Monday, October 25, 2010 Christ loved the Church

Upon reflection of my first post, I feel the need to express my responsibility as a husband.  Not that being a father isn't of the utmost importance, however I became a husband first and this is my premier responsibility.  I and my wife are one (Genesis 2:24b).  I am not one with my daughter.  They are two different types of relationships.

With regards to the purpose of marriage, John Piper put it succinctly when he said, "I have tried to show from scripture that the main meaning of marriage is to display the covenant-keeping love between Christ and His church.  In other words, marriage was designed by God most deeply, most importantly, to be a parable or a drama of the way Christ loves His church and the way the church loves and follows to Christ.  This is the most important thing for all husbands and wives to know about the meaning of their marriage" (, emphasis added).

I see today that many people put the love and care of their children above the love and care of their spouse.  That simply should not be so.  The family is first and foremost strong in the parents' mutual relationship with God. From there, a firm foundation is setup for the household to provide a Godly, Christ-filled environment by which the children can learn from the acts (more-so than mere words) of the parents, and even from the (future in our case) older siblings.  If the bond between the mother and father (and yes, I do say mother and father not father and father, or the opposite, for a reason) is weak, the children suffer.

So we spend time every day together in prayer, going through a Bible study, memorizing scripture, and just getting closer.  In order to do our best as parents, we must do our best as husband and wife, yet we must first do our best in our relationship with our Savior and God.

Now, does this mean that every day when I get home from work I should first greet my wife with a kiss before I greet my daughter? Does this mean in the morning I should be more joyful to see my wife's face than my daughter's face?  Well, I don't know.  I do know that I'm human, and therefore I get most things maybe that which I do not do is that which I should do! : )  I'm sure that is the case often-times. But really, this needs to be a heart issue.  Of course, when I get home I want to see my baby first, because she is so new to me.  I want to see if she has changed (as she does daily!), I want to see if she reacts differently to me (big smiles, baby talk, etc).  This does not mean I put her before my wife.  I do love my wife more than my child. But how that plays out in active, daily life is not a textbook answer.  I need to make sure my heart is in the right place day to day and pray that I can be the husband and father God calls me to be.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our Home

We have prayed about our home on numerous occasions, that it would be our ministry (specifically Mallory's) and that people would always feel welcome here.  We want Christ's love to emanate throughout it like the warmth of a fire. I think a part of that will come from the way our kids are raised, and therefore act. Recently, after Emery went down to bed for the night, we sat up and discussed how we desire to raise our kids.

This is a strange topic, because many people seem to think it is unnecessary to discuss it past "Are we planning on spanking?"  I won't go into that right now, but I do have a strong opinion on that subject.

We were discussing more about what we wanted the environment of our house to be like.  The first thing that came up was material possessions.  Since the number one treasure we want to instill in our kids' hearts is the affection for Christ, we don't want to let material things get in the way.  I don't want my daughter to think more of her doll, or her set of figurines, than Christ.  Not that there is anything wrong with toys, or having more than 10 different hats, but when the affection for these is present...  But where is the line drawn so that a love is not created for finite, eternally worthless material possessions?  True, material objects can be used to teach lessons (i.e. how to properly take care of a baby, or how to set a table), however finding that balance is what we are working on.  We don't want to have so many toys in our home that they are taken for granted ("Oops, I broke my G.I. Joe, oh well I'll just be getting another one now"), when they are a simple means of entertainment that so many in this world lack.  I want our children to think, "Wow, what a blessing!  I got a new toy!"

Wastefulness is rampant in nations of plenty, and ours is no different.  Now don't misunderstand what I'm saying here; by no means are we tree-hugging environmentalists who worship 'Mother Earth!'  However, we do recognize that we need to be good stewards of what God gives us.  Part of that is not being wasteful; whether we're talking about food (primarily), money, time, etc.  I want my children to see how responsible we are with the resources God has blessed us with.  The USDA said back in 1997 that 27% of all edible food gets tossed out.  The Lord never promises to give us abundance in this life.  To waste what He gives us is showing our lack of thankfulness for the gift.  

Managing our money responsibly with either a budget or a similar way of tracking our resources (giving is extremely important here) is very important in not only teaching stewardship, but also preparing our children to survive on their own.  I am not convinced we as Christians are required to tithe (10%) regularly, as that was an Old Covenant law for the Jews, however I do believe giving is an essential part of one's walk with God.  Showing mercy and love to others who are in need is one way we should feel obligated to give, but even as a mere way of preventing us from becoming greedy giving is spiritually helpful.  The less money we have, the more we are required to depend on God.  Greed is easily overshadowed by a desire to be 'financially secure.'  If you can show me a section of Scripture that portrays 'financial security' as a good thing I would be willing to listen (Matthew 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25).  It is when we have all we need to physically survive that we feel we need God the least.  

...this has turned from a recommendation to not waste money to a dissertation on giving it all away; but the way one spends is in direct correlation to how one gives.  The more we spend (on ourselves) the less likely we are to give (to others) because there is always that one thing we want to buy:  the latest iPod, the newest style of clothing, a hyped-up video game.  If we have a heart for others and a repulsion for idolatry, we will be moved to push our monetarial blessings in a direction that will stimulate our affection for Christ versus material possessions.

Maybe more importantly, we discussed how we will teach what it is to live a Christ-centered life.  Prayer before every meal; not as a religious, repetitious rule but as a moment we stop and thank our Lord for blessing us with food for our bodies when we deserve starvation.  Daily devotionals as a time when we stop our busy lives and rest for a moment in prayer and meditation on the Word, and thank our Lord for blessing us with food for our souls, for "Man shall not live by bread alone..." - Matthew 4:4.  Memory verse of the day/week recited at dinner.  Time spent outside and not in front of the tv.  Only God-honoring tv shows/movies.  All of these are practical things we can implement once we get over our mere laziness or idolatry of what we enjoy - good thing I'm done with 24!  :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ligonier Ministries '$5 Fridays' - Good for family?

I just received my two products that I purchased from Ligonier Ministries (RC Sproul's ministry) last week. They have an ongoing promotion called '$5 Fridays' where they select a few items from their inventory and offer them for a substantial discount. For some items it is a better deal than others.

For example I purchased a dvd set of their 2003 National Conference 'The Power and the Glory' which retails for $85, typically you can get it for $68; I got it for $5!

I also purchased their Abortion dvd which retails for $20, typically sells for $24; and of course I paid $5!

What a steal! (shipping was only $3.99!)

These videos will serve my family well over the years as I study them personally and learn how to convincingly contest for the lives of those who cannot contest for it themselves, and also learn about Gods power and glory in building His kingdom from the likes of John MacArthur, Doug Wilson, Al Mohler, Sinclair Ferguson, and the Sprouls. One day, my children will understand these concepts.  Their faith will be strengthened. That makes these a good investment; whether at $5 apiece or not.

I highly recommend Ligonier Ministries as a source of finding answers to the tough questions of the faith. Dr Sproul has a winsome way with words and is able to clearly articulate seemingly difficult concepts so anyone can understand. If you are interested in learning more about your faith: how to live it, how to understand it (the Bible), etc I cannot say enough how much you will benefit from their resources.

Check them out:

See the latest $5 Friday Items

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

...and the meditations of my heart...

... be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer - Psalm 19:14

This is a verse that has defined my pursuit for the past year.

With the birth of my (first) daughter, I feel like I have been hit with a ton of bricks; those bricks being the Holy Spirit forcing me to wake up out of my "Christian slumber."  I have a new-found passion to learn more about God and understand what He has given us in Scripture, so that I may do my called duty to train up my child in the ways of the Lord so that when she is old she will not turn from them (Proverbs 22:6).  My daughter is a heritage from the Lord. She is an arrow in my quiver, to be used in the battle against the evil one. I am blessed to have her.  She is a gift from God  (Proverbs 127:3-5).

I take this responsibility very seriously.  I want her to know and love the Lord, and hate the evil that has consumed the world (1 John 5:19).  It is my job to teach her how one can be both in the world, yet not of it.  Our mission is to show Christ's love and be a light to them (Matthew 28:19-20).  The world hates her, and she should know that (John 15:18; John 17:14).

Satan is real.  He is defeated, but he is still taking people with him on his way down.  I've realized I must consider this when I live the way I do.  When I watch the shows/movies I watch.  When I spend my time the way I do.  I need to refocus my life so that, truly, every second of every day (1 Thes 5:17) every word that comes out of my mouth, and every thought and meditation in my heart are acceptable in Christ's eyes, who is my ultimate Lord, my solid rock upon which I stand mine and my family's life, and my kinsman redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

We are called to treasure Christ above all things.  I will do my best to live my life in a way that when my daughter (and future children, Lord willing) sees me, she could not help but think of Christ and His glory.

I pray the posts I make on this site will not only help me become stronger in my faith, but will reach out to those reading and display Christ's glory so much that a life would be changed.

Be Blessed,