Archive for May 2011

Happy Mother’s Day

The Value of a Career in Motherhood.

Adapted from G.K. Chesterton’s essay, What’s Wrong with the World.

Mothers are quickly thrust into a career of immanent importance.  Their babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to the world.  To put the matter shortly, a mother is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he or she asks all the questions that there are and even some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist.

Now if anyone says this duty of enlightenment is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view.  I can only answer that God has thought it wise to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world.  But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not only difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up on the question.  For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination understand what they mean.

When Motherhood, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word.  If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work I admit the mother drudges in the home.  But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trivial, colorless and of small importance to the soul, then I say, I give up; I do not know what you mean.

To be the Queen within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be in business in a certain area, providing a certain expertise or service; to be Aristotle, teaching within a certain area, morals, manners and philosophy; I can understand how this can exhaust the mind, but how can it not also narrow it?  How can it be an important career to tell others about the Rule of Three, and an unimportant career to tell ones own children about everything in the universe?  How can it be more meaningful to tell the same thing to everyone, and less meaningful to be everything to someone?  No; a mothers career is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.  I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.

Phil’s Personal Bible Study Suggestions.

Reading and re-reading 1 book of the Bible for several months is my favorite way to study the Bible. For those just starting out I recommend starting with the Gospel of John, Genesis, Philippians, or Romans. A very good, and free, source for notes that can help explain thing you don’t understand about the Bible can be found at: http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes.htm

Here is how I typically work my way through passages of the Bible.

Step 1. Understand What The Passage Is Saying

Read a chapter or section of scripture carefully and prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to make the truth clear.  Summarize each paragraph looking for things that are repeated, things that are alike, things that contrast, and things that are emphasized.

Go deeper by answering the questions:

1. Where are things happening?

2. Who is involved?

3. When is the action/argument taking place?

4. What is happening in this section?

5. How is God working?

6. Why does God want us to know about this?

Step 2. Understand What The Passage Means

Answer the questions:

  1. What do I learn about God in this passage?
  2. What do I learn about myself in this passage?
  3. What are the truths that stand out to me in this passage?

Step 3. Prayerfully ask,  “What Does God Want Me to Do?”

Answer the questions:

  1. What would it take to better align my life with what I have learned from this passage?
  2. How does this passage challenge the way of life I am used to?
  3. What would it look like to live out what God is teaching me through this passage?

Go deeper by asking:

  • Is there an example for me to follow?
  • Is there a sin for me to avoid?
  • Is there a promise I can be assured by?
  • Is there a prayer I can be praying?
  • Is there an attitude I need to change?
  • Is there a command for me to obey?

Step 4. Pray.

Adoration: Praise God for what this reveals about him.

Confession: Repent for wrong behavior, and wrong attitudes and thank God for Christ’s grace to forgive and cleanse you.

Thanksgiving: Thank God for His amazingly faithful love and kindness.

Supplication:  Ask for God’s will to be done in specific challenges in the lives of others,in our city and/or around the world.

Additional Tools

How to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart

Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks

30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders

From God to Us by Norm Geisler and William Nix

Web-sites

http://www.soniclight.com

http://www.ccel.org

http://www.xenos.org

Books that I like to read along with the passages from the Bible I am studying are:

The Valley of Vision – Arthur Bennett

Everything by Oswald Chambers, particularly My Utmost for His Highest and The Place of Help

Everything by A.W. Tozer, particularly, The Pursuit of God

Everything by Francis Schaeffer, particularly True Spirituality

Everything by D. Martin Lloyd Jones, particularly Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

Spiritual Maturity by J. Oswald Sanders

The Confessions of Saint Augustine – Augustine

National Rejoicing and the Death of Osama Bin Laden

A number of people have asked me what I think about the death of Osama Bin Laden and the verse that has been popping up on Facebook status lines all week, “Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble.” – Proverbs 24:17

My first reaction when I saw that on Sunday night was disappointment that Christians were reducing the emotional reaction of people down to one that could be tritely condemned by pulling Proverbs 24:17 out of context and ignoring Proverbs 11:10 “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.”

As I have learned more about this event and have watched our leaders reactions to it I have been impressed with the willingness of multiple presidential administrations to fulfill their God given responsibility to be a servant of God’s in exercising the kind of justice that is described in Romans 13:3-4For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”

I do not assume that our leaders were consciously trying to obey God in their actions, but I do believe that God used them in His exercise of justice.  And while I believe that God’s love is so strong that it extended to Osama Bin Laden, I also believe that God’s love extended to the many he killed and to the ones he was planning to kill.

Osama Bin Laden had consistently and purposefully sought to undermine the authority of governments and their goals for peace and justice. He ignored the value of human life. He organized terrorist attacks on people around the world, not just in America. He called for jihad in the name of revenge and religious hatred. He targeted innocent civilians.

Even so, to attack him from a motive of vengeance or hatred would be wrong. However, governments are called to protect their people and seek justice, and when they do there is cause for celebration.  While the joy felt by many at the news that Bin Laden was dead has many components to it I believe that for most people the reason they cheered was not gloating over someone’s death, rather, it was celebrating the fact that a terrorist’s murderous acts had come to an end and justice had been done.