I no longer love my husband. I’m not looking to get out of this marriage, but he’s selfish, insensitive to my needs and feelings and a mediocre father at best. Yet, the Bible commands me to love him. I’ve tried, but I just don’t find much in him that’s lovable. So, how does that work?”
I get this question all the time. It comes from Christians who I perceive to be good willed, not looking for a divorce, but feeling guilty because they don’t feel any love or admiration for their spouse. Last week’s blog was about honoring parents who appear to deserve no honor. This week we turn to other family members and in particular, spouses. So, what does the Bible have to say about this dilemma? (more…)
I have a close friend whose father was both distant and hard on him. The son could never please his father and apparently neither could the man’s wife, my friend’s mother. No physical abuse, just selfish, disrespectful behavior. On top of it, the man claimed to be a Christian – a pillar in his church.
“So Clare, when the Bible says, “Honor your father and your mother”, how does that work? I have no respect for the man at all! So, I can’t believe God expects me to honor and respect him.”
“Actually, God does,” I told him. “There are a lot of really lousy fathers in the Bible, and nowhere does God give their children a pass on honoring or respecting them. So, here’s how I think honoring a parent who doesn’t appear to deserve much honor, works in real life.” (more…)
In last week’s blog, I encouraged every serious follower of Jesus, especially parents and grandparents, to begin the practice of briefly articulating in writing what they believe on all things Christian. It’s a practice I call writing Jesus speeches.
The following is an example of something I wrote recently in response to this question: “I’m not ordained. But, can I serve communion to my family or observe it with a group of Christian friends outside of the church?”
The Bible gives very few guidelines for how communion is to be “done” outside of the gospels and in I Cor. 11. In the early churches, communion was never a ceremony in a church building. It was a potluck meal – a “supper”, served in a home. They usually began like the first communion, one person broke a loaf of bread in half or pieces, saying a prayer of remembrance for Christ’s body broken for us, and passed the pieces to everyone else, with great reverence. Then they ate their meal.
After the meal, they prayed and passed a cup of wine around for everyone to drink. Just like Jesus did. “Likewise the cup, after supper saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 22:20. So, what else must a Christian consider before observing communion on their own? (more…)
A bright young Christian just left my office after asking, “How do I prepare myself to be a life-long follower of Jesus?” He’s been practicing the 10 second rule, but has been struggling to have a time of regular devotions. It just felt lifeless and mechanical. But, he really wants to figure out how to think and act like Jesus.
So, I gave him this assignment; “write one of Jesus’ speeches.” “How do I do that, and on what topic?” he asked. So, I pointed him in this direction, “What spiritual, moral, or biblical questions do you have?”
“Well, I have been wrestling with this question lately; is it wrong to listen to certain kinds of music and if so, where do I draw that line?” “Perfect,” I responded. “Start there.” “Do you mean Jesus talks about music lyrics in the Bible?” “No”, I said, “But start with these ideas in mind.” (more…)