by Ernest Liu
about the author

  • Random Sniplets
  • The God Problem

    You and Me Forever • Reading Journal Log 4

    As a pastor for over 20 years, I have come to the conclusion that most marriage problems are not really marriage problems. They are God problems. They can be traced back to one or both people having a poor relationship with God or a faulty understanding of Him.

    – You and Me Forever (20)

    I took a bit of time to look up the top reasons for divorce and how they link back to God.

    Infidelity

    For a believer, committing adultery and indulging in porn requires deliberately turning our backs on God. It is rooted in a selfish desire to enjoy what God commands to be undefiled (Heb 13:4).

    Money

    This vice can impact a marriage in many ways, from differing spending habits to financial goals to materialism. When we forget that money belongs to God and fail to use all of it to His glory, it will burn us. (Luke 16:13).

    Poor Communication

    The problem comes in many flavors. Being quick to speak, quick to anger (James 1:19), refusing to reconcile (Matt 5:24), neglecting one another (Heb 10:24-25), and lack of emotional self-control (Gal 5:23-24), to name a few. God commands us to strive for peace with one another (Heb 12:14). We find creatives excuses to neglect His design of unity for us.

    The List Goes On

    Weight gain, unrealistic expectations, lack of intimacy, and so forth. Am I convinced that just about all marriage problems are God problems?

    Yeah.

    This past year, I had a sister in Christ who ended a relationship with one of my friends. After spending time processing through the situation, she was able to identify the issues. Long story short, there were a lot of God problems. Christ was not the focus of the relationship, and that problem bled into every aspect of their friendship.

    “All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with that overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral beings must do about Him.”

    – A.W. Tozer

    Being intimate with God and drowning ourselves in His presence puts everything else in its place. As we go up with Him, our problems and pursuits below become small and insignificant. 

    Marriage Isn’t that Great

    You and Me Forever • Reading Journal Log 3

    What kind of chapter title is that? “Marriage Isn’t that Great?” I guess that’s the type of thing you’d expect from a radical Christian author. But there’s a point to the title. Before I get to that…

    I once sat silently at my desk as a laughter flooded the classroom. It was a safe environment for anyone who felt an urge to mock God. In this particular case, one student thought God was a joke, and that if she were to come face to face with Him, she would question Him about all the injustice and suffering that plagues this world. Our English teacher found it appropriate to assign three or four anti-Christian reading assignments that quarter. She even remarked on how she loved one author’s depiction of Jesus–a hippy that sat at the doorstep who would check in once in a while.

    I live in a culture convinced of a tiny God… and I don’t just mean the skeptics and mockers. If we really saw God as the almighty Author of the universe, would we so causally pirate movies? Would we so frequently fill our leisure time with porn? Would we so easily engage in gossip?

    Why in the world is the divorce rate so high amongst evangelicals?

    God spoke, and the world came into existence. God spoke, and the world was demolished by a flood. One day, God will speak the only verdict that matters as He judges every person.

    – You and Me Forever, Ch 1

    In comparison to the cosmic grandeur of God’s word, everything fades.

    Perhaps the title isn’t so ludicrous after all. Yes, marriage is great. I love marriage because it paints a beautiful picture of how God loves us. Marriage highlights the ingenious nature of God, and He means for us to enjoy it in its fullness. Our spouse is to be the most important relationship we have.

    But it is not to be our ultimate fulfillment, and it is temporary (Matt 22:30). So in light of God and eternity, marriage isn’t that great. And that’s okay.

    First, this doesn’t mean that Lisa and I won’t be deeply in love with each other in heaven. My guess is that I will be even closer to Lisa when we exist in glorified bodies absent of sin. Things must be different in order to be better. Second, I will have a union with God which is guaranteed to be better than any earthly closeness I might be experiencing now. I trust the God who created marriage when He promises a better future.

    Spiritual Vicodin

    You and Me Forever • Reading Journal Log 2

    Perhaps one of the most important things about learning is doing. In this book, Francis urges his readers to action as faith without works is dead (James 2).

    Christians in America have become experts at conviction–and failures at action.

    – You and Me Forever (Ch 1)

    Perhaps one of the most common problems I’ve seen in the church is complacency. Too many Christians feel like they are spiritually active simply because they know a lot and love highlighting verses in the Bible. Yet when it comes to caring for the poor, forsaking their offering until they make reconciliation, or leaving a clique to talk to the socially awkward person, they are infants (Matt 25:35; Matt 5:23-24; James 2:1).

    I know because I’ve been there. I’ve felt the fears that come with obeying God. And if I were to be very, very honest, I still do. “What will she think of me? What if I get criticized? What if I fail? What will I lose?”

    When’s the last time we asked ourselves, “But what if I do nothing?”

    Probably never, because we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s okay to be a Christian coward.

    We’d rather be safe and not make mistakes. Sometimes we even attribute our omission of action to “wisdom,” excusing ourselves from doing what we must. Then we comfort ourselves by quoting Jeremiah 29:11… or another verse that’s out of context because we know that one’s definitely out of context.

    It’s like we’ve turned God into spiritual Vicodin. Numb your sin and guilt with the Word!

    I hope to learn spiritual truths from this book as it points me back to Scripture. Even more, I hope that it transforms how I see God and love people.

    Eternally Focused

    You and Me Forever • Reading Journal Log 1

    While meeting up with a couple brothers, we proposed a challenge – this week, read something, then blog about it. Aim for a few entries.

    Challenge accepted.

    I decided to read… okay, I decided to attempt (for the fourth time) to read through You and Me Forever. Francis and Lisa Chan share their wisdom on that tricky thing called marriage.

    Because I am crazy about Lisa, . . . I want her to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:23).

    Think of all the awards, promotions, accolades, and accomplishments you would love to receive in your lifetime. Go crazy in imagining it all. And then answer this: Could anything be better than hearing those words from Jesus in the first moments of eternity?

    – You and Me Forever (p10)

    Reading about this kind of crazy love Francis has for Lisa is quite extraordinary. Often times we are compelled to have a Christ-centered relationship, but what does that really look like?

    It looks weird… really weird. From what I see in the Scriptures, it is extreme and counter-cultural. Maybe it’s because a Biblical marriage isn’t ultimately about the people who are married. It’s about God. Even when we are told how to love each other in Ephesians 5, we see that marriage is a canvas that paints a picture of how Christ loves us.

    I’m pretty sure I don’t have the gift of singleness, so I hope to be married one day. If it happens, I hope that the woman will be furiously chasing after God. I want to know what it’s like to love God more every time I look at her. I want to know what it’s like to have a mutual love for our Creator as He takes us on a journey to conquer the world with the gospel. I’d want to cheer her on as she looks forward to the day when she can hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

    Guys, if I ever get married, encourage me to keep my perspective eternally focused.