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Posts Tagged ‘fathers’

candle lightTwo thousand fourteen years ago, God came into this sin-tainted world so that Light would shine in the darkness.

But, today, the darkness seems so oppressive.  Will it overwhelm the Light?”

Sexual immorality abounds. Sensuality is an idol. Girls assume that it’s “normal” to be sexually intimate with boys. Planned Parenthood uses the book Fifty Shades of Gray to explain to 15-year-old girls why sadistic and masochistic sex is “okay” if the girl “gives permission.” Pedophilia is on the rise. Sodomy is tolerated as just another expression of “love.” Marriage is assaulted not just by advocates of same-sex “marriage,” but by adultery, cohabitation, no-fault divorce. Children grow up in homes with their mommy and her boyfriend. Grandchildren see their grandparents “shacking up.”

The darkness seems so oppressive… will it overwhelm the Light?  No!

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 (John 1:1-5).

But aren’t we living in times more dark than any other? Isn’t darkness more oppressive and evil more ominous than ever before? No!

Alvin Schmidt, the author of How Christianity Changed the World, explains that from early on, Christians have found themselves in cultures that, indeed, “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator,” and because of this, “God gave them over to shameful lusts” (Romans 1:25-26). This is how St. Paul described the Greco-Roman society of his day.

Schmidt writes, “By the first and second centuries after Christ, undefiled sexual intercourse, along with marital faithfulness, had essentially disappeared. Not only were adultery and fornication common, but people engaged in all sorts of sexual methods, many of them obscene.”

He continues, “Roman marriages had greatly deteriorated; they had become a ‘loose and voluntary compact [and] religious and civil rites were no longer essential.’ Marriage was ‘detested as a disagreeable necessity.’ Since people had become obsessed with sex, marital unions were very short-lived.” The Latin Church father, Tertullian, “noted that male/female sex relations had become sadistic and masochistic . . . Heterosexual love had turned into a type of sport.” Prostitution, incest, and mutilation were not uncommon.

The world at that time seemed very, very dark. Overwhelmingly dark.

But, writes Schmidt, “into this immoral sexual environment came the Christians with a radically different sexual ethic and lifestyle . . . [W]hen God instituted marriage at the time of creation, He told Adam and Eve that the sex act made a husband and wife one flesh (Gen. 2:24). The one flesh concept required the married couple to be totally faithful to each other.” Schmidt points to a second-century document that describes how the early Christians differed from the pagan Romans by confining their sexual behavior to married life. The document reads: “They [Christians] marry as do all; they beget children . . . They have a common table, but not a common bed” (Epistle to Diognetus).

One would think that the darkness of the Roman culture was so oppressive that Christians would shrink away and take their Light with them.  But, no!

Schmidt writes that “Galen, a Greek physician of the second century, was impressed with the upright sexual behavior of Christians. He said they were ‘so far advanced in self-discipline and . . . intense desire to attain moral excellence that they are in no way inferior to true philosophers.’”

The Christian doctrine and practice of marriage was “so powerful,” writes Schmidt, that historian Edward Gibbon says, “The dignity of marriage was restored by the Christians.”

The dignity of marriage was restored! And there’s more! Schmidt writes, “The dignity and sanctity of marriage that Christianity brought to Roman culture were mostly due to the early Christian women. They appreciated the dignity and worth that Christ’s teachings accorded them” (prior to Jesus’ earthly ministry, women were too often held in low esteem). Women, “more so than men, understood the seriousness of their biological role as bearers of children in God’s created order. Thus, the wedding rite, the precursor to the fulfillment of that role, needed to be conducted with solemnity and reverence.”

Lest we think this is mere speculation on the part of Schmidt or any other historian, here’s what the pagan Libanius said about the dedication of Christian wives and mothers of that time: “What women these Christians have!”

It is no different today.  A woman who sees herself in the Light of Christ can also see her relationships, choices, and behaviors in that same Light.  As she begins to see the seriousness of her biological role as a bearer of children in God’s created order, she can also help her boyfriend, fiancé, or husband understand this, too.  As she contrasts passionate eros love with patient and virtuous agape love (1 Corinthians 13), she can positively influence not only the man in her life but her children and grandchildren.

It is true that the darkness of sin and evil is oppressive.  Marriage is under assault and weakened by every form of sexual idolatry.  But the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  God is faithful to use men and women who trust the Light to make a difference one person, one family, one neighborhood at a time.  Sometimes, as happened in Rome, even seemingly hopeless and depraved cultures begin to look with favor on wives and mothers, husbands and fathers.

Darkness is oppressive, but the Light cannot be overcome.  And in that Light, the dignity of marriage and family can slowly be restored.

I believe it.

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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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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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What follows is an article by John Stonestreet published July 19 in Breakpoint.  I was going to quote John, but you need to read his article in its entirety.  Thank you, John, for sharing the experiences of Timothy Dalrymple and Martin Daubney — for the sake of our sons and daughters.

Writing at Patheos.com, Timothy Dalrymple tells perhaps a familiar story for many: “I first saw pornography by flashlight in an underground fort I had built with my brother and friends,” he said.

When he first looked at those pictures at nine years old, Dalrymple says they were “seared into his mind.” And the way he viewed women was deeply changed.

He explains, “It was not the last time I would see pornography, or naked women when I shouldn’t…Whether they’re photos in magazines, images on the internet, scenes in movies, or stolen glances, their imprint sinks deep into the male mind, it shapes its patterns of thought, and remains there for years, even decades. You cannot unsee them…”

But Dalrymple says all of that changed when he became the father of a little girl. The images remained, but he was forced to ask himself a painful question: What if these images were my child?

That’s the same question Martin Daubney, longtime editor of the British magazine “Loaded,” asked himself when he became a father in 2009. Last month in the UK Daily Mail he told the story of how he spent eight years pushing this “soft porn” magazine to raunchier extremes to compete with rival publications and the internet.

He thought of his work as “harmless fun,” and dismissed his critics as “party-poopers.”

But when his son was born three years ago, Daubney had a crisis of conscience.

“It…changed my views so forcibly that within a year I’d quit a dream job… I started seeing the women in my magazine not as sexual objects, but as somebody’s daughter. To think that girls who posed for our magazine had once had their [diapers] changed, had once been taught to take their first steps and had once been full of childlike hope…it was almost heartbreaking.”

After Martin quit his job and began devoting more time to raising his son, things became even clearer.

“I am ashamed at the way I used to defend the magazine…” he says. “When I edited Loaded, I’d often get asked ‘Would you want your daughter to appear in topless photos?’ and I’d squirm, but I’d feel obliged…to say ‘yes’.”

If asked the same question today, Daubney says he’d have a different answer: “Not on my life.”

Becoming parents drastically changes the way we think about things like pornography because we’re forced to remember that these de-humanized objects are those made in the image of God. As Chuck Colson used to say, and my colleague Eric Metaxas points out in his book on Bonhoeffer, the first step to destroying or abusing human life is always dehumanization.

And that’s why one of the great tasks of the church is to continue sounding wake-up calls whenever we can — to each other and to the culture. Lives are at stake.

And that’s exactly what was done recently by Robert George, co-author of the Manhattan Declaration, and Muslim professor Shaykh Hamza Yusuf in a letter they co-authored to hotel chain executives. In it, they petition for the removal of pornographic movies from hotels by asking the same question Dalrymple and Daubney asked.

“We beg you to consider the young woman who is depicted as a sexual object in these movies… Would you be willing to profit from her self-degradation if she were your sister…[or] your own beloved daughter?”

George and Yusuf are putting a face to pornography, and reminding us that those depicted aren’t just images but real people; and it becomes infinitely harder for us to use them for our selfish pleasure once we see that.

To read this letter, come to BreakPoint.org. And I’ll also link you to today’s “Two-Minute Warning” video. In it, I deal with how deeply pornography and other aspects of our culture’s sexual brokenness have victimized women, and men. It’s part two of our four-part series.

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There’s a soft spot in my heart for boys.  Not surprising considering that I’m mom to two sons and grandma to four grandsons.  This means I’ve been very attentive to the way America treats boys and men.  I do not exaggerate.  The culture is beating up on our boys.

Dr. James Dobson recognized it years ago.  It’s why he wrote Bringing Up Boys before he wrote his book on girls.  It’s why Christina Hoff Sommers wrote The War Against Boys.  But, the war on boys puts girls at greater risk, too.

“If just one sex wins, both sexes lose.”  These words were spoken at a recent event sponsored by the Boys Initiative in Washington.  The group believes that we need to start a national conversation aimed at improving the outcomes for American boys and men in school, work, health, and marriage.

“. . . [W]e have a national crisis, a national security issue, a state-of-emergency issue and a nation at risk,” stated Willie Iles, national director of government relations for Boy Scouts of America and board member of the Boys Initiative.  “If anybody cannot understand that, as we talk about investments and the return on those investments, which are our boys, then it is very clear we are going in the wrong direction.”

Cheryl Wetzstein, a columnist for The Washington Times, notes startling statistics.  “Compared to girls, boys are less educated and more medicated.  One in five men of prime working age is not working.  Men have a life expectancy five years shorter than women.  Male suicide rates start out equal to females, but steadily rise over the lifespan.

America is failing its sons.  Is this not shameful?

There is no time to wallow in despair.  There is work to be done.  It begins with respect and appreciation for boys and girls: equal, but different.  Let’s get over the foolishness that boys and girls are the same.  Each brings to society something good and necessary.  Rather than putting them into competition, let’s help them develop their complementary skills with confidence.    Let’s help them communicate and problem-solve, not in sexuality class, but by teaching skills for life and how to relate.

To my gender, specifically, I say: Let’s boycott women’s study classes at the university, stop laughing at “men are idiots” commercials, and walk away from conversations that put boys and men down.  As mothers of sons, let’s praise the faithfulness of husbands and, when they are unfaithful or uninvolved, point sons to the Perfect Man, Jesus Christ.  Let’s help our sons treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, in all purity.  Let’s explain why we value brave men who protect us from wolves at the door.

Let’s give our boys (and girls) the far-reaching benefits of marriage, home and family.  It is folly for our nation and suicide for our boys to set fire to traditional and real marriage.  A male father and female mother model roles vital to their son’s social survival.    Together, dads and moms help boys channel natural aggressiveness into someday providing for their own families.  For goodness sake, let’s help our boys think and give them work to do.

President Obama has launched a national Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative.  I’ll be honest.  Our boys and men — and, therefore, we girls and women, too — would benefit far more from the mentoring of a caring Christian community.  A community of older men and women who pass on the wisdom of experience, the practice of self-control, and the promise of identity in Jesus Christ.  A community that says, “No thanks” to federal grants or incentives with strings attached.

This momma bear perseveres in defense of America’s sons.  I do this best by assisting those who make the greater difference in the lives of  boys becoming men.  They are the weathered warriors who grip the Sword of Truth.  They are the men who learned their lessons well.  Who fell on humbled knees, then rose to re-engage.  These older men are “sober minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.”   I’ve seen these models of integrity.  I’ve heard their speech and witnessed behaviors that cannot be condemned,  rather put opponents to shame (Titus 2).

For seasoned and honorable men, I am grateful.  Under their tutelage, boys mature in wisdom.  Strength.  Service.

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I’m the mom of two sons.  Aunt of twelve nephews.  Grandmother of four grandsons. Men matter to me.

I’ve lived in the presence of faithful men.  These men — my grandfathers, dad, husband, brother, brother-in-laws, friends — are all aware of their inadequacies.  They know they frustrate.  Disappoint.  Fail.  But, they also seek wisdom in God’s Word.  They find strength in the humility and servanthood of Christ.  Because of this, I trust these men with my life.

There are other men.  Abusive, undisciplined, selfish men.  Men who have never been taught God’s Word for their life or rejected it.  These men have no concept of chivalry.  Instead, they dominate.  Worship self.  Fall to evil rather than good.  I could not trust them.  The women in their lives don’t.

A Biblical man stands in contrast.   The man who knows God as the Creator of male and female persons appreciates woman as his helper, not his possession.   The man who knows that God came to walk among us recognizes Jesus’ high regard for women.   A man familiar with the Word knows he was not made in the image of animals, but in the image of God.  Though fallen from that perfect image, he has attributes and characteristics of his Maker.  He is capable of thinking out his actions, weighing the consequences, and controlling his behavior for the benefit of family and society.

A godly man recognizes the leadership style of Christ.  Jesus laid down His life for His bride, the Church (Eph. 5:25).  He accepted responsibility.  On earth, Jesus was tempted.  The devil came to Him.  Tried to play with His mind.  Tease the flesh.  Even quoted Scripture.  The devil went away, then returned to tempt again.  But, Jesus stood firm.  The Christian man knows he, too, will be tempted.  Over and over again.  There is struggle in this world.  Knowing the battle is for the souls of his children, a father holds tight the Sword of Truth.  He wields its Law and Gospel with proper discernment.  This is a man of hope.

The man who wants to make a positive difference helps reconnect earthly fatherhood with the heavenly model.  The Heavenly Father is neither passive nor preoccupied.  He does not abandon His creation, but is involved with and committed to His children.  The Heavenly Father brings order out of chaos.  Sees male and female as equals, but delights in their differences.  Does not mentor girls in the same way as boys.   Sets boundaries for the protection of those He loves.  Explains the consequences of every choice — good or bad.  Pursues the lost.  Knows the desperate.  Welcomes all to lay the burden of every sin at the foot of His Son’s Cross.  Forgives.  His mercy in Jesus Christ is new every morning.

So, on Father’s Day — and with appreciation for faithful men — I promise my help.  My encouragement.  My supporting role as a rib.  Faithful men are needed by women.  Wives.  Sons.  Daughters.  Civilization itself.

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A woman who faces the reality of her abortion is in need of someone else whom God has named.  That person is you.  It is me.  We are her friends.  Comforters.  Encouragers.  We are imitators of the Good Shepherd who walks beside the heavy-hearted through a dark valley toward “goodness and mercy.”  A mother who mourns the loss of her child needs a Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18).

You and I must take care not to soften the seriousness of sin.  This devalues the magnitude of God’s forgiveness, bought and paid for by the sacrificial life and death of Jesus Christ.  At the center of our forgiveness stands the Cross of Christ.  Forgiveness is costly.  Our forgiveness cost the innocent Son of God His life.  There is no forgiveness without blood being shed, without paying a price, without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  But, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, sin cannot defeat us.

Peter, a follower of Jesus, sinned greatly, but he confessed his sin and received God’s forgiveness.  Through Jesus’ forgiveness the Holy Spirit enabled Peter to live a changed life.  That same power of the Holy Spirit works through the Gospel to change our lives — to enable us to live lives that reflect God’s love for us and withstand the temptation of Satan, the world, and our sinful flesh.

You and I can love and accept people burdened by their sin, but only God, in Christ, can heal them.  A woman who’s suffered an abortion may believe that God has forgiven her, but has difficulty forgiving herself.  Jesus is the key that opens the door and sets all sinners free.  What was the process for David in Psalm 51?  David was sorry for his sin, confessed that sin, turned from that sin, received God’s forgiveness, and was restored from sin.  Then he rejoiced over God’s healing touch of forgiveness and was eager to witness to others of God’s great forgiveness.  You and I can assure those who grieve that the memory of their aborted child will remain with them, but,

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Word of Hope is a ministry of hope and healing after abortion.  I have volunteered with this ministry for many years.  We know that God has called each child by name.  We grieve their loss, but entrust them to God.  We also know that He has called every mother, father, grandparent, and care-giving friend by name.  May we encourage all in a manner that honors the One who named us.

If you would like to talk with Grace Kern at Word of Hope,
please call (888) 217-8679 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (888) 217-8679      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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