Thursday, January 05, 2017

Desiring God: Captured. Committed. Contagious.

Acts 2:42–47 describes this community of faith for the sake of our Christian communities today. The passage is short enough to memorize, and yet big enough to shape years, even decades, of life in the local church, and captures for us at least four markings of true Christian community. (Segal, Marshall. Desiring God Ministries.)

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Monday, January 02, 2017

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Social Influence and the Effectiveness of Countermeasures

Child abuse and drug abuse are repeated generation after generation. This behavior is passed down from parent to child and duplicated over and again. Firm countermeasures are imperative to stop the cycle.

Continue reading this paper below.

Social Influence in Relationships and the Importance of Countermeasures by Brook Elaine on Scribd

Monday, December 12, 2016

Movie Mondays: Baking with Kids

It is Monday, again, and that means it is "Movie Monday" time!!! This time I am baking with my kiddos!

Friday, December 09, 2016

Desiring God: Clarifying Words on Wife Abuse

In observance of the upcoming 14 year anniversary of the murder of Laci Rocha Peterson, at the hands of her husband, and baby Conner, at the hands of his father, I am posting the following from Desiring God Ministries and John Piper:

Clarifying Words on Wife Abuse

Several years ago, I was asked in an online Q&A, “What should a wife’s submission to her husband look like if he’s an abuser?”

One of the criticisms of my answer has been that I did not mention the recourse that a wife has to law enforcement for protection. So let me clarify with seven biblical observations.

1. Every Christian is called to submit to various authorities and to each other: children to parents (Ephesians 6:1), citizens to government (Romans 13:1), wives to husbands (Ephesians 5:22), employees to employers (2 Thessalonians 3:10), church members to elders (Hebrews 13:17), all Christians to each other (Ephesians 5:21), all believers to Christ (Luke 6:46).

This puts the submission of wives and husbands into the wider context of submission to Jesus, to the civil authorities, to each other, and to the church. This means that the rightness or wrongness of any act of submission is discerned by taking into account all the relevant relationships. We are all responsible to Jesus first, and then, under him, to various other persons and offices. Discerning the path of love and obedience when two or more of these submissive relationships collide is a call to humble, Bible-saturated, spiritual wisdom.

2. Husbands are commanded, “Love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19). They are told to “love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesians 5:28–29). The focus of a husband’s Christlikeness in loving his wife is “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).

Christian husbands are not Christ. They are finite, fallible, forgiven sinners. They do not stand in the place of Christ. Their wives relate directly to Christ (Hebrews 4:16; 11:6), not merely through their husbands. Husbands do not have the wisdom or the power or the rights of Christ. Their likeness to Christ in leading their wives is limited and focused by these words: He gave himself up for her . . . nourishing and cherishing . . . not harsh with them.

Therefore, an abusive husband is breaking God’s law. He is disobeying Christ. He is not to be indulged but disciplined by the church. The wife is not insubordinate to ask the church for help. A Christian woman should not feel that the only help available to her is the police. That would be a biblical failure of her church.

3. But recourse to civil authorities may be the right thing for an abused wife to do. Threatening or intentionally inflicting bodily harm against a spouse (or other family members) is a misdemeanor in Minnesota, punishable by fines, short-term imprisonment, or both. Which means that a husband who threatens and intentionally injures his wife is not only breaking God’s moral law, but also the state’s civil law. In expecting his wife to quietly accept his threats and injuries, he is asking her to participate in his breaking of both God’s moral law and the state’s civil law.

God himself has put law enforcement officers in place for the protection of the innocent. “If you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4). A wife’s submission to the authority of civil law, for Christ’s sake, may, therefore, overrule her submission to a husband’s demand that she endure his injuries. This legitimate recourse to civil protection may be done in a spirit that does not contradict the spirit of love and submission to her husband, for a wife may take this recourse with a heavy and humble heart that longs for her husband’s repentance and the restoration of his nurturing leadership.

4. The church should not harbor an abusive man or woman whom the civil authorities would punish if they knew what the church knows. We are called to mercy. “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). But there are times when mercy to one demands justice for another. This is often the case with criminal abuse. Moreover, there are many ways to show mercy toward a guilty person who must pay fines or go to jail. We are seldom in a position where the choice is simply mercy or no mercy.

5. For many women, the thought of a husband going to jail and losing his job and being publicly shamed is so undesirable that they often endure much sin before becoming desperate enough to turn to the authorities. What I want to stress is that long before they reach a point of desperation — or harm — the women of the church should know that there are spiritual men and women in the church that they can turn to for help. By way of caution and lament, I cannot promise that every church has such spiritual, gifted, and compassionate men and women available for help. But many do. The intervention of these mature brothers and sisters may bring the husband to repentance and reconciliation. Or they may determine that laws have been broken and the civil authorities should or must be notified. In either case, no Christian woman (or man) should have to face abuse alone.

6. When Jesus commands his disciples, “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39), he is describing one way of love: the testimony that Jesus is so sufficient to me that I do not need revenge. This was the way Christ loved us at the end: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:22–23).

But this is not the only path of love open to those who are persecuted. The Bible warrants fleeing. John Bunyan wrestled with these two strands in the Bible of how to deal with persecution:

He that flies, has warrant to do so; he that stands, has warrant to do so. Yea, the same man may both fly and stand, as the call and working of God with his heart may be. Moses fled, Ex. 2:15; Moses stood, Heb. 11:27. David fled, 1 Sam. 19:12; David stood, 24:8. Jeremiah fled, Jer. 37:11­–12; Jeremiah stood, 38:17. Christ withdrew himself, Luke 19:10; Christ stood, John 18:1–8. Paul fled, 2 Cor. 11:33; Paul stood, Acts 20:22–23. . . .
Do not fly out of a slavish fear, but rather because flying is an ordinance of God, opening a door for the escape of some, which door is opened by God’s providence, and the escape countenanced by God’s Word, Matt. 10:23. (Seasonable Counsels, or Advice to Sufferers, in The Works of John Bunyan, volume 2, page 726)
7. When the Bible says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27), it implies that Christians with means and strength take initiatives for the weaker. The “visitation” in this text is not for nothing. It is for help — for provision and protection. The point is: When Jesus commands his disciples, “Turn to him the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39), he does not mean that, if I can do something about it, I should allow you to be slapped again. Again, it is the camaraderie in the body of Christ that breaks the cycle of injustice.

My closing plea is to all Christian men, and in particular to the leaders of churches: Herald a beautiful vision of complementarian marriage that calls men to bear the responsibility not only for their own courage and gentleness but also for the gentleness of the other men as well. Make it part of the culture of manhood in the church that the men will not tolerate the abuse of any of its women.
(Piper, John. 2012, December. "Clarifying Words on Wife Abuse". Retrieved December 9, 2016 from Desiring God Ministries.)

Thursday, December 08, 2016

In Humility Count Others More Significant Than Yourselves

30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." (Luke 10:30-37. ESV.)

I posted a video, last month, of a boy, perhaps a preteen or teenager, who appeared to be homeless. He wore a ripped short sleeve shirt, no jacket, no shoes and held a garbage bag to keep warm. Visibly he is young, not an adult. The weather was five degrees Fahrenheit and this boy was clearly freezing. He was like the man who had been stripped and beaten on his way to Jericho.

Those in need, however, do not always look the part. There are people who are homeless, individuals who are fighting against cancer and chronic illness, human beings who live with a dangerous person in their life, people who live in an unsafe neighborhood, individuals who are physically stripped and beaten, or emotionally stripped and beaten, or verbally stripped and beaten…and yet, most of us may not be like the robbers…but are like the priest and Levite. We may not be the one “robbing” and “beating” others but we are also not stopping to help. We walk on the opposite side of the road as if with blinders on our eyes.

Though, I feel each of us has suffered at one time or another. Each of us knows the sting of being “robbed” and “beaten”. So then, where is our empathy and compassion? Why is our first instinct to ignore, to blame the “man who was beaten”, to assume, to jump to conclusions, to say, “Well, that will never happen to me,” or “I’m too busy,” and to pass by on the other side of the road?

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:35-40. ESV.)

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