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Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Today is a momentous day. My two youngest, Pooh (6) and Tigger (5), both culminated their transition to two-wheeler-hood: they are riding bicycles without training wheels.
We capped this day after dinner with our very first all-family bike ride in the neighborhood. They are getting so big and time is ticking away (…enter bump music from dcTalk…)
Riding bikes, wiggly teeth and the fading of the remnants of “baby talk”, they are growing up fast. Our baby will be six this year, Rabbit is ten. There is only limited time to invest in their lives now, before they begin their own families, have their own children and teach them to ride two-wheelers.
If that is all that life is, then we should “…eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” If the good life is nothing more than a Hallmark card with the soft, hazy picture and some sentimental hogwash on the inside it is not worth it. Don’t get me wrong; I love spending time with my children doing fun things like teaching them to ride bikes, play chess or dribble left-handed. But if that is all of the legacy there is to life – teaching them manners, sharing some “warm, fuzzy” experiences and perfecting their jump shot – then that is not enough.
Life is hard. The Dread Pirate Roberts was correct, “Life is pain…and if anyone tells you differently then they are selling you something.” Without an ultimate purpose, why go on? Ah, despair, right?
Without purpose: despair; with purpose, and living out of it: joy.
So, what is the purpose of life?
“The chief end [purpose] of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q/A One.
In this short time I have with my children, I am to invest my time not only in training them to glorify and enjoy God, but doing it myself. Using all of life to disciple them, so that the purpose is both “caught” and “taught.”
The training wheels of the bikes are all off now, but the training wheels of their lives are still firmly in place. They are there for both guidance and protection.
I don’t want to extend the metaphor too far, but call one side “Law” and the other “Gospel.” Along the way, we train them by teaching them the Law of God (also the fact that no one can perfectly keep it and the consequences of not keeping it) as well as the Gospel of Christ (literally “good news”): Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient, keeping the entire Law to the point of death on a roman cross, the innocent willingly paying the penalty of the law-breaker and then being raised to life on the third day removing the sting of death for all who repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a process, though. First they ride safely in the driveway on the bike with the training wheels, then the wheels come off and they are stretched to apply their training (knowledge and experience) with dad firmly holding on to them and finally they ride on their own – eventually into the cruel world, busy streets and all – taking them places where they have never gone before now having unconsciously mastered what was once consciously difficult.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:13,14 (ESV)
Oh, I pray that obedience and discipline will one day be unconsciously mastered by them. But, since I am still struggling on my own wobbly ride, I am beginning to understand a little more about the guarantee given to me and longing a little more for Glory.
My prayer is not that they never have difficulty or even that they never suffer, but that the do all things well (including suffering). My prayer is that they, with their whole lives, “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
In an age where boys sit on the couch, play video games and eat crap, this book is a breath of fresh air. Literally, boys will go outside. This book is so dangerous because it lets boys be boys, not the mamby-pamby, effeminate, androgynous version of what our politically-correct culture foists on us.
I purchased A Dangerous Book for Boys last week for my son…and I. This is going to be a fun summer!
I pray that this will be a summer of bruised knees, courage, and exploration.
What is ‘accountability?’
Why do we need accountability?
Is accountability even biblical? If so, what does biblical accountability even look like?
Practically, how do we do accountability?
I have been in an accountability (“Brothers’ Keeper“) group through my church for over two years now. We originally started with three guys and last year added #4 and a few months ago #5. In the two years we have been meeting, we have treated each other with ‘kid gloves’: most of our meeting times would be more appropriately described as guys reviewing their week including work, family, leisure, personal and ministry punctuated with bits of prayer and in-depth transparency concerning failures regarding sin.
If you can tell a lot about a Christian by looking at his checkbook, the same (or more telling) can be said about his time. Typically, we would meet Thursdays from 9:00 pm — 11:00 pm-ish and this is how those two to 2-1/2 hours would shake out: 1-1/2 hours of review/catching up, 1/2 hour (maybe) of transparent, personal self-exposure and closing [re: 5 minutes] of prayer.
Last week, the ice finally broke. With the recent trials in our church where hidden sin has been exposed and the process of repentance and restitution is a showing to be a long, hard [and public] road, hearts are changing. As one elder has quoted Lewis, “Aslan is on the move:” God is not only not surprised by this, but he has foreordained it.
God is not only moving in the heart of my once-pastor, but within the broader congregation, as well. (That includes “us guys.”)
Why? Well, according to Merriam-Webster, accountability is “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to [explaining one’s conduct for] one’s actions.” When it comes down to it, we are accountable to God for our sin; we are also weak in our own nature and therefore need help from other like-minded believers to stay clean from the filth of sin.
Sin will not remain secret. The greatest lie if the Evil One is really legion: personal sin doesn’t really harm anyone else; secret sin will never be found out; secret sin doesn’t affect all/any areas of my life; this single act or pattern of sin doesn’t matter; that ‘thing’ is really not a big deal — heck, it can hardly be called ‘sin’; etc.
Here is a [partial] biblical response (not partial-biblical, but a partial-response):
What is done in private, will be revealed in public (re: great reversal)
- According to Numbers 32:23, “…you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out. Your sin will find you; it will expose you.
- “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)
- “Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “”When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’”” Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11)
Sin prefers darkness, secrecy and silence (re: cockroaches)
- “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19-21)
Sin = Death (re: dead)
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
- “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:14,15)
People who look sinless in public are really just proud hypocrites (re: Pharisees)
- “…Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness...” (Matthew 23:1-36)
We will be held accountable before God for our sin (re: judgement)
- Non-believers will be judged for their sin. “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
- Believers will be judged for their sin. “…each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-14)
Next post I will find out if accountability is even biblical and if so, what it looks like.
Manly advice from the mouth of babes
His threefold application (if I understand him correctly) is:
- Protect them.
- Open the door for them.
- Do “boy jobs” (like taking out the garbage).
Daniel, thanks for your wisdom beyond your years!
You know, if every man would take care of their ladies in these manners, the ladies may become accustomed to this behavior; then what would the world come to?
I pray that my son acts in this manner (because he has seen his father model this behavior) and that my daughters would become accustomed to this behavior, respond appropriately and never settle for less.
Fool on, Daniel!
David Allen’s Book “Getting Things Done” (GTD) has swept across the globe. But what exactly is it?
According to the author:
“Sophisticated without being confining, the subtle effectiveness of GTD lies in its radically common sense notion that with a complete and current inventory of all your commitments, organized and reviewed in a systematic way, you can focus clearly, view your world from optimal angles and make trusted choices about what to do (and not do) at any moment.”
The following is a devotional meditation I wrote for my children’s school. They meet once a week (homeschool fine arts co-op), and each week a different father is asked to provide the devotional meditation for grades K-8 (lower/upper grammar and dialectic). Here goes:
Have you ever done work in a garden; or have you ever seen a farmer work in a field? There are two big events that take place when farming: one in the springtime and the other in the fall.
The big activity in the springtime, when the farmer scatters the seed is called “sowing. Then, in the fall, the farmer needs to gather his crops; that is called reaping (or harvesting).
Just like a farmer sows seed in the ground to reap fruit later, we must sow seed in our hearts to reap good later. Following are some observations about sowing and reaping.
Amy has offered a stinging rebuke to all of us Pharisaical parents out there.
My wife and I do the same thing when Rabbit, Eeyore, Pooh, and/or Tigger are causing a ruckus.
Family worship, in our home, has been on-and-off.
But mostly off.
Let me offer background (brief summary):
Our family began in the summer of 1995 when my bride and I exchanged vows before God and man. Rabbit hopped into our lives in January 1998. Eeyore strolled in January 1999. After giving my wife plenty of rest, Pooh joined us in May 2001. Finally (so far), Tigger bounced into our family in September 2002.
One thing we have decided in our family is to intentionally NOT pay for television. It is not so much the paying for it, but the fact that putting money toward something that we don’t want to encourage (for our children or us). Therefore, we have never had cable. Nor dish.