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I have been woefully absent from blogging for a long time. In the midst of life adjustments I forgot about blogging, but I think I’m back. And I have also moved.

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Conversations - Sara Grooves

I was digging up an older CD this past week by Sara Grooves (Conversations, 2001) and enjoying the God-centered lyrics. As my wife reminded me, Sara Groves is really the only female music artist that I listen to, and so when I do listen it’s momentous.

One song stuck out this time around, “This Journey is my Own” where Grooves accurately portrays the struggle we frail humans have to want to be people pleasers rather than God pleasers. I find myself in this familiar boat too many times to count in a given week. In fact this morning while reading a blog post and readying myself to comment I wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote before I erased and said to myself, “Am I more concerned about what they might think of me than communicating how that post affected me?” Groves writes:

“So much of what I do is to make a good impression, This journey is my own; And so much of what I say is to make myself look better, But this journey is my own”

If I’m honest with myself I can be tempted in every aspect of my life with seeking other’s approval. I’m thankful for the reminder that I don’t live this life for the gold star of others, but for the Lord. And Grooves aptly ends the song:

“And why would I want to live for man, and pay the highest price, And what does it mean to gain a whole world, only to lose my life; And you can live for someone else, and it will only bring you pain, I can’t even judge myself, only the Lord can say, ‘Well done.’”

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24

I’ve been reading Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp. I came across this paragraph that struck such deep chords with me,

“The problem with relationships is that they all take place right smack-dab in the middle of something, and that something is the story of redemption.

photo credit: Tyler Stalman/Istock

God’s plan to turn everything in our lives into instruments of Christlike change and growth. You and I never get to be married to a fully sanctified spouse. We will never be in a relationship with a completely mature friend. We will never live next to a neighbor utterly free of the need to grow and change. We will never have self-parenting children. We will never be near people who always think, desire, say, or do the right things. And the reason for all of this is that our relationships are lived between the already and the not yet.”

Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making (Glenside: New Growth, 2008), 108.

The Bible talks about forgiveness as a daily thing, but how does it work? C.S. Lewis sums it up well:

“To forgive the incessant provocations of daily life — to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son — how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what he says.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Macmillian, 1947), 125.

fence1James MacDonald has a good post on building moral fences for men in ministry, or in general.

I can sympathize with most of these fences because I tried to do all of them right from the start of ministry. I got strange looks and people thought I was over doing it. But I appreciate and agree with his statement,

“It has left me deeply persuaded that, “there but for the grace of God, (and some moral fences) go I.”  I know myself too well.  Lengthy, unaccountable hours with manifold temptations available and affordable is a recipe for failure.  Romans 13:14 instructs us that we are to “make no provision for the flesh.”  You think I sound weak?  I am! And when I forget that weakness I cease to know God’s strength.”

talkI’ve been reading “Relationships: A Mess Worth Making” by Paul Tripp and Tim Lane and I heartily recommend it to all. I will soon finish and post my review. But for now, follow with me as the authors cut to the heart of our talk in relationships.

Here is a quote from the chapter on Talk:

Christ said, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45, authors’ emphasis). Our problem with words is not primarily a matter of vocabulary, skill, or timing. Have you ever said, “Oops, I didn’t mean to say that!” Often it would be more accurate to say, “I’m sorry I said what I meant!” If the thought, attitude, desire, emotion, or purpose hadn’t been in your heart, it wouldn’t have come out of your mouth… The real problem with your communication is what you want to say and why you want to say it, which ultimately has nothing to do with your language skills. Christ reveals that the what and the why are shaped by the heart. Therefore, if we hope to transform the way we talk with one another, the heart must change first.

Convicting.

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