Friday, February 27, 2009

Visiting Boyhood


One of our close friends and her son spent the day with us last week to get some advice on her latest home-making interests. Throughout the morning we walked through the gardens acquainting her with what we had growing, planted some new seeds for her garden and explained our small chicken flock and bunny herd and how they support each other in our mini farm. We enjoyed her company very much. Young mothers with vision are a beautiful thing.

All the while I had the delight of capturing "boyhood meets farm life." With so much for him to explore and things to do, I was never at a loss for a good shot. My favorite moment has to be when he after, "having seen all there was to see," spotted the rototiller. A light bulb went on above his little head, he climbed aboard like it was something to ride and started looking for a way to start it up. Boyhood is a beautiful thing.

We ended our visit with a picnic lunch outside on the lawn. It was very refreshing and I can't remember the last time we've done that. The conversation was wonderful, edifying and not superficial in the least bit. All-in-all, our day became a reminder to drink in God's goodness, His blessings and all He calls beautiful.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Workplace Spouses

KSLR LISTENER & VISION FORUM BOARD MEMBER DON HART

RESPONDS TO THE ADAM McMANUS SHOW SEGMENT ON “WORK SPOUSES”


Adam, thank you for yesterday’s program!


The final segment with Scott Brown, President of The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches in Wake Forest, North Carolina, was particularly encouraging. Your willingness to examine biblical applications for the Christian family in the context of yesterday’s San Antonio Express News article “Workplace Spouses” was both important and courageous.


[Take a moment to read the article; it's important. Here's a small bit of it.

According to a survey by Vault.com, a career information Web site, some 23 percent of workers reported having a work spouse. What is a work spouse? It's a co-worker of the opposite sex with whom one shares an extremely close yet platonic relationship that in many ways mirrors a real marriage. Here are some signs that you have (or are) a work spouse: You know about each other's personal lives and share private information freely. You share inside jokes. You know how the other person takes his or her coffee. When something eventful happens at work, your work spouse is the first person you seek out to dish.

A work spouse is a close confidant who makes going to the office more satisfying. Work spouses can be found in any office setting, from blue collar to corporate.

"I trust him with a lot of stuff I don't trust anybody else with," says Beltran, a tall, strapping woman who shares a jocular relationship with her work spouse. "We fight sometimes, we get mad at each other, then 20 minutes later we make up."

Just like in a marriage.]


As I listened to the discussion with your guest and callers, a couple of issues came to mind which I believe are foundational to a proper Christian understanding of these issues.


As you and Scott Brown discussed, we find a description in Genesis of the proper husband/wife relationship. In the context of the creation order, God created woman to be a helper suitable to man and He gave Adam and Eve a dominion work to perform together. This co-labor in God-ordained dominion activity was central to their relationship as husband and wife.


It should never surprise us that affections are directed toward one with whom we labor or one who helps us in our labors. It is central to the relationship and affection between a husband and wife that they labor together for the glory of God.


When women other than our wives are our helpers in our God-given work, or when we send our wives out to be helpers to other men in their work, we have entered dangerous and unbiblical territory – territory designed by God to build closeness and affection between a husband and wife.


In Genesis 3, we also find a description of the respective roles of men and women in performing dominion work in a fallen world. We find this in the context of the respective curses under which men and women labor. Of course, these curses are the result of man’s sin and rebellion against God.


The wife’s curse is twofold: pain in childbirth and the requirement that she submit to her own husband when her desire is to do otherwise. The husband’s curse is the difficulty encountered in providing.


While these curses are the result of sin, they are also God-given duties to men and women. When we are faithful in these duties, we experience blessing. When we seek to avoid these duties, we experience a curse. We pervert these God-given duties as husbands transfer their curse to their wives in asking them to provide, which wives often willingly do in order to circumvent the difficulty of one of their curses – the duty of submitting to a husband over whom they desire to rule.


The wife takes authority over her husband by taking over his duty of provision, and she removes herself to situations of autonomy or submission to others – men and women – anyone but their husband. In so doing, women actually take on part of the curse of the man along with their own curses.


The respective roles of men and women are consistently reinforced throughout Scripture, as you and Mr. Brown discussed.


Ephesians 5 and Titus 2 instruct that women are to submit to their own husbands (Emphasis added). Titus 2 goes so far as to say that a woman’s failure in this duty results in the word of God being blasphemed. This begs the question of how the word of God can be blasphemed by such sin.


Ultimately, following the cultural pattern which has become so common among Christians (the feministic pattern which says there is no difference in the roles of men and women) reflects what we really believe about Christ and the church.


The church is the bride of Christ, which He purchased with His own blood. Anyone who says a Christian ethic suggests that women enjoy an inferior role is gravely mistaken. The model of Christ and His bride is an example of the groom giving Himself for the bride.


The instruction to Christian husbands of Ephesians 5 is to love our wives like Christ loves His bride, the church. This involves the most sacrificial, unselfish love ever contemplated or modeled.


Nothing has ever elevated the value of a woman like the teaching and example of Christ. Christ protects His bride and provides for her – protecting her very soul in eternity by giving Himself for her sin, and providing for her salvation. He provides the ultimate example of a Groom – one willing to love His wife so much that He gives His life for her.


She is to be faithful and submissive to Him, not rushing around looking for autonomy or self-rule or seeking some other husband or improper authority to whom she may submit.


Christ relates to us in terms of family, and He has given us families and marriages so that we can better understand Him. Our marriages are important, Great Commission tools by which we proclaim to a lost world our belief and faith in Christ. Our marriages are to reflect the relationship of Christ and His church.


To do otherwise, for either a husband or a wife, reflects a groom who is not faithful in protecting and providing for his bride and a bride who is not true and submissive to her groom. This, I believe, is central to what is meant when perversion of a woman’s role is described as “blaspheming the word of God.” It is no coincidence that the struggles of the church so often parallel those of the family in our society.


Many raise practical objections to obeying God’s commands regarding our marriages. These concerns were reflected in some of the calls to yesterday’s program.


If we allow a bad economy or a desire for a bigger house or whatever practical obstacle arises to justify disobedience to God’s command in our marriages, it speaks volumes about our faith (or lack of faith) in our Groom.


He has given us His commands regarding our marriage relationships. The Christian walk is about faith, and sometimes steps of faith are required in obedience. Scripture is sufficient to answer these concerns.


As the church and the family function biblically, each problem which can arise is clearly addressed, and God the Father of our Groom and Savior, Jesus Christ, is faithful to bless those who obey Him.


Thanks again for your courage and faithfulness.

In Christ,

Don Hart, member of The Vision Forum Ministries Board of Directors

The Don Hart Family

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Liberals Respond to NPR's Article About SAICFF

There's quite a few "interesting" comments on the NPR article that I linked to this morning.

Rebecca Neubacher wrote:
"I am appalled that while this country is in such economical turmoil, this Christian Organization is spending millions of dollars on narrow minded movies. Shouldn't they spend their millions to feed kids, or shelter the homeless? Is this really what Jesus would advocate? MOVIES????"

Matt Noerpel wrote:
"A number of things pop out at me about this story. The biggest is the continued story that Christians are underdogs. This idea is completely preposterous. Christians have controlled the government and the political climate of the US since its inception. There has never been a non-christian president and the legislature is overwhelmingly christian as well.

Second, Christians have Billions of dollars. Christianity is a huge industry. They're not using any new revolutionizing the movie industry, they're spending lots of money, just like everyone else in Hollywood.

And why does this matter? If Christians making heavy handed movies was the only thing going on here, it wouldn't really effect my life more than the occasional 5 minute story I'd hear on NPR, but that's not where it ends. The movies are one of a number of ways the Christian Right is trying (and succeeding) at setting policy in the this country. We've seen it with the eroding away of abortion rights and the attack on homosexuals in the past eight years, and these movies are the propaganda arm of that movement."

Daniel Lion wrote:
[Well, we don't know because...] An NPR moderator has removed this comment because it does not adhere to the discussion guidelines

Mark Christiansen wrote:
"Kudos to these folks. Hollywood has turned its back on the large number of movie consumers who are tired of sex, violence, and often outright attacks on their faith. Hollywood won't even let companies rent out "cleaned up" DVDs."

E. Truesdale wrote:
"Wow - Although I cringe to hear about this kind of thing, I guess it's a public service of NPR to point this movement out so I can avoid these Pollyannas and their films. I consider myself a Secular Humanist; I possess the critical thinking skills needed to avoid the Hollywood violence and the hypersexualization I don't want my kids to see, and I feel badly for others who feel they must be told by others how to a good life, as if they can't figure it out or trust themselves. And while I would not disparage others for their religious beliefs, I similarly don't want others' beliefs foisted on me as if I am somehow immoral, inferior and incapable of making appropriate choices for myself."


Stop back by NPR's article and leave an edifying and accurate comment. Share your praise for the films and the industry that is making history along with quite a ripple.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No Waiting: Younger Women Are Saying Yes to Motherhood

When Zach was new

From Doug's Blog:

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the average of women having their first child has fallen for the first time in 40 years:

For nearly 40 years, women have been delaying childbirth longer and longer, partly to launch careers. Now, this trend may be ending.

For the first time since government records have been kept, the average age at which women have their first babies posted a decline — according to newly released data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Mothers’ mean age at their first childbirth fell to 25.0 years in 2006, the most recent figures available, from 25.2 in 2005. Women ages 20 to 24 led the shift, with a 5% increase in the rate of first births.

A one-year reversal doesn’t make a trend, of course. But the study lends weight to anecdotal evidence that young women are tuning in more closely to their biological clocks. “It’s the first time it’s ever gone down, and certainly that’s noteworthy,” says Brady Hamilton, co-author of the study

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Waiting Patiently

Days of Praise February 15th 2009

"I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord." (Genesis 49:18)
This heartfelt cry of the dying patriarch, Israel, expressed his lifelong--but still unfulfilled--yearning for the coming of God’s promised Savior. This is the first occurrence in the Bible of the word "salvation" (essentially the same in the Hebrew as "Jesus"). It is also the first occurrence of "waited for," meaning, essentially, "looked for," or "waited patiently and expectantly for." This attitude of Jacob (Israel) has been shared by the people of God down even to the present day.
Significantly, the first occurrence of the equivalent Greek word in the New Testament expresses the same concern on the part of no less a man than John the Baptist when he inquired expectantly of Jesus: "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" (Matthew 11:3).
Even though He has indeed come, bringing salvation, we still must wait patiently for the complete fulfillment of His promises when He comes again. It was the prayer of Paul that the Lord would "direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ" (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
It is not only believers who are "waiting for . . . the redemption of our body." Because of sin, "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" and consequently, "the earnest expectation of the |creation| waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God," when it "shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:23, 22, 19, 21).
Finally, it is significant that the last reference in the Bible to waiting for something once again deals with the same promise. "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 21).
It may seem long, but the promise is sure: "Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28). HMM

Saturday, February 14, 2009

PreReview: What He Must Be If He Wants To Marry My Daughter


Have you bought your copy of, "What He Must Be: If He Wants To Marry My Daughter" by Voddie Baucham yet?

Mine arrived yesterday and I dove in as soon as I could. First stop, the index to see what this book has to offer.

My thoughts as I perused the index:

Chapter One: Yep, good...
Chapter Two: Yep, good...
Chapter Three: Gonna be good...
Chapter Four: Oh, he's gonna do good on that chapter...
Chapter Five: Might have to start reading there...
Chapter Six: Glad that's in there...
Chapter Seven: Ooo, Ooo...Maybe I will start there...
Chapter Eight: Hum...that's interesting...4 of them...
Chapter Nine: Hold everything!...We're going to pg 159!
Chapter Ten:
Conclusion:
Notes:

My personal review of chapter nine (and chapter ten which I read because I could not put the book down after reading chapter 9 though it was very late) is: Wow, Wow, Wow....

I'll write a more detailed review once I finish the book.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The End

When your children ask tonight, "Does the lady in Italy have food yet?" Scoop them up into your lap and tell them, "If we were there, we would feed her and as long as we live, our family will protect weak, innocent, defenseless people. We will fight for them no matter what the cost."

The Terri Schiavo Story


Hosted by Joni Eareckson Tada. Produced by Franklin Springs. Winner of SAICFF Best Documentary. Eluana's fate if no one intervenes.

Terri's Father Pleads Earnestly With Eluana's Father.

(Monday 9 February 2009)

Mr. Englaro,

Let me introduce myself. I am Bob Schindler, Terri (Schindler) Schiavo’s father.

Although we come from two different continents with different cultures, we do have many things in common. We both are fathers and we both have been gifted by the same God with children. In my case it was three. Your daughter and my daughter’s birth did not just happen. It was an act of God.

I can remember when my daughter Terri was an infant and how proud I was when people would remark about her good looks. I was equally as proud of her when she took her first steps and when she said her first words. It was this pride that pleased me throughout her adolescent years and as she grew to be a young adult.

We both have a child that suffered severe brain injuries. I know very well the profound effect this type of injury can have on our loved one and their families. We both have experienced the same misfortune and hardships. However, we do differ. Your daughter is alive and mine is not. You have control of Eluana’s future. I did not have any input regarding Terri.

From the time my daughter Terri suffered her brain trauma, I made a commitment to her to get her proper treatment. I failed. I unsuccessfully fought the courts and her husband to have input in her treatment and to bring her home. That didn’t happen and today I grieve my failure because it resulted in her death.

My family and I grieve the loss of Terri. I particularly grieve the method in which she was put to death. She died of starvation and dehydration.

This type of death is cruel and barbaric. Advocates of euthanasia will tell you to starve and dehydrate a brain injured individual is painless. As a witness to this type of execution I can say this is not true. It is by far the most painful death a person can experience. That is why this is always done in strict privacy void of any witnesses or cameras.

If you intend to do this to your daughter, I suggest you prepare yourself for her suffering. She will be reduced to skin and bones. Her eyes will bulge out of their sockets. Her teeth will protrude abnormally and her cheekbones will be enlarged. Need I tell you more. She will suffer beyond belief.

My daughter looked like an inmate you see in documentaries of Nazi concentration camps. On the last few days of her life I was denied when I asked for the media to witness her death. I didn’t want anyone else to die in this manner.

God gave you and I the responsibility to instill morals in our children and to keep them out of harms way. To starve and dehydrate your daughter is far from God’s wishes.

Bob Schindler Sr.
ACTION ALERT: Please contact the US Embassy of Italy at (202) 612-4400, or (202) 612-4444; e-mail: stampa.washington@esteri.it; Fax (202) 518-2154 asking them to communicate to the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano that he should IMMEDIATELY sign the decree which would prevent Eluana’s inhuman dehydration death.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Terri Schiavo Knows What It's Like


Terri Schiavo knows what it's like to be starved to death. But she's not here to tell us.

We were told she went peacefully, painlessly, after all she wasn't conscious of reality right?

Wrong.

She really didn't know what was going on right?

Wrong.

We were lied to. She knew what was happening. She couldn't formulate the words to tell us. She suffered in agony, moaning, crying out the only way she was capable of asking for her life. Asking for someone to save her.

Once again this horrific scene confronts us, only this time it's in Italy.

Listen to the testimonies of Terri's family who authorities restrained from saving their loved one. Hear the truth as they describe the beside scene as they agonized with Terri as she cried out for her life. Find out the truth about personhood, about when life begins, what God says about his beloved creation, about diminished quality of life and what that really means. Find out the truth about what this legal battle is all about. Determine where you will stand. Your life may depend on it.

Friday, February 06, 2009

It's Not Like They Said, Marriage, Babies & Baking is "Having it All"


Back in September of 2007 I linked you to an article titled, "The Cost of Delaying Marriage." You might be wondering how so many women bought into that idea anyway; that delaying marriage and children for the pursuit of "Having it all!" was the thing to do?

Well, here's your answer along with the result of that lifestyle.

The truth comes out from self-proclaimed feminist, Zoe Lewis, who followed the ideals of the feminist movement. Twenty-five years later the results are in. If you appreciated, "The Cost of Delaying Marriage," you'll want to know what she has to say.

Here are a few quotes from her article:

"I wish a more balanced view of womanhood had been available to me. I wish that being a housewife or a mother wasn't such a toxic idea to middle-class liberals of yesteryear."

"Increasing numbers of my feminist friends are giving up their careers for love and children and baking. I wish I'd had kids ten years ago, when time was on my side, but the problem is not so much time as mentality. I made a conscious decision not to have serious relationships because I thought I had all the time in the world. Many of my friends did the same. It's about understanding what is important in life, and from what I see and feel, loving relationships and children bring more happiness than work ever can."

"I thought that men would love independent, strong women, but (in general) they don't appear to. Men are programmed to like their women soft and feminine. It's not their fault - it's in the genes. Holly Kendrick, 34, who holds a high-status job in the theatre, agrees: “Men tend to be freaked out if you work as hard as them.” This is why many of my girlfriends are still alone. The truth, though, is not that men haven't accepted women's modernity - the alpha woman who never questions her entitlement to the same jobs, fun and sexual gratification as them - but that women haven't either. I feel a great pressure from other women of my generation, who have partners and kids, to join their club. In their eyes I am not the trailblazer but the failure. My friend Rita Arnold, 36, works in marketing. “It's not men who judge me for being a careerist. It's other women. The claws come out.”

"This leaves me sick to the stomach. We are letting each other down but there is a worse betrayal than that. I am a failure in my own eyes. Somewhere inside lurks a woman I cannot control and she is in the kitchen with a baby on her hip and dough in her hand, staring me down. She is saying: “This is happiness, this is what it's all about.” It's an instinct that makes me a woman, an instinct that I can't ignore even if I wanted to."

Read the article in full here.

Recommended Resources:
The Blessing of Children Collection

Making Spinach Dust

Mom is preparing to make some spinach noodles. She's picked some spinach from the garden and dried it on our dehydrator. Here she prepares 3 trays full of spinach.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Letter On The Blessed Womb And Motherhood

We're just in from a late meeting where I had some wonderful discussion one topic being motherhood and the training up and inspiring of the next generation. I was glad when perusing my reader to find that a friend had published a letter written by Beall Phillips. It is a reply to a less than gracious, less than charitable, stiff necked mocker of faithful women that delight in their calling to be fruitful bearers of children.
It is a very uplifting and edifying read. Enjoy.
First a word from Mr. Phillips,

We receive thousands of pieces of mail at the Vision Forum. Many are encouraging. Some are confrontational. This letter recently arrived on my desk.
Mr. Phillips, Stop Having Children!

[Mr. Phillips] Your poor wife must be sick of popping out kids? Stop overpopulation! Use birthcontrol for (expletive deleted)! Pitiful. Stop adding “freaks” to our society. Abstain. God would want you to (sic). ___.

Dear _, God bless you. This is Doug’s “poor” wife here writing to assure you that “popping out” kids, though challenging, is among the most glorious gifts that the Lord bestows upon a redeemed woman. Prolific mothers are not “baby machines” (as both Margaret Sanger and some very confused professing Christians), but blessed vessels of life from which the Lord brings eternal souls into this earth and fulfills his own command that man “be fruitful and multiply.”

For a Christian, having babies is not about birthing pains, changing diapers or baking cookies(though it includes all of these). Having babies is about transforming the world forever. This investment will last, not for thirty years, not for my lifetime, but f-o-r-e-v-e-r. The investment is realized on earth and pays dividends for eternity. On earth, we pray that these children will advance the very kingdom of God. But in heaven, the souls of every redeemed child will stand with me throughout eternity before the Lord Jesus. The pressures of today (be they financial, physical, etc.)that taunt Christians to self-consciously distort God’s fruitful purpose for the womb, and to separate life from love, will seem infinitesimally small as we look back upon this whisper of a life with our children beside us in eternity.

My children can have more far reaching implications for society and posterity than anything else I can do. Having babies and training children for Jesus Christ means my life work will last forever. I hurt for you and those sad, misguided souls who would think of prolific motherhood as reducing women to the status of “baby machine.” I refuse to accept the minimizing, selfish, materialistic, and limited vision of womanhood dispensed by the apostles of modernity and relevancy in this generation. My dream is far greater. I reject the options which the world offers. I want something bigger.

Though I have been blessed with seven children who are the delight of my soul, Doug and I fervently pray for more. While I am not sure what you mean by “freaks,” I can assure you it is my goal to populate the world with “fools for Christ” who view children as a blessing, the womb as sacred, and the calling of helpmeet and mother as holy before our Lord Jesus.
I understand that you and I disagree on these points, but I want to let you know that I am glad that your mother gave you life. I don’t know you, but I would never wish that you were not born, nor would I presume that the world would be a better place without you. In fact, I would be happy if perhaps someday we can meet unified in Christ and as friends. And yes, with more babies on our laps.

Sincerely Yours,
Beall Phillips