God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
Today as millions of couples celebrate Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be worth going back to where it all began—the garden of Eden. We are told in Genesis 1 that on the sixth day of creation, God created Adam and Eve in his own image, “male and female he created them.” From this one verse there are several truths worth noting. First, God created one man and one woman. Throughout the previous creation account, we read that God created an abundance of fish in the sea and birds in the sky and animals roaming the land. God did not create just two fish in the sea to multiply and fill it. He said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures…” God did not create just two mice or just one cow and one bull but caused the earth to be filled with living creatures. Yet, when he created humans, he created one man and one woman. The message is clear—God intended marriage to be the union of one man and one woman for a lifetime. Had God intended for polygamy to be the norm, he would have created multiple women for Adam, but he didn’t. Eve was all Adam was given because she was all he needed. Adam was all Eve had because she was created for him, for his enjoyment and companionship. The second obvious truth is that God created two genders—male and female. He did not create multiple genders because there were not multiple people, and multiple genders did not exist in each of them. This makes sense in light of the fact that God then commands them to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (v.28). Two males or two females cannot carry out the intended purpose for which God created humans. The third important truth to notice is that marriage is for a lifetime. Adam and Eve were not supposed to die. Thus, the message that would have been emphatically clear to them is that ‘it’s just you and me forever.’ If their marriage didn’t work out for some reason, there was no one else for Adam or Eve to turn to. There was no one else! The message was clear—‘Make this work, because each other is all you have.’ Married couples need to still think this way. We need to make this work because each other is all we have—divorce is not an option. If you are married and reading this, use today to not just focus your attention on your marriage today, but use today to make this the starting point for making your marriage a priority. Begin to make your spouse a top priority because each other is all you have.
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. (Proverbs 31:10)
Since the 1960’s, the feminist agenda has pushed the idea that to be fully woman is to be equal with men in every way. The problem this created is that the idea of women being equal with men in every way has not only driven women into the fulltime workforce, to taking steroids and entering professional body building and losing all semblance of femininity, desiring to become frontline infantry soldiers, and female MMA fighters, but has led to the misguided belief that for women to be equal with men is to be a man. Hence, the rise in transgenderism among women. However, true womanhood, biblical womanhood, is not to be found in women being equal with men, but in fulfilling the God-ordained and essential role for which they were created. If God wanted a world filled with men, he would have created two Adams who could reproduce, but he did not. He created Eve because Adam needed a helper. Adam needed a complementarian counterpart. God created Eve because she was necessary to the order and balance of creation. Then what does it mean to be fully and truly woman according to God? First, biblical womanhood means living her life for the glory of God and being content with having been created woman. Women are fully created in the image of God and as such are created for his glory; that is, to reflect the glory and the beauty of her Creator (Gen 1:27; Is 43:6-7; 1 Cor 10:31). Second, for those married, biblical womanhood means being a helpmate to her husband in fulfilling whatever ministry or occupation God has called him to. Eve was created to be Adam’s helper, to help him do what God had set before him (Gen 2:18). Biblical womanhood means graciously and willingly submitting to her husband’s leadership and authority, not because she is less intelligent—she is not—but because she so completely trusts in the goodness and sovereignty of God, she recognizes and accepts that God has placed her where she is (Eph 1:11b; 5:22-24). Third, biblical womanhood means making the care of her husband, her children, and her home her foremost priority (Titus 2:3-5). Not because she is incapable of doing more, but because she is so in love with Christ and desires to be like him who said of himself, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mk. 10:45). Biblical womanhood is about submitting to God’s will, embracing the role God has given her, and doing all for the glory of God.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Cor. 16:13)
I once heard it said that if a man-eating lion was released in the United States, he would starve to death. This is probably not far from the truth. This is because too many men have a misunderstanding of biblical manhood. Too many men think being a man means being into sports, being a tough guy, being able to handle guns or hunt and fish or never being emotional. But that is not what biblical manhood is about. Biblical manhood is about being the spiritual leader for your family, being the provider and protector for your family, and about leading and serving within the church. Scripture makes clear that husbands and fathers are to shepherd and disciple their wives and children (Eph 5:25-27; 6:4). It is their responsibility to not only teach them God’s word through personal conversations and family worship time, but also to set the example by leading the family in prayers before meals and bedtime, by spending personal time in God’s word and prayer, and by striving to be like Christ. Biblical manhood also means being the primary provider for the family. Scripture makes clear that if any man “does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). Though women may work outside the home, it is the man’s responsibility to ensure there is food on the table, a roof over the family’s head, and clothes for them to wear. Biblical manhood means being the spiritual and physical protector of the family. This means understanding theology rightly so as to squash false doctrine, regulating what the family listens to and watches on the radio and television, and gently, lovingly, and protectively treating his wife as the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7). Finally, biblical manhood means leading and serving within the church. Too many mainline protestant churches are filled and staffed with women who are serving in the nursery, teaching the Sunday school classes, running the church, and preaching the Sunday sermons. This is largely due to the fact that for too long men have been AWOL from church. Church is important. Women understand that. But as they looked around and saw no men willing to step up and lead, women felt they had no choice but to step up and fill the leadership void. Men need to remember the words of the apostle Paul—"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
So often when we are going through difficult times in life, when we are suffering, hurting, it can be difficult to see God. It can be difficult to trust in the goodness of God, to know he is there comforting us, leading us, strengthening us. What is interesting to note from the 23rd psalm is that David does not write, ‘The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He leads me around the valley of the shadow of death because it frightens me…’ He also does not say, ‘Even though He takes me through the valley of the shadow of death…’ David does not fault God for going through the darkest valleys of life. He understands that going through the dark valleys of life is part of living life in a fallen world. For God to truly protect us from experiencing suffering in this world, he would have to take us out of this world. Thus, David does not focus on the negative (the dark valley), he focuses on the positive (“for you are with me”). David is trusting in the goodness and leading of God. He may not understand why he is in this valley or where God is leading him, but this he knows--that God is with him, that God has not abandoned him, that God is caring for him, loving him, leading him, strengthening him. The joy and the strength and comfort that comes from being in covenantal relationship with God is not in being protected from harm and suffering but—unlike the rest of the world—knowing we are not alone. Unlike the rest of the world, knowing there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Unlike the rest of the world, knowing that somehow my suffering is for my good and God’s glory. Unlike the rest of the world, knowing that we never say “goodbye” to our loved ones in Christ but rather, “I’ll see you after a while.” Believers look forward to the day when we will be reunited with our loved ones and family and friends. Thus, when we walk through life’s darkest valleys, let us not fear the evil that lies before us for God is with us.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:9)
It’s interesting that when Paul encourages the Corinthian church to give generously, he does not command them. In fact, he specifically says to them, “I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine” (2 Cor. 8:8, 24). In other words, he does not want to command them to give but if they want to prove or show their love for Christ is genuine, that their love for others is genuine, then they should give generously to the church. Paul encourages them to give generously for two reasons. First, he appeals to the example set by the church in Macedonia. At the beginning of the chapter he writes, “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (vv.1-4, emphasis added). Out of “their extreme poverty” they gave in a “wealth of generosity…beyond their means” and were begging them earnestly for the privilege of being able to give. The church in Macedonia was extremely generous. So much so, he mentions this when he writes to them in the letter to the Philippians, that throughout his missionary journeys, they were the only ones who faithfully and consistently provided him with financial and material support (1:3-7; 4:14-18). The second way Paul encourages them to give generously is by reminding them of what Christ has done for them. He goes on to say, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (8:9, emphasis added). He reminds them of God’s grace and all that Christ accomplished on their behalf and then encourages them to give in light of that. In other words, look toward the cross of Christ and then ask yourself, ‘In light of what Christ gave for me, how much should I be willing to give for him?’ How much of my income is the cross of Christ worth? We should strive for and pray to be more like the church in Macedonia who “overflowed in a wealth of generosity” for the saints (8:5).
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. (2 Kings 22:11)
In 2 Kings 22-23, we read that while the temple was being repaired under the leadership and direction of King Josiah who “did was right in the eyes of the LORD”, a copy of the “Book of the Law” was found inside the temple. It was then carried to King Josiah and read to him. And when “the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes” and then commanded them to “Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us" (22:13). Josiah responds to God’s Laws with conviction, guilt, and remorse. Later, in chapter 23, Josiah makes “a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book” (23:3). He then cleanses the temple of the “vessels made for Baal,” deposes the false priests, removes the high places and Asherah poles, and “broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes.” Thus, Josiah first responds to God’s Law with conviction, guilt, and remorse, and then leads the people in repentance by turning them away from the worship of false gods. What a great example for all of us. This should be our response to the reading and hearing of God’s word. Yet, so often, like the Israelites, we become dull and callused to God’s word. We read it mindlessly during our personal devotional time. We hear the Bible being read in church and yet our mind is someplace else. The Israelites fell into sin because they had forgotten what God had done for them. This is evident from the fact they had not kept the Passover for over 700 years (23:21-22). May our prayer ever be: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, oh take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.”
Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Cor. 10:17-18)
Living in the technological and information age has its advantages and its disadvantages. We live in a time and age where many feel the pressure and temptation to be a “social influencer.” Thus, many will take to some form of social media platform with the desire to be heard, to shape public opinion. We all have this desire to be thought highly of in our own respective circles, among our own peers, whether that be among the professional/white collar class or among the gangbanger/drug dealer class. We all want people to think better of us and not less of us. Trust me when I say the irony of me writing this short article and posting it on the internet is not lost on me. Because of the amount of writing and posting I do, I spend a great deal of time evaluating and then re-evaluating my own motives. Why do I do what I do? Why do I write? Why do I post? This is where passages like 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 can be great reminders of where our approval and commendation must come from. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” In the end, we must ever remember that it really does not matter what others think of us. It doesn’t matter what other’s opinion is of us. All that matters is what God thinks of us and that God is pleased with us. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). When we live for the approval or commendation of people, we are setting ourselves up for failure because people will always disappoint us and we can never truly nor fully live up to the expectations of others. But God will never disappoint us, and what God expects of us is repentance and faith. So long as we are trusting in Christ alone for our eternal security, we are completely forgiven of all our sins, clothed in Christ’s perfect righteousness, and are in right standing before God. Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
I once a read a bumper sticker that said, “Seven days without reading the Bible makes one weak.” Notice the spelling of the word “weak.” This is absolutely true. I recently read about a survey conducted in 2020, which showed that 55% of professing Christians said they read their Bible 3-4 times or less per year. Not that they read the entire Bible 3-4 times per year, but that they pick up their Bible and read something from it 3-4 times per year. This is incredibly unfortunate because God’s word tells us that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” The words “breathed out by God” in the original New Testament Greek language are actually one word--theopneustos. It’s a compound word made from combining two Greek words, theos (God) and pneustos (breath). Thus, all scripture is the very breath of God. All scripture is God breathing. The Bible is not simply a record of what God has spoken; the Bible is God speaking to us in the here and now. It is for this reason it is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” If you want to be thoroughly equipped and prepared for everything life throws at you, read God's word every day. “For man does not live by bread alone but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)
We live in a world that has a significant misunderstanding of what love is and what it means to love. The world thinks that loving someone means never wanting to offend them or upset them or disappoint them. But the reality is that kind of love is really self-serving and self-protecting. Those who love in that way do so because they don’t want others to think less of them. They don’t want others to think they are judgmental or condescending. In the end, if my way of loving someone is not doing or saying anything to offend or upset or disappoint them, then it’s really more about me than it is about that person. For this reason John writes, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” While we might be tempted to think to ourselves, ‘Gosh! That’s harsh language. Just because I don’t want to offend or upset or disappoint someone does not mean I hate that person.’ But it does, according to the apostle John. If we see a truck barreling toward someone and we do nothing to warn him or rescue him, we clearly must hate that person. If we see someone, a believer or unbeliever, engaging in behavior we know will be harmful to themselves or someone else and we say or do nothing to warn them or help them, we clearly must hate them. We may not think we do. We may not feel we do. But hate is not about thoughts, or feelings—it’s about inaction. It’s about watching someone harm themselves or others and doing nothing to change it. Thus, as John writes, “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn. 3:18). Love must be more than words—love does what is best for someone else.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)
Continuing to talk about love, people often wrestle with how to define love. What is love? We know what it looks like and how it behaves from 1 Corinthians 13:1-7, but how do we define it? As with any good and positive character trait, we must define love based on the character of God. This is especially true when we talk about love because scripture tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God is not just the source of love or filled with love--God is love. God is love personified. He is the very definition of love. Thus, if we are going to truly love people, if we are truly going to love our neighbor, our friends, our spouse, our children, we need to try and understand the love of God. In Romans 5:8 scripture says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” “While we were still sinners,” we are told. To be clear about what it means to be a sinner in the eyes of God, a few verses later we read, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (5:10, emphasis added). “Enemies” of God is what it means to be sinners. This is because, as Anselm once rightly stated, most Christians “have not considered just how grievous a thing sin is in the eyes of God.” Each time we sin, regardless of what the sin is, we are shaking our fist at God shouting, ‘I don’t care about your holiness or about your laws!’ All sin, as RC Sproul once stated, “is cosmic treason against God.” And yet, we are told that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners [while we were enemies of God], Christ died for us.” So here is a definition of love based on the manner in which God loves us--love is wanting and doing what is best for someone else regardless of personal cost. God does not owe us anything. We don’t deserve to be saved and have our sins forgiven. Yet, we needed to be saved and have our sins forgiven; thus, God did what was best for us regardless of personal cost. What did it cost him? —the death of his son. This is what love looks like, and this is how we should love God and love our neighbors.
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