scary.

Question: What does pride look like in your life?

On my iPod... _____________. Having a new music deficit!