Category Archives: Foundations

My Basis for Planning for Provision

Why do I plan in the first place? That is what is answered in this post.

I do the work that I do to Glorify God and to Love Him with All of who I am by seeking to live a life consistent with His word for the Purpose of one day Hearing Jesus Christ say to me and those whom I Love, “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant. Enter into the Joy of the LORD.”

I realize that I cannot enjoy God by doing stuff in and of my own self and my own strength, and that the above is impossible without confidence that He has saved me and not only can but will make the above happen one day for me. If this will happen, it can only happen if He is doing it in and through me. It also cannot happen without my applying conscious and willful effort toward doing all that I know to do in order to achieve the things that He has commanded me to do.

I don’t want to live a life and at the end of my life have ‘nothing’ to show for it… not that my works save me, but that since He saved me, I want to do everything I can conceivably and possibly do to work for Him because I LOVE HIM.

I see my work related to provision as the following- Three Levels of Attainment possibilities:
1. Level 1: Obey the Gospel unto Salvation (Completed when He saved me through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone apart from my efforts, will, conscious efforts, etc.)
2. Level 2: Meet your responsibilities in a sinful, fallen, cursed, post flood, premillennial world (this level is ongoing as I live in this world)
3. Level 3: Ruling over and subduing the Earth (as I am successful in Level 2, I am able to participate in Level 3)

It is obvious that I cannot do any of these without His blessing, help, and His provision of resources and opportunities to use those resources.

With the acknowledgement that I can do nothing of myself and of my own ‘strength’, but with the understanding and faith that I have obeyed the call of the Gospel (Level 1), my goal is to do the Will of God through furthering the Kingdom of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ by:

  1. Level 2: Provision for my family and extended relatives as needed:
    • Nourishment as in adequate and healthy food and activities
    • Clothing appropriate for timing, season and growth of the individual
    • Shelter staying protected from the elements
  2. Level 2: Keeping my word concerning obligations
  3. Level 2: Savings for expected happenings
  4. Level 2: Savings for unexpected life circumstances
  5. Level 2: Comfortable lifestyle established
  6. Level 2: Extension of Christ’s Kingdom through effectively providing resources to preach the gospel to the entire planet cf. Matthew 28:18-20. This one is here because if I haven’t managed my family well, which is numbers 1-5, then I am not qualified to reach toward this priority.

Level 3 will happen as a side note and as an adjunct to the above, if at all. I don’t see that it is possible to start level 3 without all of Level 2 being completed first, but it is true that level 3 goals are and must be achieved in the process of reaching level 2 goals.

This is my ‘Why?’ or Mission, and how I seek to accomplish it

Family Survival In a Disaster – Part 1: Overview (FSIAD1)

And now, for a serious note.

This post begins a series of posts of the types of things you will need to be aware of should a disaster strike your family or the world your family lives in, as well as helpful hints of things to keep in mind when the disaster strikes. We will begin a series of posts of things that you will want to make sure that you have ready before hand so that you are not floundering in the dark when the time comes to really shine. So, let’s get started – click this link to go to the page.

 

A New One…

I think we may be pregnant with baby number nine!

We are excited and looking forward to seeing what God will do through this child. I am happy, should we actually be pregnant, to welcome another child into our household.

That being said, and as part of my role of provision, I am considering undertaking a new phase in my career and that of generating the cash flow that comes into our family.

I invite you to respond if you would like to be a part of what I will tentatively call the “One Million Dollar Challenge”. Without cheapening any of the things that we value, I would like to see if anyone would be interested in joining me on a ‘quest’ to see if it is possible to earn $1 million within a year’s time. If you are interested, feel free to email me ( charlesmatthews777 at yahoo.com) with the subject line: “$1 Million Challenge”. If it doesn’t work, then at least we will have moved ‘down the road’ a bit more, for each of us, in all of our goals related to provision. If we do, then hopefully this will be an encouragement to all of us to be able to pay down much needed debt, or whatever it is that you would like to accomplish.

Please note that it doesn’t cost anything to be a part of this challenge… we are trying to make money- not lose it.

Join me as we seek to do this together, and God Bless You as you continue in your day today!

Best regards,

Charles Matthews

Socialization and the Home Schooling Family

This topic concerns the frequently broached problem of home schooling, that of socialization. In this article, I will address a few of the key things that are seen as problems, what we have experienced, and how we deal with ‘socialization’ as a means of accomplishing God’s will for our lives and that of our children.

The Challenge

Lets’ face it: Home schooling can really be challenging when it comes to hanging out with people. Scripture is clear that there is a type of isolation that isn’t good for anyone:

“He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.” – Proverbs 18:1, NAS

That being said, the reasons we privately school our children at home include what we perceive as a need to separate ourselves from some types of people. But, the people we desire to separate ourselves from are not ‘people in general’, but rather those who will at best undermine our attempt (imperfect though it is at times) to train our children toward fearing God, and at worst directly oppose it. The verse above (Proverbs 18:1) seems to be more consistent with those who are not gaining Godly counsel and wisdom, and may be in fact acting in opposition to it. Let’s be clear… God desires Godly Offspring who worship Him in sincerity according to His commands:

“But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth.” Malachi 2:15 (Emphasis Mine)

“”For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

Isaiah 66:2 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth”

John 4:24 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46

And, there are some types of people that God directs us to stay away from (this is a short list):

Proverbs 1:10 – Sinful men (the morally reprobate)

Proverbs 2:12 – Men whose speech are perverse

Proverbs 6:24 – Your neighbor’s adulterous wife

Proverbs 7 – The adulterous woman

Proverbs 23:20 – Drunks and those who don’t control their appetites when eating

Proverbs 24:21 – Those who are given to political change via overthrowing the existing governmental order

1 Corinthians 5:11 – Alleged Christians who are sexually immoral, not controlled in his appetites and always wanting more, one who values anything more than valuing God, one who usually is insulting others, one who gets drunk, and one who cheats others of money

The issue then becomes, do you value God’s word more than you value the supposed friendship you have with the person mentioned in the list above? And the converse:

1 Corinthians 5:10 – “not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.” (Note – verse 9 is repeated in verse 11 mentioned above, and further fleshed out in verse 11)

So, you have to interact with people in the world who are immoral, greedy, swindlers, and idolaters. You have to avoid people who call themselves Christians and practice those things. This interaction with the world and those of the world system requires wisdom, because our goal is to win the world to Jesus Christ.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

Our goal is also the growth and sanctification of ourselves, our children, and those actual Christians among us. The reason it is so dangerous to be hanging around people who call themselves Christians but practice the sins mentioned above is the nature of the corrupting influence of bad company on good morals, especially toward children who are so easily influenced. Hanging around these people make it easier to sin, and we are responsible for our own sins. The thing that destroys our lives and reputations the most is our own sinfulness, but our sinfulness can be exacerbated (made worse) by being around people who should be practicing Godliness but continue in doing evil.

When interacting with people in ‘the world’, what you have to keep in mind are at least four things:

  1. Because they are spiritually dead, but made in God’s image, they at times are going to behave in a way that reflects both truths… they will do evil things and they will do kind things.  God’s law is written on the heart of every human being, and each person is without excuse for rejecting God’s salvation as seen in Jesus Christ.
  2. We all interact in the same world that God created, therefore they are capable of making observations about the world and nature that can have a measure of accuracy. To the level that a person’s world view affects their observations, they cannot be trusted… namely – the sky is blue is pretty easy for everyone to see. It is also easy for a person who is trained in the sciences to describe various conditions: e.g., your aorta is plugged. Here is how to get it unplugged. When it comes to describing the spiritual or what some call the nouthetic aspects of people (also called psychological by the world), unless they do so through soundly interpreted scripture, it is literally impossible for them to make accurate descriptions of why people do the things they do, vitamin deficiencies and the like not withstanding. It is impossible to have a sound understanding of scripture without being actually born again.
  3. You are not to embrace them or entrust yourself to them in a way that forgets that apart from God’s Grace, their final end is destruction in the lake of fire. You are not allied with them in spiritual ventures, especially the training and raising of your children in a manner that fears God. They aren’t interested in that.
  4. Because they do not have a conscience guided by God’s revealed word – the scripture – they cannot be trusted on a human level to do the right thing. That being said, acting in good faith toward them can produce the effects of their doing the right thing. They can do this because of God’s common grace shown to them.

Our firm conviction is that God’s word is sufficient for all matters pertaining to life and Godliness. We don’t need the ‘latest and greatest’ psychological studies when we have the mind of God guiding us with His Spirit by His word. Therefore, we don’t have to be afraid of those who would hold us to a standard that is not God’s standard as it concerns ‘socialization’. To be sure, there is a type of ‘street smarts’ that comes with interacting with the world; but our goal is to help our children develop the skills of interaction based on an understanding of what God’s word shows us proper interaction in  relationships is and should be… so that they will have the context for interacting rightly and appropriately with others. My speculation is that the need for ‘socialization’ as it is referred to is a secular means of trying to control parents who are seeking some valid reason to oppose the downward spiral that the culture has manifested as it rages against God in the public arena. The ‘rage’ can be vehement at times, or subtly communicated, but it is against the things that God values, nonetheless. Most of the problems we have experienced have been from fellow believers, and the thing they mention the most is socialization. So, let’s go ahead and address the problems with private schooling at home that people cite:

  1. The mother and children are not around others outside of the family for most of the day, resulting in a gradual slide in terms of a free-flowing interaction with those who are not a part of the family. This isolation can be numbing for people who feel that they need interacting with others on a regular basis.
  2. Dads are uninvolved due to their being at work throughout the day. When they try to get involved, there may be no venue, or there may be unwise venues for interacting with other adults and children.
  3. When around others, the children, due to being warned so much about others, behave in a socially awkward way.

How then do we deal with other families and the public at large when we are at a variety of venues?

The overall strategy is this: If the children are too young to protect themselves from those who would hurt them by way of direct or indirect opposition, it is our job to protect them. We are to train them so that they can recognize and defend themselves against such attacks and then perform a ‘judo’ maneuver in order to be ‘salt and light’ in a crooked and perverse generation. This training requires separation for a time, and then ongoing coaching as they encounter situations in the world as we go about our business in day to day life and while they are still under our roof.

The immediate tactics are these:

  1. Be involved in the things that are helpful for your family to whatever degree you can, outside of the home, in order to have the types of experiences helpful for the growth and development of your children.
  2. Be involved in a variety of aspects of life so that your children can see experientially the big picture of interacting with others in this life informed by God’s word, teaching and training them as you go about living life.
  3. This interaction obviously doesn’t mean that you let your values slide or embrace those that aren’t in alignment with God’s word (soundly interpreted)
  4. Don’t be dishonest or insincere – trying to make yourself out to be something that you aren’t.
  5. Do your best to present yourself in the best way possible so that you make the word of God attractive… let your walk first be evident before you talk… but at the same time don’t neglect to talk when the occasion arises, trusting God for guidance through His word and His Spirit during the various aspects of interacting with the world that you encounter. This process is just like fishing… waiting for the fish to show an interest.
  6. Don’t get stressed out about ‘being in the world’ – you aren’t of it and God has you in the palm of His loving hand. However, if it will bother someone else’s conscience, and the someone else is a Christian, then you refrain from doing the course of action because of the Christian’s conscience. Let God be the one to help the person grow to whatever other convictions may be necessary for that person.
  7. Rejoice that you are going to heaven! Going to a shopping mall with the variety of music and images around can be completely discouraging. Avoid the discouraging places if at all possible. But, when you must be around that trash, keep perspective that you are going to heaven.
  8. Finally, remember that you were a part of the same world system, and that apart from God’s Grace in your life, you still would be. And you would like it, even as you pursued a course of life that would destroy you in this world and reap further destruction in the next. Have pity on these people. Don’t be like them, though.

And remember, God sees what is happening. If you become isolated as a result of living according to a Godly standard, don’t let that trouble you. Instead, be happy – according to what Jesus said in Matthew 5, GREAT is your reward in heaven when people persecute you and treat you badly because of His kingdom… even if these people are Christians who have been misled or unbelievers who say they are Christians. God is protecting you in the various circumstances you are in. Isn’t what we see rather clearly shown in this verse?:

“Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at His word: “Your brothers who hate you, who exclude you for My name’s sake, Have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy.’ But they will be put to shame.” Isaiah 66:5

 

F3: Meta Conspiracy – God’s Sovereignty in a Satanic World System

(updated 2.14.2015)

Conspiracy theories abound, and at times can be really misleading. You need to think Biblically about life and about various theories that exist so that you can choose to live life in a God honoring way.

The purpose of this post is to help the reader to be able to discern the difference between the sensational and the true, so that he can quickly sort through the maze of garbage that is out there and determine what content is useful and helpful from that which is useless and should be jettisoned.

There are all sorts of things out there that have been and will be published… after all, ‘publish or perish’ is the mantra of academic circles; that regardless of the value of the post. However, we have to live lives that are purposeful and guide our wives and children into areas that are helpful, strengthening and relevant. Additionally, we have been warned in scripture that in the last days, perilous times will come. What are we to do with all of the information out there that may or may not be information that we can actually use?

To understand the levels of information that exist out there, we will go ahead and look at the one element under consideration in this post: the Conspiracy Theory.

What is a Conspiracy Theory?

“1. a theory that explains an event as being the result of a plot by a covert group or organization; a belief that a particular unexplained event was caused by such a group. 2. the idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.”  (Here is the reference)

I will define ‘Conspiracism’ as the content of the teaching of any sensationalized ‘Conspiracy Theory’. You should expect that any Conspiracy Theory can have some measure of truth and may be relevant to our lives in some measure, but the truth contained at times can be ‘far fetched’… in that the things addressed are not at all likely to happen.

So, we see the relevance that these things have to our lives, but how do we deal with the consideration that a number of things may or may not be related?

Let’s go back to the Bible and consider a few truths:

  1. God is Sovereign. He is 100% in charge and in control of all elements, details, circumstances and minutiae down to (and even further down) the movements of electrons in the atomic structure of the elements. He is also in charge of every element all the way up to the rotation and orbit of heavenly bodies, galaxies, stars, wormholes, etc. Although not the author of evil, God is in complete control of everything that ever happens. By the description that God gave us of Himself in the Bible, God is completely Good, and there is no darkness or evil within His character. (We will address the topic of evil and its existence later)God planned the whole of human history prior to its existence and actively worked to set it in motion by way of His creating the cosmos and in an ongoing way by virtue of His providential ordering of all of the events that happen in the world.In consideration of God’s control over the universe, as Christians, we can rest in knowing that whatever happens does so in a way that will be for our ultimate good and God’s ultimate Glory, regardless of the outward assessment of something being ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
  2. Satan and the Demons are Real, but Limited – Satan is the spiritual entity that actively plans and seeks to thwart God’s work, but is ultimately on God’s leash. God has allowed Satan to have a limited degree of freedom for a time, but ultimately, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire with all of those who do not embrace the Gospel.That being said, Satan is invisible and can move very quickly. He is actively working to thwart God’s plan in whatever way he can.
  1. Evil People are Really Wicked – Evil people are actively working to try to destroy God’s work, and actively are plotting ‘on their beds’ how they can destroy the good people. The person who has no conscience and willingly plots to hurt others should be contained and / or rendered incapable of perpetrating evil on others. It is our God-given right and responsibility to oppose such people.
  2. Unintentional Evil Still Hurts – When people do bad things unintentionally, we still at times experience the consequences. It may be that a wrong done was plotted. It may be that it wasn’t. It was still wrong, but we at times don’t necessarily have a person actively plotting to hurt others.Sometimes this happens through carelessness and negligence. Other times, it can happen as a corollary effect of something bad another person actively plotted to do. Because we are made in God’s image, we were designed to see relationships between different objects, ideas, elements, understandings, etc. From seeing those pieces, we reason from particulars to the whole. However, because of what is called the ‘noetic effects of the fall’ i.e., how Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden affected our thinking, our thinking is flawed, incomplete and at times just plain wrong. Besides that, our thinking is many times colored by our experiences. So, by virtue of creation, we want to see connections and interpret events in terms of reasons for things happening, because God made us that way.

Knowing these things, what should we do?

  1. Contain and Eliminate Evil – Evil, like cancer, will continue to grow unless it is contained… regardless of it being the evil of our flesh or the evil in this world that we live in. This containment and elimination must happen regardless of if it is in ourselves or in others. Containment and Elimination can happen in a number of ways, but should always be pursued with Justice and Righteousness… meaning, if you are not the police, it is not your responsibility to incarcerate others.
  2. Use Judgment and Understanding – The Book of proverbs was written so that we can have good judgment and discernment. We need to be familiar with the teaching of the book of Proverbs. Additionally, we need to be familiar with God’s law, which will go a long way toward being able to think accurately and understand life according to God given distinctions.

How to Discern Whether a Line of Thinking is of a Conspiratorial Nature or Not:

  1. Off the ‘beaten’ path – The line of thinking is not a part of the main stream of discussion or consideration.
  2. Fear Evoking – The line of thinking trends toward or is bent toward evoking feelings of fear. This type of fear isn’t the same as a healthy ‘respect’ of a lion when you are on a safari, nor is it the type of fear you experience when standing next to the Grand Canyon’s edge. The fear is a fear that is content to do nothing but advance its cause of creating more fear. This type of fear breeds on itself and spins out of control.
  3. Outlandish – The line of thinking has a characteristic of being bizarre or unfamiliar.
  4. Sells a Product – The fear can be solved by purchasing a product, voting for a person, etc. This technique is referred to as a ‘call to action’ in marketing strategies and advertising techniques.

To sum up, God is the one who has planned everything, but His plans are for good. Satan also has plans. His plans are for evil. God allows Satan and those controlled by him to plan and carry out evil plans. The evil planned by the evil people results in their condemnation and work for the good of the blesed people. The evil people are not necessarily aligned tactically in their evil, but because they are enemies of God, they are aligned via purpose, mission, goal and strategy.

Do Everything – Five Key Considerations to Keep You From Going to Hell

“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” – Luke 13:24 NAS

The purpose of this post is to encourage you to strive to insure that you are indeed saved and going to heaven; if you live a decent life on this earth and die in your sins, that isn’t ultimately helpful for you. (Matthew 16:26)

If I am not completely exhausted when I wake up in the mornings from the previous night’s activities (especially in dealing with children who are ill), I can usually get out of the bed and get my day going. The best times are when I wake up energized and ready to start the day; the worst times are when I have to get out of the bed for some commitment in the mornings and yet still feel like I need a few more hours of sleep. Waking up groggy isn’t pleasant.

Yet, even worse is the following scenario: Imagine waking up in Hell:

The torment has begun. You first become aware of the pain of burning… you know the feeling you get after touching a hot iron or stove top pan (or to an even lesser extent, the pain of a sunburn). Now, consider that pain covering every square inch of your body. Follow that by the fact that when you first entered into torment, your body was rejuvenated into a form that could experience every feeling to minute detail, you know, the way you experienced things as a kid. Combine that with the reality that you are now in a body that is incapable of deteriorating. After all, you have already died. You are now in what is called a resurrected body – one built to endure for eternity. (See Luke 16:30, Revelation 20:15)

You begin to become aware of a number of other things. You are quite busy. In this life, you would be sweating as a relief mechanism so that your body could cool itself; not so, here. You find that you can’t stop bouncing back and forth between a few actions – gnawing at your tongue in order to try to distract from the pain of burning, screaming at the top of your lungs which are also being seared by the intense heat, gnashing your teeth, again primarily due to the pain, but also secondarily because of anger- your own anger… directed toward yourself. If you could speak, you would be crying out for relief. You would be seeking help, maybe even an ear from someone who could help you deal with the horrific situation you are in.

Because it is absolutely dark, even amid the flames which do not release light, it is impossible to see if anyone else is around you. You feel no solid ground under your feet – your inner body is not receiving the feedback associated with gravity of walking about on earth as you use to. You are in a condition of weightlessness, but also of some type of immobility. You try to move, but every movement is associated with another wave of searing pain, as each part of your unclothed body that is exposed, upon moving, exposes another part to the pain of the heat.

You also, upon feeling different parts of your body, begin to realize that there are little objects squirming about on you, eating into your flesh and causing yet more pain. The eating into your flesh would, in your previous existence, would have caused decay. But not here. Your body automatically heals itself, so to speak, in preparation for yet another wave of pain. You try to scrape the worms off with your hands but they do not respond. They are in some way embedded into your flesh and you are powerless to remove them.

Your throat is parched, and the smell of the fire, similar to the campfires you use to have as a child, is overwhelming your nasal cavity, but it is an even more intense experience because the inhalation of the air is more like breathing tar or burning coals.

As you grow weary of the screaming and in the midst of the searing pain, you begin to realize that this state of existence that you are in is going to be forever. You begin to consider what lead to your being there. If you could escape, you would give anything that you could in order to get out of this predicament. But, you have no access to any of your former resources. No money, certainly no credit, no people that you could befriend, intimidate or manipulate, or force to remove you from this condition.

You begin to consider your previous life. You think of all of the times that those ‘Christians’ told you to turn from your sins, to believe the gospel. You remember your attitude of pride: “How could they tell ME to do this?” “Turn from my way of life? – You’ve got to be kidding?”. You begin to remember how many times in your life you were approach with the opportunity to remove yourself from this impending consequence, which you also full well knew was coming. And, you rejected it – you rejected each circumstance of God’s grace shown to you.

After another few decades of screaming, gnashing your teeth, and gnawing at your tongue, you begin to weep… you remember the beauty of the multiple thousands of sunsets that you saw, the millions of good things you experienced, the taste of chocolate. None of this will ever be available to you, ever again. Your conscience, now completely and fully activated and not numbed by the drugs you use to take- the alcohol, Prozac, immoral relationships, etc. All of these things you use to use in order to suppress your conscience are now unavailable to you. Your conscience is now a roaring fire in your mind. There is now no way to hide or avoid the full accusations of the warning system that God put into place in your life to keep you from going here. You tried to keep it all down and out and away from you. Now, just like the worms you tried to scrape off with your dull fingernails, are ever biting at you.

More than that, you begin to consider God. God, the One who, in your life, you rebelled against and sought to remove His rule from your life, is now demonstrating to you by way of this horrific place you are now in, the true state of who you were, but even worse yet, who you are. You are nothing, now, but a piece of trash. You have ended up in the ‘trash can’ of the universe. You are in the Lake of Fire, Hell, and Eternal Destruction.

In your previous existence, you mocked God and His Son. Now, is payback time. You have been caught exposed. You have been judged based on the standard that you flaunted so many times. You had shown up to court and you had no defense. You were declared guilty, and as your conscience attests to, the judgment rendered against you was accurate. You have now arrived at your place. This place is Your place… this home is yours. It is what you, by your actions and through your words, have always known was coming to you, and you pursued it with might. You are the damned.

But, reader, it doesn’t have to be this way for you. Below, I have listed Five Key Considerations to help prevent you from ending up in this place of dread and fear:

  1. Settle out of court with God – God has provided a way for you to escape Hell. It is to repent and believe the Gospel. The Gospel is this: Although you have broken God’s law and deserve eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire forever, God has provided a covering for you in order to escape His wrath. That covering is the work that Jesus, His Son and the second person of the Godhead, did in living the perfect life in full obedience to God’s commands and standard, and through offering Himself as a sacrifice on the cross as a full satisfaction for your sins and everyone else’s sins who will ever believe. Trust Him in faith that He did this for you, and embrace all that His sacrifice means for your life. Ask Him to apply what Jesus did on the cross to your account – the wretched life that you have willingly chosen to live apart from His goodness and relying on your own. If you ask Him to save you, He has promised that He will. Embrace Him as your Lord and Master and turn from your sins.

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” John 3:16-19

  2. Don’t Fear People – People can hurt you. People can be your friends. People can make you popular and people can hate you. But, after you die, what people think of you doesn’t matter. All that matters is, “What did God think of you?” or to be more clear, are you lacking in fulfilling all of what God has wanted for your life? If you realize that you can’t, then congratulations! You have realized that which is necessary for you to be saved.But here is the point: if you reject the gospel because you are more concerned about what others think of you than of your own ‘escape from hell’ plan (the gospel, mentioned above), then you are too afraid of people. Don’t let what other people think of you be the thing that foils your escape plan.
  3. Don’t Fear Your Circumstances – If believing the Gospel will result in your having difficulty in this life, make the comparison: Would you rather experience eternity in torment, or would you rather undergo a few ‘bad’ experiences here on this earth for a brief time? I put ‘bad’ in single quotes, because comparatively speaking, the worst on Earth compared to one second in the burning lake of fire is actually cake.
  4. Don’t Be Lazy – Procrastination in eternal matters is the assurance that you will go to the Lake of Fire. Since the possibility exists for you to deal with this issue right now, why not deal with it now? Start with talking to God… Tell Him the things mentioned in point number 1 above.
  5. Be Diligent – Although you can do nothing to save yourself from Hell AND God can do (and has done) everything you need in order to escape from the burning lake of fire, you need to consider this as your primary job until you are certain that you are covered. God has promised that if you do come to Him, He will come to you. He wants you to escape. Do you want it?

There is more that can be written, and more that, by God’s Grace, I will write in the future. Leave your comments below if you have any thoughts.

 

 

Foundations: Family Values

At its core, “Family Values’ are the things that your family treasures. In the process of outworking the Vision Statement and Mission, showing a more practical “what does this look like?” section became important to add. So, below, you will see how I understood the Mission statements to work out – what are the things that we as a family consider valuable given our mission. Here they are:

  1.  We value the worship of God in Spirit and in Truth as seen in obedience to His word, according to the scriptures: The Old and New Testaments interpreted soundly through a literal grammatical historical method of interpretation: The reaching of this value is ultimately seen in regularly attending and participating in a healthy church which pursues these things, as most clearly seen in expository teaching.
  2. We value regular family times that promote Biblical unity, while also celebrating the diversity of gifts, both spiritual and otherwise, skills, resources, interests and aptitudes that God has given His children: Seen in regular fun family ties and unity within the basic doctrines of the Christian faith which appreciates both a diversity of spiritual gifts and individual preferences.
  3. We value spiritual health as seen in regular exposure to Bible reading ourselves and or listening to the scripture in some fashion. We value memorization of God’s Word, thoughtfully considering its application to our lives (meditation), study, teaching and practice.
  4. We believe that gifts given to God should be excellent. We believe that ministry to God should not only be excellent, but also efficient – suitable and appropriating the best means to the best ends.
  5. We value faithfulness to those in our lives in this order: God, Spouse, children, extended family, church (as seen in the entire body of redeemed people), friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens of the city, state, and ultimately the nation.
  6. We value the salvation of our children through being faithful to do all that God requires of us to be and do.
  7. We value the physical health and safety of each other, our children and our relatives – seen in regular and varied personal exercise and an increasing nutritional awareness, while avoiding fads and pseudo-scientific claims to benefits.
  8. We value ministering to others in an attempt to edify and build up the church.
  9. We value financial independence as seen in: A. Working diligently with our own hands B. Meeting our own needs C. Saving in order to help meet the needs of others and D. Continued abundant provision despite economic circumstances. We thereby have the following priorities: A. Eliminating debt as a lifestyle option B. Working diligently to provide profit and value to the home in either a full time job, passive income streams, or a combination of both, based on availability and appropriateness. C. Meeting Biblical priorities as far as gaining sufficient resources in order to facilitate the development and growth of an inheritance being passed to children and to children’s children D. Meeting the needs of the church.
  10. We value keeping our word, even if it hurts.
  11. We value paying for the things we buy.
  12. We value finishing the things we start.
  13. We value people over things – we are engaged in the lives of others to whatever degree appropriate relationships allow.
  14. We value managing our things well.
  15. We value short-term gain for the sake of long-term progress.
  16. We value appropriate and skilled communication.

So, there you have it.

The list could probably be refined in a variety of different areas, but this is as far as I could go up until now.

What family values do you have? Do you have any suggestions as to how these could be improved or refined? I am interested in your thoughts.

Foundations: Head of the Family or Head of the Wife… ?

Ever been in this situation?
It is Thanksgiving. You have enjoyed a delicious meal. Your stomach is still full. Your body tells you that you are going to be feeling really stuffed and almost sick if you proceed. You proceed anyhow. You feel sick the rest of the day. You gain a few more pounds. The cycle continues.
or have you heard of the expression, “I know it in my gut” or, “my gut reaction is this…” or any other similar euphemisms. Interestingly, the gastrointestinal system has as many or more neurons than the brain does… so much so that the gut is referred to as being a second brain, which adds another level of understanding to the whole discussion of the relevance and need of the head.
Much like the body warns the head, but the head acts independently of the warning of the body, a husband can make decisions in the name of leadership, or Thanksgiving, or whatever, and have the outcomes be bad… not a blessing, but a curse. His decisions without considering his ‘body’ can be detrimental to the whole body. But, the body can (and does in many circumstances) act independently of the cognition / will of the head. We see this being played out in the various involuntary behaviors that the body has, such as the heart beating and the eyes automatically focusing.
I have heard many people throughout the years describe the husband as the head of the family. By that, I may take it to mean that he is the representative of the family and the seat of its authority. But, what it often means is that the husband uses the phrase as an excuse to be prime director of the family and the wife is relegated to being no more than another glorified child.
I rarely hear people talking of the scriptural concept of the husband being the head of the wife. To be the ‘head of the family’ to the exclusion of being the ‘head of the wife’ results in role reversal and supplanting the role of the wife. I believe that he does this supplanting to his harm, because he can’t fulfill her role and his at the same time, and do either of them well. My counsel is to get out of the way, and let your wife be your body – enacting your will through her, much like the head enacts its will through the body, but properly working, means what is good for the body is also considered.
My thoughts on this topic stem from seeing how some men treat their wives wrongly and then justify their behaviors by way of saying that they are the head of the family.
“Head of the household” is a Biblical distinction (Acts 16:31) where the husband is the representative of the household. His conversion in this case was an indication, after hearing and responding to the gospel, that salvation was to come individually to all who were in his household corporately. Ephesians 5:32 describes the mystery of creation (male/female) as a picture of Christ and the Church. Christ is certainly the Head of the church, which is also His body.And this body, composed of individuals with unique giftedness(es?) joins together into a beautiful whole- a dynamic unity. There is no male or female in the sense of coming to and being in Christ. But, the male / female designation being removed in Christ doesn’t mean that one’s gender and therefore one’s role is eliminated- rather it is fulfilled.
What really bothers me is that some men in the church at times claim the ‘head of the family’ designation and then behave in a non-Christlike way… They totally supplant and disregard the role of the wife as a co-regent… Devouring her individual giftedness and role designation in the name of leadership. The wife then sheepishly ‘obeys’ out of a so-called submission that isn’t submission at all. What these guys ‘call’ for is actually a truncated view of the wife where she is actually in a demeaned, demoralized and undignified position. They emphasize headship of the family to the neglect of their role as head of the wife. They then proceed with whatever their minds concoct as plans and require submission, regardless of what the wife thinks. These guys often fall into various schemes and afterward find that the wife saw “the train coming” but the husband wasn’t interested in listening… He was too busy being the ‘head of the household’- making decisions solely based on his view of provision / protection to the exclusion of her perspective of the impact that the decisions could make on the life of the family.
I see headship as not replacing the mind/will/intellect of the wife, but rather nurturing her, esp. In the sense of washing with the word. It is neither usurpation nor supplanting. It isn’t even substitution. When I think of headship, I think more along the lines of how a person’s conscience works inside- as a warning light at times and at other times as a lantern… Lighting the way… providing comfort, encouragement, and nurture – not merely a paycheck. The ‘head’ in this sense serves as a check against the imagination and is empowered through the memory and will… But at its best, all of these are working together in harmony.I have noticed that when I remember that I am her head, I am more patient with the questions she asks, and I don’t tend to duplicate tasks that seem to fall more within her sphere (Titus 2)… As an example. I tend to get into more trouble when I am acting apart from her input… She has valuable information I don’t have. The head must communicate with the body in order to function as an entity.As a summation – the problem is that he railroads his wife for the sake of his headship of the family to the exclusion and neglect of his role as HER head. He probably does this as a result of a lack of confidence in his leadership ability. She just becomes another child that he must manage… Rather then entrusting management to her because she is a joint heir with Christ and a co-regent in the marriage.