I am thankful for the blessing of having the our third child on the way. Admittedly it was an unexpected blessing, yet I’ve seen God work in unexpected ways to bring about the greatest blessings in my life. Besides the church I go to, this idea is not often embraced. Children are not seen as a blessing but as a distraction from what really brings them happiness.
Doug Wilson writes in Reforming Marriage:
Large families can be a great blessing. So as the Bible makes clear, when we hear about a family with seven children, we have no grounds for rolling our eyes heavenward and making snide comments. ‘Don’t they know what causes this?’ Tragically, such comments are frequently heard, even at church, and from Christians who have been thoroughly compromised by the world’s hostile attitude towards children. They are going to have their allotted 1.7 children, pop the kids into daycare six weeks after birth, and pursue their dual careers. But the Scripture presents a view of children which is entirely antithetical to this.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrow in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5
I am a happy father of three children. Hopefully more.
“The single most loving act we can do is share the good news of Jesus Christ, that God saves sinners.” The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler, Page 151
Our small group is reading this book together right now. It is worth the time. This statement by Matt Chandler is quite extraordinary; and I think Biblical. Consider what that statement means.
Sharing the gospel with someone is more loving than an entire episode of Extreme Home Makeover. In this television show people come and tear down a families old and insufficient house. They may have a special needs child that requires certain things for functionality, they do not have adequate space because of finances, or they have been through a painful trial or death in their life. The show comes in and builds a custom, brand new house that is beyond anything they could have imagined. The gospel is more loving than that.
Sharing the gospel with someone is more loving than giving away a billion dollars to eradicate a disease. Bill Gates did with this with his wealth in the country of India. Because of his generosity many people no longer suffer underneath the crushing paralysis of this problem. Sharing the gospel is more loving than that.
Jesus said that the greatest commandment was a vertical love towards God. The second greatest commandment was a horizontal love towards our neighbors. The first is to dictate the second and if a Christian really believes in an eternal hell, he will have a concern for his neighbors eternity. No amount of house renovation or personal wealth can remove the wrath of God. Only the gospel has the power to remove that wrath and replace it with the grace and mercy we find at the cross. The greatest act of love is something each Christian is able to do. Open the mouth and proclaim the good news.
I have been thinking about the nature of freedom and authority. How do they relate to each other? Where does freedom stop and authority begin? It seems that true freedom recognizes the need for authority while just authority allows for the existence of freedom. Of course that sentence could take a book’s worth of pages to unpack. The British philosopher John Locke sums it up proficiently.
If man in the state of nature be so free, as had been said; if he be absolute lord of his own person and possessions, equal to the greatest, and subject to no body, why will he part with his freedom? Why will he give up this empire, and subject himself to the dominion and control of any other power?
To which it is obvious to answer, that though in the state of nature he hath such a right, yet the enjoyment of it is very uncertain, and constantly exposed to the invasion of others: for all being kings as much as he, every man his equal and the greater part no strict observers of equity and justice, the enjoyment of the property he has in this state is very unsafe, very unsecure. This makes him willing to quit a condition, which, however free, is full of fears and continual dangers: and it is not without reason, that he seeks out, and is willing to join society with others, who are already united, or have a mind to unite, for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates, which I call by the general name, property.
The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property. To which in the state of nature there are many things wanting (Two Treatises, Sections 123-24).
This song is worth hitting the replay button on. It takes Scriptural charges for men to be men and drives them to the heart through the medium of rap music. Here are my favorite lines from the song. It was hard to choose.
A lil’ taste a lil’ taste is like a little rape
A lil’ drank a poison but can it kill a mayne?
A heard say without sex life is a waste
But Christ is overall I kept my pants on my waste
That girl is not an object for playing
That’s a woman not a barbie I don’t care what Nicki say
And just like her sex is God’s creation
You spit inside his face when you don’t use it how he made it
I need the gospel clear see my sin for what it is
One brings life the other death man to me plus my kids
Selfish in my ways and it’s go’n put me in the grave
But Christ can save and set you free no longer be enslaved
My spirit willing but my flesh weak
This moment is but a test see
Lord you’re greater than all these pleasures
I just wanna see you as my treasure
God I wanna
Flee from it all till I’m free from it all
The remake of True Grit has stunning cinematography and well-written dialogue. Here are some of my favorite lines from the movie, most of which belong to Jeff Bridge’s character, Rooster Cogburn. Number 12 is the best one I do believe.
- There is nothing free except for the grace of God.
- I do not entertain hypotheticals for the world is vexing enough.
- Why have you been ineffectually pursuing Chaney?
- I know you can drink whiskey and snort and spit and wallow in filth and bemoan your station. The rest has been braggadocio. They told me you had grit and that is why I came to you.
- The Author of all things watches over me and I have a fine horse.
- If I ever meet one of you Texas waddies who says he had never drank water out of a hoof track I think I’d shake his hand and give him a Daniel Webster cigar.
- “Why did they hang him so high?” “Possibly in the belief to make him more dead.”
- You go for a man hard enough and fast enough you don’t have time to think about how many of them is with him. He thinks about hisself, how he might get clear of that wrath that’s about to set down on him.
- Well that didn’t pan out… You managed to put a kink in my rope partner.
- “I’ve been shot by a rifle.” “Well that’s quite possible. The scheme did not develop as I had planned.”
- If them men wanted a decent burial, they should’ve gotten themselves kilt in summer.
- I’m struck that LaBoeuf has been shot, trampled and nearly severed his tongue and not only does he cease to talk but he still spills the banks of English.
- The Sharps Carbine is an instrument of uncanny power and precision. Oh I have no doubt that the gun is sound.
- Cogburn outlined a plan. His part, I fear is rash.
John Piper answers the question, What is sin?
What is sin?
It is the glory of God not honored.
The holiness of God not reverenced.
The greatness of God not admired.
The power of God not praised.
The truth of God not sought.
The wisdom of God not esteemed.
The beauty of God not treasured.
The goodness of God not savored.
The faithfulness of God not trusted.
The commandments of God not obeyed.
The justice of God not respected.
The wrath of God not feared.
The grace of God not cherished.
The presence of God not prized.
The person of God not loved.
That is sin.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us(Romans 8:18).” This begs the question of what does suffering entail? Is it only that which comes from other people (persecution), or can it include sickness, disease, accidents,etc.? John Piper’s book Desiring God has been helpful in my understanding of answering this question.
All experiences of suffering in the path of Christian obedience, whether from persecution or sickness or accident, have this in common: They all threaten our faith in the goodness of God and tempt us to leave the path of obedience. Therefore, every triumph of faith and all perseverance in obedience are testimonies to the goodness of God and the preciousness of Christ- whether the enemy is sickness, Satan, sin or sabotage.
Therefore, all suffering, of every kind, that we endure in the path of our Christian calling is a suffering “with Christ” and “for Christ.” With him in the sense that the suffering comes to us as we are walking with Him by faith and in the sense that it is endured in the strength He supplies through His sympathizing high-priestly ministry (Hebrews 4:15). For Him in the sense that it reveals HIs worth as an all-sufficient compensation and prize (257).