Thursday, January 25, 2018

Love the Babies

Birth control and family planning. It should be obvious to every Christian that abortion and any forms of birth control that kill a baby, even in the earliest stages of life, are contrary to God's command against murder. But is that the end of Biblical perspective on childbearing? 
Scripture universally presents (Godly/well-trained) children as two things (Ps. 127):
1. A blessing
2. Directly given by God
Since every baby is personally knit together by God- and not simply the result of a natural, random process- why would we take "family planning"- even non-abortifacient family planning- into our own hands?
This issue can be complicated, especially when health issues come into the picture. But we have to take God at His Word and walk on faith first- not start with our reasoning and then look at Scripture.

Friday, January 5, 2018

That Pesky Titus 2

“...that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.” - Titus 2:4+5

This exhortation to young women cannot be neglected; it is clear in the text, but it is not culturally acceptable today, and as such it is easy to let it go unmentioned. Sinful man is very concerned with self-definition, self-realization, and unbridled autonomy. But God is in the business of bridling His creation; He both creates and defines what He has created. Truly, He is the most qualified to do the defining, and it is in keeping His commandments that our joy is made full. The bridling of the horse unleashes its power. (John 15)

From my own limited experience and observation, it seems that about ten years ago this passage and its presentation of the homemaking woman was very much in vogue in conservative Christian circles; honestly, it was perhaps presented a little too unilaterally, without enough room for Christian liberty and variety in application. A home business was the only option for a single young woman who wanted to be financially productive. For a girl to consider a college education was heresy- maybe not punishable by the tribunal, but certainly deserving of concerned condescension. Christian womanhood was supposed to look the same way for everyone. But that never happens, and it isn’t supposed to. The tapestry of the Church is a varicolored tunic, not a straightjacket.

Now, however, we seem to have taken a ride on the pendulum; now, we not only embrace Christian liberty and variety, but we practically disembowel the Scriptural commands in the process. We have rejected straightjacket and varicolored tunic alike, and we are running through the streets baring our liberty for all to see. Now this passage really means nothing- yes, we accept it as Scripture, and we make a nod to some vague idea about the wife being the homemaker. But Titus 2 doesn’t really have much bearing on whether or not my wife should get a job, or whether or not our girls should learn old-fashioned homemaking tasks. Perhaps most damaging of all is the strong perception that keeping the home and raising the kids is a second-level calling, as if the passionate pursuit of this essential mission reduces a woman to being too easily satisfied. As if “stay at home mom” was equivalent to “the help.”

This passage does mean something, and we cannot shy away from it; we must let God speak. God has called women to a different role than men, and for a woman to set that calling aside is for her to take a step down, not a step up. God does call women to be home-centered (and He does call them to be subject to their husbands, since we’re already stepping on toes here). It is straightforward in the text. It isn’t for me or anyone else to define for everyone exactly what those two things mean in practice. But the point is that they mean something. The application of the principle will vary, but there must be an application.

We cannot be ashamed of the Word of God. His commands are good, and they bring life and joy.

If we do not embrace this facet of God’s design for His people, then we will give occasion for the Word of God to be dishonored.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tomorrow's Yesterday

The seeds have been sown in the field of memory, and they will grow up into eternal fruits. Before us stretches another empty field, soft and tilled and fertile, its sweet, earthy smell joining the January sunrise in a chorus that sings of promise and opportunity. What are the seeds that we will sow? What are the memories that we will make? We wave a bittersweet goodbye to another Christmas, but it won’t be long before we are putting the lights up again. What will those lights shine upon this next December?

Now is our chance. Step into the house of mourning with me, and take a long draw off the cup of mortality. Look in the rear view mirror and see the string of yesterdays that led to you, here, now- and then look down the road and realize that you are living in tomorrow’s yesterday. One down, 364 to go. How are we going to use them? Where are we going to spend them?

As we walk on legs of recollection through the field of 2017, what do we see? What little eternal sprouts promise the fruits of life and Godliness? Which patches of time are tainted by tares sown in anger or covetousness or laziness?

And what shall we do with the empty field before us now?

That is the exciting promise of the new year. Exciting for the possibilities. Exciting for the opportunities. But most of all exciting for the unshakeable assurance that, whatever may come, whatever wheat and whatever tares may be sown, the Lord of the harvest is working the whole field for His ends. He will be exalted. His children will be cared for. And that makes it a very happy new year.

Easy or hard, we cannot know. Happy or sad, we have no promise. But as children of the living, sovereign God, we can know without doubt that 2018 will be a good year.

It is for us to simply seek first His kingdom; to rekindle the love that has grown cold; to rejoin the battle against sin; to renew our happy gratitude for His abundant blessings; to rejoice in the promise of His victory and the richness of His love.

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice! For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. So draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. And make the most of your time. You only get one 2018. Every choice is a seed- every moment a memory. Let us strive for a harvest of glory that will please our King, and for a year of choices which we will remember without regret. And let us do so in the power of Christ, knowing that it is His power which makes us alive and able, and His righteousness which makes us acceptable to the Father.

What are your goals? What are your prayers? What is the Father calling you to do?

How will you lead your family? How will you strengthen your marriage? How will you win the hearts of your children? How will you invest in your siblings, or your local church, or the community around you?

What is going to fill your days, your home, your year? Faces or screens? Complaining or thanksgiving? Irritation or joy?

What is going to fill the hearts and affections of your family? Jesus? Relationships? Fantasy? Hollywood?

What will be the things that you make time for? Family worship? Monday night football? Personal prayer? Exercise? Pinterest? The new Star Wars movie? Family dinners?

These are the seeds that sow the fields; these are the memories that weave the tapestry of our lives. Every day is a stitch, a stroke, a note in the song of life, and once sung it cannot be changed.

Let us choose wisely.