Monday, November 25, 2013

Our Love-Hate Relationship With Christian Art

or most people, Christianity and art no longer resonate as a glorious pairing. It's a sad and sorry truth that even as Christians, we've largely lost our respect and reverence for "Christian art."
Wandering through Western Christendom, in which artists are currently arting, I've sampled just about all the flavors of Christian creator and Christian consumer. The too-sugary-sweet, message-is-master types. The respect-me-at-all-costs-hard-bitten types. The ironic. The naïve. The truly talented. The posers. The Christians who can't tell a story without an altar call and the Christians who write as if all of reality fits into that one guilt-ridden moment when Cain was busy slaying Abel—giving man's sinful nature the last word. And of course, there are also those Christian artists who don't want their art to be "Christian" at all. (And the Christian consumers who feel the same way.)
Despite the vast confusion of taste in the kingdom, and the proliferation of art of varying quality, we share one profoundly common bond: Everyone is insecure about the branding of Christian art. Everyone worries about being labeled cheesy—even the cheesiest people I know. Some artists delude themselves into thinking that they aren't, and others attempt to divorce their faith from their creations with a secular firewall.
Many actually believe that they are building something that has never been built before, like they are the first to stand against the raging tide of schlock and do something worthwhile. They are in pursuit of Christian art, but, you know—good this time.
As Christian artists and Christian consumers, it is all too easy for our eyes—particularly (but not only) the eyes of the young—to look ever sideways. Is this cool? Is it cool enough? We get embarrassed by a movie celebrating life and grieving over abortion carnage and bemoan the state of Christian film. Why? Because of the camera work? Because of the acting? Maybe. But more likely because we believe a worldly lie about our own branding.
I come to you with strange news. Brace yourselves. There is a hundred times more schlock and garbage in unbelieving art than in ours. More terrible camera work. More bad acting. More mindlessness. More soul-lessness. More pitiful lyrics. More misery. not to excuse our own inadequacies (which are all too real), but we should stop fearing the snarkiness of those performing worse than we are.
Need some confidence? Take a look beyond our own pop-frothy moment.
Christian art? Are you kidding me? Christianity has produced the greatest art of all time. Get some swagger, people, because we're undefeated. Did a culture of atheism bring us Handel'sMessiahBach? What faith fed the Dutch masters? Give the cathedrals a glance and then find me better architecture. Have a listen to some American spirituals. To the blues. To gospel. Our brothers illuminated manuscripts (and don't you forget it). Narnia. Hobbits. Folk songs. Symphonies. Through the history of the Christian church there runs a wide and roaring river of artistic glory, feeding believers and unbelievers alike.
Now before you start pointing to some of the unbelieving masters, watch me cheat: all beauty is God's. All truth is God's. All goodness is God's. Even those who hate him are made in his image, and if they, by grace, craft glory, we should thank them very much for their contribution and swipe it.
Read the rest here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Meditating On Future Life - John Calvin

WHATEVER be the kind of tribulation with which we are afflicted, we should always consider the end of it to be, that we may be trained to despise the present, and thereby stimulated to aspire to the future life. For since God well knows how strongly we are inclined by nature to a slavish love of this world, in order to prevent us from clinging too strongly to it, he employs the fittest reason for calling us back, and shaking off our lethargy. Every one of us, indeed, would be thought to aspire and aim at heavenly immortality during the whole course of his life.

 This life, though abounding in all kinds of wretchedness, is justly classed among divine blessings which are not to be despised. Wherefore, if we do not recognize the kindness of God in it, we are chargeable with no little ingratitude towards him. To believers, especially, it ought to be a proof of divine benevolence, since it is wholly destined to promote their salvation. Before openly exhibiting the inheritance of eternal glory, God is pleased to manifest himself to us as a Father by minor proofs, viz., the blessings which he daily bestows upon us. Therefore, while this life serves to acquaint us with the goodness of God, shall we disdain it as if it did not contain one particle of good? We ought, therefore, to feel and be affected towards it in such a manner as to place it among those gifts of the divine benignity which are by no means to be despised.

 Were there no proofs in Scripture, (they are most numerous and clear,) yet nature herself exhorts us to return thanks to God for having brought us forth into light, granted us the use of it, and bestowed upon us all the means necessary for its preservation. And there is a much higher reason when we reflect that here we are in a manner prepared for the glory of the heavenly kingdom. For the Lord hath ordained, that those who are ultimately to be crowned in heaven must maintain a previous warfare on the earth, that they may not triumph before they have overcome the difficulties of war, and obtained the victory. Another reason is, that we here begin to experience in various ways a foretaste of the divine benignity, in order that our hope and desire may be whetted for its full manifestation. When once we have concluded that our earthly life is a gift of the divine mercy, of which, agreeably to our obligation, it behoves us to have a grateful remembrance, we shall then properly descend to consider its most wretched condition, and thus escape from that excessive fondness for it, to which, as I have said, we are naturally prone.

Wait Til It's Free - Support the Project

My friends Colin and Emily Gunn are busy about another project. This time their focus is Obamacare.

Wait Till It's Free (Teaser Trailer) from Wait Till It's Free on Vimeo.

They are less than $5000 away from their goal with 8 days to go. Visit the Kick Starter Page to see how you can become a part of this important project.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

He Must Be Repentant

True repentance is the result of an accurate understanding of the significance  and gravity of sin, coupled with an overwhelming desire for the remission of that sin through the person and work of Christ and a turning from sin and dead works to faith and obedience. Jeremiah Burroughs, in his book Gospel Remission, gives us a portrait of true repentance as only a Puritan writer can. In describing the penitent believer's attitude toward his sin, Burroughs writes:

Oh, I see the angry countenance of an infinite God against me, whose eyes are a flaming fire looking with indignation upon me! I see a dismal cloud of the displeasure of the Almighty hanging over me! I see woe, misery, and destruction,  pursuing me! I see blackness of darkness and desolation even surrounding me! I both see and feel the woeful accusations of a guilty conscience within me, condemning me, continually grating upon my soul and terrifying me with dreadful visions of eternal miseries to betide me! I see the chain of black guilt and horror on my soul, that I carry with me wherever I go! I see the bottomless gulf of eternal horror and despair with the mouth of it wide open to swallow me up!

This type of imagery is anything but familiar to those of us who are used to trafficking in the seeker-friendly, purpose-driven, best-life-now drivel of our day. Seldom do we hear about the "black dismal cloud of the displeasure of the Almighty" anymore. However, this is how the repentant sinner thinks about sin.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Luther on Praying for Piety in Marriage

[My] dear son and daughter, you need not consider praying for a pious spouse a disgrace, For you do not consider it a disgrace to ask God to give you a sound hand or leg...Now a pious spouse is as necessary as a sound hand or leg. For if a husband or wife do not turn out well, you enjoy few good days or hours and would prefer to have a paralyzed hand or leg instead. -Martin Luther, What Luther Says

Monday, September 09, 2013


One of the better memories from 1941

Ladies Pre-War 1941 Columbia Cruiser Bicycle

From a time when bicycles made you feel like you were soaring.
Every time you ride this bit of nostalgia, you'll be on vacation.
$99 opening bid

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Declaring War on The Sinner's Prayer (Paul Washer)

Decisionism. The idolatry of decisionism. Men think they are going to heaven because they have judged the sincerity of their own decision. When Paul came to the church in Corinth he did not say to them, "Look, you're not living like Christians so let's go back to that one moment in your life when you prayed that prayer and see if you were sincere." Listen to the video to hear what Paul said.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Assurance And The Love Of The World

The ninth impediment that keeps Christians from assurance is An immoderate love of the world. Their thoughts and heart are so busied about getting the world and keeping the world, that they neither seek assurance as they should, nor prize assurance as they should, nor lament the want of assurance as they should, nor study the worth and excellency of assurance as they should; and therefore it is no wonder, that such are without assurance. As it is very hard for a rich man to enter into heaven, Mat. 19:23, 24, so it is very hard for a worldly Christian to get assurance of heaven. The "thick clay," Hab. 2:6, of this world doth so affect him, and take him, so satisfy him, and sink him, that he is not able to pursue after assurance, with that life and love, with that fervency and frequency, as those must do that will obtain it. It is said, Gen. 13.2, "That Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold"; according to the Hebrew, Abraham was "very heavy"; to shew, saith one, that riches are a heavy burden, and a hindrance many times to a Christian's comfort and confidence, to his happiness and assurance. Solomon got more hurt by his wealth, than he got good by his wisdom. Such a fire rose out of his worldly enjoyments, as did even consume and burn up his choicest spirits and his noblest virtues; under all his royal robes, he had but a thread-bare soul. Sicily, saith one, is so full of sweet flowers, that dogs cannot hunt there, the scent of the sweet flowers diverteth their smell. And ah! what doth all the sweet delights and contents of this world, but make men lose the scent of heaven, but divert men from hunting after assurance, and from running after Christ, in the sweetness of his ointments. - Thomas Brooks in Heaven on Earth

Friday, September 06, 2013

Waiting On God For More Than We Know

For more than we know.

'And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions.'—Ps. 39:7, 8.

THERE may be times when we feel as if we knew not what we are waiting for. There may be other times when we think we do know, and when it would just be so good for us to realize that we do not know what to ask as we ought. God is able to do for us exceeding abundantly above what we ask or think, and we are in danger of limiting Him, when we confine our desires and prayers to our own thoughts of them. It is a great thing at times to say, as our psalm says: 'And now, Lord, what wait I for?' I scarce know or can tell; this only I can say—'My hope is in Thee.'
How we see this limiting of God in the case of Israel! When Moses promised them meat in the wilderness, they doubted, saying, 'Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? He smote the rock that the water gushed out; can He give bread also? Can He provide flesh for His people?' If they had been asked whether God could provide streams in the desert, they would have answered, Yes. God had done it: He could do it again. But when the thought came of God doing something new, they limited Him; their expectation could not rise beyond their past experience, or their own thoughts of what was possible. Even so we may be limiting God by our conceptions of what He has promised or is able to do. Do let us beware of limiting the Holy One of Israel in our very prayer. Let us believe that every promise of God we plead has a divine meaning, infinitely beyond our thoughts of them. Let us believe that His fulfilment of them can be, in a power and an abundance of grace, beyond our largest grasp of thought. And let us therefore cultivate the habit of waiting on God, not only for what we think we need, but for all His grace and power are ready to do for us.
In every true prayer there are two hearts in exercise. The one is your heart, with its little, 69 dark, human thoughts of what you need and God can do. The other is God's great heart, with its infinite, its divine purposes of blessing. What think you? To which of these two ought the larger place to be given in your approach to Him? Undoubtedly, to the heart of God: everything depends upon knowing and being occupied with that. But how little this is done. This is what waiting on God is meant to teach you. Just think of God's wonderful love and redemption, in the meaning these words must have to Him. Confess how little you understand what God is willing to do for you, and say each time as you pray 'And now, what wait I for?' My heart cannot say. God's heart knows and waits to give. 'My hope is in Thee.' Wait on God to do for you more than you can ask or think.
Apply this to the prayer that follows: 'Deliver me from all my transgressions.' You have prayed to be delivered from temper, or pride, or self-will. It is as if it is in vain. May it not be that you have had your own thoughts about the way or the extent of God's doing it, and have never waited on the God of glory, according to the riches of His glory, to do for you what has not entered the heart of man to conceive? Learn to worship God as the God who does wonders, who wishes to prove in you that He can do 70 something supernatural and divine. Bow before Him, wait upon Him, until your soul realizes that you are in the hands of a divine and almighty worker. Consent not to know what and how He will work; expect it to be something altogether godlike, something to be waited for in deep humility, and received only by His divine power. Let the, 'And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee' become the spirit of every longing and every prayer. He will in His time do His work.
Dear soul, in waiting on God you may often be ready to be weary, because you hardly know what you have to expect. I pray you, be of good courage—this ignorance is often one of the best signs. He is teaching you to leave all in His hands, and to wait on Him alone. 'Wait on the Lord! Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yea, wait on the Lord.'
'My soul, wait thou only upon God!'

Read the rest of Andrew Murray's "Waiting on God" here

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Problems Are Part Of Life

Problems are a part of life in a fallen world, and they are a necessary part of it, necessary to our testing and to our growth. Be sure of this: when you solve one problem, you create a new situation which has problems of its own. Problems are in part a product of sin and in part a condition of growth. ~ R. J. Rushdoony

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Snippet from a Letter to a Friend.

 For the weary and the sick,

I am praying for you. I know it's difficult to be still and I know you know this, that there is great joy having no distractions between ourselves and our great Saviour. There is precious insight in the much afforded quiet time and as much as pills, and herbs, and various other remedies bring relief, it is true that there is an equal amount of relief in walking through sanctification, delighting to do the smallest thing He asks us in faith, and becoming so acquainted with Him, it seems hard to have to part and bring the mind back to the cares of this world. Whatever work He has for us, sitting at His feet or using what strength He gives us for the advancement of His kingdom here, we ought to say, we are willing. Knowing that the world is entirely His and providentially ordained to bow at His feet, with or without our help, is a great comfort.

I love you,
Resting in the Saviour,

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Avoid being a Doormat

From Andrew Murray's "Waiting on God",

How close the connection between the two parts of the injunction, "Wait on the Lord," - that has to do with worship and disposition; "and keep His ways," - that deals with walk and work. The outer life must be in harmony with the inner; the inner must be the inspiration and the strength for the outer. It is our God who has made known His ways in His Word for our conduct, and invites our confidence for His grace and help in our heart. If we do not keep His ways, our waiting on Him can bring no blessing. The surrender to full obedience to all His will is the secret of full access to all the blessings of His fellowship. Notice how strongly this comes out in the psalm. It speaks of the evildoer who prospereth in his way, and calls on the believer not to fret himself. When we see men around us prosperous and happy while they forsake God's ways, and ourselves left in difficulty or suffering, we are in danger of first fretting at what appears so strange, and then gradually yielding to seek our prosperity in their path. The psalm says, "Fret not thyself; trust in the Lord, and do good. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Depart from evil, and do good; the Lord forsaketh not His saints. The righteous shall inherit the land. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide." "And then follows - the word occurs for the third time in the psalm - "Wait on the Lord, and keep His way." Do what God asks you to do; God will do more than you can ask Him to do.

(Kindle Locations 372-382).

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Quilting with Christa Smith, Owner of Cotton Berry Quilts

Professional Quilter and owner of Cotton Berry Quilts Christa Smith, took time away from her busy shop to show me the secrets to creating her perfectly designed and constructed quilts, something I have always wanted to know and do well. Now that I am nearly finished with one basic project, a baby quilt, I can see why what she has to offer is becoming increasingly popular. I can honestly say she's not charging enough now that I have seen her work and why it's so perfect compared to what is out there. You might consider snagging one of her quilts before prices go up.

I am absolutely amazed at the results of what she's taught me. There's no way I could have produced such straight seams, perfect corners, a square quilt top, once assembled, and tight neat boarders without all the secrets within her work flow.

Now, I have quilted before, but Christa knows quilting inside and out, she's no hobbyist, she's an artisan preserving the principles and detailed attention of professional craftsmanship. What she's taught me in these brief few hours I never discovered researching my quilt books, tutorials and such.

Years ago when started learning the craft, quilting was one of those things that I didn't intend to do unless I could do it excellently. (Unlike grammar, punctuation and doing my hair on most days) Hours of researching out the best tools, fabrics, and machine I set out to design a complicated quilt that was, well, far beyond my skill level, though in theory I am sure it was amazing. Inevitably I never finished it because honestly, I didn't know what Christa knows and it showed.

I didn't have to wonder, fret or spend any time deciding which fabrics to choose because we started out with one of her new pre-cut , pre-designed 5"x5" charm packs called, "Scrumptious" from Moda fabrics, a design by Bonnie & Camille. I spread them out too see what it had to offer and the variety was delightful, not a single block disappointed me. We added 7 more blocks from another design that matched really well so that I would have a total of 49 blocks which makes for a nice sized baby quilt.

And this is where the designer in me gets really excited. Layout, rearrange, until there's no competition between design weights, colors, and contrast. Ah, harmony. Not hard to achieve when using a collection that was meant to perfectly compliment each other. Just a note, my photos don't do justice to the beautiful colors in the design pack. Christa's shop maintains color accuracy if you want to see what each block will really look like in the completed project.

Here's one of her secrets, look at that foot. Pfaff makes a 1/4" quilting foot that produces perfect seams, no guess work, and no troublesome stretching, realigning, or the drudgery of seam ripping. 

Construction went by so fast, I was ready to start another before I was done. And how rewarding to have the fruits of my labor be worth the investment. Quilting with Christa was so easy, stress free and a real joy, knowing I could achieve a professional level of craftsmanship. And here we have it, one quilt nearly ready to snuggle a brand new baby.

Visit her shop to see some of the other masterful pieces she has to offer, and be sure to follow her on pintrest. Also, later on, I'll post the results of Christa's long arm quilting technique on this darling little charmer. Until then!

Recommended Resources:
OLFA 9891 RM-MG 24-Inch x 36-Inch Self-Healing Double-Sided Rotary Mat
OLFA 9654 RTY-2/DX 45mm Ergonomic Rotary Cutter
Omnigrid Ruler Value Pack 1, Package of Four
Cotton Berry Charm Packs - So many designs to choose from.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Dream Big (But Be Faithful in Little)

By Candice Waters
Where are you in the process of achieving your dreams? It would be nice if we could know in the moment that this painful rejection, that embarrassing failure, this boring and tedious assignment, that overlooked accomplishment, are all part of God's grand plan. But we can't. At the time those things happen, it doesn't feel at all like preparation for something big. It just feels awful. What we can do is follow the modeling of Joseph: keep dreaming and be faithful in little.
Read the rest here.

Recommended Resources:
A Biblical Vision for Multi-Generational Faithfulness
Discovering Life Purpose (CD) (Vision Forum Family Renewal Tape Library)
What is Making Me Sick?
Your Genes Are Not Your Destiny

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Matthew Henry on Proverbs 3:5,6

We must have a continual regard to God's providence, must own and depend upon it in all our affairs, both by faith and prayer. 1. By faith. We must repose an entire confidence in the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, assuring ourselves of the extent of his providence to all the creatures and all their actions. We must therefore trust in the Lord with all our hearts (Pro_3:5); we must believe that he is able to do what he will, wise to do what is best, and good, according to his promise, to do what is best for us, if we love him, and serve him. We must, with an entire submission and satisfaction, depend upon him to perform all things for us, and not lean to our own understanding, as if we could, by any forecast of our own, without God, help ourselves, and bring our affairs to a good issue. Those who know themselves cannot but find their own understanding to be a broken reed, which, if they lean to, will certainly fail them. In all our conduct we must be diffident of our own judgment, and confident of God's wisdom, power, and goodness, and therefore must follow Providence and not force it. That often proves best which was least our own doing. 2. By prayer (Pro_3:6): In all thy ways acknowledge God. We must not only in our judgment believe that there is an over-ruling hand of God ordering and disposing of us and all our affairs, but we must solemnly own it, and address ourselves to him accordingly. We must ask his leave, and not design any thing but what we are sure is lawful. We must ask his advice and beg direction from him, not only when the case is difficult (when we know not what to do, no thanks to us that we have our eyes up to him), but in every case, be it ever so plain, We must ask success of him, as those who know the race is not to the swift. We must refer ourselves to him as one from whom our judgment proceeds, and patiently, and with a holy indifferency, wait his award. In all our ways that prove direct, and fair, and pleasant, in which we gain our point to our satisfaction, we must acknowledge God with thankfulness. In all our ways that prove cross and uncomfortable, and that are hedged up with thorns, we must acknowledge God with submission. Our eye must be ever towards God; to him we must, in every thing, make our requests known, as Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh, Jdg_11:11. For our encouragement to do this, it is promised, “He shall direct thy paths, so that thy way shall be safe and good and the issue happy at last.” Note, Those that put themselves under a divine guidance shall always have the benefit of it. God will give them that wisdom which is profitable to direct, so that they shall not turn aside into the by-paths of sin, and then will himself so wisely order the event that it shall be to their mind, or (which is equivalent) for their good. Those that faithfully follow the pillar of cloud and fire shall find that though it may lead them about it leads them the right way and will bring them to Canaan at last.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Grace Is Little At First

There are several ages in Christians, some babes, some young men. Faith may be like “a grain of mustard seed” (Matt. 17:20). There is nothing so little as grace at first, and nothing more glorious afterward. Things of greatest perfection are longest in coming to their growth. Man, the most perfect creature, comes to perfection little by little; worthless things, like mushrooms and such, like Jonah’s gourd, soon spring up, and soon vanish. A new creature is the most excellent creature in all the world; therefore it grows up by degrees. We see in nature that a mighty oak rises from an acorn. It is the same with a Christian as it was with Christ, who sprang out of the dead stock of Jesse, out of David’s family (Isa.53:2), when it was at the lowest; but he grew up higher than the heavens. It is not with the trees of righteousness as it was with the trees of paradise, which were created all perfect at the first moment. The seeds of all the creatures in the present goodly frame of the world were hidden in the chaos, in that confused mass at the beginning, out of which God commanded all creatures to arise. In the small seeds of plants lie hidden both bulk and branches, both bud and fruit. In a few, principles lie hidden, all comfortable conclusions of holy truth. All these glorious fire works of zeal and holiness in the saints had their beginning from a few sparks. Let us not therefore be discouraged at the small beginnings of grace, but look at ourselves as elected to be “holy and without blame” (Eph. 1:4). Let us look at our imperfect beginning only to encourage further  striving toward perfection, and to keep us in a low opinion of ourselves. Otherwise, in case of discouragement, we must consider ourselves as Christ does, who looks on us as those he intends to make fit for himself. Christ values us by what we shall be, and by what we are elected to. We call a little plant a tree, because it is growing up to be so. “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech. 4:10). Christ would not have us despise little things. 

The Bruised Reed, Richard Sibbs. 

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Who Will Win the $101,000 Grand Prize?

Are you looking for movies that tell beautiful, exciting stories your children can actually watch? You know, the kind of films your family will treasure for years but that Hollywood would never give an Oscar or Golden Globe? 

Then watch the 2013 SAICFF Jubilee Awards Ceremony live online tonight as 60 Christian movie semi-finalists compete for Best Feature Film, Best Documentary, Audience Choice, and more, and find out who will win this year's $101,000 “Best of Festival” Grand Prize!

Click Here to Reserve Your Free Jubilee Awards Livestream Pass

Friday, February 08, 2013

Charting A Financial Road Map

"It may seem strange, but many people don't know if they have financial goals. Even stranger, some think they have financial goals when they really don't. "Get rich" or "make as much as possible" don't qualify as goals, because true goals have to be measurable at different points in time in order to be of any real use."

Read the rest of Crown Financial Ministries, "Charting A Financial Road Map" to learn more.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Sweet Surrender

More from the Botkin Ladies,
A girl once wrote and asked us, “How can you encourage a potential suitor to pursue you without being flirty, forward, or inappropriate? How can you let them know you are available in a God-honoring way without becoming the initiator?”
While there are some things that girls do (from pure hearts) that recommend them as good-things-in-training, there are other things that simply can’t be done in a biblical or appropriate way. We can’t convince someone to pursue us without effectively becoming the pursuer. We can’t scream “Pick me!” in an unobtrusive fashion. We can’t be the fisherman and the fish. We can’t be predatory in an appropriate manner. We can’t bait our traps with godly lady bait. We can’t jump in someone’s lap in a purely figurative sense. If young men know you, and you don’t have a ring on your finger, they already know you’re available.
If you know eligible, godly young men, and they’re not pursuing you, there is nothing you can do to make them. Sisters, as hard as it may be to wait for what God intends to happen, it’s simply not supposed to be in our hands. Remember, Proverbs 31:10 doesn't say, “An excellent wife, who can be snagged by?” Proverbs 18:22 doesn't say, “He who is caught by a wife is caught by a good thing.” And Proverbs 19:14 doesn't say, “A prudent wife will wrap herself up as a present and give herself to you.”

The best (and only appropriate) thing we can do to “encourage a suitor to pursue us” is to be worth their pursuit. If we want to be found, we need to be worth finding. If we want God to give us to a good man, we need to be a good gift.
To read more, buy your copy here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If A Girl Really Is A Treasure...

From Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin's "It's Not That Complicated"
For too many single women, Valentine’s Day is a time to feel unwanted, unnoticed, unappreciated – invisible. But as our brother Ben says, “If a girl really is a treasure, she will have fruit in her life that the righteous will be tuned in to see.”
If we’re tempted to despair that people can’t see us, that they don’t know we’re available, that no one will ever know we’re there, we need to remember this: People who are shining with Christ’s light are never invisible. However, there is a difference between shining as a light in the darkness, and shining as a neon sign in the marketplace. When your “light shine[s] before others,” says Matthew 5:16, they will “see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” And He is the One we really want people to be noticing and pursuing, right? 
(Excerpted from Chapter Twelve: What a Man Needs at His Side)
Want to read more? Purchase your copy here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sutton on The Family

From the introduction to Ray Sutton's "That You May Prosper".

First, God is transcendent. He directly relates to each sphere of society. Family, Church, and State are not stacked on top of each other. The Family does not have to go through the State, nor the Church, to get to God. This gives the Family institution a sacred character. No longer is the Family viewed this way. The State has crippled its God-given powers. A civil judge once said, "Whilst marriage is often termed by text writers and in decisions of courts a civil contract... it is something more than a mere contract ...It is an institution." By this he meant that the Family is a covenant. But the State does not believe this way any more. The family is under attack from the State and society at large. Who can doubt the Family's loss of sacredness? Now other "gods" rule it.

Second, as for authority, most families are not sure "who's in charge." There was a time when the father was head of the house. Everyone knew it. Everyone acknowledged it. But the advent of the working mother has created a conflict. It's not the 1950's anymore. High inflation and debt have changed the economics of Western culture. A collapsing economy has forced the woman to go to the market place. When she does, she starts to bring in a sizable portion of the family income. Maybe as much or more than the husband. This threatens the relationship, and the wars begin. The rise of wife abuse statistics indicate the extent of conflicts. War has been declared in the home. It remains to be seen whose authority will take charge.

Third, the covenant laid out a clear sense of right and wrong, ethics. The first colonists believed in the morality of the Bible, an objective standard. And every family was raised on this morality. Today the family has lost this sense of right and wrong. Its children are indoctrinated with "values training" in public schools. The philosophical background for such training comes straight out of the Humanist Manifesto I & II. Students are taught, "We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. How frightening it is to think that the future leaders of our civilization will believe this way!

Fourth, it used to be that when a couple said their vows before God and man, their oath was taken seriously. Divorce was socially unacceptable. Our times tell us something about how people feel about their marriage oath. Thirty-eight percent of all first marriages in the United States fail. Seventy-nine percent of those people will remarry, and forty-four percent of these second marriages will fail.

The fifth area of the covenant is continuity. Most families cannot maintain the bond implied by this word. Indeed, studies indicate that "Christians" are not doing well at raising up Godly "seed." They are losing their children to the government school system. They are losing them to the humanists who write the screenplays for television shows. They are even losing them to the humanists who teach in Christian colleges.

Also, the rapid death of the "family business" points to the loss of continuity. Each year a growing number of family businesses is terminated, not because there are no living heirs, but because the heirs are not interested. Some students of the "small business" believe this is one of the largest causes for the collapse of the "small business."

At one time the family was understood as a covenantal unit. The loss of this idea has had staggering effects. The five foundational concepts of covenant have proven to be critical to the family's life or concepts of covenant have proven to be critical to the family's life or death, sickness or health. It seems that as the traditional marriage vows have been altered or destroyed -- "In sickness and in health, for righter for poorer... till death do us part" -- so has the entire institution. But the family is  not the only institution that has lost it's covenantal moorings."

Recommended Resources:
That You May Prosper: Dominion by Covenant
Chucking College: Achieving Success Without Corruption
Finishing Well
Economics for Everybody

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Triumph Earned Failure

"Remember this: The strongest sign of the decay of a naiton is the feminization of men and the masculinization of women. It is notable that in Communist nations women are exhorted, and compelled, to do what has traditionally been men's work. American women, some of them, feel triumphant that they have broken down the "barricades" between the work of the sexes. I hope they will still feel triumphant when some commissar forces a shovel or an axe into their soft hands and compels them to pound and cut forests and dig ditches. I hope they will be "happy" when a husband deserts them and they must support their children and themselves alone. (After all, if a woman must be "free" she shouldn't object to men being free too, should she?") I hope they will feel "fulfilled" when they are given no more courtesies due to their sex, and no kindnesses, but are kicked aside on the subways and buses by men, and jostled out of the way by men on busy sidewalks and in elevators. I hope that no man will extend mercy to them because of obvious pregnancies, but will rudely tell them that that is no excuse to shirt a day's heavy labor, and they should be like Russian women. I hope they will be proud when some court demands that they support "delicate" husbands for a lifetime, and pay alimony. I hope, when they look in their mirrors, that they will be pleased to see exhausted and embittered faces, and that they will be consoled by their paychecks."

Read the rest here.

Recommended Resources:

How To Be A Lady
Why Christian Manhood Must Prevail
The Wise Woman's Guide To Blessing Her Husband' s Vision