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Posts Tagged ‘family’

How odd, observed G.K. Chesterton, that many women consider it slavery to be the master of their own home, but working under a man in a place of business to be freedom.

Deception is a foul thing. But it is necessary for the destruction of the family. And so the world uses words like trivial, drudgery, and slavery to describe the work of a homemaker. With one question, the hissing serpent tempts women to doubt the goodness of domestic privilege. “Did God really say that you must be confined?”

Leaving home for a while can be the most wonderful adventure, but not necessarily freeing. Volunteering or working for pay can be rewarding, but not necessarily freeing. Being given a title may be flattering, but not necessarily freeing.

When I leave home to accept a job or assume a public position, I am obliged to work under the expectations and ideologies of someone else who sets the conditions for my labor. My talents and abilities are metered to the tune of an employer or board of directors. In my home, however, I labor not to grow a business or a corporation but to grow hearts and minds.

Never once did I think of my father’s mother or my own mother as being confined to the drudgery of their homes. My grandmother and mom were not free from day-to-day difficulties, but neither were they captive to slavery. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, they were blessed to find contentment in doing their best work from and for their households. They did their husbands good, not harm; they looked to the ways of their children; their lamps burned at night. They made time for hobbies and served in the church and community. Their tables welcomed family and friends. Relationships were strengthened. Neighborhoods were richer for it.

Within my home I am free not to compete with men or other women, but with myself. I am free to create, design, rearrange, make use of culinary skills, practice hospitality, organize, correspond, buy and sell, study, teach, train, mentor, read books, write books, engage through websites and blogs, supplement family finances, welcome neighbors, keep my lamp burning at night, and tell children and grandchildren what God has done.

The home where men and women complement one another in their roles as fathers and mothers is the foundation of a thriving society. A man may build and protect the house, but the woman makes and keeps the home. When chaos threatens, a woman can nurture a calming environment. By way of her quiet and gentle spirit, a woman can win an unbelieving husband for Christ. With grandchildren in mind, a mother in the home sets the moral compass for her children.

The way of the world makes no sense to me. Nor to Anthony Esolen who writes, “We must rid ourselves of the feminist spite that pretends to despise the woman of many talents and many tasks in the home, preferring the specialist who … does one thing well.” Esolen continues:

To do fifty things in one day for which you alone are responsible, for the immediate good of the people you love, is deemed easy, trivial, beneath the dignity of a rational person, but to push memoranda written in legal patois from one bureaucratic office to another, at great public expense and for no clear benefit to the common good, now that is the life. Chesterton put it well when he said that the work of a mother is not small but vast. A teacher would bring to fifty children the arithmetical rule of three, and though that is an interesting thing, it is but small and limited. The mother brings to one child the whole universe. That is no sentimentality. It is exactly true.

It is true that a woman may be needed by her family to temporarily leave the home to help provide for the home. But, writes Esolen, the “home is not a flophouse where we stay and recuperate so that we can go back out and earn money, much of which we burn in the very earning of it.” There is a difference between “money you make for yourself” and money made for the health and well-being of the family.

The world asks: Shouldn’t we save women from the drudgery of home and family? A civilization with eyes on the future asks: Shouldn’t we save home and family by holding in high esteem the home-making vocation of women?

There is hope! There is always hope! The Proverbs 31 woman, wrote St Bernard of Clairvaux, was not praised because she was so magnificent. She was praised for “not being deceived” by the world.

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Jesus sittingJesus has risen! He is risen indeed!

But wait. Has He really? Is what He has said about Himself true? Is what He says about us true? Is anything He says true?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-5, 14).

Doubting this, I am left to struggle with feelings, opinions, and the influence of every power and principality that despises the God of created order. Doubting what Jesus says about Himself, I also doubt what He says about me and my neighbor, sin and salvation, what is good and what is not.

Believing this, I understand that Jesus is God. He is the entire Word—Old and New Testaments— and not just the words printed in red. Jesus Christ is the Word on marriage, sex, family, law (biblical, not Shariah), ethics, character, morality, and love.

“Amen!”  It is so!  With all believers in the Word made flesh I sing:

If Christ had not been raised from death Our faith would be in vain,
Our preaching but a waste of breath, Our sin and guilt remain.
But now the Lord is risen indeed; He rules in earth and heaven:
His Gospel meets a world of need—In Christ we are forgiven.

If Christ had not been truly raised His Church would live a lie;
His name should nevermore be praised, His words deserve to die.
But now our great Redeemer lives; Through Him we are restored.
His Word endures, His Church revives in Christ, our risen Lord.

(Lutheran Service Book,
CPH, St. Louis, MO., p. 486;
Text: Christopher M. Idle)

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Making Gay OkayIn his sane and sensible book, Making Gay Okay, author Robert R. Reilly reveals why and how Americans are being forced to consider homosexual acts as morally acceptable.  He explains the “power of rationalization,” the means by which one “mentally transforms wrong into right,” and the dynamics of tolerating sexual misbehavior.

LGBT activists here in the U.S. push hard for cultural acceptance of sodomy in schools, courts, churches, and the military.  We are labeled “intolerant” if we speak God’s Word that calls the act of homosexuality a sin.  We are labeled “homophobic” or even “hostile” if we voice concern for children, family, and the survival of a thriving society.

U.S. Embassies across the world—in Pakistan, Kenya, Laos, and Prague—have been instructed by the Obama Administration to legitimize sodomy and promote same-sex marriage.  U.S. foreign policy seeks to change the laws of other countries, but there is resistance from nations where homosexual acts are illegal.

Reilly explains, “When the acting ambassador in El Salvador, Mari Carmen Aponte, wrote an op-ed in a major Salvadoran newspaper, La Prensa Grafica, implying that the disapproval of homosexual behavior is animated by ‘brutal hostility’ and ‘aggression’ by ‘those who promote hatred,’ a group of pro-family associations fought back.  On July 6, 2011, they wrote:

Ms. Aponte, in clear violation of the rules of diplomacy and international rights laws, you intend to impose to [sic] Salvadorans, disregarding our profound Christian values rooted in natural law, a new vision of foreign and bizarre values, completely alien to our moral fiber, intending to disguise this as “human rights” . . . . The only thing we agree with from your article, is to repudiate violence against homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, etc.; against these, just the same as against skinny, fat, tall or short . . . . This of course does not mean accepting the legal union between same sex individuals or to add new types of families like bisexual, tri-sexual, multi-sexual and the full range of sexual preferences.  Not accepting the legitimacy of ‘sexual diversity’ does not mean we are violating any human right.  There can be no talk of progress if this is how ‘modern’ is defined.  We prefer to feel proudly ‘old fashioned,’ keep our moral values, preserve our families and possess the clarity of what defines good and evil.”

As for me?  I stand with the pro-family groups of El Salvador.  I pray that I will fear, love, and trust God so that I might love my neighbor without accepting evil as good.  Does this mean that I will be called to discriminate?  Isn’t discrimination bad?  No.  As Reilly brilliantly writes, “The ability to discriminate is, of course, essential to the ability to choose correctly.”

It is not too late to choose correctly.  Bizarre values are not “human rights.”  Inspired by my neighbors in El Salvador, I will persevere for marriage and family.

Making Gay Okay by Robert R.  Reilly,
p. 203, 214

 

 

 

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father & son with hard hatsHere’s the final page from Ezer’s Handbook!

Mentor and Encourage Biblical Manhood

 

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die (Genesis 2:15-17). Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him (Genesis 2:18). Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness . . . urge the younger men to be self-controlled (Titus 2:2, 6).

Honor God’s created order by being a helper. There is no shame in being a helper. In John 24:16, Jesus called the Holy Spirit a “Helper” (Greek: parakletos, “comforter” or someone who appears on another’s behalf—“advocate”). In what ways does a Christian woman help or hinder a man in a dating relationship? In the workplace? In what ways does a Christian wife help or hinder her husband? In what ways does a Christian mother help or hinder the father of her children? In what ways does a Christian mother help or hinder her son?

Mentor sons. A woman is needed to mentor her sons, grandsons and all of the boys God brings into her life. She doesn’t do this like a father. Mom and dads are not interchangeable roles. She is needed to model biblical womanhood, he is needed to model biblical manhood, and both are needed to show the complementary design of marriage for the good of family. A mom models femininity, virtue, modesty in dress and behavior, and respect for her husband. She is not quarrelsome. “Strength and dignity are her clothing . . . she opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness . . . she fears the Lord” (Proverbs 31:25-30). A son needs to see that his mom is not deceived by the world. Recommended resources include Boys Should Be Boys (7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons) by Meg Meeker, M.D.; Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson; Raising Boys By Design by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD and Michael Gurian; and Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young. Encourage dads to do a study of Proverbs 4-7 with their sons. The Lutheran Study Bible (ESV) with commentary provides plenty for discussion. If a dad isn’t present, study these chapters from Proverbs with your son. Help him avoid the “temptress”.  Oh!  That reminds me.  Another resource (how could I forget?) is The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity.  The book is available on Amazon by mid-May.  More than expose the humanistic origin of sex education, it focuses on identity and provides suggestions for parents who want to train children in biblical manhood and womanhood.

Encourage fathers to be heroes and defenders of their daughters. There is much evidence to suggest that girls will wait longer to be sexually active if they have a dad who provides appropriate attention. What does it mean when a father gives his daughter’s hand in marriage? What does it mean when he lifts his daughter’s veil on her wedding day? Recommended reading includes Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker, M.D., and Unprotected by Miriam Grossman, M.D., and my two-part article Dad: A Girl’s First Hero (visit Titus 2 for Life – click on “writings”).

Resist the world’s disdain for patriarchy. Patriarchy is God’s plan to bring order into a sinful and often chaotic world. Men are held responsible for loving their wives and passing on the Truth of Jesus Christ to their children. Martin Luther wrote the Small Catechism, not for pastors to teach, but for fathers to teach their children in the home. Encourage the men of your congregation to use Men, Women and Relationships: Building a Culture of Life Across the Generations, a Bible study I wrote for college-age and older men and women (LFL901BS – CPH) Topics of particular interest to men are “Modern Man”, “The Abuse of Sex”, “Husbands and Wives”, “Heroes in a Culture of Life”, “Bearers and Defenders of Life”, and “Building a Culture of Life”. Each lesson includes a leader’s guide.

Raise the standard for men. The way a woman chooses to dress, speak and act can either raise—or lower—a man’s standard of behavior. Suggest that your women’s group read Christian Modesty and the Undressing of America by Jeff Pollard or check out the books Wendy Shalit has written on modesty. A ten lesson Bible study entitled Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up is available in a reproducible PDF format (LFLDFL) from CPH. I wrote the study to help moms and daughters resist immodest dress not just for their own sake but for the sake of boys and men. The study explains why God said fig leaves weren’t enough, why embarrassment is natural, and why a bride presents herself to her groom in a white wedding dress.

Encourage, respect and appreciate men. Purchase the Bible study Called to Remember (LFL302BS) from CPH. After a number of Titus 2 Retreats, I was asked to respectfully encourage men in their vocation of biblical manhood. This study is but one of many resources for pastors, men’s fellowship, your husband or son, or other male members in your family. The study calls men to accountability while also showing appreciation for their faithfulness. (See also The Men’s Network.) My grandfathers, father, and husband are humbled by their failures, but it is because of their faithfulness that I am more confident, secure and protected as a woman. Feminism speaks ill of men; but there are many women like myself who hold godly men in high esteem. The Book of Man (Readings on the Path to Manhood) by William J. Bennett is a collection of writings by men on work, war, citizenship, women and children, prayer and reflection. Encourage fathers and sons to watch the movie Patriot, The League of Grateful Sons, or Kirk Cameron’s Monumental. Study men like General Thomas Jackson. Jackson’s mother gave him away when he was seven, but he became a man of unbending faith and a Civil War hero respected by students at West Point and those he led into battle.

Visit Titus 2 for Life. Go to the “4 men” page and click on the links to articles that encourage and support biblical manhood. Thank God for humble, praying, and faithfully involved fathers, grandfathers, husbands, sons, pastors and friends.

This concludes a series of nine posts on mentoring. It is my prayer that older women not shy away from mentoring younger women in biblical womanhood so that, together, we might encourage biblical manhood.

Ezer’s Handbook is a resource developed by
Linda Bartlett and presented at Titus 2 Retreats

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students walking to schoolThere is a lot of concern today about bullying.  I remember being bullied when I was in elementary and middle school.  Most of my friends were bullied in one way or another, too.

But bullying has become a political buzzword used by people with a view of children, marriage, family, education, law, and society that opposes God.

In Minnesota, pastors are rallying to speak against a potential “anti-bullying” bill currently under consideration. A close friend of mine is part of this group of men who not only stand upon the wall but, after sounding the alarm, come down to enter the fray.  My friend is a former missionary to Brazil.  He recognizes spiritual warfare.  He serves today as a missionary to former Soviet-occupied countries in Eastern Europe and Russia.  He is aware of manipulative tactics.  My friend knows how societies can collapse upon themselves when evil is not resisted.

What follows is a portion of the letter being sent to pastors in Minnesota.  Would you please take a moment to read it?  I know it matters to me.  Why?  Because my younger son and daughter live in Minnesota with their young family.  Because many young friends of mine have children in the Minnesota public schools.  And because the state now facing an “anti-bullying” law is neither the first nor the last.  Here’s the letter:

We are accustomed to a culture that has historically supported morality and ethics that have flowed out of our Judeo-Christian heritage.  As we are painfully aware these values are crumbling fast. Perhaps out of some discomfort or habit or fear of upsetting some of our members we have remained silent regarding these issues.  Our silence is now being construed as condoning these issues and of having our young students indoctrinated with yet another destructive immorality.

On the morning of January 30, 2014, a group of pastors will gather to become more educated about the “anti-bullying” bill that will come before our legislators in February of 2014. This educational opportunity is designed for our clergy to get first hand knowledge about a proposed law that will directly and profoundly affect our church members as well as our teachers and administrators in both public and private schools.

Many of us were bullied when we were in grade school, middle school and high school. It really didn’t matter if you were tall or short, fat or skinny. Whether you did or did not wear glasses or braces it really didn’t matter. If you were shy or nerdy, pimple faced or buck teethed you were a target for the bully. Most everyone growing up, for one of these reasons or another, was occasionally harassed, intimidated and in other words bullied.

Today, the word bully is the newest political buzzword. Daily, our teachers and school administrators are bombarded with a barrage of a variety of bulling accusations. A new “anti-bullying” bill has already been written and will most likely be brought before our legislators in February of 2014. However, this bill is NOT about stopping bullying. In this legislation it intentionally excludes traditional bullying and only protects those students who are LGBT (an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender). This proposed “anti-bullying” legislation does little to address the universal problem of bullying. Rather, it is disguised as a protection for your child but in reality is just more pressure from the homosexual community pushing their agenda on our culture. You can go to this website and watch a video that will help you better understand what this bill is really about. http://mnchildprotectionleague.com/activist-central/

I have seen the pictures and held the book, It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robbie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, proposed as a part of a curriculum for K-12. You can find it on amazon.com. It has cartoon pictures of grade school children masturbating, naked pictures of young boys and girls, a couple having sex. Why should a 3rd grade boy or girl be exposed to this pornographic material? A pastor would be dismissed if this material were found on his computer.  Yet, Governor Mark Dayton has already agreed to sign House File 826 (HF 826), the proposed “anti-bullying” legislation. Why? Could it be that his real intention is to redefine bullying and to “transform” our educational system? 

Minnesota law already requires schools to implement anti-bullying policies and we have several laws in place to protect every child in our schools. Teachers do not need    another law to follow. Our teachers already have enough to do in the classroom. This bill will only serve to handcuff teachers more and to pit our parents and students against our teachers. What’s more frightening is that this is all done in secret as the parents are not to be informed when their child has been pulled out of the classroom and disciplined for bulling another student. Can this really be true? Yes. I read the proposed bill and that is exactly what it says.

I’m not a citizen of Minnesota.  I suppose I could say that what happens in Minnesota stays in Minnesota.  But I know better, don’t you?

So, I am speaking up… not against people but against ungodly ideas.  Followers of Christ are not called to change the world, but we are called to resist evil and choose life.  The impact is generational.

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parents standing w childrenGod entrusts children to parents.

Parents are called by God to guard the innocence of childhood.  This is a serious challenge in today’s society.  From early on, boys and girls are surrounded by the visual images and messages of a highly sexualized culture.  The Christian parent may feel overwhelmed by their role.  But parents today—as always—are equipped for the job.  The Word of God is sufficient.  The Bible provides all that is needed to help boys and girls respect themselves and others, understand why male and female are not the same but complementarily different, resist temptation, and protect human life from the moment of conception.  When sin and failure occur, the Bible points the way to forgiveness and hope in Jesus Christ.

One topic that perhaps most intimidates and even confuses parents is sex and sexuality.  Sex education sounds like a good idea, especially if it is taught in a Christian environment; however, the origin of sex education is not biblical.  It is founded on a humanistic and secular theory.

A zoologist and follower of Charles Darwin by the name of Alfred Kinsey concluded that children are “sexual from birth” and can enjoy and benefit from early sexual activity.  He believed that society should reflect his “science” by altering its moral codes.  Thirty years of study by researchers such as Judith A. Reisman, PhD., prove that Kinsey’s research was built on sexual experiments by known pedophiles on children ages five-months to 14 years.  The research was both fraudulous and criminal; nevertheless, it accomplished what it intended.  By the 1960s, Kinsey and his followers were recognized as the “experts” on matters of “sexuality.”  Kinsey associates and students opened the doors of SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.) and partnered with Planned Parenthood to aggressively make their way into schools and churches.  Pro-homosexual and pedophilia groups were emboldened.  Over the next fifty years, moral codes based largely on the biblical worldview were dangerously compromised.  Never before had anyone considered a child to be “sexual” in the way that Kinsey meant, but today children are sexualized not only by the media but in sex education, health or “family living” classrooms.  The innocence of children is stripped away in classrooms where boys and girls together learn about their bodies, what their parents do in the bedroom and what it means to live a “sexual” life.

God Calls Us to Holy Living.

God does not call His children to be “sexual.”  He calls His children—of all ages— to be holy.  Therefore, the Bible does not educate in sex, but instructs in purity.

Purity is not prudish.  It is prudent.  Purity is not Victorian and antiquated.  It is God’s plan for children and adults whether married or single.

Purity focuses on our identity as redeemed sons and daughters of God in Christ Jesus.  God says, “Be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).  We are “vessel[s] for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:21).  Daily remembering our Baptism, we see ourselves not as “sexual beings” captive to instinct and desires, but as heirs of the promise and clothed with the righteousness of Christ (Galatians 3:27-29).

Purity is about more than abstinence.  Abstinence says, “No, I can’t be sexually intimate right now.”  But purity says, “Yes, I can be the male or female God created me to be right now.”  Instruction in purity begins with an explanation of biblical manhood and womanhood.  It draws attention to the many ways that male and female, of any age and married or single, can work, worship and serve together without a hint of sensuality.

Purity is about God’s design and order for life.  It is also about mystery and modesty.  God’s Word says, “Do not awaken love or arouse love before its proper time” (Song of Songs 3:5b).  This is why purity must be nurtured in a special garden tucked safely behind a protective fence.  That fence is the boundary of home.  God entrusts the training of children to their parents.  Children trust parents.  The Church supports parents by equipping them with God’s Word of Law and Gospel, the catechism, and models for instruction.

Purity is nurtured in an environment where modesty is preserved.  This is not a classroom where boys and girls together learn about sex or sexuality.  It is nearly impossible to train in purity when intimate topics are discussed between boys and girls in a common and casual manner.  Why?  Because holy people and the behavior God expects from them are not common but, rather, uncommon.

Modesty emphasizes the importance of the sexual organs (which God placed out of view and behind hair, 1 Corinthians 12:23) reserved for the special and honorable use within marriage.  Rather than trying to remove embarrassment (a natural protection from God in a sinful world), adults should do everything they can to maintain modesty.  A father can best explain to his daughter that there is mystery in more clothing rather than less, and that a girl’s behavior can raise—or lower—a boy’s standard of thinking and behavior.  A father can encourage his son to guard a woman’s virtue and lead him away from the “temptress” (Proverbs 7).

Purity grows from the truth of Genesis.  The first man and woman were created in a complementary but different way, each with a unique and vital role.  Purity understands that a man is a good steward (Genesis 2:15) and defender of life (Genesis 16-17) who takes a stand against evil.  The man is to lead, not as lord and master, but as one who goes first to make sure the path is safe.  Purity understands that a woman, as a “helper” (Genesis 2:18) and a “rib” or “pillar” (Psalm 144:12b), is strong and supportive, yet vulnerable to abuse.  Purity understands that a woman, as the bearer of life, has the most at stake; therefore, it places her within protective, yet pleasant boundaries.

These boundaries are drawn by God to respect the physical and psychological differences between male and female.  Woe to those who attempt to erase these boundaries by pretending that boys and girls are “the same”.  Woe to the adults who remove the protective covering of modesty and desensitize children.  Woe to the adults who dangle the carrot of joyful marital union in front of children but then tell them to “wait” for marriage after graduating college and securing a job.

God Gives a Model to Parents.

God has given all parents and grandparents a model for the instruction of purity in Titus 2:3-8. Older men are to mentor younger men by being examples of sobriety, dignity, self-control, sound faith, agape love, and steadfastness.  In addition, older men are to model the sacrificial love of Jesus (Ephesians 5:25).  This love is shown today by men who defend the honor of women, rescue children from abortion, and guard the door of homes.  For a young man, it means treating all girls as he wants his sister, mother, grandmother, and someday-wife to be treated.

Older women are to mentor younger women by being examples of goodness, self-control, purity, homemaking, kindness, and respectfulness for God’s orderly design in marriage.  In addition, older women can contrast the “temptress” with the holy woman who calls attention not to self but God (1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:3-4).

If there is no father present or involved, mothers can point both sons and daughters to their Heavenly Father who is very present and involved in the lives of His children.  Timothy was raised to purity of faith and behavior by his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5).

Parents can be confident in raising sons and daughters to a life of purity.  They need not be intimidated by the world—or by their own past.  Sins that have been confessed to God are forgiven and forgotten.  Parents can show children the way to the Cross every time a wrong choice is made.  Parents, with the help of the Holy Spirit, can help sons and daughters resist the temptations of a self-focused and sensual world.

It is an awesome thing to know that the God who calls us to holiness also saves us when we are not.    Even when all seems lost to sinful people, we can reclaim our purity in Jesus.

Jesus Christ came to live among us.  He experienced human emotions and feelings.  He knows our weakness.  But for our own sakes, He calls us to lives of purity.  Purity does not seek its own way.  It models biblical manhood and womanhood.  It raises standards for behavior and encourages self-control.  Purity guards body, mind and soul.  It lays a foundation for friendship, marriage and family.

Purity anticipates a future of hope.

(Available in brochure format #LFL903T from http://www.cph.org)

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pilgrimsWould you be a Pilgrim for your children or grandchildren?  Would you risk your life for their future?  Many of us believe that the Pilgrims came to America seeking religious freedom.  This is only partly true.  “They also came,” writes Chuck Colson, “because their teenagers were giving them fits.”

Here’s some background.  The Church of England was the established church in 1608.  If a Christian objected to aspects of the “official church,” they were labeled a Separatist and sometimes thrown into prison for worshipping “in their own way.”  A group of those Separatists escaped to Holland in 1608 because they were determined to worship as they believed they should.  William Bradford, age seventeen, was among them.  In his journal, Bradford noted how desperate the Separatists were becoming, not because they couldn’t worship as they wanted, but because it was difficult to make a living.  Labor was grueling and some of the Separatists actually preferred prison in England to liberty in Holland.

It was not, however, the backbreaking work that motivated this group of Christians to leave Holland and set out for America.  It was their children.  Many of the young people who had moved with families from England to Holland were losing their faith.  They were influenced by a licentious culture.  They were lured by evil examples.  They were turning away from their parents and living wayward lives.  The Christians who had escaped from England to Holland now realized it was time to plan a dangerous journey — for the sake of their sons and daughters.

Parents have always had to take a stand against evil in the battle for the souls of their children.  In the case of the Pilgrims, staying in Holland meant watching their children be tempted away from God by saloons, prostitutes and sensual living.  These parents, with their children’s eternal future in view, needed to act.

Perhaps you have thought about becoming a Pilgrim.  Perhaps, because your children are giving you fits, you have entertained the notion of packing them up and moving to a “safe” place away from it all.  But where is such a place?  For a while, the Pilgrims found new land where they could instruct their children in the way of the Lord.  But soon enough, their children’s children were also tempted and giving their parents fits.  That’s how it is with sinful people in a sinful world.

So what is a parent to do?  We may not be able to escape the culture, but we can certainly equip our children for living in it without being of it.  This requires training… training that begins in the home.  Our own as well as theirs.

This Thanksgiving, we can do what the Pilgrims did.  We can look at our children in light of their eternal destiny.  We can be willing to do the hard things that godly parents have always had to do.  We can be faithful… not trusting in ourselves, but holding fast to the Word of Life.

(With appreciation to Chuck Colson
and his devotional How Now Shall We Live, 2004)

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