Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Biblical Principles of Physical Fitness

I like to work out. Well, sometimes I don't like to. I certainly like to be one who has worked out.

But it's more than just my preference. In taking Scripture to all areas of life, I believe that one area that is often overlooked is the area of physical fitness.

So, the question- "Should Christians be 'in shape'?"

I shall give some Biblical principles. Scripture doesn't say "Thou shalt do 100 push-ups daily," so I shall not say so either.

First, a few counterpoints need to be addressed:

"Doesn't 1 Tim. 4:6-9 say that we don't need to worry about this?"
No. Godliness is certainly MORE important. However, since spiritual and physical health are intertwined, and in the context of all of Scripture, this certainly doesn't mean that we should give no consideration to the state of our bodies.

"What if a person can't exercise?"
In that case, obviously, it is The LORD's Will for them to be in the condition they are, and their application of these principles, which they still should apply, may nevertheless be in very different ways than the physically healthy person. If they can't, they can't! (Welcome to the tautology club.)

However, that is usually not the case.

Here are 8 Biblical principles which apply in this realm.

  1. Self-Control- 1 Cor. 9:24-27 - We must be self-controlled, and one way to practice this is through physical discipline- working out, or working hard.
  2. Good Stewardship- Lk. 19:11 - We are called to be good stewards of what God has given us- how would that not include our bodies?
  3. Protection of the Innocent- Neh. 4:14 - We, especially as men, should be ready to protect our families. To be weak and impotent physically- or even just "out of shape"- will certainly affect our ability to do this.
  4. The Relationship of Body and Soul- We don't believe that the soul and body are entirely separate, but rather that they are connected- and, to some degree or another, as goes one, so goes the other. So, when we apply the principle of Self-Control to the body, we also discipline the soul- and vice-versa.
  5. Readiness to Obey- 1 Pet. 5:8 - We will be better able to do whatever God calls us to. "The best of my ability" becomes better.
  6. Multi-generational Vision- Taking better care of our bodies will, LORD willing, allow for longer, healthier lives of vision-impartation. How wonderful would it be for four generations of men to be elk hunting together? Ultimately, of course, God is sovereign over death- but man is responsible for what he does with the life that God has given him.
  7. Strength as Glory- Pr. 20:29 - This applies specifically to young men, but I don't think it too much of a stretch to apply it to men in general. Physical strength should certainly NOT be a source of identity or ungodly pride. However, God has designed men to be strong. It is good, it is right, when we are. We should be proud of this in the right sense, and cultivate manly strength.
  8. Testimony to the Lost- 2 Cor. 5:20 - As ambassadors for Christ, what kind of testimony is it to the world when we are unhealthy? Is that good representation of The King Whom we serve?
And some practical points:
  • Gluttony is bad. (Pr. 23:21, 28:7) We ought to eat "only what we need, lest we have it in excess and vomit it". Feasting to The LORD is good (as is fasting, both at proper times), but gluttony is not.
  • "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable." (1 Cor. 6:12, 10:23) It's not a sin to eat Dunkin' Donuts. But is it profitable? (And, honestly, I think for people like me it IS profitable to, every once in a while, have a DD or shake from Chik-Fil-A- as a reminder that it is indeed lawful.)
  • Our bodies were designed to be used. Until recent times, they were. Now, we need to find a way to use them.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Biblical Vision for Homeschooling

Culled from an outline I wrote for Dad and my talk last Saturday with the Mi Casa homeschool group.

The Christian Worldview is the necessary ingredient for proper homeschooling.

1. What is Biblical Worldview?
⁃ By "Biblical" I mean "according to The Bible," or subject to The Word of God. Submitting to God and His Word as The Standard of Truth- and Truth Itself. By "Worldview" I simply mean the way we view the world- the set of presuppositions by which we interpret everything else. So by "Biblical Worldview" I mean that we have aligned our presuppositions with God's Word so that we see things as God sees them. This we do to the best of our ability, very imperfectly of course, and only by The Grace of God.

2. Why Biblical Worldview?
⁃ Without a Biblical Worldview, Proper Learning Can't Happen "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge...." Proverb 1:7a, NAS A Biblical Worldview is foundational to all learning. The knowledge of God is more important than any other study- and is also foundational to all other studies.
⁃ Facts - Truth = Who Cares? Biblical Worldview gives reason for life. Trying to teach facts without a Biblical Worldview framework is not only unBiblical, as stated above, but is also impractical and nonsensical. An understanding of facts without an understanding of God are easily reduced to meaninglessness by the simple questions "So what?" and "Who cares?" Without a vision for the future, for why we do what we do, learning is a bore, a chore, a trophy, or, at best, something we do to "excel"- as an end goal in itself. However, when we look at wisdom and knowledge as a treasure (Pr. 8:19), a testimony to The Glory, Wisdom, Creativity, and very Existence of God (Ps. 19, Rom. 1:20), and also simply as a practical way to be skillful in our work (Ps 22:29, 1 Tim. 5:8), it takes on new meaning, worth, and value. Facts and Truth are two different things, and to blend them seamlessly we need to realize that Christ is The Creator of facts and The Source and Person of Truth.
⁃ Most Importantly, God Commands It All throughout Scripture we see that God Himself is The Fount of all good things (Jas. 1), and specifically of Wisdom and Knowledge (Proverbs). We are commanded as fathers and fathers-to-be to train our children in the "nurture and admonition of The LORD" (Eph. 6:4) and exhorted that the "fear of the LORD is the beginning" of knowledge and wisdom. If there were no other reason, the fact the God's Word commands it is evidence enough that we should be giving our families instruction specifically in Biblical Worldview and also in the light of Biblical Worldview when it comes to any other subject. More on that in Point 2.
⁃ Illustration The illustrations for this point can be drawn from many areas of my life personally. I'll pick two- physical exercise and piano practice. Sometimes I enjoy doing these things. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I fail to do them at all. But knowing why I do these things- ah, now that adds another dimension to it. I'm not exercising to look buff. I'm not practicing to get "WOW" from the audience (at least I shouldn't be...). I do these things for The Glory of God. I want to be strong so that I can obey Him better. So that I can protect and provide for my family. I learn music so that I can, again, provide for a family one day, and so that I can make excellent art also. God is Worthy of my best- and my best can always get better. It's not a matter of what I want to do. It's a matter of what I need to do- therefore I want to do it.
⁃ Application How to apply this to leading our families will be addressed more in Point 2, but applying the simple knowledge of the fact that we need Biblical Worldview in our homeschooling is also important. We must get used to seeing everything as God's. Films we watch, books we read, things we study- in "school-time" and out of it- must no longer simply be facts. We must realize, and as husbands and fathers and brothers, men of the house, take the lead in showing that these things are not neutral. These seemingly innocent things must be actively and consistently brought into subjection to our Theology and to The Word of God. We must be diligent to "take every thought captive" (2 Cor. 10:5). It won't just happen.

3. How Biblical Worldview?
⁃ And While We're Dreaming... Theories and philosophies and doctrines and ideas aren't just nice things, they're important things. However, if we never take these ideas and doctrines and apply them to our day-to-day lives, it is reduced to mere talk- however profitable the subject matter may be (Pr. 14:23). There are two specific ways of applying Biblical Worldview to homeschooling that I want to address- one being blatant application, didactic teaching of Biblical Truth, the other being the more vague but very important need to see everything through The Eyes of God, as it were.
⁃ Specific Instruction "Family Worship" is a very important ingredient of The Christian Home. Children need to be brought up in an environment that explicitly worships The God of The Bible- and teaches His Word (Deut. 6). Family Worship, a gathering together of the family for prayer, singing, and doctrinal instruction, is a crucial part of that environment. More on how to apply that in a moment. But theological instruction isn't limited to an hour of time where the family comes together and does their theological penance. No, the picture painted in Deuteronomy 6 is even more intimate and spontaneous. We can teach children in The Fear of The LORD by reciting Scripture while tucking them into bed, singing Godly songs as we go throughout the house, stopping our work and theirs for a moment to talk about The Glory of God in what we're doing, or a myriad of other things.
⁃ Teaching "In Light Of This" While in the application I described above, we are building Biblical Worldview, now we're looking at applying worldview. All instruction, all teaching, all knowledge, must be taught in the fear of God. This is one of the major Biblical reasons for homeschooling. Not only is homeschooling simply Biblical in itself- Deuteronomy 6- but it also allows for the fulfillment of Biblical commands and exhortations. Also, everything must be interpreted in the fear of God.
⁃ Illustration I teach piano lessons. Sometimes I get questions about why music works the way it does. Why does a certain pattern of notes make a Major Scale? The simple answer that I give is that "that's how God made it!"
⁃ Application
⁃ The laws of nature are what they are because they are The Laws of Nature's God. "Why does 2+2=4?" "Because that's how God made it, Johnny."
⁃ Give children a time to do their devotions- read their Bible, pray, memorize Scripture- it's a good habit to start young!
⁃ Do family worship. There's plenty of resources that can be used for these, and it can be as basic as coming together for 15 minutes every day, singing a hymn, reading a Proverb, and talking about what it means. If you'd be interested in getting other supplementary resources- a catechism is very useful, and there are many good books- we have some that we'd be glad to recommend.
⁃ When watching movies or reading books, pause and talk about things- "Was what that little boy did very honoring to his father?" "Now when that man said 'believe in yourself,' was that a Biblical thing to say?" "See how the character in this book is obeying God by defending his family?"
⁃ Be a lover of God and His Works. Let your children see that Dad or Brother doesn't just keep his religion in Church on Sunday. Pray with your kids, memorize Scripture with them, talk theology with them. It is excellent training for a young person to be able to hold deep discussions with adults.

Monday, September 13, 2010

States' Rights - If the Founders saw the Fed

The United States of America was founded slightly over 200 years ago. In the temporal space of those 200 years, much has changed. Technology has advanced, wars have been fought, generations have come and gone, and worldviews and perceptions of Truth have shifted greatly. If the men who founded these United States could visit their progeny today, there would be many things that would astonish them. Some things would no doubt please them. Overall, however, they would be disappointed. This great republican experiment of theirs has forsaken their vision. Corruption and abuse of power now permeate the American political sphere. The founding fathers wrote the United States Constitution to limit the federal government. As the Constitution itself says, "all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people." Thomas Jefferson, after quoting this, continues to say that "To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, [no] longer susceptible of any definition." The founding fathers would be saddened to see that the federal government, contrary to their intent, is now its own entity, not only no longer subject to the states, but encroaching upon them.

When the federal government tries to pass "hate crimes" legislation, it is far overstepping its constitutional bounds. Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government given the jurisdiction over the speech, let alone the thoughts of American citizens. To the contrary, the oft-quoted First Amendment ensures the right of the people to speak freely. If there was to be a law against "hate speech," it should certainly not be a federal law. This is not an area of power given to the federal government, therefore it remains in the province of the States and the people. Furthermore, The Law of God as expressed in The Old Testament only justifies punishment for specific physical crimes. Since the Founding Fathers came from a distinctly Biblical point of view, this is an important consideration. That the Founding Fathers came from this worldview is made clear by Patrick Henry, when he says that "It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ." Therefore, The Holy Bible may be seen as a very informative document into the minds of America's forefathers. From both a Biblical and a constitutional perspective, the federal government has no place in legislating against "hate crimes." It would sadden the founders to see this establishment try.

The "healthcare reform" that may soon be mandated to the American people is another example of a top-heavy federal government that is violating the rights of the people and the jurisdiction of the states. While the brutally abused welfare clause of the Constitution might be used to justify this heinous legislation, an honest reading of that same document as a whole, bearing in mind the spirit and history of the times, shows that the "nanny-state" was not our founders' intent. Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 32, stresses that "…the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States." The United States are nowhere granted any power in the Constitution even remotely respecting something like healthcare, and to by mandate force the people to subscribe to this "care" is far more blatantly tyrannous. Furthermore, while this welfare clause might at first glance seem to relate to the health of the citizens of the States, the welfare clause specifically applies to the States themselves. Combine this with the Biblical principle that government's role is to bear the sword, and not to give charity, and it becomes clear that the founders would not approve of the federal healthcare legislation that is being planned today.

The founders would also be displeased with the way that the concept of the militia has been almost entirely erased from the modern American's vocabulary, while all of the nation's military might is centralized and under federal control. The Second Amendment to the United States constitution not only makes clear that the people have a right to keep and bear arms, but also that a "well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," is an important protection of that and other rights. Yet this necessary ingredient to the security of a free state is not in any way practiced today. Webster, in his 1828 dictionary, defines the militia as "The body of soldiers in a state enrolled for discipline, but not engaged in actual service except in emergencies…." This militia structure would give the States much more power, and would put weight behind the demands of the several states. A centralized, federal, standing military is arguably unconstitutional, but it is not arguable that it gives the few in Washington much power, and more so when the States are so rendered impotent by not having an armed and enlightened citizenry. This would not please the founders.

Because of these and many other grievances committed by the federal government against the states and the people, the founding fathers would be disappointed, were they to visit the United States today. They pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for the freedom of their children. Surely they would be displeased to see that their children had apathetically or ignorantly given away to the federal government the liberties that these men worked so hard to ensure. O America, take heed. May the blood and toil of our fathers not be wasted on their sons.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Self-Esteem

Biblical "self-esteem" gives man value without giving him a reason to be proud. God is Big, I am small. I have value, not because I am good- I am wicked! - but because a Great God has created me in His Image, chosen me from the foundations of the earth, and bought me with The Blood of His Son.

Atheism does the opposite. The atheistic worldview gives man no inherent value, being only a product of chance, but also gives man reason to be sinfully proud of whatever he can accomplish.

And this bit of worldview is crucial for the debate on the sanctity of life.

Friday, August 27, 2010

On Love

Deuteronomy 11:1 is my text: "You shall therefore love the LORD your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments."

According to culture Americana, "love" is a gooey emotion that happens when a handsome young man and a pretty young woman lock eyes. That's why we can fall into it, 'cuz it's liquid and gooey.

Think about our phrases:
  • Fell in love
  • Love at first sight
  • Have feelings for
  • Young love
  • I can't love [some person]
While this emotional aspect is an important effect of love, it is not love itself. God here COMMANDS us (in the Deuteronomy text) to love Him. But how are we to force ourselves to feel emotional "love"? I don't know. Our emotions should be subject to God too. But it starts with a choice (which we can only make by God's Grace). It should effect the emotions, but it shouldn't be solely an emotional thrill. Else how do we love our spouse, or our children, if we wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

Indeed, sometimes we must love in spite of our emotions. As they said so well in the film Fireproof- my paraphrase- "you can't follow your heart. You've got to lead your heart."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Sister's Role towards her Brother

Treat Him like the Man You Want Him to Become
Be the Kind of Woman you want Him to Look For
From G. A. Hudelson

“It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” (Pr. 25:24, NASB)

It has been said that a woman has the (figurative) power to make a man or to cut him in half. This isn’t talking about decapitation- it is talking about the truth that woman, created to help man, can fulfill that role gloriously and result in encouraging and helping her man to heights beyond his wildest dreams. However, she can also become a weight on his wings, and hinder him from doing what he should have done as well as he could have done it.

A sister can do much to encourage her brother to become a Godly man. It will not all be verbal- in fact, most of it will be by her actions, which “speak louder than words.”

Sisters, if you are quick to quarrel with your brother, you will make it difficult for him to act as he should. You need to model by your actions things that you would be pleased to see in your brother’s wife, and you wouldn’t want him to marry a whiny woman who would argue with every decision he made, would you? Then you need to show him what a godly, submissive, woman looks like. Show him what he should admire. When he asks you to get something for him, then do it gladly! Or if your parents already have you doing something else, then lovingly say something like “Daddy already had me doing this- may I finish?” or “I’m sorry, but Mom told me to do this- if you can wait a minute, I’ll be right there.”

Don’t be argumentative. If it’s a little thing, something that’s not important, then just give it away. Jesus Himself said that “it is better to give than to receive.” You just “seek first The Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.” That will bring more joy than fighting over the little things, even if you win. I believe it was Harvey Newcomb, in his excellent book How to be a Lady, who encourages us, but specifically young women, to take a moment in the middle of our fighting with one another and ask ourselves: “Will this matter in the great span of eternity?”
Now ask yourself this: by being an argumentative, grating sister, what are you teaching your brother? You are teaching him that women are not pleasant or loveable, that they are to be avoided, shamed, defeated in combat of the mind, if not physical struggle. If you shame your brother by showing off that you know more than he does, remember- you are teaching him that he needs to strengthen himself to defeat you. He will jump at the chance to prove himself better than you. Mind, I am not saying that he will be right in so doing- but if he doesn’t have the strength of character to withstand your misconduct, he will likely resort to that. Remember, though- I am not speaking to him. I’m speaking to you. Don’t take that sentence to say that he is the problem- “if only he would man up and treat me like he should”- no, but take the plank out of your eye, and let him be, if God so wills it, “won without a word” by your conduct.

If, however, you are a submissive, gentle, quiet- not reclusive, but quiet- sister, what are you teaching your brother? You are teaching him that women are pleasant and loveable, that they are to be protected, cherished, defended from any enemy. If you build your brother up, not only by complimenting him, but by speaking well of him to others, by bragging on him, so to speak, you are showing him that you are not his enemy, but that you love him, and you are not ashamed of him. My sisters do this all the time, so I speak from experience when I say that it tells your brother that you know you like him and you want others to know it too.

Mind, I don’t mean for you to lie about how good your brother is- but find the things that you can praise him for. I also am not encouraging flattery. Speak the truth in love. Encourage your brother, and build him up. By doing this, you are teaching him that he should strengthen himself to protect you. He will jump at the chance to prove himself ready to do his duty as your brother.
Which do you want for a brother? And which do you want for yourself? For while it is ultimately his responsibility to walk with God humbly, it will be much harder for him to do this if you, every time he climbs nearer to Christ, pull him down to your level again with a temptation to quarrel. You will make it much easier for him to take his place if you gladly take yours.

So how can you practice a gentle and quiet spirit? My Dad and I once went to a meeting discussing a new policy that a city legislature was considering. One of my sisters also came with us. Dad and I both got up and spoke in front of the council- my sister didn’t. But by simply sitting quietly and contentedly in the back of the room, she spoke volumes about what true, godly womanhood looks like. She modeled for all those people there the beauty of following God’s Ways.

So don’t take every opportunity to speak that comes your way. Practice sitting and listening. You will learn a lot that way. It has been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Even more importantly, Scripture exhorts us to be “quick to listen” and “slow to speak.” That is a very good thing to practice for sisters AND brothers.
Be very careful to treat your brother like a man. Obviously, he is probably not fully grown and mature (though he may be, depending on your situation). Regardless of whether he is or isn’t, don’t let the fact that he is your brother cause you to treat him with contempt, as familiarity often does. Treat him like the man you want him to become. Don’t expect perfection- that bears repeating!- do NOT expect perfection from your brother. But humbly encourage him to and let him be the man. You can do this by looking for times when you can purposefully submit to him- let him take the lead. Follow him gladly. Do this in the little things. Let him be the fearless captain of the expedition exploring the backyard, rather than insisting that the caravan goes your way. Obviously this can only go so far, especially with older sisters who must watch over their younger siblings. Yet Godly habits can and should be modeled in day-to-day play. Another example- when you play with your brother, are you usually pretending to be enemies? Or does your brother practice protecting you? And do you practice letting him protect you? That is what you want your brother to do when he’s grown up, right? So encourage him to do it now. If your brother takes advantage of your submission, he is wrong to do so. But remember Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant, and how God told her to submit to her cruel mistress. Even in that situation, remember to focus on the log in your own eye first, and do what is right. God has put your father in your life to protect you- if your brother does wrong, God will vindicate the innocent! You just make sure you are innocent! So ask yourself- does your brother feel like he’s pulling teeth every time he asks you to do something for him? Or is he afraid to ask you, knowing that you will get angry? Do you treat him like a pest or a friend, a tyrannous ogre or a respected and honorable king? When you are talking to your friends and your brother comes up beside you, do you look disgusted with him or happy and proud of him? Practice your role of helping now, and rejoice in it! Remember how the Proverb 31 woman represents her husband well. He is not ashamed to sit in the city gates with the elders of the land. Make sure that you also do this with your brother.

By treating your brother as a man, I also mean that you should not pamper him. Especially older sisters- don’t teach your brother that every time he scrapes his knee he needs to come crying to momma or sissy. Don’t tell him to get down every time he gets somewhere a bit dangerous. While I’m not advocating letting him do things that are foolish, let him train himself for manhood- bloody knees and bruised foreheads are part of the process. Let him fall off the swing. Maybe you knew it was coming- maybe he did too. Obviously, if he was one year old, you wouldn’t let him fall off the swing- but if he’s old enough to understand what falling is, and if the swing is reasonably near the ground, and he wants to balance on the moving swing on one foot while punching the air with both hands, let him go for it! Let him push his limits and do dirty, bloody, sweaty things. Just because you as a girl wouldn’t enjoy it or even think of doing it, don’t make a girl out of your brother. If he fails at what he was attempting, maybe he’ll learn from it and not do it again- or maybe he’ll try again until he conquers. That can be a very good thing, and one you should encourage. I’m not advocating barbarous or boorish (vulgar, lowly, common) manhood. I am advocating men who are Strong and Courageous- and your role as a sister in fostering that is valuable beyond words.

So remember that when you interact with your brother, you are practicing right now how you will act as an adult. Don’t think that your family is hard to get along with, but no one else is. No, everyone is sinful. God has given you a great opportunity to grow now, in your home, instead of being thrust out into the world and realizing that it is not as perfect as it may seem. Take that opportunity and praise The LORD for it! And remember that your brother is being raised into a man- a prophet, a priest, a king- so use this precious time that you have to invest in him. When you touch him, you touch the future. Your calling is glorious. Rejoice in it, and play your part in encouraging your brother to become a man of God. This will help both of you to grow exponentially, and it makes family life a joy and a beauty. It also will refine you into a more virtuous, Godly woman- one who models what her brother needs to look for in a wife one day. My Dad rightly says, “One of the greatest compliments a young lady can have is when her brother refuses to court a girl because she’s ‘not like my sisters!’”

Monday, June 28, 2010

"Thou Shalt Not Lie"

The 9th Commandment is often quoted thus, as saying "Thou shalt not lie." But it does not say that. It says that we must not bear false witness.

While elsewhere in Scripture we are told that God hates a lying, deceitful tongue, this commandment specifically addresses witnesses. (Pr. 24:26)

And there is a vast difference between "Thou shalt not lie" and the condemnation of a lying tongue and a deceitful heart.

There are times to lie! There is never a time to be a liar. Just as there are times to kill, but never to be a murderer.

Look at the examples in Scripture of those who deceived the wicked for The Glory of God- and indeed, in obedience to God:
  1. Jehu pretended to serve baal so that he could rid the land of servants of baal. (2 Kings 10)
  2. Rahab lied to save the Hebrew spies (Joshua 6)
  3. Ehud used deciet to come before Eglon. (Judges 3)
  4. The Hebrew midwives lied to save Hebrew babies- and God blessed them for it! (Exodus 1)
Now, don't think that this then justifies lying to your mom about stealing the cookies. That is not only being dishonoring to your parents, but is also being deceitful for wicked ends. God hates these things.

Let us be shrewd...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Eyes of God

Proverb 23:17 - How do cheeseburger-eating contests teach The Fear of The LORD? Not that the contest is malum-in-se, but to come to Church and do such a thing... then again. It is basically institutionalized gluttony. If not malum-in-se, at least we surely can in wisdom find more redemptive uses of time, even if not at Church!

And while I chose the cheeseburger-eating contest as a fun and easy example, there are many other appropriate places where we must look to God that He may "lead us with His eyes." (Ps. 32:8)

"Do not let your heart envy sinners," but live in the fear of The LORD... what would God want me to do? We must be aware of God's Gaze always. We must walk in fear of him. Before He gave His Law to Israel, note how He displayed a taste of His power in Exodus 19. The Fear of The LORD is The Beginning of Wisdom.

Oh yes, God loves us, and we must love Him as well. But it starts with the fear, the honor, the respect. He is The LORD- let the nations tremble.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Delighted to Obey

I've often thought how silly the Israelites of the Old Testament seem. How could they have so often rejected The God that so often rescued them? Over and over and over they call out to Him, He saves them, and then they leave Him, and then He punishes them, and then they call out to Him, and then He saves them, and then they leave Him again. How could they be so... sinful? So foolish? Then today it hit me... we do the same thing.

Think of this great nation America. Founded as a Christian nation which Almighty God delivered from tyranny by great wonders of His Providence, how many times have we left Him, and how many times have we repented after receiving our just recompense, and how many times have we left Him again?

And how many times have we only "repented" on a shallow and emotional level? After 9/11, the churches were filled, surely. So why do we continue to retrograde?

Maybe because the foundations are destroyed. The family has been splintered. And now, we have a truly irrelevant "Christianity," one which conforms to the world in a vain attempt to bring the world to conform to Christ. One which is more man-centered than God-centered, more fun than faithful, more enticing than confronting, more worldly than Scriptural- in other words, a "Christianity" which has forsaken its savor in hopes of getting itself sprinkled onto the world. We are determined to use whatever means necessary to achieve a good end- but by compromising God's Ways of doing things, we cannot but compromise the things themselves.

This is irrelevance and impotence- we reject God's Law as too hard, and we choose the easy, painless, broad path. And in so doing we have sold our birthright to satiate our hunger.

Oh, the assembly of believers is a beautiful and joyous thing! "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity." But true unity is forged around a core of Truth and a unified vision- not around a lack of a Standard. Chesterton said that "Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions." Is the Church slipping to that degraded state today?

It is fitting that this post should fall so near to Father's Day. The father plays a crucial role in the process either of true repentance or lack thereof. I thank God for a father who leads in the old paths, the paths of God, unafraid to shed tradition and to "offend," but rather afraid to disobey God. And not only afraid to disobey God, but excited and delighted to obey Him.

We need more men to take up the torch, to return to God's Word, to do God's Work God's Way.

We need more men who are delighted to obey.
"All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance."
~ Edward Gibbon

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Self-Defense
Gabriel Hudelson’s notes on a talk by Steve Ringer

Principles of self-defense:

1. Be aware! (Pr. 22:3 – If you feel that something’s not right- if you “see it coming”- don’t just continue right into it! And don’t ignore gut feelings, either.)
a. Be Wise (Pr. 15:1 – Don’t be “stirring up anger” with foolish speech)
b. Travel in pairs
c. Avoid trouble if possible (Pr. 26:17)
d. Carry yourself well

Don’t trust everyone. Respect to whom it is due, but trust only a few!

2. WATCH YOUR CHILDREN – “Line-of-sight”
a. Kids’ first response- train your children to respond “let me ask my Dad.” Example: potential villain says “Can you help me find my dog?” or “Would you like some ice cream? It’s out in my car.” The child should respond “let me ask my Dad/Mom.”
b. Have a code-word for if the parent sent someone. Say the parents got in a car accident and sent someone to pick up their kids- the parents should be able to give that person a word that will assure the children that he is really from their parents. If he doesn’t know the word, the kids know he’s a fake.
c. Teach kids to scream! And not just to scream- there are screaming kids all over these days. They need to scream something that will get attention: “Fire!” “Help!” “Kidnap!” “You’re not my Dad!”

Think through scenarios so that you’ve “been there” mentally. On an adrenaline rush, people fall back on instinct and lowest level of training.

Don’t give up! “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Don’t stop resisting just because it looks hopeless.

Go into taking a knife from an attacker knowing you’ll get cut! This way you aren’t surprised when you do. Also make sure that YOU decide WHERE you get cut- block the knife with your outer forearms as opposed to letting him stab you where he wants. DON’T let him get at your inner arm- crucial veins and arteries there.

God is sovereign over death- we are responsible for what we do with our life and the lives of others.

It is our Biblical, moral duty to defeat the bad guy- but it is also our duty to not “kick a man who’s down.” If he has been vanquished, it is not for us to continue to attack him. Get him and get away.

Protect and attack the “centerline”- eyes, nose, chin, neck, solar plexus, groin.

For the face, use the claw, not the fist. While the fist can be used, you’ll hurt yourself eventually. Instead, jab with all five fingers. Go for the eyes. And remember- this isn’t a “made you blink” jab. GO FOR THE EYES.

Palm to the nose.

You can use your elbows, knees, feet. Fists and head-butts if you need to- but not preferable! You could break your own hand or knock yourself unconscious!

If grabbed from behind- scrape shins with feet, stomp on his feet, break his fingers, sidestep and punch groin, smash his nose with the back of your head.

Scream while you fight. The sheer oddity of someone yelling at the top of their lungs may deeply unsettle the attacker- and it also might call attention to your predicament.

Don’t take a life to save your car or your wallet. But remember that that might not be all that they want. They may say things like “I won’t hurt you if you get in the car.” DON’T GET IN THE CAR. Whatever he’s gonna do, make him do it in the parking lot, the street. Don’t get in the car, don’t go down the alley, no matter how reasonable it sounds. Do not let him handcuff you.

Throw the keys or the wallet away from you both or in their face and RUN.

PRACTICE. ROLE-PLAY. HAVE A PLAN.

God gave you gut instinct. Don’t ignore it. If it doesn’t feel right- leave! Call the police! Scan your house when you come home. If something looks wrong, call the police. They’d be glad to play Superman for you- but if something is truly wrong, it was the right choice! Don’t let your pride get in the way of doing the wise thing.

The ol’ High-School grab-you-by-the-shirt-and-shove-you-against-the-locker- don’t wrestle the hands off the shirt. Go for the face, the centerline.

Do NOT back away. They throw a punch- move in! They won’t expect that. They’ll expect you to back up, to dodge. Get right in their face. Literally.

When they pull the gun on you- don’t look at the gun. Raise your hands forward, looking innocent. Then get the muzzle away from you. Get control of the gun! Bring one hand down on the top of the gun, the other on the bottom of the handle. Twist it to the outside of their arm. This gets the muzzle away from you and also traps their hand in a very painful position- you can bring them all the way to the ground.

GET CONTROL OF THE WEAPON.

Appease the attacker. Get them to relax.

Shoot to stop. This may kill, it may not, but shoot to stop, not to kill. Shoot center mass- torso area. If you are justified to shoot, shoot center mass! If they keep coming after a few rounds, go for the head.

Don’t hide your guns, but don’t have a readily dischargeable firearm where kids can reach them.

TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT GUNS. GUN SAFETY is crucial- even if you don’t own one.

DON’T fire at noise or movement, especially in your house. You could shoot a child. Identify your target.

Follow the rules. CHECK THE GUN. Check it when you give it to someone. Check it when they give it back. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

When it comes to laws, ask “Where is that in writing?”

And remember Pr. 20:3- it is an honor to keep away from strife. Don't be a fool!