Monthly Archives: May 2017

My Marriage Journey

Over the course of probably the next few weeks, I want to write down the journey I took in getting married. Many people have told my wife and I before that we need to write a book about it, so I figured why not blog about it first, get the gist of it out, and then use that to write the book?

Our story is unique in the sense that it’s our story, but it’s also unique in the sense that we did things much differently than most people. We didn’t court, or date. Though it was 11 months before we got married. And we didn’t kiss until we got married. And I don’t think we even held hands.

What’s funnier is my wife didn’t like me and I didn’t like her. But we both said I do before we had to say I do. It was arranged, sorta. We tried to arrange our marriage, but we had to do it ourselves, and yet it still was somewhat arranged.

Well, I don’t know how to describe it. But the journey will begin next Wednesday. We will tell our tale, which is still being told.

How to Read the Bible (2)

There’s something else I want to add on my thoughts about how to read the Bible. When it comes to reading the Bible, what is the role of the Holy Spirit?

Give us understanding

Paul tells Timothy in one particular passage:

2 Timothy 2:7 “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

Previous to this verse Paul tells Timothy to put men in charge who will faithfully teach the message of Jesus Christ. Paul then exhorts Timothy by appealing to three different analogies. Then Paul says, “think over what I say.”

This is interesting because Paul purposefully gives Timothy some stuff that isn’t immediately understandable. Each is disconnected and not easily ascertained as to what Paul is saying. Paul knows this, and writes to think it over.

That’s where I want to pause. As Christians who ought to be reading our Bible, we must read, and read daily. Sometimes our reading will be poor and quick, other times it will be long and satisfying. Regardless, the Bible needs to be read, and if we can read it long, then we must strive for that. Why? Because Paul says to Timothy to pause, stare, reflect, think over what he had just said.

When we read the Bible, we must use our minds, not merely our hearts. We shouldn’t stop on a passage because it seems to apply to our lives right now. We shouldn’t read until something is applicable to you. We should read, and then pause, and reflect, and ponder, and think hard over what we just read.

Which is why I said devotional reading shouldn’t be the only type of reading we do. We ought to be wrestling with a book of the Bible, thinking about what is being said, who is saying it, to whom it is being said, and figuring out the mere facts of the Bible. The stuff that’s there in the text. Why it was written that way, and why it was said like that, and why certain words were and weren’t used, and what the whole passage or book is about.

We must be deep thinkers.

But why? Well, because Paul says, “for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

If we want to grow in understanding, we need to think. Reading can be thinking, and reading can also be done in such a way that we obtain nothing. We must be thinking along side of reading. We must be asking questions. Why? Because God will give us understanding.

It is the Holy Spirit who will teach us what the Bible says, but only if we think about the passage. We cannot pretend to think we have the Bible right just because we prayed about it and something seemed to fit. We shouldn’t mock God, like a genie. We must revere God, and we must treat His word respectfully. Which means, as I said before, understanding that these words mean something more than what I want them to me. These words mean something that the author intended them to mean and I need to figure out what he intended to communicate.

One of the roles of the Holy Spirit, then, when it comes to us reading the Bible, is to give us understanding as we think through what was said/written.

May we understand what we read. May we not abuse the text by believing the text to mean whatever we want it to mean.

How to read the Bible

If we as Christians need to read the word of God daily, then we also need to know how to read the Bible. You’d think that we’d know how to but the sad reality is that as Christians we often don’t.

The reason for this isn’t because the Bible is some magical book that needs a magical way of reading it. The reason is because in our ignorance, arrogance, sin, and believing what the world has told us, we read the Bible in how we want to read it.

To read the Bible is simple, but we have over-complicated it. To read the Bible is easy, but we make it into something other than it should be.

So how can we begin to learn to read the Bible?

First Steps

The first step in reading the Bible is know what the Bible is and isn’t.

The Bible is a book written by multiple authors in multiple periods of time in multiple places. This should be obvious but it isn’t. I believe the Bible to be the word of God, but I also know the Bible, as the word of God, was written by over 60 authors, spanning a few thousand years, in different cultures.

To know this means we don’t read this book like you do every other book. Most books you may read today are probably written by people in your country, within the past fifty years.  Since these books you read are closer to you in time and culture you have less work to do in trying to understand what the author was saying. When it comes to the Bible we are separated by a few thousand years, thousands of miles, and thousands of cultural changes.

Each of these factors becomes an obstacle in understanding the Bible. However, this doesn’t mean you need to be a scholar who reads all sorts of historical information about the time period to understand what is going on in the text of Scripture. While I argue it would be a good thing to do and one every Christians ought to do, it’s not necessary to spend hundreds of hours to study the culture and context Moses was in so you can understand the command “Do not steal.”

So what am I saying? What I’m saying is being aware of these facts will help you come up with questions that will help you in reading the Bible. Knowing this will get you to pause and reflect and ask questions like, “Who was the original audience of this book?” “What were they like?” “How would they understand these things?”

When you begin asking those questions, you will begin to see much more of the Bible open up to you. You will notice things you hadn’t before. And much more of the Bible will begin to make sense. Why? Because you will be asking the right questions and you will remove the veil that your current context brings to see more of the glory of God’s word.

What it isn’t

So now that you know what the Bible is in it’s most basic and tangible form: multiple books written by multiple authors over the course of multiple centuries and cultures, all orchestrated and designed by God to communicate what he desires of his people to know about him and about how they ought to live; let’s look at what the Bible isn’t.

I’m not going to give a full explanation of each of these, but they should be rather obvious:

  1. The Bible is not your personal handbook to living life
  2. The Bible is not the “road map of life”
  3. The Bible is not a how to book
  4. The Bible is not a horoscope, Ouija board, or any sort of magical book that gives you direct answers to what you should do right now like buy this car or marry that person.
  5. The Bible is not a book that we should flippantly read: Understanding it leads to life, misunderstanding means death.



Christians need to do this daily

One of the worst things Christians can do is neglect their calling as Christians. This calling is one that urges us to take action, be ready, be prepared, to suit up, to arm ourselves, renew our minds and think hard. Being a Christians is a life of action. There is no passivity in the Christian life. If you’re being passive then you probably aren’t being all that God has called his people to be.

What Christ did was not passive

When we think of the one we follow, our Lord Jesus Christ, we often think of one who was acting. When he descended from the heavens to become a man, that was an action. When he lived life on earth he was active. We even get a glimpse of Jesus as a young boy, around thirteen, stepping outside of his family and remaining in the temple to be about his Father’s business.

What’s interesting is God’s actions in saving us are something we passively receive. The blessings of being redeemed, adopted, chosen, and given a new heart are all things God does to us, things in which we did nothing for. The beginning of our Christian lives is one in which God acts upon us, but the rest of the Christian life is working out what God has worked within.

The change God causes within us sets us up on a path of good works. We we’re created in Christ Jesus for good works, as Paul says in Ephesians.

This we must do daily

With all this being said, there is one thing we Christians cannot neglect if we are to be Christians. That thing is putting on the armor of God.

The armor of God is another way of saying the new man, the man born again in Christ. It’s another way of saying putting on Christ. It’s another way of saying being renewed in our minds.

And we do this primarily by immersing ourselves in the Word of God. We must be reading the Bible daily. Not just reading it like a devotional. If we want to mature in Christ we need to grow up from reading the Bible as little grapes to pick up and chew. We must read the Bible as a whole course meal, providing us with the proper nutrition of growing into maturity.

There are some items on our plate we don’t like eating, like vegetables. But, eating those are good and right. In the same way, if we skip over the parts that are hard to understand or that we don’t like reading, we will neglect the blessings of the fullness of God’s word. We will have to rely upon others for our nutrition, which can lead to being blown about by strange doctrines.

As Christians, in order to take up our armor, and to know how to wield the sword of the Spirit, aka the word of God, then we must be reading the Bible daily, and reading through the whole Bible regularly. And over the course of ten years, you’ll know far more of the Bible if you do so, and will be blessed for having done so.

You need to waste your life on this

The book Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper was one I thoroughly enjoyed and was convicted by. I read it a few years ago and it fanned the already burning flame that God had kindled. But John Piper had something wrong in the book.

Why You need to waste your life

What’s the meaning or purpose to life? Why are we here? These are questions that John Piper answers in the book. And he argues why the answer to these questions that he gives means that you need to stop wasting your life on other things than the ultimate meaning and ultimate purpose to life.

To summarize John Piper’s answer to the question “what’s the purpose of life,” one I agree with I must add, is that we are made to Glorify God and enjoy him forever. Which isn’t an answer that Piper came up with, it has some history. But we’re going to skip that for now.

Piper famously likes to change the sentence to: Glorify God by enjoying him forever. I could go on about the tremendous things realizing this did for me. However, I’m writing because I want to tell you why you need to waste your life, and what you need to waste your life on.

Piper didn’t get it wrong, but I would like to do the same thing he did, which is take his sentence and change it, or tweak it.

Instead of “Don’t Waste Your Life,” I would like to advocate for “Waste All of Your Life.” It might be merely semantic, but I think we as Christians need to waste more life on Glorifying God by enjoying him. This is something we need to waste our hours, minutes, and time doing.

Instead of playing on some app, we should spend those minutes in the Bible. Instead of watching some tv, we should spend that time praying and reading books that seek to glorify God. Instead of waiting in line and surfing facebook, instagram, twitter and the like, we ought to be memorizing scripture.

All our minutes are going to be wasted on something. And we often waste tons of minutes a day. The question is, how are you wasting them? If you’re just letting your minutes waste themselves then you’re probably letting your money spend itself as well. Which is why you probably don’t know where it all goes at the end of the day.


Waste your life. Waste it all. But waste it all on knowing God and enjoying God. Waste your time in the Bible.

I may be accused of legalism, but that’s okay. I enjoy reading God’s word more than I enjoy Facebook. If that makes me a legalistic, then I’ll gladly carry that title.

You are choosing to spend your minutes how you want to. And sure, that TV show may be a good waste of your time, but I know a better waste of your time.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” -John Piper

Taking responsibility or control?

As I have been mulling over in my head the ideas of taking action and not being passive in our lives, I’ve considered that perhaps I’m being a little too vigorous. Is taking action in every area of our lives really what God desires us to do? If we take action in every area could this be really us just trying to be in control of our lives?

As a Reformed Christian I believe that God in divinely in control of everything that happens. Meaning that all the evil going on in the world is to some degree within the plan of God and He allows it all to happen. If our God is powerful then he can stop any evil act he so desires. And he doesn’t for reasons the Bible tells us and reasons we cannot know.

If God is in control of everything, then he is already in control of my life. However, the Bible encourages us to live in these days of evil wisely (Ephesians 4). We must take action, and be men, Paul tells the Corinthians in chapter 16. We are told to encourage one another daily, as the writer of the Hebrews says.

This means that God uses means to control everything. One way God controls his people is through commands, encouragement, admonition, and instruction. God desires his people to take control of their lives. Really, to take control means to live as good stewards of our lives. If our lives are a gift, and being of the faith is a divine act of God, then we cannot squander any area of our lives.

I don’t see taking action in every area of our lives as trying to control our lives, so long as we are living according to the word of God and the Spirit of God (who points us to the word of God). Sometimes we read the parable of the talents, and think about how we can multiply our businesses, or work more for the Lord with our “talents”. Seldom do we think ask, what are the “talents” God has given me?

I believe the talents are not simply the wealth we may have, nor the “gifting” God has given us for others. The talents are every area of our lives. Its our physical health. Its our wealth. Its our relationships. Its our love for God. Its our work and our social lives.

God has given all of thus these talents. We must ask ourselves, how do we multiply our friendships? How do we multiply in our work? How do we multiply in our health? I don’t mean multiply as in having more friends, but multiply as in adding to and making better.

When God told Adam to work the garden, and gave him a helpmate, Adam had to multiply and have dominion. He had to do husbandry with the plants and animals, as well as lead and love his wife. We must do the same as Christian men, and Christian women, according to our God given roles respectively.

We live in a time where we can know more, and have more, and do more than ever before. How are you handling your time? Yes, a thousand years ago they didn’t have as much and couldn’t do as much, but that doesn’t mean we can take more time for ourselves. If anything, God has given us a responsibility to take the 100 talents we have been given and multiply them more. The reason we have 100 talents, when 200 years ago they only had 50, was because with their 50 they multiplied it and it has been handed to us.

With great power truly comes great responsibility. We are often in the problems we are in because of our laziness, our unwillingness to take responsibility for the things that are truly our responsibility. Even if we live in a fallen world, that doesn’t give us an excuse to not care for our bodies to use them and wear them out for the glory of God. Even if we live among sinful men and women, that doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to our children and their children and their children’s children.

As Christians, we must think hard, assess what God has given us, and what we can do in those areas of life that we have ability to affect.

I’ll use an example and be done:

If you don’t care about your health, when God has given you a time in which you can be healthier and more fit than any other time, then you are putting that responsibility upon someone else. When you hit 80 years old, your health may (or will definitely) fail, and if you haven’t prepared financially for that, that responsibility falls upon someone else. And as Christians this ought not be so. We ought to so think as to love our children now and in the future.

Sometimes, that does mean letting one area of talent fail because you can grow others better. But let it be a conscious, well informed, well prayed through decision, and not one that just happens and you have no plans for.

And ultimately, God will do as he pleases, so know that God will direct his people’s steps as they plan their ways.

Stop doing this

If you are anything like me then you have often wanted to “experience more of God.” I use to desire this all the time. Now I don’t. Why? Because I don’t even know what that means, “experience more of God.” What was experiencing God like for David? Solomon? Elijah? Abraham? Isaac?

If we want to “experience more of God” or “experience more of His presence,” then we need to obey more of His commands. One of which will really get you to “experience” more of Him. Which is: meditating upon His word.

Have you ever thought about wanting to experience more of the beach? Do you simply ask to have more of an experience at the beach? Or do you go to the beach “experience” it?

In our desire to know God more then praying to experience God isn’t going to help us to know Him. Meditating upon His word will. I simply don’t like the term “experiencing God” or “desiring more of His presence,” because both I believe have fault assumption within them.

Experiencing God sounds too much like experiencing life. It’s vague, squishy, and it doesn’t mean much. We experience life 24/7, even when we “don’t feel anything” we are technically feeling and experiencing life. Desiring more of God’s presence is also too vague and not rooted in the Bible enough. Most of God’s people didn’t have supernatural experiences. Most of them lived life, obeyed God, and that was supernatural enough. Plus, God’s “presence” is everywhere and nowhere all at once. God is beyond location, and so he can be found everywhere and nowhere. He has no substance but all substance subsists in him. Thus, his presence can be both wrath, fire, brimstone, and love, joy, and peace.


I think it’s about time we try to be more precise in our language. That’s why I don’t pray to “experience God” more, but rather that I would know Him more and understand His love for me as Paul prayed in Ephesians 3. I don’t pray for “more of God’s presence” because He dwells in me. Instead, I pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and then I live out God’s commands, seeking to love my fellow brother in Christ.

I won’t get upset at anyone if they want to say that they want to experience God or feel more of His presence. Often they just want to feel more joy and be less caught up in themselves, so I pray for that for them.

But I pray that we all will use our language more precisely.

This is Ungodly

It may be just me, but there’s something I’ve been noticing in our culture. It’s something that has seeped into Christian culture as well. It binds us and holds us back, preventing us from being and doing as God has told us to be.


It’s there when we say we’re “waiting upon the Lord.” It’s there when we wait until the last minute to do what we need to do. It’s there in our fears or doubts or worries about doing something. It’s there in our decision making, and it’s there in our idol worship.

Lewis once wrote that we are far too easily pleased and would often rather play in the muddy slums than take the invitation to a cruise out to sea. Why is that? Because we’re passive and don’t want to work for joy but rather sit where we are.

I’ve thought about how in the past I use to idolize marriage. I use to think it was because I though about marriage too much. Now I realize why I thought about marriage too much: because I didn’t take any steps towards it. I turned marriage into an idol and prayed for marriage so much, being stuck seeking whether “God wanted” me to be married or not. What I should have done was take steps towards marriage. I would have not thought about it as much because I was moving towards it. And what I mean by moving towards is preparing myself for it. Which may have meant asking people for their thoughts if I am ready or not. Asking people what I may need to work on. Saving up for a home and to have children.

Instead, it was far easier for me to be passive, waiting “upon God” to “do something” to “show me” what “He wanted.” This was really just laziness. God usually doesn’t tell people if they’re going to be married or not, and really He desires us to take action. For women that may mean preparing yourself and saving up as well. For men, it may mean actually manning up while looking for her.

Anyways, this post isn’t about marriage. This post is about our passivity. We don’t want to move because it’s far easier to sit where we are. However, if God has given us the Holy Spirit, and He commands us to move, then we must move. There is no time for passivity in the Christian life. We don’t wait for circumstances to change. Surely we make sure that we are living according to God’s word, and if we are, then we ought not fear moving forward.

As I read the Bible, I don’t see really any character who is passive. Most of the Godly men and women take action and are called to action. Submission itself isn’t an act of passivity either. I think of one of David’s wives, Abigail, who submitted fully to her husband, and yet took such action as to spare her husband who still ended up dying.

Jesus himself, though submitting himself to the cross, was not passive. This was what he came to do. Thus, it was a life of action that brought him to that point.

There are areas in your life that you are suppose to have dominion over. Why are you being passive? God wants us to handle our finances well, why then are you letting your money fly wherever it wishes? You are suppose to handle your family well, why then are you letting your children be disobedient to you and the Lord?

As Christians, we are called to live according to God’s word. Why then are we letting America be taken over by the wicked? Why are we being silent?

Because we are passive. We would rather wait for “God” to do something, rather than realize that God has always used instruments to bring about change in the world. Are you willing to be an instrument? Or are you going to be passive, burying your talent in the sand?