Thursday, June 07, 2007

premarital/marital counseling

I read Everett Eggerichs' book when contemplating premarital counseling, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs.

It is not a premarital book, per se, but it is an excellent companion to
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last by John Gottman. Gottman's book is from the perspective of a psychologist and is good at describing the things that successful couples do and the things that unsuccessful couples do, in marriage.

Gottman's book is only a little prescriptive, because he is attempting to be philosophically neutral. His intended audience is mainstream people and psychological researchers.

Eggerichs, on the other hand, writes from an evangelical Christian point of view, starting with scripture and declaring how to behave in marriage in light of Gottman's results.

Both are 5-star selections.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

baptism: spiritual; indwelling, filling

Baptism is a one-time kind of thing. In John 3, Jesus talks about being born of water, and being born of the Spirit. There are two baptisms that symbolize becoming a Christian, the baptism of water, and the baptism of the Spirit. The Spirit's baptism is also known as regeneration, i.e., the moment we receive the new nature, the spiritual nature, from God.

"Indwelling" is another word for "being lived in." That is the normal state of a Christian, someone whom Christ's spirit lives in.

"Being filled" refers to us as vessels. Sometimes, we we are more full than other times. Paul describes how to be filled with the spirit in Ephesians 5. It involves four parts:

1. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
2. singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
3. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
4. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Ephesians is full of things we put off (habits from the old nature) and things we put on (i.e., the new nature's habits). To be spirit-filled is to live a life engaged in these new habits to the exclusion of those old habits.