Dear Fathers on Father’s Day

As we, celebrate Father’s Day, I figured this was a perfect video to post. I have posted this before, but it bears repeating, especially in this society where anarchy reigns and that family is being systematically destroyed.

Fathers are men. They are warriors, protectors, providers and they guide families through valleys and mountain ranges. They play with toys, tell stories, discipline, and fix cuts and scrapes. They pay the bills. They work hard. They are examples of courage, integrity, and strength. They stand for truth and honor in spite of the flow of society.

Men…keep up the good fight. Stay strong and continue to press forward no matter what society tells you. Do the right thing. Be the man and lead your family. You! Not your wife or someone else. You do it. You take the reins and guide your family through the darkness that surrounds us today.

Be an example that your family will remember with fondness and pride.

Happy Father’s Day men.

Pretty Little Gentlemen and Angry Women Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

So now what? We have a world full of glamorous milk-toast men and bull-headed angry women. And it’s not getting better, I can assure you.

A time will come, with a few more generations under our belts, where the masculine man will be the oddity and the “gay” looking man will be the norm. People will point and snicker at the likes of men like me. My “type” will be looked at as someone to feel sorry for. The men of the world who stand for truth and Christ will be forced underground or treated for a mental condition. The delicate effeminate man will be the norm who will look at us with disdain and disgust.

I look at my children and feel sorry for them somewhat. They are growing up in a world where the walls of discretion have fallen. Society, at one point, had rules, written and unwritten to live by. Men were men, and women were women. Children were children. Families were families. Divorce was a blemish. Homosexuality was something no one talked about. It was practiced behind closed doors and was never celebrated. But unfortunately, it is a symptom of failing parents. We as parents have been blessed and entrusted with the greatest of treasures. Our children are worth immeasurable value. They are our future. Period. But if we are teaching them to be something they are not, then how does this affect society?

The church of Jesus Christ has a mandate. That mandate is to proclaim the Gospel to the world. The church also has rules it must abide by. We see it throughout the New Testament. We have standards we must govern our lives and families by. These standards have been put in place for our good and for the good of society. Take away these standards and something will take their place. Hence the mess we find our world in today. Ruled by the worship of self and relativism.

At one point if you went to church it was because you were either saved or desired to be so. Now the church is a place where no matter who you are, are welcomed with open arms. Regardless of your faith or belief system, as long as you can get along and bring your tithes, you are welcomed.

cruise-ship-far-away-meme-doneLeonard Ravenhill said it well:

 

“The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising.”

Well said. We allow the congregation to live the lifestyle they want. Men and women can live together and not be judged. Muslims and Catholics can call a so-called Christian church home. The LGBTQ+ group can and usually feel quite safe and comfortable in most churches today. Why? Because the Gospel has been replaced by a message that has had its corners rounded over and its edges covered by the protective foam of non-judgmentalism. Repentance and revival are things that most churches know nothing about. Many modern churches today don’t even know who Jesus is. Oh, they have heard about Him here and there, but they don’t KNOW Him.

Between the family and the church, no wonder the world is in the mess its in. No one wants to discipline and correct anymore. No one wants to touch the hot potatoes anymore because they know that the consequences of standing for the truth are dire. So the men who once stood strong and kept the sin and compromise out of the church have been shut down and shut up by the feminists who have been trained by their aggressive and non-submissive mothers to take charge and not let any man stand in their way. Over the course of a few generations of men being pushed around and degraded, we now have “men” who naturally won’t confront and stand against evil. It doesn’t even occur to them to do so. It’s become natural for men to be non-confrontational and non-judgmental. It has also become natural for women to be the ones who crack the whip and make decisions. The whole dynamic has been flipped. Men are seeking out relationships and women are leading.

Where does this leave the children? God help them.

How can the church spread the Gospel and do the Lord’s bidding if they are so messed up? They can’t.

What’s the answer to all this? The Bible gives us a clear warning to those who refuse to stand for the truth and do the right thing.

Revelation 21:8

“But as for cowards and the unfaithful, and the polluted, and murderers, fornicators, and those who practise magic or worship idols, and all liars–the portion allotted to them shall be in the Lake which burns with fire and sulphur. This is the Second Death.”

This is the point. If we are Christians then we MUST follow the Bible and conform ourselves to what it teaches. This is vital if we want to change the world. Unless we follow the commandments of God, then we will fall into sin and deception and won’t be worth our salt (Matt. 5).

 

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

 

If the Bible says homosexuality is wrong then don’t practice it. Don’t allow it into your church. Don’t allow it into your home. Don’t embrace it for anything. Look upon it as God does. An abomination (Romans 1, Lev. 18). 29872624_1746130625408314_2458210620326685598_o

The Bible commands us to run from fornication and all that that definition implies. It also commands us to separate ourselves from the unclean thing.

J.C. Ryle says: “The standard of the world, and the standard of the Lord Jesus–are indeed widely different. They are more than different–they are flatly contradictory one to the other. Never be satisfied with the world’s standard of Christianity!

A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people!”

These are simple commands yet the church has allowed the world to dictate what she should believe and that’s the reason why the church is weak and powerless.

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.” 1 John 5:4

The family needs to get back to its roots. There needs to be a mom and a dad. Not two moms or two dads or three of this and five of that. Your children need a real old-fashioned mom and a real old-fashioned dad. Not only is this important but our children need parents who think of them more than they do of their jobs and careers. How many hours do you spend with your children a week? Actual quality time. One on one time. “Oh I can’t do that, I’m working too much”.

Do your children accept that? Do you think your children want the money or you? My wife and I have made adjustments to our lifestyle in order to be there for our children. Yes, it means trimming the fat and tightening the belts, but they know that we are always there for them, spending quality time with each every day.

If you walked through my home on a daily basis, you would see me playing Nerf wars or doing something in the workshop with my boys. Or you would see me sitting with my daughter listening to her endless adventures about her rabbits. You would see me conducting Bible studies and training my children in the right way to deal with people and problems in a humble and God-fearing manner.

You will see my wife spending her days homeschooling, teaching piano and taking care of the house as a wife should. You would see her nurturing and loving and teaching and guiding in the ways of God.

Yes, I work but I made sure I had a job that gave me the freedom to either include my children in my job and/or make sure I was home to help train and guide them.

If my work gets in the way of training my children then something’s got to change. If I’m not there to lead my family, then someone else will. Many women have been pushed into living both roles and most fail miserably because they are not made to be both parents. My wife has been sick from time to time, and when the whole burden of the household fell on me, I was beside myself with the tasks. I realized that my amazing wife did more than I thought. She kept the house running, kept the meals on schedule and kept things moving at an even keel.

When I’m on the shelf with an injury or sickness, my wife realizes how hard my job is and appreciates all I do. You see, it’s a balance. A dance, if you will. A choreographed ballet of talents and skills and I couldn’t do it without her.

This is how you train good, healthy children who will one day contribute to society and make it better.

Otherwise, we have children who have no identity, no worth, falling into gangs and lifestyles that only damage and destroy.

Parents, your first mission field is your family. Get your family in order and then you can go out into the world and clean it up.

In this society where all hell is breaking loose, we, as Christians must stand up and place that candle in our windows, showing the world that there is hope. A warm, inviting light in the darkness will inevitably draw the lost, as a candle draws the moth. God will draw them to you, but how can He if there is no difference between you and the world? Why should the world change if they look at the church and see carbon copies? Divorce rates are the same, so-called Christian men view pornography just as much as the world, there are even Christian atheists taking up pew space. And we expect the world to come to Jesus when we are His ambassadors?!

In closing, I think a Grace Gem by Horatius Bonar is quite fitting.

 

There is much worldliness among the saints! There is worldliness in their motives and actions; worldliness in their domestic life and in their interaction with society; there is worldliness in the arrangements of their households and in the education of their families; there is worldliness in their expenditure, so much being laid out for self, so little for God; there is worldliness in their religious schemes, and movements, and societies; there is worldliness in their reading, and in their conversation. There is, in short, too much of the spirit of fervent worldliness about their whole deportment, and little of calm, happy superiority to the things of earth.

They are fretted, disturbed, bustled just like the world. They grudge labor, or fatigue, or expense, or annoyance in the cause of Christ, or in serving their fellow men. They have much of earth, little of Heaven about them.

They are not large-hearted or openhanded; not willing to spend and be spent, unmoved and unruffled, as those whose eye is ever set on the incorruptible inheritance on which they so soon shall enter. They are low and unaspiring in the things of God.

Perhaps there are few things against which we require to be more warned than against this spirit of worldliness. The Church is very prone to forget her pilgrim character in this present evil world and to live as a citizen of earth. Her dignity as the eternally chosen of the Father is lost sight of; her hope as the inheritor of the glory and the kingdom of the Son is obscured.

God’s cure for worldliness is the bringing before us of another, eternal world, more glorious than that which He calls on us to forsake. There is no thorough cure for worldliness but this. It is lack of faith in eternal realities, that makes us worldlings! When the believing eye gets fixed on the world to come, then we learn to set our affections on things above.

So long, however, as all here in our present sphere of existence is bright, we are content with this world. We allow ourselves to sink down and settle quietly among the things of earth. Why should we whose home and treasure are above, ever again seek our home or our treasure here on this poor earth?

Why should we stoop from our heavenly elevation to mingle again with the company which we have forsaken? Are we ashamed of our pilgrim staff and our pilgrim road? Surely not. To be a pilgrim on earth is to be divided from sin and sinful appetites, from the seducing vanities and worthless mockeries of the world, from the fascinating beauty and perilous splendor of this decaying scene. To be a pilgrim on earth is to be a friend of God, a member of the heavenly household, an expectant of the kingdom, an heir of the crown of glory.

The opposite of worldliness is heavenly mindedness or spiritual mindedness. This, the new relish which the Holy Spirit imparts at conversion, in some measure produces. But it is feeble. It easily gives way. It is not strong enough to withstand much temptation. God’s wish is to impart a keener relish for eternal things, and to destroy the relish for the things of time.

This He effects by blighting all objects in which there was earthly sweetness, so that by being deprived of objects to “mind” on earth, it may of necessity be led to “mind” the things above. He dries up all the “nether springs” of earthly joy, that we may betake ourselves to the “upper springs” which can never fail.

When God unroofs our dwelling, or tears up its foundation by an earthquake, then we are forced to look upward and seek a better and more enduring portion! Many such shocks, however, are often needed before our souls are broken off from their cleaving to the dust.

What are this world’s allurements to us? What to us are the sights and sounds of earth, who “shall see the king in his beauty,” and hear His voice, into whose lips grace is poured? What to us is the green fertility of earth, who shall enter into the possession of the new earth? What to us is the gay glory of a city’s wealth and pomp, who shall be made citizens of the New Jerusalem, where dwells the glory of God and of the Lamb, whose foundations are of precious stones, whose walls are of jasper, whose gates are of pearl, whose streets and pavements are of transparent gold?

Be zealous and repent and do your first works. Come out, be separate, touch not the unclean thing! Put off the works of darkness! Put on the armor of light. Be done with wavering, indecision, and compromise.

Church of the living God! Be warned. Live for Jesus, not for yourself, for Him, not for the world. Walk worthy of your name and calling, worthy of Him who bought you as His bride, worthy of your everlasting inheritance. Consider the LAMB and walk in His steps!

Men? Be men. Be courageous, strong and stand for what is right. You will have a battle on your hands and you will come up against the feminist juggernaut in your struggles. But stand anyway. You owe it to your family, the church and to the world.

Women? Don’t allow the lure of power to turn your head for it is a deceptive enemy. Embrace the calling of being a wife and mother. This is your greatest and most rewarding job. You also will be met with all sorts of trouble and resistance from an enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy you and your beloved family.

Parents, stand firm as a team. Two awesome people linked arm in arm, hand in hand, heart in heart, mind in mind against a common foe. Stand against the flow of society and perhaps a few generations of children who have been trained, disciplined and loved properly can right this ship before it sinks beneath the waves of compromise and modernism.

 

Pretty Little Gentlemen and Angry Women Part 1

“If you will describe yourself as a pretty gentleman, I shall find nothing in the Bible wherewith to comfort you; but as long as you have black words and condemning words wherewith to daub yourself, I feel that you are Christ’s man…”

 

An excerpt from The Complete Works of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 36: Sermons 2121-2181.

 

download (7)How many pretty gentlemen do we have in the church today? Never mind the world, as they are supposed to be messed up, deceived and running around blinded and dead in their sins. But we are being inundated by pretty, effeminate men climbing into the pews and seats of authority all over Christianity. These men are delicate, soft, glamorous. They speak nothing of the men of yesteryear who were strong, bold, courageous.

You may shy away from this sort of criticism because it seems normal for you to see such men dolled up and looking beautiful, but if you are middle age and older you remember a time where this wasn’t so.

If you walk through the grooming section of your local drug store, you will undoubtedly see the usual shaving creams, safety razors, deodorant and the like. However, along with the usual old-fashioned toiletries, you will now see a large selection of face putties, under-eye creams, wrinkle erasers and worse.

Society is training its boys to be pretty and delicate, and this horrid philosophy has crept into the church and made the so-called men snowflakes.

I have seen this in sports as well. I catch baseball and hockey highlights from time to time, and when someone gets hurt or hurts someone else, these men tend to fall apart. I watch in shock as the athlete wanders around, head in hands, getting hugs from his teammates, crying and shaking from the horror of it all. I see soccer (football in Europe) players drop like someone shot them when they get pushed or knocked over.

This is a disturbing trend I have found permeating the world. Men are quickly becoming cry-babies!

 Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary on the Definition of the word Effeminate.

 

1. (a.) Having some characteristic of a woman, as delicacy, luxuriousness, etc.; soft or delicate to an unmanly degree; womanish; weak.

2. (a.) Womanlike; womanly; tender; — in a good sense.

3. (v. t.) To make womanish; to make soft and delicate; to weaken.

4. (v. i.) To grow womanish or weak.

What does the Bible have to say about this sort of man?

1 Corinthians 6:9
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind (homosexuals)…

No longer do we see the loggers, sailors, and miners of yesteryear who were tougher than nails, working, struggling against all odds, standing up against the evil powers of the world. Now we see men talking about relationships, emotions, and male bonding.

I look to the Bible for most of my examples and this is one occasion where the Bible can be used for evidence. Look back into the Old Testament and you see Abraham and Moses. Tough, leading armies against the enemies of God. You see David, a slayer of thousands. You go to the New Testament and see John the Baptist. Nothing pretty or delicate here. Then you see the Champion of our Faith, Jesus of Nazareth. Glamorous and polished? Not a chance. Paul the Apostle? Nope. Peter? Are you kidding?!

The Bible is full of men who were strong and rugged. Courageous and bold. Standing up for truth, defending what was right no matter the consequences.

Remember Peter and John in Acts 4? They stood courageously against the religious leaders and refused to be quiet. They were going to preach the Gospel come hell or high water and it didn’t matter one iota what the consequences were.

How about Stephen? He was stoned to death preaching the Gospel.

The Apostle Paul?

2 Corinthians 11: 23. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews, five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

Did Paul cower and lay in the corner in a fetal position hoping Oprah had the answer? No. He kept going. He poured himself out for the Gospel and when he was finally killed, he left this earth with nothing more to give.

What happened?! Where are these men? Where are the leaders and warriors of the faith? 

I read of men and hear it throughout my day where men have arguments or go through trials and they break down and run to their drugs, games or some sort of fantasy to help them cope. No longer do men stand strong in faith and the assurance that God is sovereign and is leading them through the valley of their lives. No longer do men humble themselves before God and pray. They run to Google for their answers. They allow the world or their aggressive, feminist wives to dictate what they should do. This is a modern-day atrocity that can only spell ruin for future generations.

What is happening in the church today is symptomatic of what I am seeing. The feminist movement has marched in and taken over. We see it all the time in the church and because women are being trained to take charge and “be the man“, the men have backed down and kept quiet.

Why? Because parents have dropped the ball. Because parents in my age group are a product of the no-discipline philosophy. They were raised with no correction in their homes and now they have passed it on to their children.

I see it with my wife and her piano students. Children today cannot take criticism. They don’t even know what “NO” means! If my wife tries to correct something in regards to their piano playing they whine and cry and pound the piano in frustration and anger.

If these children are being raised to run the home and get away with whatever they want, what will happen when they are grown up? If children today do not have godly, old-fashioned role models to copy, they’ll copy media, video games, music stars and the like.

I see families where the mom is trying to fill both roles. What happens? Their children, many times decide to embrace a homosexual lifestyle. The same goes with dad trying to be mom. The family has been attacked on all sides and the children are the victims.

I see parents teaching boys to dress up like glamour girls and girls to be men. I see boys feathering their hair and wearing skinny jeans with their delicate ankles showing and girls driving dump trucks.  The whole core of the family has been twisted around and perverted.

Abhishek-Bachchan-in-Bol-Bachchan-380This reverberates straight through into the church, where the pastor dares not mention sacrifice, sin, and hell. Instead, he tells a story full of emotion and emphasizes relationships and staying relevant to the world. All the while the enemy stalks through the sheep-fold unmolested.

The church is supposed to reflect Christ and His teachings. Islam understands this. Buddhism understands this. Talk to any religion out there and they all get this. Their religion reflects its founder.

Why doesn’t Christianity? 

The Pain of Cancer in a Child

Preaching and teaching about handling the trials and tribulations of life is always easier than the day you personally encounter those difficulties. When our family spoke of going to Liberia as missionaries, we were not prepared for the very real eventuality that it came close to taking the life of my daughter and myself.

However, through that painful time, we had a small handful of family and friends who supported us financially as well as in prayer. One of those is my dear friend and close brother in Christ, J.L. Pattison, and his lovely family.

J.L. has been a long-time contributor to this blog since the time that it was Defending Contending. I have had the privilege of being their pastor in the past when we lived in deserts of Nevada, and have watched them grow.

Yet, nothing could have prepared us for the news that we received this last November.

This was the beginning in his words —

On November 15, 2019, an x-ray for persistent leg pain in our five-year-old son’s left leg revealed a large tumor that originated in the bone of the upper portion of his femur. After an MRI, we were told by an oncologist in Reno, Nevada that it is likely Ewing Sarcoma. A week later a biopsy was conducted in Salt Lake City, Utah where we were told it was Osteosarcoma.

With only a 70% survival rate, our family has moved from the mourning phase of this life-shattering news, to the action phase where we are fighting for Kohen’s life.

Kohen is a precious little boy and has one of the sweetest personalities. His brothers and sisters have been very supportive through this painful process, but this is taking a toll on everybody. They are all aware that this cancer may end this little life at the worst scenario, or that during his upcoming surgery in March, may require the amputation of his entire leg.

While J.L. and his family are not perfect, they have learned to depend on the sovereign purposes of He who alone is Perfect in every way. They know that the wrong question is “Why did God…?” The Biblical question that they are praying for strength to ask every day is “God, how will you use this to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ?”

I want to encourage each of you to go to “The Kohen Chronicles” and follow the Pattison’s journey through this valley.

Pray for them. Pray for strength, for grace, for healing, for wisdom for the medical teams, and most of all that God will be glorified through this trial. Send a card or gift to them and to Kohen. Any outpouring of support would be greatly appreciated.

Our hearts ache with each new blogpost. While our tears will never match those of the Pattison family, we know that in Christ we share a bond that is anything but common.

J.L. asked us to hold off until now to share this news, but we will now be posting regular updates to Truth in Grace.

Brother, you and your family are dearly loved! There is nothing else I can say right now, except to share this short poem written many, many years ago by a British minister, and the beautiful hymn from the Gettys.

“We cannot Lord, Thy purpose see,
but all is well, that is done by Thee.”

Is Your Wife Your First Ministry?

Is Your Wife Your First Ministry?

At DefCon, we holistically support men who support their families. Men who make discipleship and love a priority for the home. The home is one of the central building blocks for a society, and the marriage is the sun by which everything in the home orbits. Having said this, there are many priorities that pastors, open air preachers, and everyday christian men have that may sometimes burden us. We can become anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed with the multiple obligations that we are to tend to. And yes, wives are included in this list of feelings. And the one thing that is not helpful are Christian cliches like, “Your wife is your first ministry.” It has a nice ring to it, and for the most part it is well meaning, but it does not properly convey the responsibilities and obligations a Christian may face on a day to day basis. It has also been abused by certain preachers that wish to exclude certain men from ministry.

I have attached a blogtalk episode that I and a pastor friend of mine recorded about this topic. My hope is that we would all take into consideration the biblical model of men not just in ministry, but just being men in general. All the material discussed in this episode may or may not reflect all the views of contributing bloggers here at DefCon. Here is the narrative and link of the episode below.

“On this exciting episode of G220 radio, George will be joined by Pastor Tom Shuck from Pilgrim Bible Church. Pastor Shuck is a graduate of Master’s Seminary and Columbia Evangelical Seminary and was a missionary to India for 12 years. He holds both a Masters of Divinity (MDiv.) and a Doctorate of Ministry (DMin.). He has been a pastor of Pilgrim Bible Church for 4 years and helped start a seminary in India as well as planted a church there. He enjoys sports, music, family trips, and George’s personal favorite, linguistics. He has evangelized in cities like Oakland, Orlando, Mumbai, Pune training believers how to evangelize, preach the gospel, and make disciples. His wife is Lisa Shuck and two children.”

“This episode we’ll explore the cliche “Your wife is your first ministry.” Is it Scriptural? Are there other primary biblical responsibilities? Can you make ministry your idol or mistress? What should a man who is called to preach do with this kind of cliche? What about missionaries and evangelists of old that we look up to that sacrificed much, even their marriages, for the gospel? What about Matthew 22:35-40, 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, Ephesians 5:22-33, and 1 Timothy 3:5?”

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/g220radionetwork/2016/05/10/ep-157-is-your-wife-your-first-ministry

-Until we go home

 

Teach Your Children Well

Little children parade to the front during worship service to toss money into an offering plate as quote-Anita-Baker-applause-felt-like-approval-and-it-became-94311music is played. As they march out to children’s church, people clap.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

What are these children being taught?

Give me four years to teach the children…

Vladimir Lenin infamously declared, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” The national indoctrinationgovernment of this country, formerly known as these United States of America, wants our children from age 5 – 18, 22 if they can get it. Do we think this education is morally neutral? Or is there a system within and of the world that works iniquity and never sleeps?

Colin Gunn has published a movie that aims to educate Americans about the dangers of government education. Parents are not to be condemned but educated about this arena. To that end, Gunn offers this movie for free viewing from 22 – 31 December.

Here’s a note from Colin:

This season, as people spend time at home together, we hope that families will take the time to watch and share our movie with loved ones, especially those that need to hear the truth about the American public school system and decide whether they should continue using them.

Even in the last few years we have seen a dramatic decline in the school system making our message all the more urgent. We’ve recently seen astonishing moves by the educational establishment, with the Department of Education’s full-on support of the Supreme Court ruling on homosexual marriage, and in recent months, a significant campaign to normalize transgender lifestyles to our youth. The public schools have gone from bad to worse, and there are no excuses left.

Now is the time to act.Please take the time to share our message through your emails and social networks. Go here: www.watchindoctrination.com/free

I pray you take the time to watch the movie. Don’t allow the prince of the air to rule your children. Be informed and prepared.

What Does God say about Bioethics?

Christian Bioethics 517UykgR7dL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

A review by Stuart Brogden

This book, subtitled A Guide for Pastors, Health Care Professional, and Families, is part of a series on Christian ethics published by B&H Publishing Group. I dare say anyone within each of those groups would be challenged to think more biblically about the relevant issues as well as being better informed by reading this book. In the preface, the series editor tells us the thesis of this book by asking this question: “How do we move from an ancient text like the Bible to twenty-first-century questions about organ transplants, stem-cell research, and human cloning?” This book, written by an ordained minister of the gospel (C. Ben Mitchell) and a physician (D. Joy Riley), gives solid counsel and these emotionally charged issues in 9 chapters, and is broken up into four parts: Christian Bioethics, Taking Life, Making Life, and Remaking/Faking Life. The format of each chapter is a look into a real life situation immersed in the subject, followed by questions for reflection, and Q & A between the authors. Other than a too frequent quoting of Roman Catholics as though that Church is Christian institution, this team provides solid insight from God’s Word on each of these topics.

Chapter 1 gives the reader an overview of the Hippocratic Oath which opened my eyes to the ancient context and false gods the oath was originally made to and the awareness that most doctors today do not subscribe to this oath, which we mostly know as the pledge to, First, do no harm. This was spelled out in explicit language that forbid euthanasia and abortion. The absence of a doctor’s oath to “do no harm” may cause a patient to wonder how much he can trust his doctor. In summing up this topic our physician author observes (page 22, italics in original) “Doctors should work hard to be trust-worthy and humble.” A few pages later (page 28), as they address stem-cell research, our minister reminds us, after quoting 2 Peter 1:3, “God has not left his people without guidance in every area of life. Although the Bible is not a science textbook, its message speaks to the deep underlying values that can guide decisions about scientific matters. Although the Bible is not manual of medicine, its truths may be applied to medical decision making.” This is a key perspective for every child of God to properly understand how to walk in the light of God’s Word. Much of the rest of chapter 2 is good advice for properly reading and understanding the Scriptures, taking into account literary, historical, and cultural context as well the genre of what is being read.

The chapter addressing abortion is sobering and probably eye-opening for most. The authors make a full-court press to establish the humanity of every life, starting from conception. Mitchell makes the essential connection between our view of Jesus and our view of humanity, developing the humanity of our Lord to show how every mortal is given value by the Creator – above all other life forms – from the time the egg is joined with a sperm. At the end of chapter 3, the authors exhort Christians to be active in opposing abortion and supporting life, but they draw no lines of getting involved with pro-life Roman Catholics. Christians must be deliberate and biblically thoughtful in deciding who to get cozy with in the public arena. The next chapter covers death and dying, providing thought-provoking observations about the details of pain and suffering and how one’s Christian world view informs us. A key element in handling the death of any person, they tell us, is to remember the patient (perhaps a close relative) is a human being, not merely a patient to be treated. “Much of the suffering of dying persons comes from being subtly treated as nonpersons.” (page 85) There is discussion of the efforts to extend life, even at the expense of that life being human. It is a long-held desire of fleshly human beings to grasp eternal life in our present form, without submitting to God’s revealed plan of redemption – which includes our death and resurrection. Being a faithful child of God includes how we approach death – do we trust our heavenly Father in our dying as did our Savior? Again, we get faithful advice (pages 100 & 101): “Through the resurrection of Christ, God has given us grounds to hope that death, however awful, will not have the last word.” Amen!

As they move from taking life to making life, the reader is presented with a biology lesson on how babies come into the world. They take this opportunity to reinforce the Christians view of anthropology (page 113): “Knowing that pregnancy occurs at fertilization rather than at implantation will help us make several important distinctions later.” They then cover several options medicine has provided for artificial this or that, discussing the line we cross regarding family integrity and God’s authority, observing (page 123), “When a third party intrudes on the procreative relationship, the divinely instituted structure of the family is altered. Trouble is bound to follow.” This may be unwelcome by some, who have such a great desire for a child that their love for the Word of God is overshadowed. All of us fall into this pit on one issue or another from time-to-time, so let us not rush to judgment.

The last part of this fine book covers the definition of death and the forces behind the changes we’ve seen in the last 50 years; organ donation and transplants; cloning and human/animal hybrids; and life extension practices. In this last category, we are introduced to trans-humanists, a group that wants to extent life in the human body and beyond. This was the topic of recent movie, Transcendence, which traced the consequences of a computer scientist whose “essence” was transferred into a powerful computer he had built. It gets very ugly before it ends. In summing up how we who profess Christ ought to look at aging, Mitchell provides a contrast between Christians and Trans-humanists (page 181): “Interestingly, the trans-humanists and Christians seem to have some common concerns. We share:

  • The quest for the good life.
  • Longing for immortality
  • Pursuit of the relief of human suffering
  • Appreciation for technology’s benefits.

Where we differ is in the mean to achieve these aims. For Christians the good life and the goods of life are found in God and his presence in our lives. The good life is not defined by the number of years one lives but the reality of God’s presence in however many years one lives. While we, like the apostle Paul, long for immortality, Christians understand that they already possess it. … Another place we differ with the trans-humanist is in loathing every human limitation. Because we are creatures and nor creators, we accept most limitations as gifts from the One who made us.”

And while there is much more in this book that will do the reader much good, I think that is a wonderful point on which to end this review. Christian – are you content with our God’s provision in your life? Do we think we deserve better than YHWH has given us? To quote the Apostle, “Who are you, oh man, to answer back to the One who made you thus?” Let us, as did the Lord Jesus, trust ourselves to the One who judges justly. Trust God, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. In living and dying – and all that comes between those two finite points.

God’s Story

God’s Story  Gods Story

A review by Stuart Brogden

 

This book is subtitled, A Student’s Guide to Church History. As one who has greatly benefited from studying church history, I was most eager to read this book as I think all Christians would learn much that is helpful by such a study. In the introduction, Brian Cosby says “knowing church history helps explain our identity … helps explain the present … guards us from repeating mistakes … testifies to God’s powerful working as HIS STORY.” Studying church history done well will have much in common with the historical narratives in Scripture – showing the brute truth about God’s people: redeemed sinners who still struggle with sin and obey with less than perfection.

 

In chapters 2 – 10, our author provides a quick overview of the history of God’s people from Genesis through the Great Awakening, giving details that should whet the appetite of any young – or older Christian – to discover more about the providential care for His people in all ages.

 

The last couple of chapters provide a warning to all who might be drawn aside from the study of the Scriptures. Church history shows that those who do not cling to the Bible as the Word of God inevitably drift to using human wisdom to determine eternal outcomes. In the 11th chapter (they are not numbered), Cosby details four categories of abandonment of Scriptures as the rule for life and godliness, with shipwrecks of faith being the inevitable outcome. First, he describes revivalism, headlined by Charles Finney – who gave us altar calls and myriad “new measures”. Dispensationalism arrived at about the same time. Second, Cosby tells us about liberalism – which denies the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. This leads professing Christians to deny the virgin birth, the creation account, and pretty much anything essential to the Christian faith. He names people so we will recognize them when we read other documents, so we are properly warned. Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) is known as the “Father of Modern Liberal Theology” and had many followers, including Henry Ward Beecher, Adolf von Harnack, Albrecht Ritschl, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Rudolf Bultmann, Paul Tillich, John Hick, and John Shelby Spong.

 

The third abandonment of Scripture is cults, which are typified by the Latter Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both of these cults have a heretical view of Jesus and the trinity, each has their own twisted version of the Bible. These factual departures from the Word of God does not stop millions of people from following these cults and leading many to a certain doom apart from Christ. The fourth and last category is evolution. I was happy to see this listed, as I have come to see this view as particularly incompatible with Christianity, yet accepted by many Christians who are too impressed by what men call science. There is no evidence of any evolutionary change in kinds – from non-dog to dog, etc. All the “proof experiments” document that environmental adaptation (known as micro-evolution) is common. Change in kind (macro-evolution) has never been documented, much less has evolution been shown to be the cause for the origin of any species.

 

The last chapter is a review of four influences in the 20th century that have encouraged or derailed many Christians: fundamentalism (reaffirming the essentials of the Christian faith), neo-orthodoxy (the Bible becomes the Word of God when used by God to draw a sinner to faith), Pentecostalism (a focus on experience rather than Truth), and evangelicalism (emphasizing the historic Protestant theological convictions). This last also brought a mixture of revivalism and new measures as churches experimented with different forms of entertainment worship.

 

This excellent book finishes with an exhortation from the author that should encourage every Christian, young or old:

 

As we look back through the history of the Christian church, we see God’s faithfulness to preserve his people in spite of their sin and rebellion against his truth. We see a great cloud of witnesses, generations of those who have embraced Christ by faith, beckoning us onward as we will one day be translated from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant. And until that day comes, we pray, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”

 

I say amen!

 

This is a very good book, easy to grab hold of. Parents should put this in front of their children, read it with them and discuss the attributes of God and the sinfulness of man that are always on display. This latter ought remind that none but Jesus does helpless sinners good. Flee to Him. This book shows us the way.

Encouragement in Parenting – Part 4

We begin with the words of Deuteronomy 6:5-9, and we will consider it in detail later in the article. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Parents, we have addressed some major concerns that are facing our homes and my prayer is that those who read will give serious and prayerful consideration to what was commanded of the children of Israel. It is in these words that we will find an answer to how we may correct what is missing in our own homes. As I share these thoughts, I address them from my own personal perspective as well as from the problems we have sought to deal with in our home in the raising of our children.

Reading these words it may seem that we have managed to figure out all the answers. You may wonder how we managed to raise five almost perfect children who obeyed us every single time the first time we asked them to do something. You may even be astounded that all five of our children always obeyed us with a heart full of gratitude for parents who loved them enough to raise them to joyfully accept responsibilities no matter how long it took for them to achieve those household chores.

Before you stop reading, let me hasten to assure you this was most definitely NOT a picture of our home. We are not and never were perfect parents. We do not and never have had a perfect home. Further, I can testify that we are the proud parents of five fallible and loveable children; however, they are also five children who were each born with a totally depraved sinful nature. What this means to us is that we are still a work in progress as we learn to depend more and more through the process known as progressive sanctification. What this means to you is that you can hopefully learn from our mistakes as we have had to learn from the lives of others who have gone before us.

My wife and I have been blessed with three boys since conception and two girls that were born in our hearts but that we were not able to add to our home until they were around 2½ years old. Our oldest is now almost 23, married and has a two year old son of his own. He is having to learn to be a parent and he is making mistakes just like his dad did, and his grandfather did before him, all the way back to Adam.

One of my biggest concerns as a young father was whether I would be a good dad to whatever children the Lord gave to our family. Over time that concern became much more than whether I had the ability to provide clothes, food, and whatever wants their little depraved hearts may have desired. My concern turned into something that only became a poignant reminder of the depravity of my own heart when our grandson was born a little over two years ago.

All of a sudden, my role as a parent became far more important than the biological implications. For years I had hoped and prayed that I would learn from my own mistakes and sins before God. I had changed in so many areas, and had learned even from the times of being made to humble myself to the Most High and toward my children when I had been wrong or had handled areas of discipline very wrongly.

Now that I was a grandparent to a very handsome grandson (must take after his grandpa!), I began to realize how much I had actually missed when raising my grandson’s dad – my son.

You see, while I was raising my son and making mistakes, I was also doing something else that I could not truly begin to comprehend until he got married, left home, and started his own family. I had spent almost 20 years training him to be both a husband and a father. It was impossible to go back in time and redo what I should have done from the time he first entered our lives as a cell that then split into two.

Today, I have to watch my son making his own set of mistakes as he raises our grandson. Through this time of watching from afar, due to the distance of where they have made their home as he proudly serves in the United States Air Force, I have learned more and suffered pain in my heart as I recognize over and over how much I let down my grown sons. You see, I had failed to wholeheartedly learn the truths found in the Deuteronomy 6 passage.

Now I am left to wonder if the results of my role as a father will come home to be a blessing in the life of my grandchildren. Or, will the results of the times of my selfishness be a burden to my son as he struggles to learn the things I failed to teach him? Yes, there are many things I taught him. I played ball, helped homeschool him, took him to church, made him sit still as I preached another message, helped instill discipline through the use of chores, but is that all I taught him?

While my son is responsible for his own actions, I also am responsible as his dad to continue to be a godly example and correct areas that are or were lacking my own life. Only when I have been brought to the point where I learn these truths am I now able to not only make things right with him, but also to help encourage him to be the kind of dad that God wants my son to be.

Fathers and husbands, it is at this point that we must rightly consider the words written by Moses through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who alone can guide us into all truth and the truths in this passage will help us to be what we should be. If we fail in our responsibility of being a godly husband and a godly father, then we will have failed most miserably in the most important task we have been given as a parent. If I have only taught my son how to be a man, but failed to teach him how to be a godly man, then I have sinned before God and against my child.

We have mentioned Acts 17:28 where the apostle Paul tells the people at the Aeropagus in Athens that “it is in God that we live, and move, and have our being.” This must be what drives each parent, and especially those of us who are blessed with the privilege and awesome responsibility of being a father. Paul was reiterating much what he had most definitely learned as a child growing up in a religious Jewish home and all that he had learned as a prelude to becoming a Pharisee of Pharisees.

With his forward progress arrested by Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he learned the hard way that “in God we live, and move, and have our being” is much, much more than mere philosophical words. These words became a reality of great spiritual import. Jesus Christ was real and for Paul to be what God required of him, he would have to put these words into practice.

A little over one thousand years prior to Paul learning a valuable lesson and passing it on to his listeners, the wise king Solomon noted in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” If the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep his commandments, then we must spend the time necessary to learn how to obey this duty.

Moses knew that it would not be easy following and obeying God, but he also knew what it would take in the home in order for families to head in the right direction. First, it must be noted that he directs the attention of his words to the man, the husband, the father of the home. From the creation of Adam and Eve, God had instituted both marriage and the home. The man is to be the spiritual leader of each home, not because he is the brightest or smartest, but because this is what God has ordained.

The divine order is vitally important as we will see throughout our consideration of Deuteronomy 6. Woe to the husband who fails to live up to the expectations that God places on him to be a leader to the lady of the house, the woman God has entrusted to his care. Woe to the father who fails in the role and responsibility given to him by God to train and teach his children the ways of a holy, righteous God.

However, there is great joy that comes when we disregard the poor examples the world seeks to conjure up. Men, as husbands and fathers, we must learn to accept that God has made us to be men. We must learn to take a stand as true believers who are called to true manliness, a manliness that says, “God will be the ultimate head of this home, and I, as the husband and dad, will learn to be to my wife and children an example of Jesus Christ to you.”

Let’s break this passage down further to see how we can do this. But as we do, we must learn to accept that we will not do it perfectly because we are sinful creatures. We can only respond in a way that glorifies God when we are willing to take up this challenge.

Parenting – Making an Application – Part 3

Family of FourThe question we need to address now is how this problem of complacency or being hypocritical will look like in the home. Praise the Lord that this is not the case in every home, but these problems are found in many evangelical Christian homes of America. The problems exist because too many have gone too long with too little prayer, too little Bible study, and too little fellowship with other believers who will help hold each other accountable.

Listen to the solemn proclamation from God through the ministry of Hosea. Hosea 4:6 states, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”

What a solemn verse to consider. The truth is that God is speaking to those who were willfully lacking in their knowledge of the holy. They have rejected the truth of God’s commands and the laws that He gave for them to obey. The awful conclusion is that by forgetting the law of God, He will forget the children that He granted as a heritage to those who keep His ways. We cannot draw any conclusion other than that we have a responsibility to be biblical parents, not just biological ones.

So, where or what exactly is the disconnect between biblical parenting and biological parenting when it comes to life in the average Christian home?

Let’s consider a few thoughts to put our role as parents into perspective and see if what we are doing is striving to be merely a biological parent or a Biblical parent.

While we intend on addressing marriage concerns within the home in another article, I want to begin now with the fathers because God has ordained a certain order even within the home. Fathers, we are called to be leaders in every sense of the word. It is an awesome responsibility and when taken upon our shoulders helps our home to have the correct perspective of who God is and what He requires of us and then of our homes. We will make this simple.

First, I want to share a personal illustration to point out the problem facing the men in our churches. As a young married believer, we were at a July 4th celebration. My wife was sitting with the women and I was speaking with several men, all of whom claimed to be believers.

As we sat there at the park, a woman wearing very little clothing jogged by. Two of the deacons and the pastor were in attendance and after she had passed out of earshot, one of the deacons commented, “Men, just because we can’t touch or eat the candy doesn’t mean we can’t look!” The pastor laughed his own agreement. To say I was stunned would be an understatement. They had broken the law of Christ to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind, and then to love their neighbor as themselves.

Christian men, I want to encourage you to be a testimony to the young boys growing up very quickly. This means that we must be careful what we watch, read, and listen to as well. Things that appeal to the flesh such as violence, vulgarity, and pornography will destroy your soul. You cannot feed on the filth of the world and expect those young boys watching you to have respect for their mothers and sisters.

Fathers, if your time is being invested in the trash Hollywood produces, you will never grow in your faith and you will never be able to keep your mind, heart, and body focused on exalting Jesus Christ. You cannot expect your children to respect your authority if you are not pointing them to Jesus Christ even in what you do for entertainment.

Now to the mothers in the body of Christ, Christian ladies, I want to encourage you to be a testimony to the young girls growing up very quickly. This means you must be careful what you watch, read and listen to. Things like “The Twilight Series” and Harlequin romances are demonic and no true believer should be filling their mind with such garbage that is completely and totally dishonoring to Christ. We would never approve of our beautiful daughters dating an old man much less an old vampire who wants to suck their blood in order to gain immortality. Ladies, there is no possible way to read things like this and keep your mind, heart, and body focused on exalting Jesus Christ.

As a pastor in England, I remember visiting a home where a group of people had gathered for a party. With but one exception, every individual claimed to be a true believer. As my wife and I walked in, these “Christian” women were talking about how “hot” a certain actor was. The wife of one of the deacons said, “If I had a chance to go on a date with no questions asked with that person, I would most definitely do it.” Her husband sitting on the other side of the room turned red and made a smart-aleck comment about who he would go on a date with as well. I made a comment to those present that this was no conversation that true believers should be having but was ignored. We excused ourselves, and the party continued. How tragic and hypocritical the picture they were painting to their children.

Mothers, if you are struggling with what your daughters desire to wear, maybe it is time to check the closet and see if it contains something not pleasing to the Lord. If it is not right for our daughters to flaunt their bodies for the attention they can get from males, then it should be just as wrong for mom to do the same. Here is a great question to consider. Would you wear to church what you wear when you are not at church? Would you be ashamed of your clothing if God walked up to you?

Parents, what our children see us filling our heads and hearts with will ultimately not only come out in our lives but will show up in their lives as well. We cannot expect to have any credibility when telling them they should not listen to the vulgar rap and hip-hop lyrics of the day if we are filling our own ears with the country, soul, or jazz songs that speak just as flippantly of God and of illicit relationships. We are hypocrites if we watch movies that take the Lord’s name in vain or portray any kind of sexual activity and then think that our children will not do the same.

Parents, we cannot expect our children to keep their bodies pure until marriage when we allow them to give away their hearts and souls every time they move from one relationship to the next. I would also say that our children will see us as hypocrites when we tell them to practice full abstinence but in front of them we laugh and smirk our way through the titillating sex scenes in popular movies. Lord willing, the area of biblical parenting in the realm of relationships will be considered in a future article.

For now, I want to conclude this second article by way of illustration. Two of our children are adopted. They have different biological parents. These parents did not care for them and in the providence of God, these beautiful girls became a part of our family. Sadly, our girls carry the scars of abuse because the gift God granted to these parents was not cared for. The main reason is because they were not biblical parents. Had the biological parents of our girls sought to be godly parents, there would have been no need for us to adopt them.

In like manner, there are many children today who are being scarred in ways that are not necessarily caused by physical or sexual abuse. Children can suffer through emotional or mental heartache. Further, being created in the image of God, we are called to fellowship with Him. When we fail to point our children to Christ and teach them His laws, we are scarring our children spiritually. Yes, it really is that serious because as biological parents we are called to biblical parenting.

Consider the words of Deuteronomy 6:5-9 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

As we concluded the first article, we will reiterate here, “Parents, there is an answer to the problem, but it will not be an easy fix. If you are in any of the situations I have described, the first step to change is to humble yourself before God. Confess your sin and repent before Him. Then, make the time to humble yourself before your children. Parents, your children already see your failures but will gain respect for you if you will humble yourself in this way. Admit your sin to them and ask for their forgiveness where you have failed in your God-given responsibility to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Part 2 – Complacency or Hypocritical?

***** – The title is a work in progress as the post actually deals with more than parents. For now, this is the second in the series started last week. – *****

ComplacenyToday, many who call themselves Christians have a gross misunderstanding of what it means to be a part of a church. Some within this demographic have merely relegated what church means to simply being part of a religious service an hour or so a week. Everything that needs to be done within that hour timeframe is what seems to have become church. We give a few dollars, sing a few hymns or praise songs, hear a prayer or two, and then listen to a message about God.

Rising from our comfortable seats, we mentally pat ourselves on the back and give God a high five for the privilege He gained in having our esteemed presence for another week. Going out the door, we collect our children and then wrongly assume that our week can finally begin now that the “God and church” thing has been checked off our weekly social calendar.

Sadly, the church-at-large has in recent decades done a very poor job of acting in a way that reflects to the world a commitment to sound Biblical doctrine and in a way that reflects to its members a foretaste of the glory and fellowship we will know in Heaven. Pastors and teachers have long failed in their calling and many even serve without a calling or an anointing from the King of kings. They are messengers in name only because it is certain that their message often bears little to no resemblance of the truth of Scripture.

While this article will not deal at length with the doctrine of ecclesiology (the church), it is important that we remember that the church is not the building where people congregate. The church is and can only be comprised of true born-again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. These believers are those whose faith is in Christ alone for their salvation and they have been brought to a point where they have confessed and repented of their sins which alienated them from the holy righteous God of the Universe.

If the church styles itself as being a place for the world, it will be required to do whatever is necessary to ingratiate itself to those who ultimately hate Christ due to the nature within them. The world will never love the true Church because Scripture is clear that it hates the Lord of the Church first.

The gathering of believers that wants to attract the world will soon be using plays, programs, ungodly music, more programs, skits, even more programs, and worst of all, preaching that is not preaching at all. It will be devoid of words like sin, hell, judgment, damnation, and the need for repentance. Instead, the average attender to a social club on Sunday morning will hear hip, cool, relevant sermonettes that will leave you feeling good about yourself but will not demand a change, nor will the sermonettes point you to the Sovereign God who demands our worship and praise be centered on Him.

So, leaving a service where God was not exalted and glorified, where worship was mostly absent, where true believers were not exhorted and built up in their faith, and where there has been practically no conviction of sin, parents leave to begin their next week. Nothing has changed from the week before, and the home front continues to look more and more like a battlefield than it does a home where the fruit of the Spirit reigns.

Many problems of a spiritual nature can often be traced to a lack of thorough Biblical instruction. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 reminds us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Thus, when the Scriptures are not adequately proclaimed from the pulpit as being from God then the results we currently see are to be expected. Poor orthodoxy (doctrine) will inevitably result in poor orthopraxy (Christian conduct).

It would be wrong though to leave the problems found in the home solely at the feet of the minister. He must proclaim the truth in love and with a great deal of mercy and compassion, but he cannot live out the necessities of the Christian life in all those who attend. As a minister, I am ultimately responsible for what I proclaim from the pulpit and also responsible for what is practiced in my home.

At the same time, parents who are true believers are responsible for what they allow to be taught to their children from the pulpit and also what they allow to be practiced in the home. True believers who desire the truth of God throughout every aspect of their life must learn to be a Berean Christian. These faithful men and women searched the Scriptures daily to make sure that what they were being taught truly was the inerrant and infallible Word of God.

While the breakdown between the pulpit and faithful exposition of the Scriptures is often too easily identified, what is not so easy to see is the breakdown in the home. The home is often a castle where we hide away from the world, and sadly, from other believers as well. Thus, there is a great lack of accountability and discipleship – until, that is, the wolf comes knocking on the door and parents wonder where it all went wrong. Divorce, rebellion, drugs, alcohol, and sexual activity outside of marriage is just as rampant inside the church as it is outside the church.

Yet, the problem is compounded when the church instead of acknowledging its sin and failure to be a true community of believers begins to shift the blame in every other direction. Therefore, when a person struggles through a particular sin in their life or in the lives of their family structure, the church is often nowhere to be seen. The individual or family often goes through their struggles alone and will normally fall away from the one place that should have been there for them all along.

The sad reality is that the church is often happy taking the offering and praise for one hour on a Sunday morning, but it remains conspicuously absent the remaining 167 hours of each week. How pathetic and tragic it is that this one hour is supposed to be a reflection of the joy of fellowship with Christ and His Bride that will be found in Heaven for all of eternity.

The true church of the living God has a very poor understanding of its role and responsibility towards one another, and outside of the church this has never been so evident than in the homes of those who claim the name of Christ. Our problems at home are often merely carried over to the church, and people wonder why they struggle to worship together more than one hour a week.

Believers must understand what is transpiring in the home in order to see why revival tarries and so many churches are operating as merely a business instead of a fellowship of believers that is a lighthouse to a dark, sin-filled world, and why there is no power or anointing from the Spirit of God.

If the connection between the true church and the home is this vital, then we need to consider why the church looks the way it does. If judgment is to begin in the church, then the warning must also include the truth that it is true believers who make up the church and therefore, by extension, judgment will surely hit us where we live, namely, in our homes.

(…to be continued.)

Parenting – Biological or Biblical? – Part 1

father-and-daughter-11291665285sopOne of my little enjoyments is sitting in a public location watching the faces of those who are around me. A person’s face often reveals a great deal about them. Are they sad, angry, glad, ecstatic, overwhelmed, discouraged, in love, or merely contemplating the world at large?

Many times, they can be so wrapped up in their own thoughts or their own little world that they probably do not even realize they are portraying a part of their soul for others to see.

In studying the faces of others, there is one factor missing – the personal factor. Most of those I see, I do not know. Are they sad because they have lost a loved one or a pet? Are they discouraged because of a job loss that same morning and they wonder how they will pay the bills? Are they overwhelmed because of all the turmoil in the world? If they show love to the person they are with, is it a true picture of what is in their heart or merely a façade? Do any of these people pretend to be something they are not in order to cover up what is deep inside?

As I observe evangelical Christianity today, there are many faces being portrayed to the world. A vast majority of the faces shown to the world seem to merely be a cover-up. We are reminded in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that when God changes us we become a brand new creation. All the old things pass away and we are in the process of having all things made new.

Sadly, much of what we observe today does not reflect a new creation. It reflects the cares of the world and a strong desire to look more and more like the world around us. The world does not look at most who claim the name of Christ and say of us, “They have been with Jesus!” More times than not, it seems that they look at us and are asking, “Why should we want what they offer since they are not any different than us?”

One of the areas that is a growing concern is the role of parenting. For far too long, the church has portrayed a face to the world that says all is well in our homes and with our children. The reality of what goes on behind closed doors is both shocking and overwhelming in its bleak outlook.

How could we become so blind in the West? Is it possible that we could not have seen this coming, or did we see it coming and just didn’t care enough to implement the procedures necessary to prevent it?

Let’s consider this problem a little deeper, first of all as it pertains to the local church. We start here because this, for all true believers, should be the first area of concern as it pertains to the public aspects of our own lives and that of our children.

Little Johnny and Susie give their parents nice little cards and gifts on the appropriate holidays like: Wedding Anniversary, Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. The niceties of the card’s poetry is sweet but it often means little as the young people during the rest of the year disrespect their parents in just about every way imaginable. The face they are painting to the world is that they love the rebellion and depravity of their heart more than they love God and their parents. If our children truly loved us, they would be learning to respect our authority and learning how to be in submission as to the Lord.

But maybe this is part of the bigger picture. In our hurry to correct the problem, we want to “help” the young people put on a good face and often fail to realize the deeper problems that are at stake. Many of the children in our churches are hurting because of the attention they receive from their parents. Or, maybe we should say because of the lack of attention or the type of attention they receive from their parents.

For parents, the Scriptures are clear in Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” The face that many parents are putting on in front of others in their local congregations is one of bravado. They may indicate that all is well but beneath the surface, the waters are roiling as though it were a little paper sailboat caught in a typhoon.

Here is the average picture that seems to be prevalent in far too many churches no matter where we have ministered throughout both England and the USA.

Families do not worship together in a corporate setting on the Lord’s Day because there has been no true worship of God during the week. The family gets up late on a Sunday after spending hours the previous evening filling their heads with the rubbish of the world and stumble into church late more than they are on time.

Sunday mornings, instead of being a calm assurance of the wonder of being able to worship with other believers, is hectic and full of chaos. The ride to church is often a reflection of the worship of self rather than of God. The parents argue and bicker while the children do the same in the back seat.

I often remember an illustration used by Dr. Jim Berg about a smoker coming on the Bob Jones University campus which is smoke-free. The smoker would go into a restroom and take a few quick puffs. Within a few minutes, everybody in the building knew that a cigarette had been lit, but the smoker would not even notice the smell of the smoke. Why? Because they had been smoking for years and had grown immune to the smell.

The same is true within the lives of many parents and children. They are like the smoker and can no longer smell the “smoke” of their selfish lives. Instead of parents even noticing the smoke of their children, they are all arguing over what brand of flesh they are going to smoke. Parents want their way apart from Christ and the children learn from the parents.

On any given Sunday, families rush into church with fake plastic smiles, the words to beautiful hymns and choruses are barely mumbled because hearts are not in what is on the page. Most are hoping the pastor does not call on them to offer a prayer of thanksgiving, read a Scripture, or serve in some other capacity.

Many want to rush the children off to fun, games, and a wee little Bible story because it is too “difficult” to have them sit all the way through a service that the parents often do not even want to be in. The main reason there is little to no desire to train the children in the ways of worshiping and praising God in a corporate setting is because there is little to no desire to train them in these areas at home.

Prayer meetings and additional Bible studies are normally attended by less than 10% of most churches. Rarely will a child be seen in either one and the excuses will often include statements like, “Well, it is a school night and we need to get them in bed early.” What is amazing is that parents manage to say this with a straight face as their children merrily watch television, play electronic games, or surf the internet until well after the prayer meetings or Bible studies have concluded.

So, our children start in the nursery then spend time playing games and eating cookies at church from age 3-10. By the time they are ten or eleven, they are normally involved in all kinds of sports or various extracurricular activities. In a few short years, they become teenagers and they quickly want nothing to do with church anymore.

Now, Dad and Mom have to make a decision. Capitulate to the children and let them stay home, or insist that, as long as they are “in our home,” they will attend?

To insist they go, though, requires that parents not seem like hypocrites. In other words, why should they show respect and go to church when they can often see the charade put on for the benefit of others? They know when parents only go to church as a social event on the calendar and provided nothing else is more important.

Teenagers know when parents have a true desire to worship God because they will see our love for one another and for being together with other true believers, but when they see more love for the world, for the television, for sports activities, and for gathering excuses one more time to miss a prayer meeting or Bible study, then parents should not expect anything other than rebellion to our authority.

The problem is compounded then when the children grow up and begin to get in trouble. Johnny gets arrested or is involved with drugs. Susie is sleeping around and comes home pregnant one night. Then, the scene changes and parents go weeping to friends for support and wanting prayers to be offered for their wayward children, all the while wondering, “What happened? We don’t understand because they were raised in a good Christian home.”

What happened?

The answer is actually quite simple. Parenting has been relegated more times than not to a mere biological process instead of a Biblical one. The parents raise their children by providing food, clothing, a roof over their head but have little to no desire to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
While they gladly meet the medical, educational, and personal needs and wants of their offspring, they have failed in the area that is the most important. Paul said in Acts 17:28, “For in Him (God), we live and move and have our being.”

Parents, if you fail to teach AND show this Biblical truth to your children, you will have failed as far as God is concerned. The children of Israel were commanded to teach their children every day of the law of God. It will not matter if your child grows up to be another Bill Gates or General of the Army or President of the USA or Prime Minister of the UK.

If they do not know the Lord, you are the one God will hold accountable for your words and actions. To do less than honor God by only keeping Him prominent and not pre-eminent, you are practicing idolatry. Yet, God is clear that His glory and honor He will NOT give to another.

The eyes of many parents have been blinded to the truth and the reality of what is transpiring because they have been smoking so long that they are immune to the smoke, that is, until it appears in a different format in the lives of their children. When they see it, instead of confessing their own sin, the end result becomes a battle of the wills. In the end, everybody still smokes and simply agrees to disagree over which brand they will each smoke.

Parents, there is an answer to the problem, but it will not be an easy fix. If you are in any of the situations I have described, the first step to change is to humble yourself before God. Confess your sin and repent before Him. Then, make the time to humble yourself before your children. Parents, your children already see your failures but will gain respect for you if you will humble yourself in this way. Admit your sin to them and ask for their forgiveness where you have failed in your God-given responsibility to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Lord willing, in future articles, we will consider other areas where we are called to be parents who serve the Lord and we’ll evaluate what we can do to change our focus. We will also consider how we can make a difference in our homes and in our churches.

“Teach Your Children the Fear of the LORD” by Geoff Kirkland

TeachChildren There is perhaps no greater duty in the life of a Christian parent than to raise one’s children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It is our first and most important ministry, for God has placed these little ones in our care. If we fail to evangelize and catechize our children, yet diligently share the gospel with the world, we have failed to be obedient to Lord we proclaim as Savior. To that end, I would like to share a wonderful article I read from Pastor Geoff Kirkland who author’s the blog Vassal of the King. Please take time to read through what I believe are biblical and practical steps to raising up your children to fear and love the Savior.

Teach Your Children to Fear the LORD
The primary teachers that God gives to children to teach them the words, ways, and works of God is their parents. One of the highest duties that parents have is the delightful privilege and lofty duty to teach their children the fear of the LORD.

It should be noted that in Psalm 34:11, the psalmist gathers the children (“come”) and then commits to teaching them verbally (“listen to me”). This here lays forth a helpful model for parental instruction of children. Parents should gather the children and verbally instruct the children daily.

The book of Proverbs reveals why this is so important as it is the fear of the LORD that is wisdom (1:7-8). If a child stores up the words of God within him then he will know the fear of the LORD (2:1, 5; 3:1, 7). Wisdom calls out and begs for the naive to understand wisdom (8:4-5).To know God is understanding and to fear God is wisdom and this is the fundamental building block of all biblical wisdom, knowledge, and learning that parents must instill in their children’s hearts and minds (9:10).

So the question is asked, how do you teach a child to fear God? Here are a few practical suggestions to help.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Civil Disobedience and the Christian

The concept of civil disobedience is not new. Neither is the question of how far a government imagescan go before the Christian is permitted to disobey. This concept of civil disobedience is/ought to be an escalation from the peaceful petition that ought to be the Christian’s first response to objectionable laws. Was Rosa Parks right in her act of civil disobedience? How do we answer such questions?

We must be informed by the Word of God – not our personal preferences and presuppositions.

World Magazine recently published an article focused on this question, you can read it here. Here’s a small excerpt:

Does submitting to civil authorities mean obeying laws that are immoral? We are commanded by God to share the gospel. What if a law barred us from doing so, even privately? We see that obeying government authorities isn’t absolute. It should be clear to Christians that unless there is legal recourse against obeying a law that compels us to sin, we are justified in disobeying it. Is it a sin to offer employees “mini-abortion drugs”?

It is clear from Scripture that Christians are able (obligated, I contend) to disobey the governing authorities if proclamation of the Gospel is outlawed – see Acts chapter 4. Is that the right standard to compare other issues to, as if they become justifiable since Gospel proclamation is?

This question of submitting to political authority has been addressed here at Def Con in the past – see this post as brother Conrad Mbewe examines part of 1 Peter.

The question of disobedience to the governing authorities must be anchored in Scripture – as with anything of import. If God has given us instructions, we who claim to be His must submit to what He was revealed to us! Do you have a pet issue (perhaps home schooling) that would cause you to reflexively rebel against the governing authorities without seeking wisdom from God in humility?  We must be on guard against these issues that are close to us – for it in these that we are most vulnerable to slip into disobedience to God, thinking we are merely exercising our rights – forgetting that we are aliens in this present age, with our citizenship and home in a city whose builder is God.

Since I mentioned home schooling, let me briefly comment on that. In the US of A, it is not now and never has been against the law to home school your own children. Read that carefully. It is not now and never has been against the law to home school your own children. It has been and still is in many places in this country against the law to home school your children in lieu of sending them off the approved institution, but never illegal to home school in addition to the approved educational process. The Bible clearly holds parents responsible for training (educating) their children in the things of God. Rightly done, this covers all academic areas. But the Bible also records for us humble servants of YHWH who submit to pagan education and work diligently to prosper their pagan rulers (Joseph and Daniel come to mind). We must seek wisdom from God’s Word before we decide to go against the governing authorities – for there is no governing authority except those that have been established by God.

So – is it right and honorable to refuse to provide medical insurance that covers abortion? Certainly! The law is set up to allow people to pay for non-compliance. It is a very high price tag for businesses that might cause them to completely change their business model (contractors or part time employees) or liquidation. But think on this: the Bible does not reveal God’s will for man-made institutions. He has created government, family, and the church. Those institutions have responsibility before God as does each individual. A Christian who owns a company has a responsibility before God and he has the same obligation to seek wisdom from God’s Word on this as with personal issues. (Not being addressed in this article are those hell-bound folk who will also answer to God and have no grace to cover them on Judgment Day.)

The Christian that wants to participate in civil disobedience ought to step back and think. Rebellion is as witchcraft. Failure to rightly submit to the governing authorities is rebellion, is as witchcraft. Is that something we want to play games with? 1 Peter 2 gives a “Reader’s Digest” version of God’s commandment:

    Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Let’s wrap up with the obvious text, Romans 13, which includes this nugget: “whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Read the whole chapter, with a humble attitude. I know it’s easy to despise a government that does not rule the way I want it to. I like my elected officials to have an affection for and submission to the Constitution (at the national level) just like I like my church elders to have an affection for and submission to the Scriptures. But civil governments are mostly occupied by folks not reconciled to God, while church leaders ought to be – and therefore, subject to stricter standards. Most of the things that cause me to consider civil disobedience do not meet the biblical test – they reflect my fleshly desires or my innate sense of self-righteousness. How do you see yourself?

Okay. Your assignment. Voddie Baucham preaching on Romans 13 in two sermons. Listen to part one and part two before commenting. It wouldn’t hurt to listen to Conrad Mbewe’s message from 1 Peter (at the link early in this article). Then let’s discuss like mature, humble blood-bought children of the Creator God and Ruler of the universe.

Connecticut – What will we learn?

Today, another shooting has taken the lives of at least 27 individuals. According to news reports, twenty of these are little children mostly from one class or section of an elementary school in Connecticut. There is an unspeakable horror that fills the heart to think that tonight some children will no longer be preparing with their families for the Christmas season. Little children just starting out in life have had their young lives snuffed out before they really even began.

While many blogs and news items will focus on things like “Where was God?” or “Gun control” or whatever else will be the hot topic for the next days and weeks, my purpose for writing my personal thoughts are completely different.

This is not to belittle the nightmare the parents, children, teachers, and extended family and friends are going through, but it is an attempt to recognize something that only a tragedy can bring to light.

As I hugged my two little 6 year old girls earlier, tears came to my eyes thinking how short life can be. I realized that unlike the parents of those little children who are lying lifeless in pools of blood tonight, I still have the privilege of holding my little ones. Some parents may have lost their only child today, while other parents were able to go home and hug those siblings who remain and try to explain why their little brother or sister will never come home.

Yet, I wonder how many found themselves in situations, maybe even this morning, that are replicated in so many homes. Namely, we often take our children for granted until it is too late. Our children can be taken in so many ways, and when they are gone, there is nothing that we as parents can do to reverse the situation. In the grand scheme of things, the numbers of children who will die at the hands of a crazed gunman in America each year is slim. Many might assume that the answer to protecting our children from such tragedies is to homeschool them, but attacks around the world have shown that those who are bent on displaying the depths of their depravity have no rules about protecting the lives of any particular age group.

Sometimes our children are taken by the medium of time. The clock keeps ticking while our lives become entrapped with life, jobs, television, games, and many other things that keep from us from seeing how quickly their little lives are slipping away.

I cannot help but wonder how I would feel if it was my children who were lying on a cold floor waiting for a visit from a funeral director. I would probably deeply regret any words that I may have spoken in haste or maybe a harsh word that should have been curtailed realizing that children are not only imperfect but that I, as the father, am also imperfect and need to be changed by the grace of God.

Today is definitely a tragedy and will remain so. Words will never replace the lives of those who are gone from this life. But I wonder if we will actually learn from tragedies such as this shooting in Connecticut, or will life soon return to normal for each of us who did not lose any precious treasures. Yet, will we fail to remember that we are losing them one way or the other? Death and time are no respecter of persons.

Tonight, I have hugged my little ones, but I have also regretted the tragedy that took place because I allowed time to slip by me when my boys were little. They are now all adults and no longer in our home and I cannot retrace my steps. I cannot take back the harsh or careless words. I cannot reverse time and wish I had spent more time with them. If I fail to learn from my mistakes, they will be repeated.

The heart of mankind is wicked, and without the grace of God affecting a change from being dead into a new creation in Christ, tragedies will take place over and over. My prayer is that it will not take another shooting for us to realize what we have right now. Treasures have been placed in our care – treasures that are an heritage from the Lord. May we be reminded not just tonight, but every night that today may be our last or the last of our children.

We do not want to close the day regretting what we cannot change. May our lives not only reflect our love for and to our children, but may they reflect that Christ rules in every aspect of our life. To do otherwise would be an even greater tragedy – a tragedy that will never make the news, but would be a tragedy nonetheless.

Worldly Culture

A marketing executive from a Fortune 50 company was presenting his firm’s plan for success in the world’s market place. He laid out three key points that he lifted from various sources that are essential to his plan:

Corporate marketing says:

#1 “To reach the wallet, hit the heart.” How many commercials for expensive items aim for one’s emotional center (prestige, self-worth, happiness), making no effort to justify their product on its merits? Where’s your heart supposed to be?

#2 “Family is the target & kids are the key.” Politicians and marketing people all know most Americans worship their children – or at least feel guilty because they don’t and end up letting children lead the family. Too many parents surrender decisions to cultural experts or their selfish kids, who learn very quickly how to manipulate mom & dad. What’s the proper role of children?

#3 “Top 4 influences in culture are sports, music, film, & fashion.” This is the one that made me take notice and write down all three points. Who – or what – is your god?

Let’s put aside the wisdom of the spirit of the age and find out what the Bible says about these 3 points.

#1 Where’s your heart supposed to be?

Matthew 6:19 – 21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Proverbs 15:6 “In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.

Isaiah 33:5 – 6 “The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.

Luke 12:16 – 21 “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Luke 18:22 – 24 “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

James 5:1 – 3 “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

#2 What’s the proper role of children?

Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Exodus 21:15 & 17 “And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. … And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

Proverbs 10:1A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”

Proverbs 23:22 “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”

Matthew 15:4 – 9 “For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Ephesians 6:2 – 4 “Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

#3 Who – or what – is your god?

1 Corinthians 8:1 – 6 “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Matthew 13:22 “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”

John 17:14 – 16 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

James 4:4Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

1 John 2:15 – 16Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Be known as a child of the King, be not mistaken for a worldling. 1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

Losing a child (at any age) is never easy.

The following excerpt is from a blog called 1st Timothy 4:12.

I sincerely hope it is a help and an encouragement to those who have gone (or are currently going) through such a loss.

“No matter whether you have known about the baby only for a day, or if he or she has been born and is a beautiful, mischievous toddler or even older, losing a child is one of the hardest and most heartbreaking experiences for someone to go through. It is one of the experiences that feels most fundamentally unfair in this world. It is like having a piece of your heart ripped out, leaving a hole that will never be filled. For a woman to find out she is pregnant, whether the baby is “wanted” or not, is a huge emotional roller coaster. To suddenly have that taken away, to have only that emptiness where a child once lived, is something no woman can ever forget. You might say ‘who are you to say what it feels like to lose a child? What could you possibly know?’ I don’t pretend to know what it feels like to lose a newborn, a toddler or a teen. I don’t even say I know what it feels like to lose a baby later on in pregnancy. But I do know what it feels like to see those two little pink lines on a pregnancy test, then to see them disappear and soon later to know without a shadow of a doubt that the baby no longer lives.”

You can read the entire article here here.

Help and encouragement for those with critical spirits.

Below are links to parts one and two of Teri Maxwell’s article on how we can so easily become negative and critical, the ramifications of being negative and critical, and how we can overcome being negative and critical.

I highly recommend these two articles, and especially part two for parents.

Part One: Are you normally a positive or negative person?

Part Two: How to overcome a critical spirit.