“The Hopeless Marriage” by Ed Welch

Below is another example why I buy every book that Ed Welch writes.

“Most marriages have times when one spouse does not like the other, and the dislike is usually mutual—at least my “friends” tell me that is accurate, though I’m confident that even when my wife thinks she doesn’t like me, she secretly—very secretly—likes me. For some of us, these times happen less frequently and we manage them with more skill and grace. For others, mutual dislike is chronic rather than acute, and marital hopelessness becomes the rule.

I hate that hopelessness. The choices are to persist in the relationship and see who dies first or to craft an independent life and try to pretend you don’t care. Either way, your soul withers. It is hard to have a vibrant life with God when your primary relationship is in the dumper.

So, what can you do?

1. I don’t know. That might not seem too helpful but, at least, it shows you some respect. I am saying that there is nothing easy about your situation. If any friend or counselor has the answer for you, that person probably doesn’t understand that you have tried all the answers and they don’t work.

The blessed feature of this is that the only thing we can do is cry out for mercy to the God who hears, understands, has a unique interest in relational unity, and has the power to raise the dead. The ever-present danger in counseling is that counselors figure out ways to “fix” people, which means that we might bypass our spiritual neediness and constant dependence on the Spirit.

In this sense, “I don’t know” means “in your hopelessness, you are at the end of yourselves and need divine intervention.” Such humility is both attractive and hopeful.

2. Volunteer to go first. When both spouses have their guns loaded and aimed, it takes a good bit of spiritual courage to lower your weapon first. But, assuming that you are not in a physically dangerous situation, it is the only way to win. The Sermon on the Mount codifies the way of power and prestige (Matt. 5:1-10). Imagine how good it would be to be disliked by your spouse for doing righteousness rather than selfishness. Imagine setting your goal to love your spouse more than you want to be loved by your spouse. The worst that will happen is that you will be blessed and know Jesus better than ever. The best thing that will happen is that you will know Jesus better, spiritual beings will be stunned at the power of God in weak people, and, somehow, you will have contributed to the Kingdom of God in ways that will endure far beyond death.

Anyone willing to drop their weapons? It gets boring to fight with someone who doesn’t fight back with worldly strategies.

3. Remember that your battle is not with flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12). If we know anything, it is this: Satan is invited into every divided relationship (Eph. 4:26), and, once invited, he will not leave unless his invitation is revoked. Every divided relationship—all hopelessness—has demonic fingerprints all over it. It is as if hopeless spouses are aiming their bb guns at each other; meanwhile, Satan’s rocket launcher is ready to destroy husband, wife, and anyone who is close by, such as children.

Somehow, at least one spouse must see that Satan is a much greater threat than the other spouse.

You will receive little consolation to know that there are other Christians who are in hopeless relationships that look quite similar to your own. But you should be encouraged that hopelessness is a small step from spiritual neediness, which is the foundation of all change. And you should be encouraged that the impossible—think  of the Israelites being cornered by Egyptians at the Red  Sea—is an ideal venue for God’s power.”

How Do You Know Yer in West Virginia?


How do you know yer in WV? Because the garage has a deer hanging from the rafters, a Matthews Compound Bow rests upon a table, a four-wheeler is parked in the corner, and on the bottom racks of the freezer is over 30 squirrels, ready for winter snack-times. That’s how you know yer Almost Heaven, West Virginia. Besides,


. . . that’s where I have great times with my dad!


Let’s Consider The Qur’an and the Lord Jesus Christ


Keeping in mind that the Qur’an was written over 600 years after the life of Christ, let’s compare what Jesus said with what Muhammad said later, then make some conclusions.

The Qur’an says that as a husband I may beat my wife if she displeases me: “As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them first, next, refuse to share their beds, and last, beat them lightly” (Surah 4:34).

But Jesus says to love my wife as Christ does the church, his wife (Ephesians 5:23ff). Jesus would never condone beating my wife or any other woman.

The Qur’an says that all those who “reject Faith”, that is, turn away from Islam, are to be killed: “But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them” (Surah 4:89)

But Jesus says that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).

The Qur’an says that Jesus was not killed by crucifixion: “. . . they said, ‘We killed Christ Jesus The Son of Mary, The Messenger of Allah’ – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no certain knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not” (Surah 4:157).

But Jesus said to Thomas after his death on the cross, burial, and resurrection, “put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” (John 20:27).

The Qur’an says that Jesus was only a messenger sent from God, not God’s Son: “We have sent the inspiration, as we sent it to Noah and the messengers after him: We sent inspiration to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David we gave the psalms . . . Christ Jesus the son of Mary was no more than a messenger of Allah, and his word, which He bestowed on Mary . . . Say not “Trinity”: desist: It will be better for you: For Allah is One God: Glory be to Him: Far Exalted is He above having a son” (Surah 4:163, 171).

But Jesus not only said that he was God’s son, and that God was his Father, but Jesus accepted the identity of “God became flesh,” and not merely a messenger sent from God (John 1:1, 14; 17:1-5). This is the reason why he was crucified, not because he was just another messenger out of many, but because Jesus claimed full deity with his Father.

Jesus uses persecution to identify sides: Those who are persecuted for following Jesus will reign forever (Matt. 5:10; 10:16-23), but those who are doing the persecution will be reigned upon forever in hell (Matt. 23:15; 24:24-28; Luke 19:27; John 8:37, 43, 44) . When Paul was persecuting followers of Christ, Jesus said, “Why do you persecute me” (Acts 9:4)? To persecute a Christian is to persecute Christ. Jesus and Muhammad can’t both be prophets sent from God for that would mean that God is against himself. You cannot say you are from God and then persecute his Son. Those who love his Son and believe what the Son says over Muhammad, especially those who leave Islam for Christ, are persecuted the most. Tens of thousands of Muslims have turned away from Islam and turned to Christ – and they are some of the most persecuted Christians today.

I conclude then:

Someone is not telling the truth.

Someone is telling a lie.

Someone is a false prophet – and it’s not Jesus!


Let’s Consider the Motto: “In God We Trust”

The history of the motto is intriguing. “In God We Trust” developed over many years as it was stamped on our coins dating back to pre-civil war days (1830’s to 60’s). After the civil war, and into the early 1900’s the motto found its way on all US coin currency; from time to time it disappeared but then came back indefinitely in 1938 – but not on paper money. Not yet. Then on July 30, 1956, President Eisenhower signed into law, along with the 84th Congress, that this will be America’s motto – then it was printed on paper money as well. The law passed easily because of the motto’s intrinsic nature: It developed primarily out of a desire to say that God was on the side of the North, the Union, in Civil War days. And then under Eisenhower, the desire was to say to Russia during the Cold War, that God was on our side.

Knowing a bit of its history, the aim has been to say that we Americans trust in God to keep our political freedoms in check against all tyranny, both domestic and foreign. As an American, I too want the God who made heaven and earth to provide a peaceful, just, and safe life for me and my family. I too want to live in relative peace with Mexico and Canada, and with the rest of the world, as much as it lies within our country’s scope of interest. But here is the crux:

I’m a Christian before an American Citizen. And this nation’s motto does not say what I believe. Here is proof: Ask yourself if this country would approve of replacing “In God We Trust” with “In Jesus Christ We Trust” and what does your heart tell you? In 2003, Gallop, Today, and CNN conducted a joint Poll, and concluded that 90% of Americans still approve of the motto as is. But what if God were replaced with Jesus Christ, you know, the man who is the Son of God? If you have no problem with the Father, surely you’ll have no problem with his Son – or would you?

Could it be then that most Americans do not really trust in the only God there is, the one who sent his Son, but the one made in their image – the one in whom we want to keep us safe from other countries, to keep our taxes low, our currency value high, balance the budget, maintain the right to bear arms, keep interest rates low, and provide cheap gas?

The God that I trust in sent his Son Jesus to absorb the consequences of my sin so that I could live, not merely in a country, but, “the meek shall inherit the earth.” In God (the Father ) We (disciples of Christ) Trust (in his plan to exalt his Son over all things so that those who belong to Christ may live forever in a new earth where peace will never end).

Now that’s a motto I can live and die for, and one that will provide so much more than the American one.


Danger: The Common use of “God” in language.


This is an advertisement for a bracelet posted on the back page of this week’s Parade Magazine, collated in our Chicago Tribune. Though not a word is mentioned about the specifics for protection and strength, that is, military or otherwise, it is a sincere gesture that any parent can sympathize with. No doubt! But . . .

Here is the danger: Post-modern Christianity is not Christianity, because, the word “God” can mean anything BUT the Father who sent Jesus Christ to save sinners. Acid test (no not like the Rolling Stones): Any time you see or hear the word “God”, replace it with “Christ” – and see if those who use the word God would approve. If not, then they are not speaking of the only God that there is – for the only God there is – is the one who sent his Son as Savior of Sinners. Though fully God, he became fully Man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for claiming to be God, rose again from the dead and is coming back as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The danger is that just because you use the word God, you think that you and God are ok. Not! You are not ok unless you love his Son whom he sent (1 John 5:1, 9-12). Which means, never use the word God unless you believe that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully Man, to save you from your sins. Otherwise, you “take the Lord’s name in vain.”

For my son: “May Jesus Christ Always Protect You and Give You Strength!”

“in him” is My Identity

To compliment the previous post, I give you the apostle Paul and Jason Gray. First, the apostle:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption . . . the forgiveness of sins. . . an inheritance . . . sealed with the promised Holy Spirit . . . to the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:3-14).

And now, Jason Gray. Enjoy!

What we all desire: A Father’s Love

I think everyone who has ever been born has a dad. I think everyone who came into this world has a built-in desire to be loved by a dad. I think when you were a child, you wanted your father to show you compassion. I think you wanted your father to know and understand and enjoy you. I think that you came into this world as frail and vulnerable as dust – and you would give anything to have a father who knew that and treated you accordingly. I think whether you’re willing to admit it or not, you want to be able to say to your father, “You have always loved me.”

           Psalm 103:13-14 says, “As a father shows compassion to this children,                                 so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.                           For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”

Truth is, earthly fathers, including myself, have never perfectly loved their children, knowing how frail and dust-like they are. By God’s grace, we as dads have the incredible privilege of imaging to our children the Father’s love, albeit, less than admirable at times. But there is a Father-Son relationship that offers a Father’s perfect love to anyone who will fear, trust, admire, and delight herself in this Father:

“I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:23-26).

Let me ask you a question: do you know yourself as vulnerable and frail as dust or do you know yourself as a tough, self-made, invincible, “I can make it on my own” kind of person? Do you know yourself as David does – one who needs a Father in heaven to treat you, not according to your sins, but with mercy and steadfast love? (Psalm 103:10-12).

Or have you forgotten how dust-like you are?

Though Jesus was fully God he was also fully Man and therefore knew himself as completely helpless without his Father. But Jesus also knew that he was loved by his Father – even at the most excruciating time in his life. According to Jesus’ prayer to his Father just before he was crucified, we learn these four things:

1. Jesus wants sinners to know how much his Father loves him

2. Jesus wants you to know the same love that his Father has for him

3. Jesus knows that he has always been loved by his Father

4. Jesus prays that you will know his Father’s love

How can Jesus feel so loved by his Father on the night of his crucifixion? Because he knows that his Father aims to exalt him above all other names and reputations. Jesus knows that the cross is the means by which sinners will come to know his Father. And to know God the Father who created all things is worth it. Why?

What if you could still feel loved by your Father when people call you names – like they said to Jesus?

What if you could still feel confident and filled with hope when people reject you – like they rejected Jesus?

What if you could still feel cherished when you’re suffering and all alone – like Jesus felt?

And what if you could still know yourself as forgiven and loved even though you are dust, even though your earthly father did not love you as he ought, and even though you deserve the full justice for your sins?

This is why Jesus died – and it was worth it! To give to undeserving sinners the same love that Jesus has always known from his own Father is his pursuit.

Repent of your sins and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ was left alone on the cross to suffer for your transgressions. Believe that he was buried and rose again on the third day – believe that you can know what Jesus prayed for on that wretched night – as a father has compassion on his children, the Lord has compassion on those who know they need it.

Jesus wants to introduce you to his Father in heaven – so that you too can say, “I love you dad” – and then hear a voice from heaven to you, through the power of the Holy Spirit and through the work of Jesus Christ, “And I love you.”


Our Father who is in heaven

Cause your name to be revered and cherished,

Cause your rule and reign to come to my life

Here on earth as it is done in heaven.

Because we are dust, Give us this day our daily needs.

And because we want to be forgiven through repentance, we forgive those who also repent.

And lead us not into trials and testings, but if you do, keep us from the evil one who wants to destroy our love

To you belong all the glory,