June 28, 2006

The Glory of Fatherhood and Sonship – Proverbs 17:6

Here is an expression of praises toward God for the glory of fatherhood and sonship in the blessings they bring to one another:

Like Father, Like Son

I’ve worked in close relationship with Hope Baptist Church elder, Jason Dohm for about 15 years and today he shared with me a current article from the East Carolina University Medical Journal that featured an article about his father.

Jason Dohm, the grateful son

Jason's father, Dr. Lynis Dohm, was recently honored as Professor of Physiology at East Carolina University, Medical School for his scientific work in the area of diabetes research.

Dr. Lynis Dohm, the honored father

In the article, one of his long time colleagues spoke of the generous spirit of Jason’s father during their almost 30 years of working together.

"He has total, unfailing integrity and great patience… I've been here since 1977 and can't remember a time when I haven't worked with him. He has been my inspiration, my gentle advisor and my moral guide in the pursuit of research. Without him we would have accomplished very little. He is a consummate gentleman at the same time that he is a demanding teacher and a rigorous scientist. In all of our discussions and debates, I've never heard him raise his voice or breach the rules of courtesy. That's what makes great science: the ability to disagree totally yet maintain a friendly discourse."

When I read these words, I kept thinking about the son, who is the spittin' image of his father in the qualities listed.

Like Father, Like Son!

This is the glory of fatherhood and sonship. As one generation succeeds the next, sons who honor their (imperfect) fathers become like them in their best qualities and then they pass them on to their children. Jason has always honored his father. As a result, the promise of God in Ephesians 6:1-2 ("that it may be well with you...") is being fulfilled before our very eyes in demonstrable ways.

Solomon captured this idea of one generation blessing the other in Proverbs 17:6

"Children's children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father".

June 22, 2006

Jonathan Edwards on "The Necessity of Self Examination"

Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon, "The Necessity of Self Examination', where one of the points was how to receive criticism, which is good tonic for neutralizing presumption and pride.

He begins the sermon with Psalms 139:23, 24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

"Be advised to consider what others say of you and improve it to this end, to know whether you do not live in some way of sin...And though the imputation may seem to us to be very groundless and we think that they, in charging us so, are influenced by no good spirit; yet if we act prudently, we shall take so much notice of it as to make an occassion of examining ourselves ... it is most imprudent as well as most unchristian, to take it amiss, and resent it, when we are thus told of our faults: we should rather rejoice in it, that we are shown our spots ... we should improve what our enemies say of us. If they from an ill spirit reproach and revile us to our faces, we should consider it, so far as to reflect inward upon ourselves and inquire whether it not be so, as they charge us ... they are likely to fix on real faults, they are likely to fall upon us where we are weakest and most defective."

June 20, 2006

Needful Reformations

The church is always in need of reformation and it is the responsibility of every generation of Christians to seek Him for it. It is all about the health and beauty of the church. Thankfully, the beautification of the bride continues in many ways and through many different kinds of people and ministries...

Here are some of the reformations that I believe are most necessary in our particular times:

A presentation of expository preaching that fosters a new love for the words of the texts of scripture, fills minds and hearts with thoughts of God and sets the gospel in center stage.

A recovery of the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture that brings the church back to a childlike trust in biblical patterns for all of life so that the church would be regulated and governed by scripture so that the glory of the gospel is exposed.

A revival of biblical manhood in the home and the church where the gospel is preached daily in the home so that the world would fill with worshippers of God for many generations and where men rise up to insure the success of their marriages for the glory of God so that the gospel is proclaimed through them.

A return to biblical educational philosophy so that vast numbers of the next generation will not be educated by pagans and be lost to worldliness and even perdition as so many are now. This keeps the gospel from disappearing from the scene as it it now being legislated out by federal mandate.

The Blind Eye and the Deaf Ear

Charles Spurgeon has written as well as anyone about handling ill words spoken about us. For their equipping and for their joy, I was quoting him to my family after dinner from his book, "Lectures to My Students" from his chapter entitled, "The Blind Eye and the Deaf Ear".

Every family should read this...

First, he quotes one of my favorite verses in Ecclesiastes, "Do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others.' Ecclesiastes 7:21

"You cannot stop people's tongues, and therefore the best thing is to stop your own ears and never mind what is spoken...He will find that even those who live with him are not always singing his praises, and that when he has displeased his most faithful servants they have, in the heat of the moment, spoken fierce words which it would be better for him not to have heard."

Regarding ill speaking in the church he says,

"The blind eye and the deaf ear will come in exceedingly well in connection with the gossips of the place. Every church, and for the matter of that, every village and family, is plagued with certain Mrs. Grundy's, who drink tea and talk vitriol... No one needs to look far for perpetual motion, he has only to watch their tongues.... they practice vivisection upon the characters of their neighborurs, and of course they are eager to try their knives upon the minister, the minsiter's wife, the minister's children, the minister's wife's bonnet, the dress of the minister's daughter, and how many new ribbons she has worn for the last six months... There are slso certain persons who are never so happy as when the are "grieved to the heart' to have to tell the minister that Mr. A. is snake in the grass, and that he is quite mistaken in thinking so well of Messrs. B and C., and that they have heard quite "promiscuously" that Mr. D. and his wife are badly matched. Then follows a long string about Mrs. E., who says tha she and Mrs. F. overheard Mrs. G. say to Mrs. H. that Mrs. J. should stay that Mr. K. and miss L. were going to move fromt he chapel to hear Mr. M. and all because of what old N. said to young O. about that Miss P. Never listen to such people.'

It is a great read and excellent for family instruction.

He appeals to us to accept his "declaration that I have one blind eye and one deaf ear, and that they are the best eye and ear I have"

Financial Counsel for Cowboys

The Singing Cowboys at the Flying W Ranch

David and I went to The Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs to hear the cowboys sing... one song particularly got my attention: "Night Riders Lament." It is about a cowboy whose family and friends are sending letters and talking to him, trying to encourage him to be wiser with his time and to quit workin for 'short pay" (pay by the hour) instead of gettin his share from a percentage of the herd at the end of the cattle drive.

"Why do you ride for yer money? Why do you rope for short pay? You aint gitten nowhere and you're losin your share... Must have gone crazy out there."

The Joys of Summer... Throwing Children

David Brown making Claire Breagy giggle

Notice the technique: this is how I have done it all my life, and now, in my old age I can see that my method is being passed on to the next generation through my son... It's all about leverage...Crouching down and extending with legs and then the arms throwing back over your head produces the maximum power and lift. It always ends with, "DO IT AGAIN".

Planned Parenthood Celebration Jolted by Abortion Survivor

Here is one of the most inspiring stories you are likely to read this week:


June 14, 2006

"The Hand of God Which Has Hold of the Swords of Men."

John Fox, pictured here in ancient copy of his book Foxes Book of Martyrs of the Christian Church

Last Sunday I preached on Hebrews 11:32-40 on the accomplishments and the sufferings that go along with faith. Hebrews has been one blessing after another. My favorite commentators during this study, who are pure balm to my soul have been Matthew Henry, Charles Spurgeon and John Owen (who has 7 rich volumes on Hebrews).

These blessed brothers have a firm grasp on our Sovereign God who superintends every synapase of every enemy's thoughts, and every leaf that falls to the ground. They know "The Hand of God Which Has Hold of the Swords of Men."

Graphic drawings in Fox's Book of Martyrs for the various ways believers have been martyred throughout the centuries.

Here is how Henry, Spurgeon and Owen made sense of v37-38 "They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented-- of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth."

Matthew Henry
Thus David escaped the sword of Goliath and of Saul; and Mordecai and the Jews escaped the sword of Haman. The swords of men are held in the hand of God, and he can blunt the edge of the sword, and turn it away from his people against their enemies when he pleases. Faith takes hold of that hand of God which has hold of the swords of men; and God has often suffered himself to be prevailed upon by the faith of his people.

Charles Spurgeon
"God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains His soldiers not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and subjecting them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many long miles with heavy backpacks of sorrow. Well, Christian, may this not account for the troubles through which you are passing? Is the Lord bringing out your graces and making them grow? Is it for this reason He contends with you?"

John Owen
“We know not what command, what ordinance, what institution, what prohibition, God will single out to be the means and subject of our trial as unto sufferings. If we are not equally ready to suffer for every one, we shall suffer for none at all."

The lesson: It pleases God that the church from time to time endure persecution so that we would be beautified and unified and sanctified as a result of our trials.

June 13, 2006

Devin Kerns on Church Membership and Gossip

Wilmington NC, pastor Devin Kerns shared with me one of his criteria for church membership - "no one can join this church without hearing my sermon on gossip."

He informs new members that he has a zero tolerance policy on gossip and evil speaking. He says, "if you commit adultery in our church you get four chances to repent according to Matt 18, but if you gossip, you are rejected after the first and second admonition."

He also guarantees his church members this: "No one will say anything bad about you behind your back without severe repurcussions."

He quotes Titus 3:10 which says, "Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned."

He sent me these pictures of churches wrecked by Katrina that he used in his "gossip' sermon in 2005.

He says: "These churches were only damaged of brick and mortar and the people still meet, but when gossip strikes, it destroys the people spiritually and emotionally. "

Gutted - a vivid reminder of how gossip can gut a church

Here is a church before the storm

The Same Church after

James devotes an entire chapter of his letter(chapter 3) to the devastating influences of the tongue " see how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire..." and then in the next chapter he says, "Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. James 4:11

The apostle Paul exhorts his disciple Titus to "remind them… to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Tit 3:2