Continuing Honor, Continuing Promise

Mark Twain reportedly said, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” He was a wise twenty-one year old.

It’s a mistake to assume the 5th Commandment has a twenty-year shelf life: Honor your parents by doing (mostly) what they say while at home, and then you’re out on your own so don’t worry about it.

Like the other nine, the obligation is ongoing, though the way it is kept changes with seasons of life. This isn’t unique. The 7th Commandment requires chastity in singleness and fidelity in marriage. So honoring your parents primarily means obedience when you live in their house, but respect and gratitude once you are out. Of course respect and gratitude are always important, but the emphasis changes. Interestingly, Paul quotes the 5th in writing to a New Testament church and alters the setting of the promise:

Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long on the earth. –Ephesians 6:2-3

The promised land has become the promised world, including Ephesus. If they want it to go well there, they would have to honor their parents, and that doesn’t change after going around the 18 times. The 5th Commandment is mostly kept (or not) in adulthood, because for the average person, most of life is lived as an adult. Put another way, God wants to bless His people living in the world through the end of their long lives. Here are five ways to honor parents in adulthood. Continue reading

Celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day

The Truth

We don’t know very much for certain about Valentine (Latin Valentinus) other than it seems his death was on February 14. His name comes from the Latin valens which means strong. Pope Gelasius established a feast in his name in AD 496 but admitted lacking details about his life. There may be more than one martyr named Valentine but similar accounts of their lives lead us to think they refer to one man.

One account reports that Valentine served as a priest in Rome and was condemned by Emperor Claudius II who had forbidden marriage in order to strengthen his military. Valentine performed marriages anyway, was taken prisoner, and though initially liked by Claudius was eventually beaten with clubs and stones and beheaded around 270 after sharing the gospel with the Emperor. Other stories have him refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods, effectively praying for healing for his jailer’s blind daughter, and leaving a note signed “Your Valentine” for her on the day of his execution. Continue reading

The Harvest of Lust

“Men who want to stay faithful must remember that lust is not a sensation; it’s a road with an established destination. That destination is always some form of sexual immorality. When lust is planted, the harvest is consistently some sort of sexual grief.” –Douglas Wilson, My Life For Yours p. 74


The Kids Hear All the Time

John Younts (Everyday Talk) sledges home  the didactic power of speech:

“How do you talk to your spouse in front your children? Do you make fun him? Do you complain about her? Do you insult each other? Do your children hear you argue incessantly? Are irritation and smoldering anger common in your home? Or do you deal with conflict by just ignoring each other? How do you talk about your spouse to others?

The way you talk to or about your spouse is a model of instruction for your children. Your conversation is a powerful influence, either for good or for bad. Comments to and about your spouse, made in your children’s hearing, tell them about your marriage. If you often speak of marriage as a pain, a risk, a disaster or a trial, you are teaching your children what you think marriage is really like. You are also displaying a view of marriage that is contrary to God’s view” (p. 134).

Nourish Not Perish

When a flower is wilting, you don’t pluck it up out of the ground, examine the roots, or leave it on the sidewalk. It needs sunlight, water, good soil, fertilizer and care. So with a hurting marriage. You don’t fix it by tearing it up.

Bump on a Log

“If a woman wants to be a lawyer, she can go to law school, take the Bar Exam, send out resumes to employers, and practice law. If a woman wants to run for office, she can put her name in the hat, run a good election campaign, and win the race. If a woman wants to travel to Australia, she can buy airline tickets, pack her bags, and go. In other works, she can do something to accomplish her goals. But if she wants to get married, she’s told to sit like bump on log until the right Christina man finds her. I don’t think so.” Debbie Maken (Getting Serious About Getting Married)

Inescapable Combat

In Bound For Glory, R.C. Sproul Jr. comments on the idolatrous inclinations of Christian families.

The world has its own peculiar goal. Everyone wants marriages that are enriched, fulfilled and exciting and hopes that their children grow up to be prosperous. In fact, the world is in a mad dash in pursuit of personal peace and affluence. Sadly, too often in the evangelical church it is not much different. Of course, we want our children to become Christians. but that is just an addition to the all-consuming goal, that they would attain their own personal peace and affluence. We pray that they will be Christians just like us, who have found their way in the world. But the command of God for us and for our children is not that we would find our way in the world, but that we would wage war on the world. Continue reading

Ref 71 Gathers Over 138,000 Signatures

Gatherers of signatures for Referendum 71 had about two months to get the 121,000 signatures needed to counter SB 5688 and bring the issue of extending the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples to a statewide vote. They would have had a month longer to collect signatures but Governor Chris Gregoire delayed as long as possible in order to make it more difficult. Call it a move against democracy.

Now the Seattle Times is noting not so much the disunity on the right, but the lack of leadership in the gay community. Those who voted for the referendum might have been as disorganized as they were made out to be, but if so it speaks even louder about the opposition to homosexual marriage. Over 138,000 signatures were collected, an enormous number bigger than anyone expected and indicating there are a lot more conservative voices than one would’ve guessed from the media coverage.

Unless a large number of signatures–over 18,000–are proven fraudulent or somehow discounted, Referendum 71 will come to a statewide vote where it almost certainly will fail which means the benefits of marriage will be denied to homosexuals who are not married. Many will count this a victory for “marriage” and in some ways it will be. Marriage is an institution extended by common grace to everyone. But many who vote against gay marriage would also vote for polygamy like Muslims and Mormons (as soon as the prophet decides) which tells you how little legislation accomplishes. It can protect certain things to a certain extent. What really changes people’s view of marriage are thriving examples, especially the radiant women within them. Christian husbands should double back through the Song of Songs and and take political action.

Rife with the Aroma

Our homes must be rife with the aroma of love. Those who visit us should notice immediately that they have left the world of self-serving, egocentric narcissism and have entered a safe harbor where people value and esteem others above themselves. Outsiders should enters our homes and never want to leave. Our neighbors should find excuses to visit us just to get another whiff of the fragrant aroma of love. The brokenhearted should long to be near us. The downtrodden and the abused should seek us out. Families on the brink of disaster should point to us and say, “Why can’t our home be like that?”  –Voddie Baucham

What kind of impact would the church have if it was filled with homes like this? The church is always a work in progress, but this sort of home-life should be our goal. With loving, self-sacrificial and hospitable families, the work of the Gospel is plain and therefore the Word of the Gospel goes out.

Falling Out of Repentance

I have a theory: Behind virtually every case of marital dissatisfaction lies unrepented sin. Couples don’t fall out of love so much as they fall out of repentance. Sin, wrong attitudes, and personal failures that are not dealt with slowly erode the once lofty promises made in the throes of an earlier (and less polluted) passion.    –Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage