See the pictures here of the home made dams people built to protect their homes. Some thoughts: First, what a blessing it is when men are proactive and aggressive in protecting their homes. Second, consider how men might protect their physical dwellings but are not protecting the spiritual and moral lives of the people in their homes. Third, it reminds me of what my son in law, Peter Bradrick is doing to help men learn how to effectively protect their homes and their communities. He plans to launch this in September… Go to bradrick.org
Each Tuesday at 6:00 am, we gather the men in our church together to study the passage of scripture we will be studying on Sunday. Since we are in the Beatitudes, we considered, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy.’ Here are some of the thoughts that arose from our discussion:
When Jesus spoke of the blessings upon the heads of the merciful, he was not speaking of a secularized, psychologized, feminized type of mercy. He was speaking of the kind of mercy God has. Our thinking is fuzzy and even polluted when we think of mercy. This is why it is so important, in our day to develop an explicitly biblical doctrine of mercy – what it is and what it is not. There is a critical need for clarifying the doctrine of mercy. For example, the mercies of God include things like, Justice, Righteousness, and Punishment.
Also, mercy looks at suffering and desires to see it be relieved. Therefore, mercy does something about the suffering. It does not just sit there idly by and let it happen. It cares enough to take action with tangible remedies.
Here is what Tommy Vestal wrote reflecting on our conversation. He is making the point that, Mercy presupposes sin – and deals with it.
This concept of mercy begins with an assumption of an underlying condition that there is sin and unrighteousness present. For mercy to be present requires sin. Along with mercy comes the idea of forgiveness, but the two are not the same. Forgiveness recognizes wrong doing and forgets it. Forgiveness puts sin away without accountability or recompense. Mercy recognizes wrong doing, holds it accountable and contends with it with perseverance and endurance; love and long-suffering. The difference from forgiveness is the added elements of continually contending with a condition, to hold one accountable to God’s standard; not wavering on the standard, but flexing with ones inability to keep it. The application of mercy may include actual punishment and it may also not include punishment, but warn of its inevitability. Mercy can therefore be displayed from subordinate to superior, child to parent, citizen to civil magistrate etc. This ultimately leads one to an inevitable discussion that since we cannot keep the law and need mercy, the law of God is driving us to the knowledge of our need for a savior and the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ.
The character trait mercy can only then therefore be displayed by he who has been called into repentance by faith and saved by grace with the revelation and knowledge of his own sin by the conviction of the law of God. Mercy can only truly be shown then by one who is truly poor in spirit, that knows the futility of his own actions against the measure of the moral law of God and sees his own condition as helpless without a savior to fulfill it.
In short, mercy is shown by loving your neighbor as yourself, for no man ever hated his own flesh.
How then do those who are merciful obtain mercy? By the grace of God and not of any work within themselves given by the mercy of God. How then does a Christian show mercy? By doing so without conditions as mercy was first shown to us by God and in whom His mercy and grace gave birth to faith and faith unto salvation.”
With the birth of Peter and Kelly’s baby girl yesterday, now we have girl cousins… Here they are in all their cuteness.
Monday morning, my daughter Kelly gave birth to a baby girl. As you can see, Peter Bradrick has finally embraced the color pink.
We were all on pins and needles to see if this pregnancy would result in Peter and Kelly having four boys or three boys and a baby girl… We all cheered with delight when a baby girl was born.
She appears strikingly like her pictures in the 3D ultrasound we saw a while back.
Time is winding down for registering for the Financial Professionals Workshop. Taking place in Wake Forest, NC this Saturday, the FPW will provide an overview of how you can start a financial services business. We will explain opportunities such as Small Business Accounting Services, Senior Tax Service, Insurance, and Financial Planning and Investments. Speakers include:
|Scott Brown||Erik Weir||Ashok Noah||Adam Hall||Don Murphy|
1. Proclaim the sufficiency of Scripture for church and family life
2. Promote the centrality of the church in God’s plan for families
3. Recover the biblical doctrines of manhood and womanhood in church, family, and civil life
4. Identify the marks of worldliness in church and family in the 21st century
5. Explain the complimentary roles of church and family
6. Facilitate church planting and relationship building
7. Communicate the biblical doctrines of the church and family
8. Restore the biblical pattern of age integrated worship, discipleship and evangelism
God has organized His people so that their sanctification can move forward regardless of what everyone else is doing. This is facilitated by how He has made local churches free to obey the Lord, regardless of what other churches might be doing.
"Every congregation, however little or great it may be, should see for itself that it acts properly and well and waits for no one."
- Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt, The European Reformations, Carter Lindberg, second edition, p 87
As our church gathered for prayer last evening, I brought some reminders to help us prepare for it. We always want our times of prayer together to be a mixture of praise toward God, thanksgiving, confession of sin and prayer for one another. But we also want to see that some of our time is taken up in offering prayers for others – friends, enemies and those we know are facing challenges. God has been so clear in His communication with us that He desires that we offer our requests to Him. It is a good thing to bring them to Him and we are deprived of something very wonderful when we go through seasons of neglecting to ask.
It is interesting to notice that John Calvin’s Institutes longest section is on the subject of prayer. It is in this section that he makes it sure we know God’s desire for us is that we bring our requests:
"Otherwise, to know God as the master and bestower of all good things, who invites us to request them of him, and still not go to him and not ask of him-this would be of as little profit as for a man to neglect a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to him." (Book 3, Chapter 20, Section 1)
HSLDA is reporting here that a Canadian judge has ordered that a family with four children ages 9, 7, 5 and 3 submit to a governmental plan of age segregated “socialization.” Part of that plan involves the Judge’s mandate that the youngest in the family (ages 5 and 3) who are not of compulsory school age be placed into day care for socialization – until a new plan for "socialization" is imposed upon them. What this Judge calls socialization I call corruption. An irrational shuffling of children by age based on failed public school segmentation and socialization principles that they might do what? Learn how to be kids from other kids? The 3-year-old will walk with 3-year-olds and somehow, that properly socializes? Compare and contrast this with God’s plan and path for socialization! A walk along and talk along discipleship approach of parents instructing their entire families that they each might learn and be “socialized” under the supervision of parents integrating the ages with one another all throughout each and every day.
Here is the testimony of John G. Paton of the spiritually sensitive manner in which his father disciplined his children:
"The very discipline through which our father passed us was a kind of religion in itself. If anything really serious required to be punished, he retired first to his closet for prayer, and we boys got to understand that he was laying the whole matter before God ; and that was the severest part of the punishment for me to bear! I could have defied any amount of mere penalty, but this spoke to my conscience as a message from God. We loved him all the more, when we saw how much it cost him to punish us; and, in truth, he had never very much of that kind of work to do upon any one of all the eleven—we were ruled by love far more than by fear."
Missionary Patriarch: The True Story of John G. Paton, pg. 25-26.
This morning, our family was reading 2 Kings 9:37 which gives the answer to the question, What do Osama and Jezebel’s graves have in common? Both those who killed Jezebel and Osama did not want them to have graves. Imagine if Jezebel’s grave was identifiable. Imagine how Osama’s grave would be used.
And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel;
so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.
- 2 Kings 9:37
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, give us such a seed! Give
us a seed right with Thee! Smite us and our house with ever
lasting barrenness rather than that our seed should not be right
with Thee. O God, give us our children. Give us our children.
A second time, and by a far better birth, give us our children to be
beside us in Thy holy covenant. For it had been better we had
never been born; it had been better we had never been betrothed;
it had been better we had sat all our days solitary unless our
children are to be right with Thee. …But thou, O God, art Thyself
a Father, and thus hast in Thyself a Father’s heart. Hear us, then,
for our children, O our Father…. In season and out of season; we
shall not go up into our bed; we shall not give sleep to our eyes
nor slumber to our eyelids till we and all our seed are right with Thee.
A. Whyte, Bunyan Characters, vol. 3, London, 1902, pp. 289-290
Our church celebrates the Lord’s supper every Sunday. We are thrilled to be able to reflect on the power of the gospel in this way. Jim Hamilton has written this brief explanation of why he believes this was the practice. He takes the direct approach, " Let’s cut straight to the chase: I think the New Testament indicates that the early church took the Lord’s supper every Lord’s day, that is, every Sunday… So here’s my reconstruction: in the earliest days after Pentecost, the church celebrated the Lord’s supper daily, in conjunction (probably) with their evening meal. And who wouldn’t want to celebrate it every day! Imagine the enthusiasm of the wonder of the resurrection, the rushing wind, and the thousands converted. . . As the days and years passed, things stabilized and the church began to take the Lord’s supper in conjunction with the meal they shared together in the evening on the Lord’s day." Read the whole article here, and scroll down to read Richard Barcellos comment.
Our NC governor, Beverly Perdue signed a law assuring that "Suspects accused of causing a fetus to die or injuring one inside the womb at any stage of development would face separate criminal charges." This fetal homicide bill, that was passed in the NC Senate in a 45-4 vote makes it a felony to injure a fetus "at any stage of development." The law takes effect Dec. 1.
Associated press writer, Gary Robertson stated that "the measure Perdue signed on Friday doesn’t apply to legal abortions but does convey legal status upon fetuses unable to survive outside their mother’s womb."
North Carolina is not alone in the United States in passing a law like this. There are 35 other states that have added the unborn child as a possible victim of crime. These crimes can take place "at any time after conception."
The charges for the crime include first and second-degree murder, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter with punishments as stiff as life in prison without parole. The law allows that "A defendant also can be charged with assault if the mother gives birth after she’s attacked and the child is seriously injured, stays hospitalized or was born prematurely…There is no requirement that an attacker know the woman was pregnant at the time to face an additional charge for the fetus…"