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Tim Challies

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2 years 11 months ago
There was a time when homeschooling was a very lonely place to be. Perhaps in some contexts it still is. In today’s Christian circles though, at least the circles I’ve been exposed to locally and across the continent, it seems that homeschooling has entered the mainstream and for many families is now the default option. Speaking from experience, as the father of 3 children who all attend local public schools, I can attest that public schooling can be a very lonely place as well. Not only that, but there is little guidance for those of us who have chosen to educate our children in this way.

I recently came across a book titled Going Public written by David and Kelli Pritchard, who together have raised 8 children, all of whom attended public schools. This is not a book that is anti-homeschool or anti-Christian school. The purpose is not to convince you that you ought to place your children in the local public school. Instead it seeks first, to show that your children can thrive at public school and second, to provide a parent’s field guide for helping them do just that. In this way it fills an important niche.

What the Pritchards do is simple: they allow us into their home and family, telling us why they made the decision to public school and then showing us how they have gone about it. It’s not like they public school out of ignorance. To the contrary, they do what they do out of conviction that this is the way they can best raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. That word “fear” is important to them. Following Proverbs, they say that the fear of the Lord “is the foundation on which all learning, all knowledge-gathering, all schooling should be built.” To do that, they focus on instructing their children from their earliest days in loving the Lord with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength; on learning unconditional obedience to their parents; and on attaining self-control. With these values being instilled in their children, they are ready to guide them through their education. 

The most valuable lesson of all, at least in my view, is that public schooling is a family affair. The decision to place children in the public education system is a decision to have the whole family involved in this system. They say, “We should not think in terms of sending our child off by himself to ‘the mission field.’ We go there together. This is a family expedition. When we show up each August to enroll our kids for another school year, we are enrolling our family into the life of this institution. This is a joint venture.” This means that mom and dad are involved not just with the children, but with the school and teachers and leaders. 

A second valuable lesson is that is the lesson that all parents are homeschoolers. The Pritchards make it clear that public schooling still calls for the parents to teach their children and to be involved in all that they learn. No good parent can abdicate all of the children’s education to other people.

There are many other lessons, of course. Some of them are broad in application while others are more specific. What I appreciate, though, is that all have come out of the testing ground of their own family. Through it all the Pritchards show their unshakeable belief in the sovereignty of God, their trust in his promises and their heartfelt desire to honor him in all things. 

Going Public is, as far as I know, about the only thing on the market that addresses this topic of how to public school to the glory of God. And no matter how you choose or have chosen to educate your children, I’m sure you will be glad to welcome a book that teaches parents how they can help their children thrive in their schools. Let me assure you that Christians who place their children in public schools need far more than a lecture on the evils of the public education system, and trust me when I say we’ve all heard it. What we need is hope that it can be done well, guidance on how to do it right, and help to see what the particular challenges and opportunities may be. This book addresses all of these areas and does so in a way that I found deeply moving.

If you homeschool or have your children in Christian schools, I’d encourage you to buy a copy or two of this book. Keep them handy and when you meet people who know the Lord and who feel convicted that they can or should put their children in public schools, give them a copy as a way to love and encourage them. You may even want to read it with them. If you are a public schooler, buy a copy for a friend, but also make sure you get a copy for yourself. You will find it a source of challenge and comfort and maybe even a little bit of rebuke. Speaking personally, I found it a tremendous encouragement and genuine challenge. It was exactly what I needed to read and I’m indebted to the Pritchards for this labor of love. In writing it, they have served the church well.

5 years 3 months ago
In the years since I began reviewing books, I have read titles on a wide variety of topics. But it occurred to me as I considered Russell Moore’s title Adopted for Life that I had never read a book that dealt entirely with adoption. Sure, adoption has factored into books on family and books on theology, but never had I read a full-length treatment of the subject. Having heard so much positive press surrounding Adopted for Life I thought it might be wise to give it a read. I’m glad I did.

It might be easy to write off a book like this one, assuming that it only has relevance to families who are actually considering adopting a child. But Moore’s ambition goes beyond asking young families to adopt orphaned children. “In this book I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption—whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt—can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregation.” As Moore explains, “The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world.” It is the gospel that calls us to adopt but it is also the gospel that teaches us how to understand adoption. In fact, “as we become more adoption-friendly, we’ll be better able to understand the gospel.” And so this book is for anyone and everyone.

It is important to note that this is not a how-to book; it does not provide step-by-step instructions for adopting (since there are already plenty of books that do just that and do it well). “Instead I want to ask what it would mean if our churches and families were known as the people who adopt babies—and toddlers, and children, and teenagers. What if we as Christians were known, once again, as the people who take in orphans and make of them beloved sons and daughters?” No one can claim that every person is called to adopt. But it does seem that all Christians are meant to think about the issue since we all have a stake in it. After all, God himself has a stake in it as the “Father of the fatherless” and the One who tells us that pure and undefiled religion is to comfort orphans.

Through nine chapters, Moore first lays theological groundwork for adoption and then turns to matters that are perhaps just a bit more practically applicable (not that I wish to draw too firm a line between theology and practice). In the first chapter he explains why you ought to read the book, even if you do not want to. In chapter two he explains what some rude questions about adoption taught him about the gospel of Christ. After that he turns to what is at stake in this discussion and then gives pastoral counsel on how to know if you or someone you love should consider adoption. He looks to practical aspects of navigating the adoption process (reassuring readers that it is not nearly as bad as most people seem to believe it is) and then covers some of the uncomfortable questions that arise—health concerns, racial identity, and so on. The seventh chapter explains how churches can encourage adoptions and the eighth shows how parents, children and friends can think about growing up adopted. He closes with some concluding thoughts which tie theology and practice into his own family (in which he and his wife adopted two boys before the Lord opened the womb and granted them two more, though he playfully insists he can no longer remember which of his sons are adopted and which are not!). In fact, Moore and his family figure prominently throughout the book as he describes the joys and challenges of welcoming adopted children to his family.

I know from talking to friends who have adopted that there are good books detailing the practicalities of adopting, whether that involves fund-raising or family integration or any other of the many factors involved. I know as well that there are many good books on the gospel and the doctrine of adoption. But I do not know of any that so perfectly put one within the context of the other. This book would make a valuable read for any Christian; perhaps I say that for too many books; I don’t know. But I do know that every Christian stands to benefit from reading this one. I believe it is a must-read for anyone who has ever considered adoption and for anyone who has a friend or family member who is in the midst of it. It is a must-read for any young couple, even those who have never thought about adoption. And it ought to have a place in every church library.

When watching sports you sometimes hear a coach tell his players to “leave it all on the field (or on the court or on the diamond).” This coach expects his players to give it their best effort, to walk into the locker room at the end of the day knowing that they could not have done any better. And I really felt this is what Moore did here; I felt like he put a lot of himself into this book, that it took a lot out of him to write it, and that it really does represent a passionate effort on his part. And it shows. The book perfectly combines the theological foundation with the practical outworking of that theology. It has wisdom for the adopter, the adopted and the families, friends and churches of both. It is undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve read this year. I hope you’ll consider reading it too.

5 years 4 months ago
There was a time when my mother was actively involved in the pro-life movement here in the Toronto area. I have many memories of journeying downtown with her, taking the subway and bus with mom, so we could volunteer in some way in the fight against abortion. I have fond memories of it, mostly. At times, though, I am prone to despair as it seems that in the twenty or twenty-five years between then and now, there has been little change, little progress. The United States has not seen an overturn of Roe v. Wade and Canada still has no abortion law at all (which is really little different than enacting a law protecting a woman’s right to abort her child). I am buoyed, though, when I hear stories of individuals who have been impacted by pro-life work, stories of women who have encountered pro-life advocates, who have realized the value of life and who have chosen to save the lives of their unborn children. At least for the time being, this seems to be how God would have us fight this battle—not in court rooms or parliaments or senates (or not primarily, in any case), but in encounters with individuals.

Though I have always been staunchly pro-life, it occurred to me as I picked up Scott Klusendorf’s The Case for Life that I had never read a book-length treatment of the case against abortion. For that reason I was eager to read this one. Klusendorf is a disciple of Gregg Cunningham of the Center for Bioethical Reform and of Gregory Koukl of Stand to Reason. In the book’s opening pages he expresses his admiration for both men and his debt to them. Cunningham, he says, taught him courage while Koukl taught him to be a gracious ambassador for the Christian worldview. In both cases the similarities are clear.

The thesis of this book is “that a biblically informed pro-life view explains human equality, human rights, and moral obligations better than its secular rivals and that rank-and-file pro-life Christians can make an immediate impact provided they’re equipped to engage the culture with a robust but graciously communicated case for life.” Making that case is the purpose of the book. The author does so under four broad headings:

  1. Pro-Life Christians Clarify the Debate
  2. Pro-Life Christians Establish a Foundation for the Debate
  3. Pro-Life Christians Answer Objections Persuasively
  4. Pro-Life Christians Teach and Equip

In the first part he helps Christians understand and simplify debates over abortion and over embryonic stem cell research. The issues are often presented as being far more morally complex than they actually are and he seeks to cut through the complexity to show what is objectively right and what is objectively wrong. “Can we kill the unborn? Yes, I think we can, if. If what? If the unborn are not human beings.” Proving the humanity of the unborn simplifies and, as far as the Christian is concerned, ends the debate.

In the book’s second part Klusendorf explains why there is no such thing as moral neutrality when it comes to abortion and to embryonic stem cell research. A standard tactic of the pro-choice movement is to paint every pro-life advocate as a religious fundamentalist who brings faith, not reason, to the discussion. Klusendorf shows, though, that both sides “bring prior metaphysical commitments to the debate” and that both are asking the same foundational question: what makes humans valuable in the first place?

In the third part the author gives answers to the most common objections to the pro-life position. He focuses attention on the hard cases and the emotionally manipulative cases. “Women will die from illegal abortions.” “You shouldn’t force your views on other people.” “Rape justifies abortion.” “Men can’t get pregnant so should have no say in the debate.” “I am sovereign over my own body.” He advocates using Greg Koukl’s classic Columbo tactic, going on the offensive in a respectful, measured way by asking questions that advance the conversation. In every case he offers a useful response to questions anyone will face as he discusses this topic with others.

In the fourth and final part Klusendorf looks to pastoral implications of pro-life advocacy. He looks at the role of the pastor in the fight for life and he offers hope for men and women who feel burdened by guilt for abortions. The book concludes with a short look at what is always a controversial subject among Christians: co-belligerence. He advocates working with Catholics or Jews or Muslims or Atheists or anyone else who is pro-life but always with a view to maintaining sound doctrine. “Those truths must never be discarded so as to achieve a greater unity with non-evangelicals.” He offers a useful argument here and one that is compelling. While I would tend to agree with him, I do think he ignores the fact that co-belligerence often does lead to compromise; it is more difficult than we may think to maintain doctrinal distinctives when working hand-in-hand with those whose beliefs differ from our own. It can be done, I am sure, but it appears to be difficult to do over a long period of time. I suspect the downgrade often begins when pro-life Christians begin to pray together with those who are not believers; holding hands and praying with others can be a powerful force for unity, even if that unity (or perceived unity) advances at the expense of biblical doctrine.

There is so much content in this book, and content that is often densely packed, that it is one you will want to keep on-hand to refer to as questions or concerns or debates arise. I suspect you will want to read it through once and then make sure it is available for future reference. I’m quite sure not too many of us will glean all that it teaches in just one pass. This is not to say that it is a particularly difficult read or that it is targeted only at those with degrees in theology or philosophy. Instead, it is aimed squarely at the lay person and any Christian ought to be able to benefit from it. I believe this book can be a valuable addition to your personal library and feel it would be an excellent addition to any church or public library as well.

6 years 2 months ago

Only on rare occasions can I bring myself to buy greeting cards. When it is Aileen’s birthday or when it is our anniversary, I either tell her how I feel (not something I’m particularly good at most of the time) or I buy a blank card and fill it with my own words. Or occasionally, to my shame, I forgo to card altogether. For some reason it just seems fake, disingenuous, to give her a card with a little poetic inscription written by someone else—someone who has never met her and knows nothing about her. What do the words mean when they’ve come from someone else? It seems that a card like that really means nothing to me, and I would rather give her a card that has come from my heart rather than the mind of a stranger. I prefer to invest the time and affection in expressing myself for her benefit.

Have you ever stopped to consider what it must be like to work for Hallmark or another of the companies that create greeting cards? Imagine spending your whole day attempting to come up with wonderful statements of deep feeling—love, remorse, sympathy—yet without feeling any of the associated emotions. Imagine having to write words that express sympathy, yet not feeling any sympathy yourself. Or imagine having to write words that can express the deep, passionate love a man has for his wife as they celebrate fifty years of marriage, but without having ever experienced that sort of love yourself. It must be very odd to spend the whole day writing words of love and passion from a husband to a wife but then return alone to an empty home and a life lived alone.

I fear that all too often I, as a Christian, can worship God in just this way. So often I sing songs with the most wonderful lyrics, but in a way that betrays my true feelings. I sing “When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.” But when I sing those words, so often it is as if I am a single man writing a greeting card to celebrate a fiftieth wedding anniversary. Though the words may sound wonderful, they are devoid of any true understanding. When I sing “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me” do I even try to understand just how amazing God’s grace is? Have I experienced that grace and allowed it to transform my life? Do I know that the very grace I sing about is the only thing keeping me from an eternity of separation from God? Do I feel deep love and affection to the giver of grace? Or do I merely parrot back the words?

True worship relies on both feeling and understanding, or as Jesus said, on spirit and truth. Worship that is devoid of feeling and emotion will be dead worship, for the God we serve is worthy of feelings that express His worth. He evokes these feelings in those who love Him. It is the very height of hypocrisy to pay lip-service to God when I do not truly feel affection for Him. At the same time worship needs to be thoughtful. While it engages my feelings it must also engage my mind. My feelings must have their basis in what I know about God so that the more I know about Him the greater will be my feelings of affection for Him.

Before I married my wife I heard time and again from the wonderful older couples in our church that after forty, fifty or even sixty years of marriage, they continued to love each other more deeply and more intimately. I marveled that this could be true, yet through the first decade of my marriage I have already seen that it is not only possible but it is the way God intended marriage to be. I love my wife in a deeper way now than I did the day we exchanged vows. In the ensuing years we have faced trials together and have spent countless thousands of hours talking and laughing and worshiping together. The more I learn about Aileen and the more time I spend with her the greater my feelings of affection for her. To know her is to love her, and to know her more is to love her more.

Likewise, great knowledge of God must produce great feelings of affection for Him. These feelings of affection give me the burning desire to worship Him. I long to express my feelings, not as a means to some devious or selfish end, but simply as an expression of the affection I have for Him. As such, worship is not a means to an end, but it is an end in itself.

6 years 2 months ago
Something strange is going on with boys today. My memories of boyhood revolve around the great outdoors—running through fields with hockey stick guns, climbing trees, playing any and every sport, getting sunburns, heatstroke, ticks, sprained ankles and all the other bumps and bruises guaranteed to come to an active, rambunctious boy. Though today I live in a neighborhood filled with boys, rarely do I see them out and about; rarely do I see them engaging in the activities we’d expect of them. Something has changed. So many boys are inactive and unmotivated.

The changes go deeper than just the activities of young boys. “Fully one-third of men ages 22-34 are still living at home with their parents—about a 100 percent increase in the past twenty years. Boys nationwide are increasingly dropping out of school; fewer are going to college; and for the first time in American history, women are outnumbering men at undergraduate institutions three to two.” This lack of activity or lack of motivation seems to continue through life. Parents, educators and doctors are concerned.

Leonard Sax is a family physician and a research psychologist who has witnessed this change. He has seen it in a close and personal way through his busy medical practice. In his book Boys Adrift Dr. Sax offers his explanation as to why boys and men are failing in school and at home.

He narrows in on five factors: changes in educational models; video games; medications for ADHD; endocrine disruptors; and a lack of good role models. Schools, he says, have begun to focus on academics at too early an age, leaving boys hating education from their earliest days. Programs that focus more on fun and less on academics up to age seven or eight would reap educational dividends. Important also is the distinction between learning as merely collecting facts and learning as experience. Regarding video games he believes that boys today are dedicating far too much time to this form of entertainment. As boys play these games they gain false perceptions of power and inadvertently remove themselves from reality until eventually they prefer the world of video games over the real world. ADHD is vastly over-diagnosed and huge numbers of boys are given medications they simply do not need. These medications have been proven to change the way boys develop and do far more than simply calm down hyperactive children. Endocrine disruptors, and especially artificial estrogens found in plastic bottles and other similar products, are delaying boys’ development (while accelerating girls’ development) and contributing to many associated problems. And finally, boys are suffering from a distinct lack of good and manly role models, both in their homes and in their communities. Each of these five areas receives a chapter-length treatment and in each case the arguments are convincing. Yet the book does not end with only this list of problems, but with the author’s attempts to suggest solutions.

While Dr. Sax does not claim to be a Christian, he shares many things that could easily have their roots in the Bible. For example, in discussing problems with discipline he writes, “Thirty years ago, if a boy cursed his parents and spit at his teacher, the neighbors might say that the boy was a disobedient brat who needed a good spanking. Today, the same behavior from a similar boy might well prompt a trip to the pediatrician or the child psychiatrist. And the doctor is likely to ‘diagnose’ the boy with Conduct Disorder (DSM-IV 312.82) or Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (DSM-IV 313.81). The main criterion for both these ‘disorders’ is disobedient and disrespectful behavior that persists despite parental efforts.’ Is there really much of a difference between a neighbor saying ‘That boy is a disobedient brat,’ and a doctor saying ‘That boy has oppositional-defiant disorder’? I think there is. If another parent whom you trust and respect suggests that your son is a disobedient brat who needs stricter discipline, you just might consider adopting a tougher parenting.” In a similar vein, he writes about problems inherent in making behavioral issues into medical issues. “You can see how the assignment of responsibility differs in these two cases. If your son is a disobedient brat, then your son and you (his parents) have to take responsibility. You have to own up to the problem. You will probably have to make some changes. But if your son has a psychiatric diagnosis, that means he has a chemical imbalance in his brain. He-and you-are no more to blame for that imbalance than if your son were diagnosed with childhood leukemia, right? Psychiatrist Jennifer Harris recently pointed out that today, ‘many clinicians find it easier to tell parents their child has a brain-based disorder than to suggest parenting changes.’”

While Christian readers may find it a bit difficult to read about Dr. Sax’s comparisons between humans and their “primate cousins,” this is one of the book’s few missteps. It is well-researched and thoroughly convincing. Though some of the five concerns Sax lays out may be more important or urgent than others, and while there are many boys for whom only a few of the five will apply, I believe any parent will benefit from reading this book. The lessons he shares are applicable to children who are in public or Christian schools as much as to children who are homeschooled. Dr. Mohler calls Boys Adrift “essential reading” for parents and I am inclined to agree. If you are a parent blessed with boys or if you are a young man yourself, buy this book and read it. You won’t be sorry you did.

6 years 3 months ago

I don’t think it takes very many years of child raising before every parent realizes that he is in over his head. I am no stranger to this feeling. As I was walking my eight-year-old son to school just last week he turned to me and said, “Dad, why is it that people think killing one another will solve the world’s problems?” My first instinct was that it would be a simple question to answer. But a moment’s reflection made me realize that a proper answer would have to touch on all kinds of issues of theological significance. Thankfully my son is quite a good listener and we were able to turn his question into a good chat.

Author James Spiegel, professor of philosophy at Taylor University, did not realize the challenges he would face in talking about God to his children. Perhaps as a philosopher he felt he would be equipped to answer. But he quickly learned that even seemingly simple questions are often difficult to answer adequately. What is God like? Why does God love us? Why is it hard to be good? If heaven is so great, why am I afraid to die? These questions offer ideal opportunities to teach children while challenging our own assumptions about the Christian faith. These questions, and the answers to them, are the subject of Spiegel’s new book, Gum, Geckos and God: A Family’s Adventure in Space, Time and Faith. As Spiegel says, “If you can probe the sticky topics of faith and life’s meaning with a kid while he probes the sticky recesses of his nasal cavity, then you can discuss theology with anyone.”

Parents will enjoy this book as they will no doubt realize that they have faced many of the same questions and have struggled to provide adequate answers to them. These words may well sound familiar from your experience: “Whenever Amy and I see an opening for some theological discussion, we dive right in. Sometimes we land in the deep well of our kids’ hearts, gaining insights into their perspectives on life and God. Other times we hit dry land.” This is not a book that seeks primarily to teach parents how to communicate to their children about Christian topics, though certainly through example it models ways of doing so. Instead it is, as the subtitle indicates, a sort of adventure with the family. The back cover says rightly, “As you read, you’ll step into a new depth of Christian doctrine as you come to know and enjoy the Spiegel family and follow their journey of spiritual growth.”

The book teaches rich theology and in a way that is engaging and deeply applicable. It wonderfully mixes narrative with teaching, humor with depth. Spiegel’s background in philosophy allows him a unique perspective on the issues. Though his answers are generally simple, he avoids being simplistic. The reader will not only absorb some ideas for talking about faith with his children, but he’ll grow in his understanding of doctrine as well. Both reflective and profound, Gum, Geckos and God is the kind of book any reader can enjoy.

 

8 years 11 months ago

The past twenty-four or forty-eight hours have been the most successful in the history of my company Websonix, at least in terms of sales. I have been literally inundated with work. Of course I am not complaining! Far from it, I am very thankful for the work that has come my way. It has meant, though, that my blogging time has been somewhat reduced as I have several imminent deadlines. I thought of posting an as-yet unfinished article, but wanted to be sure I did it justice. So instead of rushing something to “print,” I thought I’d post an article written by a reader (who also happens to be my sister) who pondered what I wrote about sex and intimacy and subsequently wrote down her thoughts. From here on out you’re reading Susanna’s words.

I am writing this article as a result of much time spent pondering over my brother’s most recent post at his web site, www.challies.com. There, Tim has written about sex and intimacy, both how it is abused in our culture and how it is intended to be biblically. Tim cites Songs of Solomon as the best place to find an obvious show of intense marital love, desire and commitment in the bible.

Now, I have a confession to make. Songs of Solomon as a book can rather intimidate me. what do I mean by that? Well, the exchange between Solomon and his young Shulammite lover are simply bathed in such a pure and beautiful, reckless desire that knows none of the negativity or criticism that I find can so easily impede such constant romance in a courtship or marriage. Movies such as “Life is Beautiful” or “The Notebook” run through my head as I read this chapter of the bible, an automatic response, I suppose, of a romantic who has a finely tuned knowledge of what true love is in films, but not neccessarily always in real life; who can give up everything for a few hours to a screen writer’s fantasy. To use that energy instead twoards reality…to surrender my feelings of love for Rick so unabashedly…feelings which grow daily as we near our anniversary, and tell him such truths on a regular basis as, “How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming!” or “You have stolen my heart, my (husband), my (groom); you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes.” Would not that kind of intimacy and transparency be an awesome addition to any marriage?

On the other hand, artist Bruce Springsteen declares in his song “The Secret Garden”, that there is a secret garden within a woman, a place locked up which will never be openned to a man no matter how close their relationship may get emotionally and physically. He sings, “She’s got a secret garden/ Where everything you want/ Where everything you need/ Will stay a million miles away.” Fortunately, there is a strikingly different message apparent in Songs of Solomon. Though the lovers wisely control their undeniable desires to give themselves over to each other physically, thus keeping their desires “locked up” metaphorically until marriage, they do not deny each other the awesome experience of knowing one other emotionally and spiritually. They know that they are intended for each other, proclaiming with fervency, “My lover is mine and I am his,”and thus see no reason to hide their feelings and thoughts as they have found a secure refuge in each other. In short, they know that true, everlasting love encompasses a tender weaving together of the whole self, given wisely, yet totally surrendered to the other person. Like a stick of peppermints, continually peeled away to get at another candy, our surrendered selves will always carry unchartered crevices of course, yet it is these things, shared with a mate, which can heighten the elements of discovery through out the years together.

After contemplating this debated book, which baffles as well as bothers many for its place in the bible, I no longer feel intimidated but rather inspired…inspired to ditch assumptions and instead verbalize my love and desire for Rick whenever I can. I have been blessed with a beautiful man, inside and out, who follows after God faithfully and passionately declares his admiration for his bride on a regular basis, which, put together, is everything. Together the passions will also intensify our relationship with Christ, the ultimate king who will come gather us all, his underserving people, in a beautiful culmination at the end of this earthly kingdom. Until then, all creation sings in admiration and exaltation to the author of beauty, of love, of passion, and of desire.

*Verses taken from NIV study bible