On living for God's glory

Daniel J. Sparks

Category: Family (page 1 of 2)

On the responsibility of parents for their children before God

Reflections on Ephesians 6:1-9.

Some of the memories I have of childhood are from the primary Sunday school class. My mother was the teacher for most of what I can remember, though there were some other teachers in later years. I obviously benefited from what I was taught in those early classes, and I still draw on the knowledge that was imparted to me there.

One of the unique things about my childhood Sunday school class, perhaps not so unique when compared with many other classes of the time, was the flannel board. Do you remember the flannel board? I’m not sure if they are still in use these days in our high tech world when we seem to prefer moving pictures over anything else, but the flannel board seemed high tech in the ’70s and ’80s, at least to a small child. Continue reading

The darkest day in American history

{Genesis 1:26-31}

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Introduction

Perhaps you’ve heard the old saw that goes like this. A man turned to his friend and said, “Do you know that the two greatest problems in our country today are ignorance and apathy?” To this his friend replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

That is, perhaps, a most fitting assessment, and especially on this day. This day marks, among all others, the sins and failures of mankind. In this regard, it is not unlike other days. But this day marks a great darkness, a great evil, a great forwardness, a rebellion of the hearts of men against their Creator. This day marks what is most assuredly the darkest day of all in our American history.

Forty long years were God’s people in the wilderness after Moses led them out of Egypt. In fits and starts they followed him and obeyed his commandments. Sometimes, they honored him; sometimes, they complained against him, accusing him of injustice. At least once, they turned to worship a false God.

Likewise, for forty long years, the Church in America has largely ignored the darkness of the murder of innocents in our land. Too many Christians sit comfortably in their churches without regard to the blood of the unborn being shed around them every day. In fits and starts has the Church, too, honored the Lord’s commandments. At times, Christians have spoken plainly of God’s truth and honored him in deeds. At other times, and in critical times, we have preferred our own convenience.

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blatch / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Those of you who are older than I may remember the political struggle over abortion in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The argument was that abortion was a medical necessity. A handful of states began to legalize abortion. In 1973, the Supreme Court declared it to be legally acceptable to murder children in the womb. Since that time, the argument for medical necessity has virtually disappeared, while we kill children in the womb for the sake of our convenience.

For 40 years, the courts have declared acceptable that which God has condemned. Since 1973, more than 50 million children have been murdered in the womb. Our chief executive, before he took office, stated that he was in favor of killing children after they were born.[1] This is the state of our nation after 40 years. We have embraced a culture of death. Continue reading

Pat Robertson says disease is acceptable grounds for divorce

According to ChristianityToday.com, Evangelist Pat Robertson stated on his television show 700 Club yesterday that it’s okay for a man to divorce his wife if she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. His statement was in response to a viewer’s question about a friend who had begun dating another woman because his wife had Alzheimer’s.

Pat Robertson Says Divorce Okay if Spouse has Alzheimer's | Liveblog | Christianity Today

Pat Robertson Says Divorce Okay if Spouse has Alzheimer’s | Liveblog | Christianity Todayhttp://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2011/09/pat_robertson_s.htmlCo-host Terry Meeuwsen asked Pat, “But isn’t that the vow that we take when we marry someone? That it’s For better or for worse. For richer or poorer?”Robertson said that the viewer’s friend could obey this vow of “death till you part” because the disease was a “kind of death.” Robertson said he would understand if someone started another relationship out of a need for companionship.

Mr. Robertson’s own co-host didn’t seem comfortable with his remarks.

This is a sad commentary about the state of Western Christianity in our postmodern culture. The church is increasingly being shaped by the relative morality of the world around us.

Mr. Robertson has essentially declared that figurative death releases husband and wife from the bonds of marriage. Following his line of reasoning, one could easily justify homosexual “marriage” on the grounds that one partner is figuratively a husband and the other is figuratively a wife. And there could be many other examples of such figurative interpretations of Bible passages that are clearly prohibitive of divorce or that require lifelong committed marriage.

We see in Ephesians 5 that marriage is to reflect the love that Christ has for his church (particularly in Ephesians 5:25, which says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”). Christ sacrificed his own body for the sake of his bride the church. He condescended from his heavenly throne to become a man of low estate so that he might win his bride. He sacrificed himself so that the church might know his love. The Scriptures admonish husbands to love their wives in the same way so that they may exhibit to the world an example of Christ’s love for his church.

If a man divorces his wife because she contracts a disease, what example is he giving the world about Christ’s love? Sadly, he is suggesting to the world that Christ will forsake us in our moment of need, of vulnerability, of impotence. This is contrary to all that the Scriptures tell us about the love of Christ. The Lord is faithful and will never forsake us. Christ sacrificed himself for us even when he knew we were diseased with sin and incapable of healing ourselves, when we didn’t realize his identity as Savior and Lord of the universe.

Thanks be to God that he did not forsake us when we were incapable of knowing who he is, when we were incapable of providing companionship to him, when we were incapacitated by the wickedness of our hearts.

This article is part 11 of 12 in the series Ugly Church Stuff.

The role of women in God’s order

Here’s what is pathetic: When feminists reject what is feminine, all that’s left is what is masculine. So we find women renouncing their God given distinctiveness and trying to act like men. They want to be free from the burden of babies so they can be promiscuous (supposedly) without consequences like men, so they invent abortion and kill their babies–and their consciences. They want to compete with men in the marketplace, so they warehouse their babies in daycare centers with strangers. They want, like men, to be free of the perceived drudgery of housekeeping, so they end up simply adding the drudgery of commuting and punching a clock to the still unavoidable toil of home life.

The irony of feminism is that, while it hates men and wants to liberate women from men, the masculine is its standard of what is good and fulfilling in life. (It ought to be called “masculinism”!) No one can escape God’s order! All they can do is twist it, and in their attempt to change the unchangeable, damage themselves and those around them. In rejecting the Bible’s definition of what it means to be a woman, women are rejecting their own humanity and condemning themselves to an unfulfilled life, and countless homes are a shadow of what they could have been if they had a virtuous wife within their walls.

How much better if we can all be what we were created to be: let men be men and women be women. A return to biblical patriarchy will mean that women will return to a biblical definition of womanhood. This is the only path to the fulfillment that women are seeking today in their strange and futile ambition to become like men. Our job as husbands is to help our wives see the glory of their femininity and all that it entails and, by doing our part right, to make it easier for them to embrace their role in God’s plan.

From Family Man, Family Leader: Biblical Fatherhood as the Key to a Thriving Family by Philip Lancaster, 259-260.

St. Augustine on marriage

From Of the Good of Marriage.

1. Forasmuch as each man is a part of the human race, and human nature is something social, and has for a great and natural good, the power also of friendship; on this account God willed to create all men out of one, in order that they might be held in their society not only by likeness of kind, but also by bond of kindred. Therefore the first natural bond of human society is man and wife. Nor did God create these each by himself, and join them together as alien by birth: but he created the one out of the other, setting a sign also of the power of the union in the side, whence she was drawn, was formed. For they are joined one to another side by side, who walk together, and look together whither they walk. Then follows the connection of fellowship in children….

4. There is this further, that in that very debt which married persons pay one to another … they owe faith alike one to another. Unto which faith the Apostle allows so great right, as to call it “power,” saying, “The woman has not power of her own body, but the man; again in like manner also the man has not power of his own body, but the woman.” But the violation of this faith is called adultery, when either by instigation of one’s own lust, or by consent of lust of another, there is sexual intercourse on either side with another against the marriage compact: and thus faith is broken, which, even in things that are of the body, and mean, is a great good of the soul: and therefore it is certain that it ought to be preferred even to the health of the body, wherein even this life of ours is contained. …..

6. ….. Therefore married persons owe one another not only the faith of their sexual intercourse itself, for the begetting of children, which is the first fellowship of the human kind in this mortal state; but also, in a way, a mutual service of sustaining one another’s weakness, in order to shun unlawful intercourse: so that, although perpetual continence be pleasing to one of them, he may not, save with consent of the other. For thus far also, “The wife has not power of her own body, but the man; in like manner also the man has not power of his own body, but the woman.” …..

8. “Honorable,” therefore, “is marriage in all, and the bed undefiled.” …..

11. ….. But now what shall we say against the most plain speech of the Apostle, saying, “Let her do what she will; she sins not, if she be married;” and, “If you shall have taken a wife, you have not sinned: and, if a virgin shall have been married, she sins not.” …..

18. For what food is unto the conservation of the man, this sexual intercourse is unto the conservation of the race: and both are not without carnal delight: which yet being modified, and by restraint of temperance reduced unto the use after nature, cannot be lust. But what unlawful food is in the supporting of life, this sexual intercourse of fornication or adultery is in the seeking of a family. And what unlawful food is in luxury of belly and throat, this unlawful intercourse is in lust that seeks not a family. ….. It is better to die without children, than to seek a family from unlawful intercourse. But from whatever source men be born, if they follow not the vices of their parents, and worship God aright, they shall be honest and safe. For the seed of man, from out what kind of man soever, is the creation of God, and it shall fare ill with those who use it ill, yet shall not, itself at any time be evil. But as the good sons of adulterers are no defense of adulteries, so the evil sons of married persons are no charge against marriage. …..

24. Marriage, I say, is a good, and may be, by sound reason, defended against all calumnies. …..

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