TD Fri. – Marriage & Divorce LG Study

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Hey TD!

This week, we will explore “Marriage and Divorce” – both very common (too common) amongst Christians, our church included.  We will need to come open-handed and open-hearted, truthful yet sensitive, desiring to really see what the Lord’s intentions and directives are, willing to call a spade a spade, and resolving to live His way.  Once again, we will study in an open architecture, group study format.

See you Friday! – Arthur

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TD Fri. – LG Study & Orphans Update

Hey TD,

Continuing our “Are You Serious?” Summer studies, we will continue to dialogically explore passages of Scripture that give us serious truth that we often don’t take too seriously; truth that we acknowledge with our heads, but when push comes to shove, we don’t stand by with our lives.  Either Scripture doesn’t really mean it or we don’t; but someone isn’t really serious.

download (1)1469346170762

This week, we will explore “Marriage and Divorce” – both very common (too common) amongst Christians, our church included.  We will need to come open-handed and open-hearted, truthful yet sensitive, desiring to really see what the Lord’s intentions and directives are, willing to call a spade a spade, and resolving to live His way.  Once again, we will study in an open architecture, group study format.

Prior to our study, we will also hear and see the latest from all the orphaned children we are sponsoring in Africa and China.  We will also show some video footage taken last week of the girls with special needs we are sponsoring in China!  It’ll be a great time to get to know them better and pray for them!

See you Friday! – Arthur

Is Singleness God’s Idea?

If God Made Woman for Man, Then What Is God’s Plan for Singleness?

Hey TD,

Here’s a meaningful article that I came across back near Valentine’s Day.  I meant to post it then, but then it slipped my mind and remained in the draft folder.  It’s an honest and good read that I really appreciate that calls us to focus on What we need to focus on while we’re here on this planet.

You may be thinking, “I’m just a high schooler.  I don’t need to think about this right now.”  Perhaps.  But I’m always interested in reading not just about what I’m going through in the present, but preparing myself for issues to consider in the future, whether by me or by others.  I also like to read about issues that others may be dealing with today.  If that resonates with you, read on. – Arthur

If God Made Woman for Man, Then What Is God’s Plan for Singleness?

by K. Marie Adams on February 12, 2016

Table for One, Please

If there’s one thing I absolutely don’t want to do on Valentine’s Day, it’s to go to a restaurant by myself. Not that I begrudge the happy couples around me their status, chocolates, or flowers. As someone who is single, I’m not prone to notice whether most of the people in a place are paired up, single, or in a group. But on Valentine’s Day, it’s different. The scenario of me as the lone single in a roomful of couples—each focusing on their relationship—is something I prefer to avoid. And by prefer, I mean go to any lengths to prevent. The combination of a public appearance during the dinner hour, plus that holiday, plus me by myself isn’t good. However, it gives me some compassion for Adam in theGarden of Eden. Did you know he was the first person to be single? We find him in the second chapter of the Bible, knowing a bit of what it’s like to be alone.

Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. (Genesis 2:19–20)

Here we see Adam before the creation of Eve. He’s fulfilling his God-given occupation of naming all the animals, and while the Bible never mentions Adam was lonely, I’ve got to assume he was very aware that none of those animals made a suitable companion. In fact, God Himself is aware when He makes the statement one verse prior: “It is not good that man should be alone” (verse 18).

If you read the whole creation account, it’s filled with many statements of what is good, yet in the middle of all this perfection, there’s one thing that God declares is “not good”—man being alone. With this declaration, God isn’t stating that something is bad. He’s proclaiming that Adam is incomplete. Obviously, we know that Adam is without Eve for only a little while, yet I find it interesting that God doesn’t immediately set about fixing the one thing in the garden He proclaims wasn’t good. In those verses, God allows the tension of Adam being single to remain while he names all the animals.

So What’s a Single to Do?

I don’t know how Adam handled living under the knowledge that it wasn’t good to be alone while still being in that state. But I can speak for how I live in that tension. It’s not always easy living as an “I” and a “me” in a world of “we’s” and “us’s.” If you know the account of Adam, you know that he soon went from a “me” to a “we.” But Adam and Eve aren’t the only ones in relationship featured in Genesis 1–3. Before the creation of the first couple, God records an “us” when He states, “Let Us make man in Our image” (Genesis 1:26). In that “Us,” many Christians believe we get our first glimpse at the Trinity—our primary example of perfect relationship.

So what does the Trinity have to do with those who are longing for a relationship? To answer that, I’d like to go in the New Testament to John 15. Here Jesus is talking to His disciples the night before He’s going to be handed over to Pilate to be crucified. In some of His final moments with His disciples, Jesus discusses love, relationship, and the Trinity.

He uses His relationship with the Father to be an example of how our relationship with Him should look. “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:9–10). What’s so good about abiding in Jesus and His love? What if I still want earthly love? What if I still want someone to be sitting across the table from me on Valentine’s Day and every other day?

The truth is that love between people may fail. It may go through a rough patch and falter or, sadly, it may wane altogether. The couple that has a bouquet of roses at the table next to mine may go home to bitter fighting. The love between the couple that’s sitting beyond them isn’t always perfect either. Some days it might be just as lonely for them to be a “we” as it is for me to be simply “me.”

The truth is that what I long for isn’t really going to be met with gifts of chocolate and roses or someone to have dinner with. My soul longs for a greater love. And if we continue reading in John 15, Jesus tells His disciples (and you and me) where that kind of love can be found. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:13–14).

I ENCOURAGE YOU IN YOUR SEARCH FOR LOVE, FOR BELONGING, FOR ACCEPTANCE, TO NOT MERELY LOOK FOR IT IN HUMAN CONTEXT.

I encourage you in your search for love, for belonging, for acceptance, to not merely look for it in human context. Look for it through what Jesus offers in John 14–17. He doesn’t offer His greatest love in the midst of roses, joy, and happiness. Instead, He mentions love in the context of a lot of tension and pain: hatred from the world (15:18), persecution (16:2–4), suffering the rejection of His closest friends (16:32), and attacks from the evil one (17:15).

So it seems that God is comfortable with using tension as a way of getting us to understand love. He starts with allowing Adam to live in the tension of knowing he is alone and that it’s not good. We see it again as Jesus talks to His disciples about His greatest love in the midst of many sorrows. And you and I know it daily as we walk in our own tensions of loneliness and pain. Yet in the midst of this, we can know the love of God. We can walk in close fellowship with Him.

Jesus finished that conversation by praying for us to have relationship. He prayed to the Father saying, “That they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (17:22–23). Embrace the tension in your life as an opportunity to learn more of the love of God. Seek time alone with Him today. Purpose to know His love and to abide in oneness with Jesus. Let me encourage you that in doing so, you will have joy. In fact, I have found that, as I take time to pursue relationship with Him, suddenly that table for one becomes the best seat in the house.

A Thought in the Wake of the Same-Sex Ruling

Hey TD,

Just a quick thought this morning.  This is my version of a tweet :):

The issue of same-sex unions has very rapidly emerged as THE social issue of our day, and it has sent Christians into a confusing tail spin.  Yesterday’s Supreme Court Decision continues to illustrate our fundamental problem – that we humans made in the image of God are always striving to usurp God’s authority, striving to be co-regents with Him.  That’s how the Fall began humanity’s history-long downward spiritual spiral, resisting God’s rightful rule over HIS creation. That’s not love.

Thanks be to God, however, that there has been one Person in history who has succeeded in resisting the tsunami of history’s current in actually loving God enough to listen to Him, trust Him, and obey Him.  No other person in human history on his/her own has ever done so.  He proved that indeed, True Love wins; and He offers the power of that love to us (now that’s love). His love is complete, offering complete forgiveness for our treachery, new Ultimate citizenship, new God-loving and people-loving compassion and clarity, empowerment for a new life direction of love, a new destination, and a new Spirit in our lives that will learn how to authentically love God and love our neighbors – finally! – with a True, Higher, Sustainable love that will last beyond this lifetime, both for us and potentially for those we love.

TD, it’s time to receive that love wholly, deploy it resolutely, and live it out graciously and generously in the Spirit and Name of True Love Himself – Jesus Christ.

“This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”  1 John 4:13-19

– Arthur