How Western Career Women Create Motherless Villages At Home And Abroad

While leftist women in the West push for less family structure and more centralized child support, they disrupt not only their own families but also families around the world.

How Western Career Women Create Motherless Villages At Home And Abroad

May 25, 2019

There are motherless villages in Indonesia where so many women have entered domestic service overseas that their whole communities of children grow up unmothered. Living with relatives, or old enough to take care of their own siblings, these children receive remittances from distant mothers. The women are hired as domestic help and, in doing the work for other families, they can’t afford to personally take care of their own.

Mothers who work for wealthy families in countries far from their own are an international underclass of women without whom the world’s upper-class women who strive to have it all could not even attempt it. The only way wealthy mothers can unburden themselves of motherhood and pursue their economic value in the workforce is if there is an underclass of women who do the work of mothering, for which their families pay a high price.

While leftist women in the West push for less family structure and more centralized child support, they disrupt not only their own families but also families around the world.

International Disruption of Families

The story on motherless villages, reported by Haryo Bangun Wirawan for the BBC, is captivating due to its contrast with the policies and practices of wealthy motherhood. Wirawan documents the kids and families left behind when mothers leave for work, and the painful reunions when mothers come home and their children barely recognize them.

These mothers feel they have no choice but to set off for foreign work, and Indonesia is not the only country where this happens consistently. In China, women leave their children with their parents in rural areas and go to work in cities, sending money home and rarely returning. Mothers from Central and South America routinely venture north without their children to find work and send money home, in hopes of eventually sending for their children.

I’ve seen the effects of this firsthand. A young man I once knew was new to the area. He and his younger brother had only joined his mother and father in the United States within the past two years. His English was spotty, but he was smart, and a strong learner. He longed for his grandmother in South America, who had raised him since he was five.

When I spent time with him and his mother, it was so clear how much his mother loved him, adored him, and wanted to be close to him, yet how difficult it was to bridge the gulf between them. She reached out, her smile full and welcoming, but he was wary. He wanted to be close to her, but he was afraid to trust. She had not wanted to break up the family for the sake of wages, but she’d done what was best for them given the selection of bad options.

It is understandable that these mothers sacrifice so much for their children, even their relationships with them, to provide for them. Mothers will do whatever it takes, even to their own personal detriment. That is what it is to mother. If going into domestic service overseas were the best chance for our children, it would be hard to look at them every day knowing there was something you could do to better their lives.

Those Who Outsource Mothering Are Complicit

But what about the women and families these international domestic workers serve? The women and families that take on these workers facilitate motherless villages. Mothers and families who also aspire for even more could not reach out for that high-hanging fruit without a steady influx of cheap labor.

The stigma against working mothers that was prevalent in the 20th century has switched over to a prejudice against the moms who mother full-time. Many people think that full-time mothers are not fulfilling their economic potential. They are depicted as wine-swilling MILFs who resent their responsibilities and neglect housework.

Social media posts from full-time mom friends often belabor the real work they do in service to home and family, just as they speak about how much they’d like to get out and take some classes or worry about their prospects of obtaining work after their children are grown. The prevalence of divorce, its uncertainty within the marriage promise, helps to fuel the insecurity of a woman’s role in the home. If a woman can’t trust that her work within the home will be valued in the marketplace into which she may again find herself, it becomes that much harder to dedicate herself fully to family and home.

Lately, there has been a push for government-subsidized child care options in the United States. While women advocate for others to pay for their child care so they can attend to their economic potential, other mothers fill the gaps, leaving their own children in the care of still someone else. As a working mom myself, and the child of a mom who worked, I am in favor of women pursuing their potential, but it’s not acceptable to do so on the backs of mothers who can’t make any other choice.

Liberation Can’t Mean Oppressing Others

This effort to liberate women to pursue their economic value is in the name of equality. But women don’t end up liberated; they end up more like international oppressors. One group of women is liberated at the expense of another.

African-American women have spoken out about this trend for decades, since they have historically taken on the role of mothering for many American families, and the evidence of their accuracy is splashed all over American film, television, fiction, and of course, backed up in history. Now, those same jobs are being outsourced internationally.

These women are not only taking care of children as nannies, but they’re also being employed as surrogates. With western women being liberated from motherhood from the womb through high school graduation, one wonders why they’d even want to engage in the practice at all. And many of them don’t. Birth rates are down, abortion is shouted as a social good, and women have fully embraced their role as hard-working cogs in the capitalist machine.

American women protest in costumes from “The Handmaid’s Tale” because abortion rights are being curtailed by voters, but the real handmaids are those in the developing world bearing and then raising the children Western women won’t. In the advocacy for more freedom for women to enter the workforce without worry for their children, the trend of women not raising their own children trickles down globally.

If American women want equality, it must be global equality. We can’t gain our freedom by exploiting those who are willing to trade it for their children’s future. A better answer than increasing outsourced child care is to make it more possible for women to mother their own children. Women should stop demanding liberation from motherhood, and everyone should acknowledge motherhood’s importance to society.

Libby Emmons is a writer and theatre maker in Brooklyn, New York. She is co-founder of the Sticky short play series, and blogs the story of her life at li88yinc.com.

https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/23/western-career-women-create-motherless-villages-home-abroad/

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Why the Word Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us

In the beginning was the Word,” John famously opens his gospel, “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). That’s a powerful and mysterious introduction to our Savior, but what does it mean? We’re used to calling Scripture the Word of God, which makes more sense since it has a bunch of, well, words in it. But what does it mean to call Jesus the Word of God? It’s really a strange title, but the apostle John is drawing on a deep Old Testament understanding when he refers to Jesus in this way.

THE AGENT OF CREATION

God’s “word” is the agent of creation. That’s why the psalmist praised, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Psalm 33:6), and Peter called God’s people to recognize that “by God’s word the heavens came into being” (2 Peter 3:5 NIV). The author of Hebrews rejoiced, “The worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Heb. 11:3).

“Though many people think the New Testament created this concept out of thin air, its roots are actually grounded deep in Old Testament soil.”

 

All these authors are riffing on Genesis 1. When God began to build the world, He did not pull out a hammer and nails to start constructing but instead simply spoke: “Let there be!” And there was. I can barely get my kids to clean their room, but God communicates and creation coordinates around His voice. Like the decree of a mighty king, our Creator’s word is powerful. When God speaks, things happen. This means Jesus is the agent of creation. As the Word of God, He is the one through whom “all things came into being,” according to John 1:3. Jesus is the pulsating power of God, the life-giving center through which all things hold together.

A VEHICLE OF COMMUNICATION

For us, words are primarily a vehicle of communication. Imagine I’m at a coffee shop and, seeing someone I’ve never met, begin to guess from across the room, I bet his name is Bill. He’s probably an architect, and I’ll wager he’s single and likes playing golf.But then he walks across the room, introduces himself and tells me he’s a doctor who’s been married for 12 years, has three kids, and is a passionate equestrian. I was all wrong. But I didn’t know it until he spoke. His words reveal what’s within—they take the “internal” and make it “external” and let me in on who he is. Without that, it’s all just guesswork done from afar.

Similarly, God’s words reveal who He is. “The word of the Lord” comes to God’s people throughout the Bible—particularly in the prophets’ writings—to let them in on God’s perspective. And this word is tied to His character, “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does” (Psalm 33:4 NIV). So our confidence is grounded in the revelation of who God is, like that of the psalmist who sang in difficult circumstances, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word” (Psalm 119:114). God’s speech gives us courage to trust in God’s character.

Our Creator communicates the core of who He is through Christ.

Jesus is God’s deepest communication to us. Without Him, we’d be guessing what God is like from across the universe, our imaginations coming up with all sorts of crazy things that are not actually true. But when “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14), God walked across the room and said, “Let Me sit down and tell you who I really am.” Our Creator communicates the core of who He is through Christ.

Jesus not only is the Word of God; He also brings us the words of God, telling His disciples, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). Isn’t that crazy? When the words of God’s Word—the speech of Jesus—take root in us and indwell us, we can approach God with boldness, because God’s very presence dwells in the power of His words.

A COMMUNION OF LOVE

John says the Word was not only with God but also was God. This is interesting. Think about your words for a moment. They are identified with you and yet are distinct fromyou. Your words can take on a life of their own, in a sense, as they proceed from your mouth. However, they have no life on their own, because they cannot exist independently without you.

When we encounter Jesus, we’re not simply meeting a messenger from God but rather are coming in contact with God’s very presence.

Jesus both proceeds from God and isGod. As the eternal Word, He is both distinct from the Father and identified with the Father. Their identity is inextricably intertwined. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” Jesus tells us later in John, for “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me,” and “I and the Father are one” (John 14:9John 14:11John 10:30 NIV). Jesus is not just someone who’s been with God, but someone intimately identified as God.

This brings us to the mysterious and beautiful realm of the Trinity—the historic Christian doctrine that proclaims God is an eternal communion of love. The Father, Son, and Spirit are the one God. Though many people think the New Testament created this concept out of thin air, its roots are actually grounded deep in Old Testament soil.

The Hebrew Scriptures present many of God’s attributes—like His wisdom, name, and glory—in ways that are identified with God yet distinct from Him. Wisdom, for example, is personified as a character with God at creation and through whom God created the world (Prov. 8:22-31). Likewise, the “angel of the Lord,” a frequent figure people regularly interacted with in the Old Testament, was an independent messenger from God, yet He responded to the name Yahweh (Gen. 16:13Gen. 32:30Judg. 6:11-23). Similarly, when we encounter Jesus, we’re not simply meeting a messenger from God but rather are coming in contact with God’s very presence.

WHEN AUDIO BECAME VISUAL

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the audio became visual. The very first time the phrase “word of the Lord” appears in the Old Testament is in Genesis 15:1, when “the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision.” This phrase is strange, both in English and the original Hebrew. Words are audiological, but Abram encounters God’s voice as something visual. The word is something he “sees.”

The eternal Word took on flesh and bone, assuming the fullness of our humanity, for us and our salvation.

The same thing happens when Samuel is called as a prophet; the “word of the Lord” comes to him as a “vision” (1 Samuel 3:11 Samuel 3:15). Ezekiel also encounters “the word of the Lord” as a dramatic vision of God (Ezek. 1:3). With the coming of Christ, however, something even more dramatic happened. He wasn’t just a vision of God but a face-to-face, flesh-and-blood encounter. When “the Word became flesh,” the Savior took on skin (John 1:14).

The word incarnation has at its root the Latin carne, or “meat.” (It’s the same word in carne asada, my favorite kind of taco.) And like an animal in the temple, the Savior served as the Lamb of God, sacrificed to atone for the sin of the world. The majesty of the incarnation is that divinity became physical; the eternal Word took on flesh and bone, assuming the fullness of our humanity, for us and our salvation.

God has skin in the game. Literally. The incarnation means God is fully invested in and committed to us. This is the power of the Word made flesh. Our Creator was willing to do whatever was necessary to become our Redeemer. God communicated His great love for us by entering the fullness of our condition—all to welcome us back home into the triune God’s eternal communion of love.

Illustration by Adam Cruft

Related Topics:  Trinity

Original here

VIDEO Noah: A Preacher of Faith

 

Hebrews 11:7

All right, let’s turn to Hebrews chapter 11…Hebrews chapter 11 and we’re going to look at Noah and the work of faith, the great story of Noah is summarized in one verse, verse 7 of Hebrews 11, “By faith, Noah being warned by God about things not yet seen in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household by which he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

Now one of the things you would note from that is you just read a Bible verse that condenses Genesis 6, 7, 8 and 9…in that sense, it is a very cryptic verse, it assumes that you know the story. And that’s a fair assumption because after all, this book was written to whom? To whom? Hebrews. They knew the story, they were extremely familiar with the story. In fact, the whole chapter is cryptic, the references to Abel, brief. The references to Enoch, brief. The references to Noah, brief. A little more detail with regard to Abraham and Sarah, references to Moses relatively brief, references to others, brief. And in verse 32, you just have names, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets.

So the assumption here is that these people know the Old Testament. They’re familiar with these characters and their stories. And certainly every Jew was familiar with the astounding story of Noah. Noah is the next in the list of faithful men, men whose lives were marked by faith. I remind you that James said, “Faith without works is dead.”What he meant by that is true faith is supported by action. And Noah is certainly the classic illustration of that fact in the Old Testament. His action of faith is in some ways more remarkable than anyone else. The Bible everywhere and always teaches that men come to God by faith alone and then go on to live in faith, that simply means to take God at His Word and trust in that Word as true. Never by works or self-effort, or ceremony, moral achievement do you reach God.. You always come to God by faith. It has always been so, it has never been any different.

But when the gospel of grace and the gospel of faith came along, being preached by Christ and the Apostles, it seemed to the Jews of that day like a new message because Judaism which, of course, originally was a message of salvation by grace through faith had been corrupted into a system of works. The Hebrews had been exposed their whole lives to a kind of Judaism that taught that you attain salvation by your efforts, your moral efforts and your religious efforts. And while there were some godly believing Jews, they were but a remnant. And the Jews in general had been taught that salvation comes by works.

God hated that, as He always does. But the Jews had placed their hopes in nationality, circumcision, possession of the Law, conformity to the Law, observance of ritual, all the externals. And maybe the model of that, the most well-known model of that would be the Apostle Paul, right? He was circumcised the eighth day of the tribe of Benjamin, a zealous Jew as measured against the Law, openly blameless, a traditionalist…which he thought was gain to him. But when he found the true gospel of faith and grace through Christ, he said it was nothing but rubbish.

The theme of salvation has always been grace. And that’s the whole point of the chapter, to say to these Hebrews,“This is not new, this is old,” and the lead in to chapter 11 comes, as you’ve noted if you’ve been with us, in verses 38 and 39 where the writer of Hebrews quotes from Habakkuk 2:4, “The just one shall live by faith.” Faith has always been God’s way. It has never been any different than that.

So the gospel of grace and faith is not new. And the rest of chapter 11 makes the message crystal-clear by giving us a list of all those who can be classified as men and women of faith. The means of righteousness, both in the New Covenant and the Old Covenant was faith.

Now we have seen the example of Abel and the life of faith. We’ve seen the example of Enoch and the walk of faith. And now we come to Noah and the work of faith. Noah’s story is really amazing. And in verse 7 you just get a very brief summary.

The writer of Hebrews knows they know the story. Most of you know the story, but some of you may not know and the story really needs to be told in its fullness, or you’re not going to know what this verse is talking about because there aren’t any details here. The only detail here is that he prepared an ark. We don’t even know for what. It refers to things not yet seen. What things not yet seen? And how did he condemn the world? And how did he become an heir of righteousness?

So in order for us to get the full account of Noah’s faith, we have to go back to the great story. Now what begins the verse is the first thing to be known. “By faith, Noah being warned by God..” He had nothing to go on but what God had said. He had nothing to go on but the Word of God. And God told him something was going to happenthat had never happened in the history of the world. Was Noah going to believe this? Was he going to be committed that what God said was in fact true.

Let’s go to the story back in Genesis chapter 6. It is, in some ways, the most remarkable Old Testament illustration of faith and one of the most remarkable in all of history because of what it involved. Now let’s go down to chapter 6 and verse 13…Genesis 6:13.

“Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me for the earth is filled with violence because of them and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.”

God comes to Noah and tells him He’s going to destroy the entire earth. About 1500 or more years have passed since the creation, the story of man on earth had just gotten worse and worse and worse and worse since the Fall.Sin is frankly running rampant. It is an ever-increasing escalating offense to God and so God delivers a decree that He’s going to destroy the whole earth and then goes on to say specifically by water He is going to drown the human race, sparing only Noah and his family and no one else. As in verse 18, “I will establish My covenant with you and you shall enter the ark, you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.”

Now this is the most remarkable judgment event in the Old Testament, the destruction of the entire human race,with the exception of eight people. History tells us that God will judge sinners. The Bible tells us that God will judge sinners. And He does and He judges every sinner one at a time. It is appointed unto man once to die and after this, the judgment. Every sinner faces the judgment of God, one sinner at a time. But periodically there are these massive judgments. For long periods of time, God leaves sinners to their own devices and the fulfillment of their own desires, and then suddenly and devastatingly intervenes in human history in cataclysmic fashion. This in human history is the greatest of all cataclysmic judgments. It is the second most astounding event in the Old Testament, the first and most astounding event in the Old Testament is the creation, the creation of the entire universe in six days. This is next to that as a monumental event.

Now we don’t have the time to go through all the detail. We have done that in a study of Genesis and you can get a hold of that, you can download that, if you want, on an MP3 file or you can get the CDs or whatever you want from Grace To You and go through the details of this judgment. But for us, for this time, we’re just going to look at what God said He was going to do, what He asked Noah to do an dhow Noah demonstrated his faith.

What brought about this judgment by God? Let’s go back to verse 5…Genesis chapter 6 and verse 5. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He made man on the earth and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things to birds of the sky, for I am sorry that I have made them.’”

That was what did it. God saw that the iniquity, the wickedness of man was great on the earth. It was so sweeping that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. This is chronic rather than spasmodic.Every thought, every idea, every motive, every imagination and therefore every deed, the result of every thought was an expression of the fallenness of man, the depravity of man.

Verse 11 adds, “The earth was corrupt in the sight of God and the earth was filled with violence.” By the way, the Hebrew word for violence is chamas, used of abuse of people and general rebellion. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, translates that as adikia, unrighteousness.

Verse 12, “God looked on the earth and behold, it was corrupt for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.” You’ve probably noticed the onlys and the alls, there’s a sweeping condemnation of judgment.

Verse 6 tells us that the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth and He was grieved in His heart. This is a kind of anthropomorphic statement. God doesn’t undo anything He does and He doesn’t do things that He wishes He hadn’t done in the truest sense, but this is to express an anthropomorphic emotion that God regretted what He had done…similar to the statement our Lord makes about Judas. “It would have been better for that man if he had never been born.” This is a kind of Hebraic way to express consummate grief.

So verse 7, the Lord says, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land from man to animals to creeping things to birds of the sky for I’m sorry I made them.” Blot out…that is a very strong Hebrew word,machah, precise, graphic language, it is a word that expresses the idea of erasing something. That is to say, removing it all together. I will erase man from the planet, a promise of wholesale death and destruction.

Now that gets us back to verse 13. God then speaks to Noah and tells him, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. Behold, I’m about to destroy them with the earth.”

There’s one incident in the beginning of this chapter, the opening four verses, that tells you how bad it was, that people literally welcomed demons to come into them, men welcoming demon-possession, cohabitating with women and the fruit of that was satanic alliances, horrendous children that carried on the wickedness to its extreme levels.

So here God speaks in verse 13 for the first time personally to Noah. He will speak to him three more times,chapter 7 verse 1, chapter 8 verse 15, chapter 9 verse 1. And the message that He gives to Noah is this message of massive, massive judgment.

You know, it must have been so staggering for Noah to hear this. There were millions of people in the world by this time. We can’t know the exact number but I’ve heard everything from eight million to a hundred million. I mean, the world is densely populated. In the first place, people lived for nine hundred plus years and you can produce a lot of children in that amount of time. Just to believe that this is actually going to happen is certainly an act of faith. There must have been something in him that would sort of parallel the skeptics that Peter tells us that when they hear about the Second Coming say, “That’s never going to happen, all things continue as they were from the beginning.” The same kind of skepticism must have existed in the mind of Noah, at least at one point when he talked to himself, but everything goes along normally the same way. How can this possibly be?

And if that’s hard to swallow, try this on. Verse 14, “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood. You shall make the ark with rooms and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.”

Now God hasn’t told Noah how He’s going to destroy the world yet, right? He just says in verse 13, “The end is coming. I’m going to destroy the whole human race.” Noah doesn’t know how. So He gives him a command without an explanation. The explanation doesn’t come until verse 17, “I’m bringing the flood of water upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall perish.”

So at the beginning, God says to Noah, “Build a big box, ark, tebah in Hebrew. The word is used throughout the flood narrative and it really means box, or chest. It’s not shaped like a boat, it’s not shaped like a ship. It has no propeller. It has no pilot. It has no sails. It has no rudder. It has no captain. It has no navigator. It’s a box. And, by the way, it’s only used this word one other time in the Old Testament and it is used in Exodus chapter 2:3 through 5 to describe the box that baby Moses was put in, to float down the Nile. God used a box to save Moses so he could save Israel. God used a box to save Noah so Noah could save the human race.

In both cases, the box was a refuge from death t o provide a future in one case for Israel, and another case for the human race. The Ark of the Covenant is a different Hebrew word all together.

Now God then says, “Make a box,” back to verse 14, “make it of gopher wood.” We don’t have any idea exactly what that is. There’s some suggestions as to what it is. It appears nowhere else in Scripture. It may have been a kind of a cedar pine which was plentiful. Now remember, Noah was not a ship builder and this wasn’t a ship, this was a box. This is an immense task, he can’t do it on his own, very likely, even with three sons helping him. He would have to had to hire multiple carpenters and design people to effect this thing and to move around the pieces of this giant box. And He says, God does, “You shall make rooms, compartments, or dwellings.” Likely they numbered in the thousands. “And then cover it inside with pitch.” And that is a kind of calking substance. Pitch, by the way, is related to the Hebrew verb to smear, smear it, seal it so it doesn’t leak.

Then verse 15, it gets very interesting. “This is how you shall make it.” Now if he’s thinking of a box just for him and his family, hey, that would be an 8 by 10 would do. He doesn’t know what the box is for. “This is how you are to make it. The length of it is three hundred cubits, the breadth, or width is fifty cubits and the height is thirty cubits.” That’s 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, 45 feet high. This is not a design for speed. This is not a design for easy guiding. This is a design for stability. It is the largest vessel ever built until the nineteenth century when giant ships were built because steel was used, iron was used. The largest ship ever built was launched by the P. & O. Line, it was called the Himalaya. It was 240 feet long. That was t he largest ship in history.

Later that year, in 1858, they built the Great Eastern which was almost 700 feet long, a massive ship. And when that ship was built, historians say it was five times the tonnage of any ship before it. So big that it was bigger even than ships that were built after it was built.

So when you back all the way back thousands of years to the time of Noah, this is far larger than any ship anyone would have ever imagined or conceived of…unheard of to build a box this big. In 1844 Brunell built the Great Britain which was 320 feet by 51, by 32. What’s interesting is, the people who study the ratios of ships understand that all these ratios are similar. When you come to modern ship building in the nineteenth century, the ratios are the same as the ratio for the ark. At a ratio of about six to one, length to width because God knows about stabilityand later ship builders even today will tell you six to one to eight to one is required for stability.

The ark then is way ahead of its time. Nobody would have understood this kind of design, another indication of the divine nature of Scripture. Its length is six times its width and keeps it stable in the midst of tossing seas. As a rectangle it has more stability and because it’s a rectangle and doesn’t have pointed ends and then rounded sides,it is one third larger in capacity than a similar sized ship with a hull. The gross tonnage, 1415 thousand tons. The internal space, a hundred thousand square feet. The volume, 1.5 million cubic feet. It’s a massive boat.

Some have calculated that the capacity is equal to five hundred and twenty-two boxcars. And each boxcar can carry 240 sheep so you could carry in this box a total of 125 thousand sheep. The reason people calculate that with sheep because sheep would be a sort of average sized animal…some smaller, some larger. So it could handle as many as 125 thousand animals.

Thousands of compartments are built in this massive box to house, at this point, no one knows not what, but it’s certainly sufficiently large to carry what the Lord finally tells him it’s going to carry, two of every species of animal in the world. And then enough space for Noah and his family and some additional animals for sacrifice and food.Only supernatural revelation could so design a ship of that size, of that dimension to contain that population of animals.

Now when God gives Noah the command to do this, it is 120 years until the Flood. This is what you would call a long-term project. Did he start building immediately when God commanded him? Well it’s very likely he started thinking about building, and then he had to figure out how to build. And then he had to try and find some people who could design a building like that, a box like that. We don’t really know how long it took to build it but the assumption could be he probably started very early and began to put the design together and thoughts togetherand then to assemble the components and begin to build.

There are people who think that the Flood story is a fictional invention. It’s pretty hard sell because of the precision with which the dimensions of this ship are designed. Now what God told Noah to do was to build a flat-bottom barge with no rudder. And you would ask yourself, “What in the world would I be doing that for?”

Well God gives him more detail. “You shall make a window,” verse 16, “for the ark. Finish it to a cubit from the top.”Now the best way to understand that is probably that the roof overhangs the box and just below the roof there’s an opening all the way around for much needed ventilation…as you would imagine. The origin of the word used here for window, tsohar, is very obscure but it seems to connect with sources that mean light. The thing would be dark if there wasn’t some light coming in. Though it is very likely that below the overhanging roof there was an opening between the beams that held the roof up. An opening 18 inches wide between the roof and the sides of the ark just under the roof and interrupted only by the posts, providing ventilation and light, set back under the roof so that the rain wouldn’t come in. Set the door on the side of it, he is told. “Set the door on the side of it andyou shall make it with lower and second and third decks.” One door.

Now in this box, Noah doesn’t know it, he’s going to spend a year. He’s going to spend a year floating over a drowned planet.

This is a cruise without a stateroom, without a porter in the most primitive conditions imaginable. This is a year in a stable. But there’s enough room here with three different floors and thousands of compartments for everything.

Why am I doing this? Verse 17, “Cause I’m going to bring the flood of water upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life; from under heaven everything that is on earth shall perish.” I love this beginning,“Behold, I, even I..” Supernatural judgment is coming. I’m doing this. I’m going to drown the world.

The word “flood of water” is a technical term, mabbul, that is used only in Genesis 6 through 9. It is as if God picked a word exclusively to describe the Flood. It has one other use in Psalm 29:10. His purpose is to destroy all air-breathing creatures, everything excluding those in water who will survive. Everything that is on the earth shall perish.

This is not a local flood. This is a worldwide Flood. And if we had time we can go through the rest of the story and see how it has to be a worldwide Flood because all humanity on the face of the earth dies. Chapter 7 verse 23,“He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the earth from man to animals to creeping things, to birds of the sky, they were blotted out from the earth and only Noah was left together with those that were with him in the ark.”

We also know that it was a worldwide flood because of the depth. It couldn’t be a local flood because it coveredMount Ararat and Mount Ararat is more than 17,000 feet high. Simple mathematical calculations will tell you that if the flood rises to above 17, 000 feet, it doesn’t go down like that. It spreads over the planet. We know it’s a worldwide flood because its duration is 371 days, a year. And it is the reason why I have on my desk a seashell found about two miles east of my house in Santa Clarita. What’s a seashell doing in Santa Clarita? What are sea animal artifacts doing all over the Grand Canyon? And why do you find a buried mastodon in the tundra in the northern edge of Russia frozen and when uncovered, dug up and the content of his stomach examined, his stomach is full of tropical plants? This is a universal flood.

By the way, I have a tusk from one of those mastodons, pre-Noah. Pretty neat. And by the way, the piece of the tusk that I have is carved by a man in a hut on the northern edge of Siberia and he carved it into a mastodon. The massive flood.

The Bible is clear when it discusses the theology of the Flood, that this is a universal flood because it compares it to the coming destruction. Second Peter 3 it tells us that in the way that God destroyed the world by water, He will destroy the world by fire. And that is a universal destruction in both cases.

So there’s lots of indications that this is a worldwide flood. And the most obvious one is that is exactly what the Bible says, only eight people survived. There’s a promise and I read it to you in verse 18, “I’ll establish My covenant with you,” this is the first time covenant appears in Scripture, it is a covenant with Noah and his family, to spare them. “And of every living thing and all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark.” Now he’s starting to get the details of why the box is so big. “Keep them with you alive, male and female, of the birds after their kind,of the animals of their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground of its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.”

You know, that would be my first question when I heard the part about you’re going to bring two of every kind. You immediately say, “Just exactly how am I going to do that? How am I going to get two of every king of animal,bird, creeping thing into this thing?”

A little further information tells us that they will come…they will come. God is going to gather them. This is an astounding responsibility. This is a great opportunity to exercise a little doubt, wouldn’t you say? “ Are you kidding me? A flood? What is that?” There had never been one. “Rain? What is that?” There never had been any. Up to this point, a mist watered the earth, there was a canopy around the globe. It was all a tropical environment. There were no seasons as we know them. There were no ice caps on poles. It was one universal climate under a common kind of canopy, mist. And that’s why you find mastodons on the upper edges of the Arctic Circle with tropical vegetation in their stomachs.

What are you talking about, rain? What do you mean, flood? Here?

And by the way, Noah was living in a wilderness. There’s no water there. This is a remarkable opportunity for a little bit of sensible doubt, I would think. I suppose if it were any of us we would have said, “Could you go over that again? Rain? Flood? Float? Boat? Two of every kind of animal?”

That’s what makes it so remarkable in verse 22 when it says, “Noah did according to all that God had commanded him. So he did.” Folks, that is a monumental act of faith, an absolutely monumental act of faith. And because of that, of course, he was spared. Why him? Go back to verse 8, “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

Why did he find favor in the eyes of the Lord? Verse 9, “Cause Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time and Noah walked with God.” I think that’s pretty amazing because it was Noah, Mrs. Noah and the kids and their wives in the world. And you think living the Christian life is tough and you’re surrounded by all these folks stimulating you to love and good works? Can you imagine what it was like for Noah and his family to live in a world that was so corrupt, every other human being was drowned?

This is a remarkable man, not to be underestimated. This is a man who believed what God said was true, which tells me he believed in sacrifice like Abel did. Which tells me that he believed that he was a sinner and needed a sacrifice for his sin and he needed to receive grace and forgiveness from God. This tells me that he knew what it was. And it says it here as it did with Enoch, that he walked with God. He was in true righteous communion and fellowship with God. He was a righteous man and God made a promise. That’s what a covenant is to this man. And he head the promise and he obeyed the promise.

Now all of that sort of gets us to the point of Hebrews chapter 11. As I said, we don’t want to go in to a whole lot of detail, so let’s go back to Hebrews chapter 11 and consider what the writer tells us. And it’s a remarkable testimony of this man’s faith. “By faith, Noah being warned by God about things not yet seen.” What are things not yet seen? Cataclysmic world judgment, by means of, secondly, a flood, as a result of, thirdly, rain. Did Noah know the world was corrupt? Absolutely. Did he know that he was different than everybody else? Absolutely. Did he understand that God was holy and righteous and a God of judgment? Of course he did. He’s not living in the dark,by the way, folks. Not at all, you don’t want to underestimate this man. There was a lot that he knew. Remember now, we’re 1500 years into human history and God has revealed Himself and he knows his God and he walks with his God and he trusts his God.

So being warned by God about things not yet seen, he acted. Now I just want to tell you three things about his faith, okay? Just three things, they’re listed here. One, he obeyed God’s Word. He obeyed God’s Word when it was way beyond anything he could experience or conceive or comprehend. It says, “In reverence he prepared an ark for the salvation of his household…in reverence he prepared an ark for the salvation of his household for 120 years.” Over that period, he built a massive 15,000 ton ship in the middle of the wilderness, for one reason,because God told him to do it and God told him the flood would come and the judgment was inevitable and he obeyed.

This is the essence of faith. Faith doesn’t have to understand, it doesn’t have to comprehend. Faith reaches out for something that is beyond experience, beyond comprehension. I think we understand that a little bit. We walk by faith and not by sight, right? We’ve talked about that. We’ve entrusted our eternity to God. We’re living in faith,trusting Christ for a heaven we’ve never seen, to escape a judgment we’ve never seen. The Bible says that all sinners will go to hell. The Bible says that there will be a holocaust of divine judgment on the earth in the future by fire. We believe that, we have not seen that. But we live in faith and by faith we obey the gospel which is the ark of safety for us. God has provided for us an ark to rescue us from future judgment and we have gone into that ark, the ark is Christ.

So his faith is, first of all, demonstrated in his obedience to God’s Word in a matter which he could not experience, or even conceive. Secondly, his faith not only showed up in his obedience but it showed up in his preaching. We could say it this way, he obeyed God’s Word and he announced God’s judgment. You might say, well he believed it but it was so bizarre he really didn’t say much about it because he was afraid people would think he’s crazy. But no, it says also in verse 7 that by his obedience in building this massive box in the middle of the wilderness because it was going to rain and there was going to be a flood the likes of which no one had ever experienced, he condemned the world…he condemned the world. That very act was a constant statement for 120 years that judgment was coming…judgment was inevitable. And that is why it says, “Noah was a preacher of righteousness, and God preserved him with seven others when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.”Noah was a preacher of righteousness.

As long as he built the box, he was preaching coming judgment. He was declaring coming judgment. And God was so patient, right? A hundred and twenty years, 120 years of patience, as Genesis 6 says, God preaches this message through the building of the box. It must have been the topic of everybody’s conversation constantly. “Crazy Noah.”

Do you remember what we looked at when we were…and I’ll just review this because I think it’s worth to be reviewed, when we were considering Enoch back in chapter 5 of Genesis. We also saw the patience of God because, you remember, Enoch lived 65 years and became the father of …whom?…Methuselah. And I told you, Methuselah means “sent out,” “shot out.” The name Methuselah was a prophecy, a divine revelation was fixed in the name Methuselah. When that child was given the name “Shot out,” or “Sent out,” God was connecting that child with the time when His judgment would fall, when He would send His judgment. And the year that Methuselah died is the year the Flood came. And to show you the grace of God, Methuselah lived longer than any man, 969 years. The grace and the mercy and the patience of God.

People knew things. The institution of sacrifice had been in place since Abel. They knew that sinners need to come to God not offering their own merit, their own achievement, their own works, but recognizing their own sin and that they are worthy of death and understanding that God will provide a sacrifice in their place. They knew the seriousness of sin because they knew Cain. Cain’s life overlapped. He lived for centuries and the mark of Cain wentwith Cain and everybody understood the curse of sin, the horror of being cursed by God. Cain was a living illustration of how deadly sin is.

By the way, Adam lived 930 years and told his tragic story of the Fall probably every day of his life. And then there was the preaching of Enoch who was a preacher of righteousness, according to Jude 14 and 15. And then there was the ministry of the Holy Spirit, “My Spirit will not always strive with man,” which means the Spirit was striving with sinners, doing His work of conviction. And then there was the preaching of Noah. All these lives overlapping.As long as Methuselah lived, he would talk about his father who three hundred years after he was born, after Methuselah was born, took a walk with God one day and walked right into heaven. And how many people did Methuselah tell his story of a father who walked with God and lived in such a way that he didn’t even die? And Methuselah’s father, Enoch, was an illustration of what will happen to every believer who will some day enter intothe presence of the Lord and conquer death.

So the generation of Noah’s day had to spurn sacrifice and atonement, they had to reject repeated warnings and repeated messages of judgment and righteousness. Divine revelation had to be despised and rejected in this mad dash into corruption. And yet God waited and waited 969 years, in the case of Methuselah and 120 years in the case of Noah. But Noah’s faith is marked by his obedience in doing exactly what God told him to do and hiswillingness to be a preacher of righteousness and give the message that went along with the work he did,proclaiming the inevitable coming, devastating, worldwide judgment in the drowning of the human race. He was preaching that the only escape is righteousness. How amazing and how many converts did he have? None.

The third thing that is said about him is he obeyed God’s Word, he preached God’s judgment, he received God’s righteousness. He became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. Boy, that sounds like a Pauline concept, doesn’t it? That sounds so New Testament. He became an heir of the righteousness which is by faith. He believed God and because he believed God’s Word, God granted him righteousness, imputed righteousness to him.That’s what it means in verse 8 of Genesis 6, “Noah found favor, or grace, in the eyes of the Lord. He was a righteous man, blameless in his time, Noah walked with God.”

Chapter 7 verse 1, “Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.” He is an Old Testament illustration of justification by faith. In covenant relationship with God, he believed God and God accepted his faith and granted him righteousness. He is a righteous man. He is blameless before God.

Is he perfect? Oh no, no, no. We know that, don’t we? When you get in to chapter 9 you find that he was guilty of a sin. He was caught naked and drunk. Noah’s not a perfect man before men, but he is a perfect man before God because by faith, righteousness was credited to his account.

We understand that as a New Testament truth but this is telling us it’s an Old Testament truth. If you read Romans, you will read in chapter 3 that by the works of the Law no flesh is justified. If you read Philippians 3, as I quoted it earlier, Paul says, “I went about to establish my own righteousness until I found the righteousness of God granted to me by faith in Jesus Christ.”

The great sweeping doctrine of justification is that to the one who believes God, in Noah’s case, he believed all that God had revealed. In our case, we believe all that God has revealed and that means that we believe the full message, all the way through His Son Jesus Christ. And when you believe that message from the heart, God will grant righteousness and cover you with his own righteousness and view you as blameless. And you will, having been captured into the ark of safety who is Christ, be delivered from all future judgment.

Peter understands this so very well. He understands that Christ is the ark of safety. Christ is the one who protects us from judgment. Peter wrote about that in his epistles. I won’t take time to get into it, but he uses that as kind of a warning for the future in chapter 3 when he says, “In the future there’s going to be another judgment, the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, the earth and its works will be burned up.” There’s coming another holocaust of proportions like this and even greater. And the only ark is faith, faith in the Word of God all the way to the complete revelation in Jesus Christ.

Father, again Your Word has spoken to us with its clarity and its power. We thank You for its consistency, how it stands every test of scrutiny, examination, comparison. We rejoice in its truth while on the one hand like John, it is sweet to our taste, it is bitter to our stomachs, it must have been so for Noah. It must have been, in many ways, both a joy to know that he was to be saved and rescued from judgment and a horror to know that everybody around him would perish and thus there was a kind of passion surely in his heart as he proclaimed judgment and called people to faith and righteousness. So it is for us as we think about the future, on the one hand, grateful that we have found our way into the ark of safety who is Jesus Christ and we rejoice in that and yet at the same timewe sorrow over those who will perish in the devastation of that final judgment.

We thank You that when Christ comes in judgment, it won’t be as it was in the days of Noah in the complete sense. Yes, the comparison is made so as it was in the day of Noah, will it be in the coming of the Son of Man,people will be going about their business, marrying, given in marriage, doing all their daily tasks and they will be swept away in fiery judgment as they were swept away in a flood of judgment. But the difference will be, and we thank You for this, there won’t be eight souls saved, there will be many…there will be thousands, there will be millions, and we thank You for that hopeful promise and reality. May we be faithful as Noah was, to be preachers of righteousness to this generation, warning them of judgment to come and calling them to the gospel of grace and the righteousness which is imputed to those who have faith.

Thank You, Father, for the greatness of Your salvation, given to us though we are utterly unworthy. We give You praise in Your Son’s name…Amen.

 

Original here

He Wants Men To Stand With Women On Abortion. Alright, Let’s Do That

Don’t let pro-choicers convince you it’s wrong to speak out. Offer your money, time, community, and resources to mothers who choose life.

Cory Booker Wants Men To Stand With Women On Abortion. Alright, Let’s Do That

 

May 25, 2019

Presidential contender Cory Booker (D–N.J.) says women need men to stand with them. I couldn’t agree more. His open letter to all men in GQ calls on all of us in the masculine sex “to listen, to speak out, and to take action.” Let’s do it.

Start by watching and listening to an ultrasound. You can find them all over YouTube. It will change your life.

When we were both 21, my young bride suspected God might have blessed our marriage with a new life. She made an appointment, and we went together to the physician. He confirmed what her womanly knowledge had told her: she was nine weeks pregnant. He also immediately prepared an ultrasound and we were able to see our first son, barely the size of a grape, with his vulnerable little heart firing off 153 beats per minute.

I do not have any experience in the baby-carrying portion of pregnancy. I do, however, have plenty of experience at listening to the rapid beat of a human heart that is smaller than the tip of my pinky.

I also have experience with the pain of silence. My wife has conceived six children. The second was never born alive. We sat together at her second ultrasound listening, desperately straining our ears to detect the slightest hint of a heartbeat. There was none, and we wept.

We did not mourn, and we do not continue to mourn, because our dreams were dashed. We mourned for the life that never reached its potential. A human being, a person, died in his mother’s womb. We carry the tragedy of it with us to this day, even after the successful births of four more babies.

I challenge you, men, to listen to and watch an ultrasound of an unborn child. Don’t just hit the play button on YouTube while you perform some menial task. Really focus in on the sight of that fetus grabbing her toes. Listen to the beat of the human heart as it pumps blood through a living person.

Do not talk about abortion until you have done this. But once you have, it is time to speak out. Once you have heard and seen the truth of an ultrasound, there is no keeping silent.

Abortion is often not a topic men like to talk about. I will never have an abortion; I don’t know what that is like. Our lack of experience can make us timid.

Abraham Lincoln and William Wilberforce had no idea what it was like to be a slave. That did not make them timid. Their freedom and the bondage of others made them bold to speak—to declare the evils of slavery openly in the public square.

So it should be with living men today. Open your mouths, not because you have no idea what it is like to be pregnant, but because you know what it is like to live. You know the joy of living, moving, and breathing the free air of this world. Let that make you bold to speak out on behalf of those who might have that knowledge stripped from them by the callousness of an abortion doctor, the timidity of an inexperienced father, or the fear of a young mother.

Then take action. Find a pregnancy clinic that cares for mothers and children, and donate or volunteer. Stand in the bitter cold or scorching heat outside the local abortion facility to let women considering this action know there is hope and there are people willing to help. Don’t just hold a sign, but be ready to give real aid to anyone in need.

Start mentoring the young men you know, especially those who have strained relationships with their fathers. They need a sturdy example to learn what it means to be a man. Show them the meaning of sacrifice, duty, and respect. Help them to see the unspeakable cowardice of abandoning a woman with whom one has conceived a child, or worse, encouraging her to get an abortion and kill the child you helped create.

Be ready to take action that supports pregnant women, especially those who have no network of family, church, or friends. Any father can tell you how difficult a pregnancy (not to mention the ongoing work of raising a child to adulthood) is when a woman has the full support of her husband and their extended families. A woman who finds herself pregnant and alone needs even more help.

Be that help. Recruit the women you know to help with the more sensitive parts of going to the prenatal appointments and dealing with the physical aspects of pregnancy. Volunteer to assemble furniture and toys for the newborn. Provide financially for the needs of mother and child.

Booker has hit the nail on the head. It is time for men to listen, speak, and take action. Do not simply aim for making abortion illegal; make it unthinkable and unnecessary. Work to fashion a world where ending the life of an unborn child is a fossil that, 10,000 years from now, archeologists will look back upon with shame and contempt that their ancestors could have been so brutal.

Joshua Theilen is a husband of one wife, father of five children, and pastor of one Lutheran congregation. He and his family reside in southern Illinois.Photo Martin Kirigua / Pexels.com

https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/24/men-the-fact-that-you-cant-ever-be-pregnant-shouldnt-stop-you-from-speaking-out-against-the-evil-of-abortion/

VIDEO You Can Huff and You Can Puff

May 20, 2019 by Joe Rodriguez

lhstorm

“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and blow your house in!”
– The Big Bad Wolf (The Three Little Pigs)

The lighthouse image above immediately brought to mind a Spanish song I use to sing as a young man at my home church.

Funda tu casa sobre la roca
que Jesucristo te ayudara. //
Vendrá la lluvia, vendrá el viento pero tu casa no caerá. //

Build your house upon the rock
Jesus Christ will help you. 
The rain will come, the wind will come
but your house will not fall.

Chances are you’ve heard about the parable of The Wise and the Foolish Builder. It is said that the rain and wind represent erroneous biblical teachings and that building on the rock represents believing and obeying the teachings of Christ.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” -Matthew 7:24 & 26

buil

While these two analogies are correct (Jesus himself made the comparison), I would suggest that the torrential waters and gushing winds can also represent the Devil’s attack against believers. Whether it’s through false doctrines, temptations, and/or oppression, Satan relentlessly wages spiritual war against God’s children in order to accomplish his goal, which is to keep them from shining the light of Christ.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12

sw

The stormy lighthouse image also reminded me of that famous fable turned nursery rhyme titled The Three Little Pigs. One of the interpretations of this Brothers Grimm type of tale is that the wolf represents the challenges that may come up in life unexpectedly. And the three little pigs building their homes from different materials represent what to do and what not to do to prepare for such challenges.

piggy2

The wolf in this rather morbid story can also represent the Devil. Just as he was able to intimidate the first two unprepared piglets with his powerful puff, an attack by the enemy of our souls can cause unprepared Christians to shudder in fear, doubt, and anxiousness. That is why as children of the most high God and through the victory obtained at Calvary’s cross, believers should never forget that they have been given the necessary tools to fight, resist, and conquer the evil forces of darkness. In addition to the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us, the word of God tells us exactly what to do so that the Devil retreats even before he attempts to knock us down. The problem is that far too many believers have no clue how to effectively accomplish this simply because they ignore the prerequisite. They either read the instructions out of context or they have been taught wrong by others. Only when we do exactly as the word of God prescribes, will we be able to withstand the enemy’s blows and defeat him in every spiritual battle.

lionflee

According to the Apostle James, the key to having commanding power over Satan is to SUBMIT to God. It’s amazing how many followers of Christ are ignorant of the authority they have over the Devil, the world, and their flesh (old nature). This power is available when we are living according to God’s word (commands, standards) and not our own moral convictions, which are usually selfish and prideful. It is only when we totally surrender to God that we begin to fight in the power of His Spirit and quickly realize that truly greater is He who lives in us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Most Christians have no problem believing that God hears and answers prayer. Unfortunately, many do not have the same faith when it comes to commanding (rebuking) the Devil and his minions. This amazing scene from the movie War Room is not just a script but a real-life attitude I have witnessed in other believers and one I practice myself.

It would behoove us to not only believe, declare, and proclaim God’s promises when we pray but to also command the enemy of our souls to leave us alone when he tries to wreak havoc in our lives. But keep in mind that as long as we live for God and shine the light of Christ in this world, he will continue to blow winds of discouragement trying to tear down our lighthouses. However, if we have built our faith on the Rock of Ages (Jesus), we can stand against all the storms of life including the Devil’s strikes. Perhaps the next time he comes roaring “Let me in or I will huff and I will puff and I’ll blow your house in!” we can respond like the little pigs who cried, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin” which actually means “No, by God.” A strong “no.” Meaning, “It’s not going to happen!” In Jesus name!

Prayer: Almighty God and heavenly Father, remind me of who I am in you. Thank you for Calvary’s victory, which is now mine to declare. I submit to your lordship and stand firm on your word. And in the name of Jesus Christ your Son, my Savior, I declare that I have victory over sin, the Devil, and the world. Now get behind me Satan, in Jesus name, Amen!

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURES
Romans 8:11 (NLT) – The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

1 John 4:4 (KJV) – Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Original here

Thirsty?

May 24, 2019 by Discerning Dad, KEITH GRIGGEORY

lessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

What does Jesus really mean, to be thirsty for righteousness? What is righteousness and why is it a blessing to thirst for it? The word, “righteous,” here means to stand in the right way. Does this mean the religious, that have it all together with the Big Guy upstairs, get blessed? It makes sense that God being pure love must always bless His children. So, it makes perfect sense that the prosperous must be on God’s good side. Yet we see many examples of wealthy individuals who obviously are not seeking God. Then, why are they so blessed? There’s something we missed. What about the word here, “thirsty?” A quick word study in the Blue Letter Bible website reveals this definition, “figuratively, those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, 2019).

What does it mean to be thirsty then? Here in the Arizona desert, one summer season can drop even the strongest man without the life-giving, life-sustaining power of water. But thirst has more ways to be quenched besides water. If you have any teens around the home, you may already know more than one meaning of the word. I have three teen boys going to our local high school and I find myself often conversing with them about relational drama. Anyone who must have multiple relationships or must continually be in a relationship, regardless of the number of hookups and breakups, earn the name of “thirsty.” Of course, as young men, they are obviously not immune to the culture’s seductive lure, so we strategize what the best ways of maintaining focus might be. I will say my old eyes have been opened to the aggressive dating atmosphere plaguing their young existence (okay, well I’m 46 so whatever.)

I don’t know about you but, as I attended high school, I remember there being a preoccupation with relationships, but the atmospheric pressure was a little more secondary to school activities and/or hanging out with friends. Or was it? Growing up in the seventies and eighties was all about the top 40 hits and movies that were fast and furious before there was such a franchise. The phrase, “one-hit wonder,” was birthed out of what is now called the Retro Age. The music industry and the movies echoed relationships that promised forever and ever based on the youthful ego of now. Thinking more on it made me realize those events did show us wrapped up in the “perfect relationship” just like today. It’s funny how our memories tend to color facts to the point of diminishing the past’s reality. King David gives us a notable example of how easily we can forget past realities but more shows us what it looks like to thirst either for God or for others.

Some of King David’s most pointed contributions to scripture were written while hiding away from the then current king, King Saul. David had already been anointed king, so he had right to the throne, but his zeal for the relationship he had with God kept him from challenging the current king. He trusted God’s appointment to the position would eventually make his kingship a reality. Though, this was not to be in King David’s timing but God’s. In his self-imposed exile, he laments over the fact he cannot draw near to God’s presence in the Levitical Israelite way. An example like Psalm 42 shows David’s desire for God as it states, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2). This passion of his for God was incredible but later it’s revealed that passion can be distracted.

King David’s most touching readings of relationship with God are in Psalms, but his most infamous recording of passion is in 2 Samuel. It records that while the king should have gone out to war, he stayed back. There is no mention of why, yet, in the same passage he is shown to have adulterous passion for a neighbor’s wife. This thirst led to adultery, deception, dishonor, and murder. Tell me again why this man is called a man after God’s own heart? Before getting too consumed by the question, it’s wise to look at our own world. All around we see passion plays. We pay billions of dollars a year to be entertained by the latest superhero movies with emotional relationships woven throughout the genre. Media thrives on thirst. So, if thirst runs rampant throughout society, and we believe that God created us all, then it follows that He placed the thirst in us. Why? Isn’t calling Him our Savior good enough? If God was handing out insurance plans for those that want assurance of a heavenly destination where they can experience eternal selfish bliss, then I suppose that would be enough. But scripture doesn’t show God as a heavenly Circle K clerk. Nor does it show Him as a Zeus-like impersonal jerk who sets things in motion just to see how much trouble we can get into without Him.

The history we see in the lives of the Bible are earmarked by moments of greatness mixed with human depravity. Even after King David’s example, the line of kings that followed seemed to either cling to God through devotion or rail against Him in rebellion. In all cases, whether loyal or defiant, God shows Himself to the Israelites as long-suffering yet powerful. In the book of Isaiah, He longs for the people to be faithful. He knows what’s best for His love, even if they have gone astray, as He states through the prophet, “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18). The prophet later reminds them regarding their ancestor’s common selfish nature saying, “They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out. “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:21-22). Scripture shows they didn’t thirst for God but wanted their own way.

Repeatedly, we demonstrate how we hunger and thirst for anything but God, while over and over God shows He desires us. It’s not only our focus that needs redirecting but our definition of peace as well. Even though Isaiah was written some 2600 years ago, the message from God has not changed. A later portion of the book states:
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.” (Isaiah 55:1-4.)

The hunger and thirst we have aren’t really for food or water but for the Living God who created us and sustains us. We end up searching for other things to satisfy that need though. Here, God states through Isaiah that it’s the ones who unashamedly come to Him, those that are not able to purchase, that will be satisfied by what He provides. God’s providing faithful love identified like the Davidic relationship. I know what you’re thinking. You’ve heard this before so yeah, you’ve checked out. One more question though: got milk?

Of course, there are things that go together like Oreos and milk but what about good works and faith? For some people, doing good is easier than for other people, that’s plain to see. But is doing good what counts for being in a right relationship with God or is faith in God’s ability what counts to create appropriate works? The stories regarding the rich and the Kingdom of God in Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18 all tell of the rich young man questioning Jesus about what he must do to gain the Kingdom of God. He had great wealth and lived religiously in a culture that elevated pious acts in a prescribed order to God status. Still, he obviously desired more since he continued to thirst. When Jesus told him the correct answer of selling all he had (losing all of his statuses that he made for himself) and follow Jesus (be in right relations with the King of the Kingdom he desired), the man’s response was natural, wrong, but natural. Most of the time we look at the wealth component of this story and see God saying we must be in poverty to experience God. Well, that may be true. Living in the wealthiest nation on the planet, we all might need to lose a lot of financial success to see God for who He really is. But the deeper point to this story has little to do with the amount of money. It’s much more about the desire for God and His Kingdom versus our desire for ours. What will we choose?

The issue of thirst did start at the beginning with Adam and Eve. But to say that they are to blame for the choices we make some six thousand years later is absurd. The only thing it proves is that like them, we choose to blame everyone else for our dumb choices. What of our children that have been handed the torch of thirst? We cannot make their choices for them, nor can we stop the incessant flow of temptations. As a father of six great blessings (yes, I have been thirsty too) I have found the best thing I can do for them is focused on my example. I conclude with this, for those of us who call ourselves Christian, where is the thirst for the One that first called us to Himself? For those who don’t call themselves Christian, what do you thirst for? For all involved, what do you find your mind bent on most of the time? What things have we all been allowing our hearts to crave? Whether we admit it or hide it, whether we celebrate or exhibit shame for it, the things we thirst after are the best indicator of whose kingdom we serve and who we really love. The choice is ours, what are we thirsty for?

Keith Griggeory
Guest Discerning Dad

 

Original here

Let’s Just Say ‘Our’ Children

If you’re a mom by adoption, you’ll be ready to fist bump Sandy, too. If you aren’t, you may want to take notes on how to properly address someone who is.

Adoptive moms generally get no respect. People are always asking about our kids’ “real moms,” as if we’re just playing house with our children temporarily until the legit parents take over again. We have to come up with clever responses for when someone comes up and asks how much we paid for our kids or expresses their sorrow that we couldn’t have “one of our own.” And a few years back, one clueless company even ran a Mother’s Day contest that separated adoptive mamas from the from-your-womb mamas, into an “other” category with overinvolved aunts and other not-quite-your-mother figures. Not cool.

That’s why I always appreciate when someone who gets it makes some wise comments that can help educate the masses on what adoptions all about. And this time around, it’s Sandra Bullock who’s schooling people, in an interview with InStyle to promote her all-girl Ocean’s 8. She gushes about her “old soul” Louis and fierce daughter Laila—just like a real mom. (Pssst. It’s because she is a real mom.)

Then she makes it clear she’s getting really tired of every article (including the InStyle one she’s being interviewed for) making it clear that her kids were adopted. “Let’s all just refer to these kids as ‘our kids.’ Don’t say ‘my adopted child.’ No one calls their kid their ‘IVF child’ or their ‘oh, shit, I went to a bar and got knocked-up child.’ Let just say, ‘our children.’”

YES. Because once a child enters a family—whether it’s in a hospital’s birthing rooms or a civil affairs office in the middle of China—they’re just family. And adoption isn’t a constant state of being—it’s a past event. So, maybe we don’t have to single out which celeb’s kids were adopted every time they’re mentioned, for years after they’ve been part of the family.

More than a decade into this grand adoption adventure, I can tell you that while adoption will always be an important part of our lives, it is no longer the main focus of our lives. We are too busy doing the same stuff that your more standard-issue moms and dads do—helping with homework, nagging them to wear a jacket or clear their dirty dishes, worrying over the state of our college savings. And we don’t deserve to feel like we’re something “other,” every time we’re confronted with the story of a fellow adoptive parent in the media.

Because just like Sandra, and just like you, I’m hoping to watch my, “…kids grow up to be hopeful, grateful, healthy, kind, and safe … and in a bubble with a chip in their head. I’ll be right behind them.”

Source: parents.com

https://azsimpsonadoptionlaw.wordpress.com/2019/02/10/lets-just-say-our-children/