Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January, 2015

Sherlock V
In a past post, I shared a poem which my son-in-law, Andrew, had chosen for his wedding to my daughter, Ashley, entitled Love Her More and Love Her Less.  This past month, Andrew enjoyed the privilege of being the best man at his only brother’s wedding.  For the occasion, he wrote his own version of brotherly advice.  I think it is worthy to be added to Piper’s advice and comes from the heart of one who is in the throes of young married life and welcoming his brother to it.

 

Advice to a New Groom by Andrew Jacobson*

You’ve been given something greater than treasure
In which God calls you to delight with great pleasure.
So to help you down that path, here’s some advice
For how to properly love your wife.

Should your wife try to communicate,
Though your ability to talk isn’t innate,
Try to keep up a healthy conversation diet
And remember to love her more than quiet.

If you feel that she has gotten too relaxed
And hasn’t completed enough tasks,
Resist a workaholic’s proclivity
And love her more than productivity.

If, by some strange irrationality,
She should keep you from punctuality,
Resist the urge to leave her behind
And love her more than being on time.

If your wife should crowd the house with people
To the point where you wonder if it’s legal,
Or if she volunteers you for her family’s vacation,
Remember to love her more than isolation.

If your laundry pile is getting high
And you wonder why she keeps passing it by,
Consider that she is not getting paid
And remember to love her more than a maid.

If you start drowning yourself in pages
Seeking to digest the wisdom of sages
And forget how good she looks,
Remember to love her more than books.

If you over invest in your learning,
Always and only to your studies returning
And begin to make your wife secondary
Remember to love her more than seminary.

If she would give you confirmation
To pursue even more education
And you obtain the title of Ph.D.,
Remember to love her more than a degree.

If by grace she should be with child,
You’ll find her attitude might move past mild.
Do whatever she bids you, please!
And remember to love her more than ease.

Should you be awoken by your newborn’s nightly sob
And roll over to remind her it’s her job,
Before you go back to counting sheep,
Remember to love her more than sleep.

Should the spending, saving, and budgeting detract
And on your marriage have a negative impact,
Remember to love your earthly honey
More than all this world’s money.

Above all this, look to our Savior’s life
As the supreme model for loving your wife.
Consider the way in which he came,
Humbly setting aside all He could claim.

Consider the way in which he died,
Suffering the cross, to save his bride.
Consider the way his work proceeds
Always for his bride how he intercedes.

How he stands against all rivals as her defender
That he might present her to himself in splendor;
How he washes her in the water of His Word
So that love for him would be constantly stirred.

Groom, remember today’s I do is just the start
And you’ve made a vow “’til death do us part.”
So with this last word do you I send,
Love your bride faithfully to the end.

 

* Personal names have been removed with Andrew’s permission.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Aslan's country III

It’s almost unforgivable, I know, but here I stand in the second half of life, only just having completed C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. And what an ending (or beginning) awaits the reader in The Last Battle, book 7! If you’ll never read the entire seven books, skip to this last one and enjoy! In it, Narnia is one last battle away from its ending and Aslan’s Country is in view.

The Chronicles of Narnia are, of course, a set of seven books that deal with a parallel world to our own, known as Narnia. What’s not to love? – brave and heroic youth; noble, mythological creatures; wrongs to be righted; and a good (but not safe), most high being Who knows the deep magic from before the beginning of time; Who is never late, but rarely early; Who rewards them who diligently seek him; and Who is working out all things for the good of those whom He has called. I speak of the great lion (and Christ figure), Aslan.

In The Last Battle bravery is again called upon and in the face of great cost and danger, Aslan’s true followers must take the adventure Aslan sends, come what may. But Aslan’s country (heaven parallel) is nearer than they know and what a reward awaits those who will endure to the end!

There are so many great themes and quotes in this book – add it to your Bucket List and go ahead and read it!  (spoiler alert)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I love the noble examples of faith and courage in the face of martyrdom and the commendation for those who will not waver in that hour.

> “Nothing now remains for us seven but to go back to Stable Hill, proclaim the truth, and take the adventure that Aslan sends us.” (ch. IX, “The Great Meeting on Stable Hill,” p. 92)

> “I was going to say I wished we’d never come. But I don’t, I don’t, I don’t. Even if we are killed. I’d rather be killed fighting for Narnia than grow old and stupid at home and perhaps go about in a bath-chair and then die in the end just the same.” (ibid., p. 96)

> ”Courage, Child: we are all between the paws of the true Aslan.” (ch. X, “Who Will Go into the Stable?” p. 107)

> “[Aslan said,] ‘Well done, last of the Kings of Narnia, who stood firm at the darkest hour.’ ” (ch. XIII, “How the Dwarfs Refused to be Taken In,” p. 146)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lewis illustrates two groups and their sorting out in the end – they who seek and savor God in faith and humility of spirit, and those who lean on their own understanding, rejecting the gifts of God that are so near as to be touched and tasted if they would only receive them.

> “I have been wandering to find him and my happiness is so great that it even weakens me like a wound. And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me Beloved, me who am but as a dog.” (ch. XV, “Further Up and Further In,” pp. 165-166)

> They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.” (ch. XIII, “How the Dwarves Refused to be Taken In,” p. 148)

> The sorting out: “But as they came right up to Aslan one or other of two things happened to each of them. They all looked straight in his face; I don’t think they had any choice about that. And when some looked, the expression of their faces changed terribly – it was fear and hatred… And all the creatures who looked at Aslan in that way swerved to their right, his left, and disappeared into his huge black shadow… The children never saw them again. I don’t know what became of them. But the others looked in the face of Aslan and loved him, though some of them were very frightened at the same time. And all these came in at the Door, in on Aslan’s right.” It is Peter, the High King of Narnia, who shuts the Door after Aslan commands, “Now make an end.” (ch. XIV, “Night Falls on Narnia,” pp. 153-154, 157)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But more than all of these, and perhaps precisely because I am in the second half of my life, I found immense joy and hope welling up from Lewis’ descriptions of Aslan’s Country, that promised place beyond the reach of the Shadow-Lands of death; a place we in our world know by another name.

> Here, we realize that Narnia is not the real Narnia. “That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia, which has always been here and always will be here: just as our own world… is only a shadow or copy of the something in Aslan’s real world… And of course it’s different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream.” (ch. XV, “Further Up and Further In,” pp. 169-170)

> “It is as hard to explain how this sunlit land was different from the old Narnia… Perhaps you will get some idea of it, if you think like this. You may have been in a room in which there was a window that looked out on a lovely bay of the sea or a green valley that wound away among mountains. And in the wall of that room opposite to the window there may have been a looking glass. And as you turned away from the window you suddenly caught sight of that sea or that valley, all over again, in the looking glass. And the sea in the mirror, or the valley in the mirror, were in one sense just the same as the real ones; yet at the same time they were somehow different – deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story: in a story you have never heard but very much want to know.” (ibid., p. 170)

> Jewel, the Unicorn, summed up what everyone was thinking: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.” (ibid., p. 171)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Aslan’s Country:

> “…They stood on grass, the deep blue sky was overhead, and the air which blew gently on their faces was that of a day in early summer… There was something in the feel of the air that told him it could not be later than June.” (ch. XIII, “How the Dwarfs Refused to be Taken In,” p. 136)

> “…warm daylight, the blue sky above them, flowers at their feet, and laughter in Aslan’s eyes.” (ch. XIV, “Night Falls on Narnia,” p. 157)

> “Many other creatures were slowly moving the same way, but that grassy country was wide and there was no crowding.” (ch. XV, “Further Up and Further In,” p. 167)

> “I’ve a feeling we’ve got to the country where everything is allowed.” (ch. XIII, “How the Dwarfs Refused to be Taken In,” p. 137)

> “What was the fruit like? Unfortunately, no one can describe a taste. All I can say is that… the freshest grapefruit you’ve ever eaten was dull, and the juiciest orange was dry, and the most melting pear was hard and woody, and the sweetest wild strawberry was sour. And there were no seeds or stones, and no wasps. If you had once eaten that fruit, all the nicest things in this world would taste like medicines after it. But I can’t describe it. You can’t find out what it is like unless you can get to that country and taste for yourself.” (ibid., p. 137)

> “Everyone else began to run, and they found, to their astonishment, that they could keep up with [the Unicorn]… Faster and faster they raced, but no one got hot or tired or out of breath. If one could run without getting tired, I don’t think one would often want to do anything else.” (ch’s XV, “Further Up and Further In” and XVI “Farewell to Shadow-Lands,” pp. 171-172)

> “Isn’t it wonderful?” said Lucy. “Have you noticed one can’t feel afraid, even if one wants to? Try it.”

“By Jove, one can’t,” said Eustace after he had tried. (ch. XVI, “Farewell to Shadow-Lands,” p. 173)

> “About half and hour later – or it might have been half a hundred years later, for time there is not like time here…” (ibid., p. 179)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Of those on Aslan’s right:

> “…He led him to the eldest of the Queens – but even she was not old, and there were no grey hairs on her head and no wrinkles on her cheek.” (ch. XII, “Through the Stable Door,” p. 134)

> Edmund describes the railway accident that brought him to Aslan’s Country, saying, “There was a frightful roar and something hit me with a bang, but it didn’t hurt. And I felt not so much scared as – well, excited.” (ch. XIII, “How the Dwarfs Refused to be Taken In,” p. 138)

> “The older Lord Digory describes it as having “been unstiffened… We stopped feeling old.”

“I don’t believe you two really are much older than we are here,” said Jill.

“Well if we aren’t, we have been,” said the Lady Polly. (ibid., p. 138)

> “…Before [Tirian] had had much time to think of this, he felt two strong arms thrown about him and felt a bearded kiss on his cheeks and heard a well-remembered voice…

”It was his own father, the good King Erlian: but not as Tirian had seen him last when they brought him home pale and wounded from his fight with the giant, nor even as Tirian remembered him in his later years when he was a gray-headed warrior. This was his father young and merry as he could just remember him from very early days, when he himself had been a little boy playing games with his father in the castle garden… just before bedtime on summer evenings.” (ch. XVI, “Farewell to Shadow-Lands,” p. 177)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Chapter One of the Great Story

> “…They found themselves facing great golden gates. And for a moment none of them was bold enough to try if the gates would open… ‘Dare we? Is it right? Can it be meant for us?’”

”But while they were standing thus a great horn, wonderfully loud and sweet, blew from somewhere inside that walled garden and the gates swung open…

”‘Welcome, in the Lion’s name. Come further up and further in.’ ” (ch. XVI, “Farewell to Shadow-Land,” pp. 176-177)

> “The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.

“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” (ibid., pp. 183-184)

Lewis, C. S., and Pauline Baynes. The Last Battle. New York: Collier, 1970. Print.

Read Full Post »

Resolved

Jonathan Edwards

Christina Fox has written a New Years post meant to spur us on to godliness for God’s glory. In it, she discusses the resolutions made by the Puritan preacher, Jonathan Edwards. I first read these in Elisabeth D. Dodds book, Marriage to a Difficult Man. It impressed me that such a sober-minded intentionality could even be conceived by a mere boy of 19. He wrote most of them a week before Christmas – Friday, December 1722 – disregarding the conventions of making a fresh start on manufactured start dates like Sunday or the first of the month or the first of the year. I’m sure he never imagined that another soul would ever see his resolutions which makes their scope and seriousness all the more noteworthy.

 

In contrast to popular modern resolutions of losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking, getting organized, etc., we see in Edward’s declarations a commitment to deep, sustained change in the inward life rather than the outward. We sense in them a desire that Edward’s character would actually be changed and that through practice it might come to shape and then represent the very nature of the person so resolved.

 

Well, here they are, below. Might we not adopt one or two in the year ahead; if for no other reason than the sheer practice of shifting our focus from the all-consuming outward package to godliness in the inward man? Might we not add the practice of contentment to our lists as well? Together, contentment and godliness, now that would be great gain!

 

RESOLUTIONS OF JONATHAN EDWARDS

“Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration; without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved, so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

2. Resolved, To be continually endeavouring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the forementioned things.

3. Resolved, If ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, Never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God, nor be, nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.

5. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings, as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. Vid. July 30.

9. Resolved, To think much, on all occasions, of my dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, When I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder. xxi

12. Resolved, If I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, To be endeavouring to find out fit objects of liberality and charity.

14. Resolved, Never to do any thing out of revenge.

15. Resolved, Never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.

16. Resolved, Never to speak evil of any one, so that it shall tend to his dishonour, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, To live so, at all times, as I think is best in my most devout frames, and when I have the clearest notions of the things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

22. Resolved, To endeavour to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigour, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

23. Resolved, Frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs, and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the fourth Resolution.

24. Resolved, Whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavour to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

25. Resolved, To examine carefully and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and so direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, To cast away such things as I find do abate my assurance.

27. Resolved, Never wilfully to omit any thing, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

29. Resolved, Never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, To strive every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

31. Resolved, Never to say any thing at all against any body, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of christian honour, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said any thing against any one, to bring it to, and try it strictly by, the test of this Resolution.

32. Resolved, To be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that, in Prov. 20: 6. ‘A faithful man, who can find?’ may not be partly fulfilled in me.

33. Resolved, To do always what I can towards making, maintaining, and preserving peace, when it can be done without an overbalancing detriment in other respects. Dec. 26, 1722.

34. Resolved, In narrations, never to speak any thing but the pure and simple verity.

35. Resolved, Whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

36. Resolved, Never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call to it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. Resolved, To inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent,—what sin I have committed,—and wherein I have denied myself;—also, at the end of every week, month, and year. Dec. 22 and 26, 1722.

38. Resolved, Never to utter any thing that is sportive, or matter of laughter, on a Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

39. Resolved, Never to do any thing, of which I so much question the lawfulness, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or not; unless I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

40. Resolved, To inquire every night before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month, and year, wherein I could possibly, in any respect, have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

42. Resolved, Frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism, which I solemnly renewed when I was received into the communion of the church, and which I have solemnly re-made this 12th day of January, 1723.

43. Resolved, Never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s; agreeably to what is to be found in Saturday, Jan. 12th. Jan. 12, 1723.

44. Resolved, That no other end but religion shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan. 12, 1723.

45. Resolved, Never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan. 12 and 13, 1723.

46. Resolved, Never to allow the least measure of any fretting or uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved, to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eye; and to be especially careful of it with respect to any of our family.

47. Resolved, To endeavour, to my utmost, to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented and easy, compassionate and generous, humble and meek, submissive and obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable and even, patient, moderate, forgiving, and sincere, temper; and to do, at all times, what such a temper would lead me to; and to examine strictly, at the end of every week, whether I have so done. Sabbath morning, May 5, 1723.

48. Resolved, Constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or not; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, That this never shall be, if I can help it.

50. Resolved, That I will act so, as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51. Resolved, That I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, That I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

53. Resolved, To improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

54. Resolved, Whenever I hear anything spoken in commendation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, that I will endeavour to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, To endeavour, to my utmost, so to act, as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

56. Resolved, Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

57. Resolved, When I fear misfortunes and adversity, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it and let the event be just as Providence orders it. I will, as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13, 1723.

58. Resolved, Not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness, and benignity. May 27, and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, When I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July 11, and July 13.

60. Resolved, Whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4 and 13, 1723.

61. Resolved, That I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it—that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, &c. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, Never to do any thing but my duty, and then, according to Eph. 6: 6-8. to do it willingly and cheerfully, as unto the Lord, and not to man: knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall be receive of the Lord. June 25, and July 13, 1723.

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true lustre, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, To act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan. 14, and July 13, 1723.

64. Resolved, When I find those ”groanings which cannot be uttered,“ of which the apostle speaks, and those ”breathings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the psalmist speaks, Psalm 119: 20. that I will promote them to the utmost of my power; and that I will not be weary of earnestly endeavouring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and Aug. 10, 1723.

65. Resolved, Very much to exercise myself in this, all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness of which I am capable, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him, all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance, according to Dr. Manton’s Sermon on the 119th Psalm. July 26, and Aug. 10, 1723.

66. Resolved, That I will endeavour always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking, in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

67. Resolved, After afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them; what good I have got by them; and, what I might have got by them.

68. Resolved, To confess frankly to myself, all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

69. Resolved, Always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

70. Let there be something of benevolence in all that I speak. Aug. 17, 1723.”

Read Full Post »