A Vote For Abortion Is A Vote For Moral Anarchy

When a people group believes that personal happiness is a right, that is a people group that is headed for moral collapse. For example, if I believe that I have a right to the stuff in your garage because I don’t have it mine, then I will take it, if I can get away with it. If I can’t get away with it, I won’t. Not because I don’t believe I have a right to it, but because others don’t – and they will punish me for it. But if more and more people begin to think like I do, then there will be less and less negative consequences for SELFISHNESS. Wa la! – you now have on your hands moral anarchy where nearly no amount of legislation just short of Marshall law will keep things in order.

Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984, pic above) reminded us of this truth in his books, “How Should We Then Live” and also, “The Abolition of Truth and Morality.” He cited world history as evidence for what would come to America if we, as a people group, began to believe the same. When Man places himself, and his own personal happiness (as defined by himself) at the center of all things, then no one will be able to love their neighbor out of consideration for the others’ wellbeing; my personal welfare will always trump yours.

But why do I tether abortion to moral anarchy? If you read in Schaeffer’s books he does the same: If you can justify murder on the most vulnerable of your citizens then you will justify, in time, anything. Your rights and your personal happiness will be a Law to yourself. You see, the death of a baby under the protection of legalized abortion is not the only thing that dies, but also the moral compass that once said, “NO” to abortion and “Yes” to – “I will not hurt my neighbor just to make my life easier.”

The philosophy of abortion is more dangerous for a society than abortion itself. When “My Rights” usurps the rights of another at their expense, when my rights to my personal happiness become supreme, when whatever makes me happy at this moment must be honored regardless of harm to another, then we are well on our way to calling good evil and evil good.

I remind you again: There is no amount of legislation that can hold back the propensity to moral anarchy when this happens; a people group will lose more and more of its personal freedoms because no one can be trusted to be civil anymore.

Dear voter, consider your vote for abortion to be a vote for giving your neighbor the right to plunder your garage – if he wants your stuff for his personal happiness. But I plead with you to reconsider: don’t vote according to your conscience – vote according to what sustains a moral conscience for society, then, not only will babies be safe, but so will you. Why? Because when you are in the way of someone’s personal happiness, and you will be at some point, that person might still have the decency to say “No” to self, and say, “Yes” to you.

Consider God’s Character When You Vote

Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

A couple weeks ago I gave a sermon to help our people think about God’s character when they vote. When you reverence, trust, delight in – the personhood of God revealed in Jesus Christ, you have started in the right place to think about everything else. Those who do not want to begin here are fools.

Here are 7 points that reflect our delight in God’s character. My prayer is that they would inform and then shape your view on politics and would guide your vote for President. In my opinion, these are in ascending order from the least influential to the greatest, in helping me make the wisest vote possible.

1. God’s Character of Covenant Faithfulness to Israel.

I want to vote for a president who would defend Israel’s right to be a nation and therefore support God’s Covenant with Israel (Zech. 2:8; Romans 11:1-2, 11-12, 24; Psalm 122:6). One day, God is going to graft unbelieving Physical Israel back into the Olive Tree of Salvation. To put an axe to the state of Israel is to cut your own legs off, and one only needs to look at world history and the nations that pick on Israel: Egypt, the Cananittes, Assyria, Babylon, The Medes and the Persians, Rome – Ask Syria how long the 6 day war lasted in 1967. You pick on Israel, you pick a fight with God.

Vote for a candidate that will honor and respect Israel as a nation entitled to her original borders when she was granted nation status in 1948.

2. God’s Character of Jurisdiction.

Even Jesus had boundaries and did not meddle. Jesus said things like,

  • If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight.
  • Who made me an arbitrator between you and me?
  • What does that have to do with me?

God rules over all but he gives men the priviledge to lead with limitations, in the Family, the Church, and Government. In Romans 13:1-5, there is the limitation for goverenment , “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.”

Government is limited in its terror, or threat. It is not to threaten with punishment good conduct. It may not force, tax, fine, strong-arm me into good conduct – I don’t have to mow my neighbors lawn if I don’t want to, as far as the government is concerned – though God is. Consequently, it is not right for a people to expect so much from government as if it has unlimited capacity to fix the human race and force its citizens to do good things under threat of penalty. Therefore, I’m voting for:

  • A President that helps its citizens to help one another.
  • A President that has a biblical view of what is good and what is evil
  • A President that does not believe that government can create utopia.
  • A President that does not threaten good behavior with penalty, as a basic principle

3. God’s Character as a Creative & Hard Worker.

*Gen. 1:1 –  “In the beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth.”              *Gen. 2:15. Adam is to work and keep the garden. He is not simply to work but keep, tend – it carries with it the idea of creativity. Work is not to be mindless, thoughtless, and insensitive.                                                                                                        *Prov. 6:6ff – There is wisdom in looking at an ant hill in the summer and watch them gather up for the fall and come to an epiphany: “I better get off my sluggish rear-end and learn the way of an ant.”

I’m going to vote for a candidate that has a basic principle of responsibility for working hard and making your own way, giving you the freedom to succeed or fail based upon the sweat of your brow.

4. God’s Character of Justice Over the Rich and the Poor Alike.

  • Lev. 19:9-18 & many passages that says that God cannot be bribed – he does not show partiality.
  • The Census tax (Exodus 30:11-16) and the Tenth/Tithe Tax (Deut. 14:22-29). And the Feast of Firstfruits – (Lev. 23:9-14)
  • Kindness for poor citizens and helping the poor man to become self-sustaining (Lev. 25).

In the census tax, everyone, both rich and poor alike paid the same an annual fee. In the tithe tax/offering, the man who has 10 acres of fig trees pays with one acre, the man who has 100 pays with 10, and the man who has 1,000 pays 100. Everyone pays the exact same amount for being a citizen, and everyone pays the exact same percentage on all of their income. Which means the rich man can’t use his power to exploit the poor man, saying, “I’m going to pay five percent, but you’re going to pay fifty percent.” Nor were the poor allowed to say, “We’re going to pay five percent and the rich are going to pay fifty percent because they can afford it.” What that is ladies and gentlemen is the politics of envy that legalizes theft.

“Anytime you vote a tax on somebody else that is not a tax on yourself, you’re stealing from your brother. And though the whole world does it and though it’s common practice in the United States of America, a Christian shouldn’t be caught dead voting to fill his own pocketbook at the expense of someone else. Isn’t that plain? Isn’t that clear? And until we get some kind of flat tax, we’re going to have a politicized economy, we’re going to have class warfare, and we’re going to have the whole nation’s rule being determined by the rush for economic advantage at the polls. Don’t do it. Even if that means sacrificing some benefit you might receive from the federal government. Don’t ask other people at the point of a gun to give you from their pockets what you don’t have. That’s sin.” – R.C. Sproul

In addition, just because a business man steals does not justify the government stealing from the business man. Stealing from a thief is still sin.

I’m going to vote for a President who would not steal from from his neighbor – through taxes.

5. God’s Character of Justice for the Oppressed (the poor, the orphan, the widow, the homeless, the incarcerated, the hungry, the naked, the diseased and crippled). All the verses cited on the previous point speak to this.

God goverened his people in such a way that took care of the poor and the oppressed, AND did not steal through unjust taxation at the same time. Simply, I’m going to vote for a candidate whose policies will reflect as close as possible God’s character of Justice for the Rich and the Poor Without Stealing from its own Citizens.

6. God’s Character of Sexuality that is portrayed in the Cross as the husband dies to redeem his bride. Genesis 3 & Eph. 5:22ff.

I’m going to vote for a President who would lean toward a biblical view of man and woman. One groom for one bride. Marriage is not to be defined down to accommodate a platonic, that is, a non-sexual friendship, partnership, ect. between man and woman, man and man, woman and woman, human and animal. Marriage is a sexual union between one man and one woman bound by a covenant before God and Man.

7. God’s Character Revealed in Making Man in His Image. Genesis 1. When God created man he did not just create life but also likeness in his image – we are image-bearers of the Living God.

We are not just alive we are like him: we feel love and rejection, we have self-awareness and self-conscience that is able to approve or disapprove an action as good or evil. Though made a little lower than angels yet humans are crowned with glory and honor/beauty.

Gen. 9. After the flood “Anyone who takes life – God will take your life.”

Ex. 20. “You shall not murder” – Murder a human you assault God himself.

Don’t vote for a candidate who would legalize, support, finance, mandate support of abortion through health ins. policy under threat of fine – the murder of 1.2 million of its most helpless citizens – abortion is murder.

How can any a Christian vote on Super Tuesday for a candidate who would support abortion, appoint supreme court justices who would further the holocaust upon humans in the womb and then on Sunday put money in the offering plate to support Pregnancy Information Center to help keep babies alive?

For me, this is a single issue vote. This one trumps all others – no matter what. I’ll speak to this with my next post.

Are you absolutely sure this is not an apple?

Peter Kreeft argues from a non-controversial premise to a controversial conclusion on abortion. He will argue that you must be absolutely sure that the apple is not what it appears to be. If there is any scepticism at all, then you cannot abort a fetus.

Here is his summary below. If you want to read the full essay, go to the gospel coalition website (link in blogroll) and scroll down to Justin Taylor’s post on Oct. 19.

“So, there are four possibilities:

  1. The fetus is a person, and we know that;
  2. The fetus is a person, but we don’t know that;
  3. The fetus isn’t a person, but we don’t know that;
  4. The fetus isn’t a person, and we know that.

What is abortion in each of these four cases?

In Case 1, where the fetus is a person and you know that, abortion is murder. First-degree murder, in fact. You deliberately kill an innocent human being.

In Case 2, where the fetus is a person and you don’t know that, abortion is manslaughter. It’s like driving over a man-shaped overcoat in the street at night or shooting toxic chemicals into a building that you’re not sure is fully evacuated. You’re not sure there is a person there, but you’re not sure there isn’t either, and it just so happens that there is a person there, and you kill him. You cannot plead ignorance. True, you didn’t know there was a person there, but you didn’t know there wasn’t either, so your act was literally the height of irresponsibility. This is the act Roe allowed.

In Case 3, the fetus isn’t a person, but you don’t know that. So abortion is just as irresponsible as it is in the previous case. You ran over the overcoat or fumigated the building without knowing that there were no persons there. You were lucky, there weren’t. But you didn’t care, you didn’t take care – you were just as irresponsible. You cannot legally be charged with manslaughter, since no man was slaughtered, but you can and should be charged with criminal negligence.

Only in Case 4 is abortion a reasonable, permissible, and responsible choice. But note: What makes Case 4 permissible is not merely the fact that the fetus is not a person but also your knowledge that it is not, your overcoming of skepticism. So skepticism counts not for abortion but against it. Only if you are not a skeptic, only if you are a dogmatist, only if you are certain that there is no person in the fetus, no man in the coat, or no person in the building, may you abort, drive, or fumigate.

This undercuts even our weakest, least honest escape: to pretend that we don’t even know what an apple is, just so we have an excuse for pleading that we don’t know what an abortion is.”

The Joy of Jesus

You can’t have true joy over something unless you take pleasure in it.  I’ve never
been able to feel pleasure when brussel sprouts are served; I can’t delight in them because I have no taste buds for them – and because I have nothing but disdain for the little green stinkers, I’ll never ask God to help me enjoy them.

People have taste buds (delight sensors) for all kinds of things in life. Jesus had them too.  Listen to Jesus describe his inner taste buds:

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:8-13).

Let’s break this down:  What does Jesus delight in – what is his Joy?

1.  The Father’s Glory (all the character of his Father – merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in sacrificial, steadfast love, creative powers, wisdom, justice)

2.  That His disciples bear fruit (Jesus loves to see the character of his Father coming out in your life by the Spirit)

3.  That the Father loves Jesus (any child can relate to this when a father shows complete pleasure and approval)

4.  That Jesus shares this love with the disciples (it is so joyful to share with others what delights you)

5.  That obedience to Jesus’ commandments leads to abiding in his love – this is how Jesus lived his life towards his Father,  and now you can share in this also (every child feels complete with joy when they know that they are pleasing mom and dad – Jesus wants you to feel this as he does with his Father)

6.  To share this truth with the disciples will have the consequence of Jesus’ Joy remaining in their lives and that their joy will be complete (as they too learn to lay down their lives for others)

The Joy of Jesus is that we increasingly come to know the Father the way Jesus
knows the Father, and I think, that even the sharing of this information brings joy to Jesus. It is always exciting and thrilling on the part of the messenger to tell wonderful things to someone else so that they too can have the same joy. We are even bummed when we express excitement with someone and they respond with a boring yawn.  We regretfully reply,  “guess you had to be there.”

The Joy of Jesus is not only delighting in his Father’s essence but Jesus’ joy is also
bringing you into a knowledge of the Father’s glory, his beautiful character. Jesus is thrilled that you would know what excites him. The world does not understand this because they do not know Jesus intimately.  And sad to say,  many genuine disciples do not understand this either because their taste buds, their delight sensors are so stimulated by other things that they cannot feel or sense the joy of Jesus.

Man was once offered this joy, the knowledge of God, but he rejected this means of joy for lesser joys of the world. God gave him up to be thrilled with his own passions and now man is incapable of delighting in and tasting God. Just like I will never ask God to help me love brussel sprouts, so a sinner will never ask God to give him an inner joy for God. It is contrary to sinful nature to even want to desire that which is offensive. Our only hope is that God would sovereignly give us new delight sensors for him because the original ones have been totally desensitized to the things of God.

Jesus delighted in his Father – this was Jesus’ Joy.  To tell others of who his Father is and what He is like brought even more joy to Jesus: “. . . but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15b). Jesus was pursuing his joy by telling the disciples about his Father.  It is true that thousands of people who heard Jesus speak of the Father just quietly walked away. Can you hear Jesus say to those who cannot enjoy this good news, “I guess you had to be there – in heaven with the Father’s Glory to get excited
about what I am telling you.”

How do we get Jesus’ Joy?  Well, you can’t naturally develop a delight for knowledge of the Father like you can develop a palette for certain foods. Most of us like things now as an adult that we did not when we were kids – like broccoli. And I don’t ever remember asking the Father to help me like broccoli when I was a child so that my joy for foods would be complete; it was Cheryl’s cooking that increased my
taste for foods that I once spurned. If you and I are to have Jesus’ joy, which is the best joy in the world, then we must do what Jesus says. Are you ready? Do you want it? Do you want your delight sensors forever changed? Listen to Jesus again.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me, Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name, Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:20-24).

1. Jesus is teaching us that our joy will never be taken from us because Jesus will never be taken from us as his Spirit is sent and remains: You will never be alone again – ever!

2. Jesus is teaching us that our joy will be fulfilled when we ask God our Father for anything that magnifies Jesus (“in my name”). What are you asking God to do for you that will put Christ on display in your life? Your Father in heaven is more than willing to answer your prayers.

3. Jesus is teaching us that our joy in knowing his Father’s character is the best kind of joy. This is not hard to grasp since we see the Father’s divine character in creation. Look at the beauty in the Fall as the leaves change color, taste a freshly baked apple pie, feel the warmth of a fire on a chilly evening, smell the aroma of honey-suckle, or a pizza, and listen to Chopin or Jonny Lang if you like. The Father created all these joy-enhancing particulars with a word – what does that say about Him? The beauty in the world showcases the Father’s character. But nothing puts the Father’s character on display like the Son. To see Jesus, to delight in Jesus, is to see and know and enjoy the Father, now!

We are “in that day” right now that Jesus spoke of. That is, we are in the post-resurrection days of Jesus with the coming of the Holy Spirit and we have no need to ask him what his death and resurrection means for us since we have been given the Spirit to understand that our sins have been taken away in Christ. Believe that there is no deeper and satisfying joy than knowing the very God who sent his Son to rescue your life from sorrow – forever. This should make your day joyful!

Babies & Pumpkins

They have a few things in common:

1. They both come from the Great Pumpkin (in honor of Charlie Brown).

2. They both are a little jaundiced.

3. They come in all shapes and sizes.

4. No matter how ugly they are, someone will love it no less.

5. With a little attention to flavor, they both are delicious and sweet to taste.

6. They make the funniest of faces.

7. They get really stinky if you leave them alone too long.

8. They both live on the vine until they’re ripe.

9. When ready to take home, they both have a belly button stub poking out (where once attached to the mother pumpkin of course).                                        

10. And finally, they both have the same inerds that looks the same when it comes out!

The Beauty of Living in the Fall

One of the most beautiful displays of God’s creation is His colorful handiwork at this time of the year.  With red, violet, yellow, orange, and a mixture of shades in between, our Lord demonstrates His artwork for all to see and enjoy. There is a soothing and quieting effect on the soul when you gaze upon something that is beyond you. We love to be halted in life, mesmerized over something that is beyond our understanding, to stand in awe, even if we don’t fully comprehend what is taking place. Ignorance of how the sun shines without burning itself up has never prevented us from sitting silently in the evening, delighting in a sunset that captures our full attention.

And our ignorance, or knowledge of what is scientifically causing a leaf to change from green to yellow and orange has never been reason enough to overshadow our amazement. There is mystery in God’s ways.  Paul boldly asks, “for who has known the mind of the Lord?” And Job admits that there are “things to wonderful for me.”  Yet, somehow, this is exactly what draws us to the Lord, for who wants to worship a little, unappealing, simplistic, unattractive and boring God?  It is not the setting
sun nor the changing leaf that we worship, but the incredibly, incomprehensible God that created all things for His Glory and our enjoyment.

Have you ever wondered what is so beautiful about a dying leaf? Who has ever said, “we’re going on a drive this weekend up to Wisconsin and watch the leaves die!” Isn’t it strange that it is in the dying process when the leaf is most adored? The chemical change, causing it to reveal dazzling colors takes place in its final phase of life – what a paradox!  But think with me about the cross and about your life for a moment.

God has so ordained that in death He would be adored and glorified. This does not mean that death is adoring or glamorous, but that it is God’s mercy and His holiness that is displayed in sacrifice that is adoring and magnificent.  As God’s children we cannot deny the beauty of the Cross of Christ.  Reading the scriptures and contemplation about the death of Jesus leads us to conclude that the cross is the most attractive and compelling displays of God’s handiwork, forever bringing glory to God as we gaze upon his beauty (Psalm 27:4; Philippians 2:8-9; Ephesians 2:7).

What about your life? Is it beautiful?   

It is if you are dying, that is, dying to sin which means becoming more like Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11). Although we do not fully understand, and for that matter, we
don’t have to, but God has so ordained that giving up one’s life is the most appealing and pleasurable aspect of living.

My Prayer:

O Beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ, help me to live in such a way that others will see the beauty in dying for the Lord. Only a holy and merciful God could have planned such a paradox: new and beautiful life from death. I will trust you again today for my next phase of dying to pride, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, lust, envy, discontentment, greed – all these and more you have already conquered in your death for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Not On Sunday Morning


Last Sunday, early in the morning I was praying and reflecting upon the worship service for the day. Two of the songs that had been selected were, “Resurrection Hymn” – by Keith and Kristyn Getty, and “Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry (though we were doing an adapted version of the song by Page CXVI). The joy and celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ should never eclipse the suffering of the cross – and this should inform and shape our worship. What should not happen on Sunday morning is this: Cost-less Celebration. How many churches advertise, “Come Celebrate” and yet choreograph a worship service that does not bring the people to the cross but rather to a man-centered pep rally. Celebration of what God has done in raising his son from the dead is exhilarating and we would be the most pitiful if he had not. But celebration on Sunday morning did not come cheap. It cost Jesus’ life. Why? Because God must be seen as Just. Something had to be done to my sins in the most final way possible, lest the Judge of the Universe seem unfit and inept to sit on the throne (Romans 3:20ff). And now that he is just he can also remain just when he pardons me by faith in Christ.

Imagine standing at the foot of the cross with a bag of popcorn in hand. You crunch and munch unfeelingly, yet steadily. Slide the half-eaten bag under your left arm – hold firmly so as not to drop the precious stuff on the ground. Reach for your cell-phone in your back pocket with your right hand. And with buttery fingers text your friend that couldn’t make it to the show: “dude – omg, i think he’s dead. want to catch a movie this evening?”

Sometimes I think this is what we pastors and worship leaders unintentionally do on Sunday morning. We are bored with the cross and it is no wonder that our people can’t stomach the weight, the scandal, the fury, and the glory of the cross; it’s easier and more popular to celebrate than to contemplate.

My Prayer for this Lord’s Day:

“Dear Sweet Jesus, Sunday morning is coming again – yes, a time to celebrate your risen life and ours too – but popcorn and the cross don’t mix. Cause our hearts to yearn for what we have in Christ, starting at the cross. And guard our worship from half-hearted dribble that yawns in your presence – O please, not on Sunday morning. Open our eyes to see that the glory of the Cross is, as Robert Lowry put it, “all our righteousness – nothing but the blood of Jesus,” then let this horrific truth fuel the hurray of our worship. In Jesus precious name, Amen.”

Loving the Wife of My Youth

Proverbs 5:18 wisely counsels, “Let your fountain [marriage] be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth.”

Today is Cheryl’s birthday, my wife of over 28 years. Today, I will especially rejoice and give thanks to my Lord because I still have her with me (which we were both acutely aware when we woke this morning), that I could have very well be weeping today – without her. Well, ‘nough of that – on to rejoicing.

4 ways I will rejoice in my wife:

1. By giving God thanks for her extended life.

2. By believing that God has entrusted her to me, to lead her with sacrificial love.

3. By praying with her, talking with her, listening to her, enjoying a good movie with her, and kissing her (Prov. 5:19).

4. By taking her sins upon me, just as Christ loved the church. This is a hard saying, so let me explain.

When Jesus died for his bride, he who knew no sin became sin for us, i.e., he who was innocent chose to become guilty so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). If I am to love Cheryl, taking my cue from the way Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:23ff), then I am to take upon myself her broken life and own it as mine. If Cheryl does not become godly in Christ then it is partly my fault. Why? Because my sacrificial love changes her – this is God’s design just as it is for your groom, Jesus Christ; his love changes you as he takes upon himself your broken life. This does not mean that I am making an atonement for her sin, nor does it mean that she is not accountable for her own sins, but since “no man ever hated his own flesh,” my Christ-like love for her will, little-by-little, “cleanse her with the washing of the Word.” Husbands, this is impossible for us given the propensity of our own hearts to be “right” and to be acknowledged and affirmed as innocent when we believe we are. We are so sensitive to being disrespected that we cannot get going with love until we get a genuflex from our wives. But good and right things like “respect” make bad gods.

When I began to think this way about my own marriage several years ago, reflecting upon how Christ loves me each day like this, I was mystified. I can easily see how Christ must own my sin for my present and future good, but I simply could not see how I could possibly mimic that kind of love to Cheryl. And then – “POP”! I saw it. My thirst for acquittal in her presence is already satisfied in Christ. Christ is my Perfection and Righteousness. In other words, my desire to be seen as innocent is not based upon my distancing myself from Cheryl’s sin, but rather it based upon my nearness to Christ. Since Christ is my righteous mediator, then I am guiltless before God – No Matter WHAT kind of association I have with sinners here below, in the godly kind of association of course.

This is the false charge that Jesus lived with: “He can’t be righteous given that he not only rubs shoulders with the prostitutes, the tax-collectors, the thieves, the drunkards, and the lepers – but because he assumes their trespass as his own.” So how did Jesus do this? He knew who he was in relation to his Father in Heaven – that’s how (John 17:25-26).

Husbands if you will, by God’s grace suffer the indignity of not fighting for your rights (like Christ did for you), you will see how God uses your love to change your wife . . . and here’s the catch: You Will Change from being an angry, self-centered, prideful, harsh, verbally abusive and fearful man to a Christ-like man. You change . . . she changes . . . Christ is glorious over your marriage.

Of course none of this means that you can’t speak to your wife about real grievances, things that are hurtful and sinful. But look what this great truth does to your approach as you speak to your wife – it tempers you with humility so that your words will be gracious, seasoned with salt. As you enter into a dialogue with your wife where you wish to express your hurt over her actions and words, you know where your righteous standing is and in whom – Christ. But you will not get far in this if you do not learn how to own her sinful brokenness as your own.

Now the danger will be this: when you own a fight as your fault, for instance, and you say, “I’m sorry – please forgive me for being impatient and angry with you,” you might come across as patronizing, as a condescending goody-two-shoe. And you will, IF, you do not immediately move toward her with affection and enjoyment of her. In other words, if you attempt to sacrifice your life by taking upon yourself her brokenness and own in part, her sin . . . and then you huff and puff and pout in silence, then your attempt at this will be seen as patronizing her – because it would be indeed. But consider how Christ took your sin upon himself and then moved toward you, to enjoy your company and fellowship – is this not amazing? It is absolutely heavenly, full of steadfast love and mercy.

And now – I’ve got to get to the store. It’s a good day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice in the wife of my youth.


X Ray Questions

X-Ray Questions to Test the Motivations of the Heart
(taken from David Powlison’s book, “Seeing With New Eyes”)
                             Hebrews 4:11-13 & Jer. 17:7-10

These questions help us identify the ungodly masters that occupy positions of authority in our hearts.  As Christians, we profess that God controls all things, and works everything to his glory and our ultimate well being. We profess that God is our rock and refuge, a very present help in whatever troubles we face.  We profess to worship him, trust him, love him, and obey him.  But in the moment – or hour, day, season, of anxiety, we live as if we need to control all things.  What we profess and what we trust in times of trouble often do not match.  A hypocritical faith professes, sings, and prays one way, but trusts something else when push comes to shove.  Thankfully, God’s grace reorients us, purifies us, and turns us back to our Lord.  The God we profess and the God we turn to for comfort are the same.

1.  Where do you find refuge, safety, comfort, escape, pleasure, security?  This is the question that Psalms invites.  These psalms dig out your false trusts, your escapism’s that substitute for the Lord.  Psalm 23, 27, 31, 46.  Over half of the Psalms address this question.
2.  What or whom do you trust?  Where do you place life-directing, life-anchoring trust?  In other people?  In your abilities or achievements?  In your church?  In your possessions? In medical care? (Prov. 3:5; 11:28; 12:15; Psalm 23, 103 and 131)
3.  Who are your human role models?  What kind of person do you think you ought to be or want to be?  Your “idol” or “hero” reveals you.  They embody the image to which you aspire.  (Romans 8:29; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10).  “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” = The Apostle Paul
4.  What would make you feel rich, secure, and prosperous?  What must you get to make life sing?  The Bible often uses the metaphor of treasure or song to describe God. (Prov. 3:13-18; 8:10-21; Matt. 6:19-21; 13:45-46; Luke 16:10-15; 1 Peter 1:2-7).
5.  How do you define victory and success?  Some people live and die based on the performance of a local sports team, the financial bottom line of their company, their grade point average, or their physical appearance. (Rom. 8:37-39; Rev. 2:7; Psalms 96-99)
6.  What would bring you the greatest pleasure, happiness, and delight? And also the greatest pain and misery?  Whatever calculation you make in your mind reveals what you live for. (Matt. 5:3-11; Psalm 1, 35; Jer. 17:7-8; Luke 6:27-42)
7.  What do you pray for?  Of all the things to ask for, what do you concentrate on?  Prayer is about desire; we ask for what we want.  Do your prayers, or lack of, reflect the desires of God or of the flesh and the world? (James 4:3; Luke 18:9-14)
8.  Where do you bank your hopes?  This question is future oriented.  People energetically sacrifice to attain what they hope for.  People in despair have had hopes dashed.  What were those shattered hopes? (1 Peter 1:13; 1 Tim. 6:17)
9.  What do you organize your life around?  This question is meant to reveal whether you have made the gifts of God supreme or God the errand boy of your desires. (Isa. 1:29-30; 50:10-11; Jer. 2:13; 17:13; Matt. 4:4; 5:6; John 4:32-34; 6:25-69).
10.  Whose performance matters?  On whose shoulders does the well-being of your world rest?  What can make it better, make it work, make it safe, make it successful?  This question reveals self-righteousness, or living through your children, or hopes on getting the right kind of spouse.  (Phil. 1:6; 2:13; 3:3-11; 4:13; Psalm 49:13).
11.  On your deathbed, what would sum up your life as worthwhile?  What gives your life meaning?  (Ecclesiastes 2 & 12).
12.  How do you define and weigh success or failure, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable, in any particular situation?  God intends to renew your conscience by which you evaluate yourself and others.  If you approach life “in your own understanding” or “in your own eyes,” you will live as a fool. (1 Cor. 10:24-27; Prov. 3:5; Judges 21:25)
13.  Whose coming into political power would make everything better?  Many people increasingly invest hopes in political power (Matt. 6:10).
14.  What do you see as your rights?  What do you feel entitled to?  This question reveals the motivational pattern of angry, aggrieved, self-righteous, self-pitying people.  Our culture of entitlement reinforces the flesh’s instincts and habits.
“I deserve _________”!  (1 Cor. 9; Rom. 5:6-10; Ps. 103:10.)
15.  How do you spend your time?  What are your priorities?  Notice what you and others choose to do.  It is a signpost to the heart’s loyalties. (Prov. 1:16; 10:4; 23:19-21; 24:33).

What a Wonderful World . . .

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth” (Psalm 139:13-15).

What a wonderful world when we see that God is good and gracious to give us children, and then to give children to our children: undeserving and unbelievable grace and enjoying every precious minute!

My Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we give you thanks for life, for the wisdom to not only number our days but also to humbly think about the days of children. Life seems so long when you’re young – as it should. Give us this day our daily dose of love for you and our children. May Jesus Christ become all-the-richer to our eyes as we see ourselves as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ by faith. And it is by faith that we still live and move and have our very existence this day. Not all is right in the world – not all is right in our hearts. But you Oh Lord reign forever and ever and one day all the world will be made right. Until then, remind us often of your steadfast love with the works of your hand. I see that I hold a wonderful work of your hands in mine. I’m speechless with your power and I’m in awe of what you can do with a word. What kind of a Beautiful God you must be to make a child?! I can’t wait to see you Jesus.