Theology Thursday – God Does Not Make Mistakes

I like this video on 2 fronts:

  1. It attacks our practical atheism in which we live our lives without relating EVERYTHING that happens to the divine plan and purpose for His glory through our lives.
  2. It attacks the idea that we can not trust God to determine how many children we have. Dr. Evans makes it clear that the scriptures testify that EVERY single person is a special creation of God. Created by HIS divine volition and unction, out of HIS perfect counsel, plan and will. There are NO “SURPRISE” children if we believe the Bible to be God’s Word. Each of them were sovereignly ordained in eternity past to be created by God’s own hand in their mother’s womb. When we take the “planning” of our family and its size into our own hands we proclaim that we do NOT believe that the Bible is God’s word (else we would live as if we believed passages like Ps 139:13-16) and we show ourselves to be atheistic in our daily practice – living as one with without regard for God and his Law.

Watch at your own risk!

Remember you are accountable for the revelation you have been given!

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Quote of the day – The Purpose of Education

From the Reverend Doctor R.C. Sproul Jr.:

Instead, a college education is for the same thing a kindergarten education is for, to repair the ruins. The great Puritan poet John Milton wisely said: “The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him.

You should really read the rest of his article found here.

Thankful Thursday: My Brother

I thought I would start a new series here at the Hovel, one in which I single out something/someone I am thankful for and praise YHWH for his grace by telling a bit about why I am thankful. So here goes (fair warning it is a long one).

I am thankful for my brother. My brother is a mountain of a man in more ways than one. On the internet he is known as The Freedom Crusader and it fits him well. Though I am often confused as to what he is fighting for or against and on more occasions than I care to count I have found myself on the opposite side of the field of battle from him (that could be due to his penchant for playing the devil’s advocate) but one thing is sure: he is a man unafraid to enter in the fray no matter the cost. It is one of his most infuriating and endearing character qualities. In my life it has meant that on the one hand I have a ready gadfly waiting to goad me to deeper thought and study and on the other I have had the privilege of having one of the bravest defenders. For this I am very thankful.

I was reminded of one such time by the Crusader’s own Thanksgiving Day post. I will never forget one July day when the Crusader and I were down at my Uncle’s house unloading a stock trailer full of corral panels that had been used at a recent rodeo in our home town because it was almost my last. The trailer was filled wall to wall with steel corral panels that were 5′ tall and 12′ long. At first both the Crusader and I were outside the trailer dragging each panel out and stacking them in the barn. However, as the trailer began to empty it became necessary for one of us to stay in the trailer and hold the remaining panels upright while the other dragged the next panel out and stacked it. Being one that never shirked work and also being a bit protective of his  older brother, the Crusader told me to stay in the shade in the trailer and hold the panels while he moved and stacked each one in the barn. So in and out of the sun he went, muscles bugling, face turning red under the strain, sweat pouring off of his brow carrying each panel. I would start at the end of the trailer farthest from the door and would carry one end of a panel with one hand while steadying the stack with the other to help him get them out of the trailer and then I would walk back to the far end while he stacked his load in the barn. Everything with this system went smoothly for about the first 8-10 panels but no sooner had we gotten our rhythm down when everything went south.

I was in the trailer and had just handed one off to the Crusader, made my way over half way down the length of the trailer when the stack inside shifted and started to crash down on top of me. I turned and tried to stop the stack but it was too late. With a weight I had never experienced before the still massive stack of steel slammed me up against the side of the trailer. Suddenly the only thing keeping nearly 1000lbs of steel off of my chest was my arms and adrenaline. In the chaos I had hollered and the Crusader had come running  grabbing the end of the pile and pushing with all of the strength in his body. However, he was at a disadvantage because he had no leverage from the end of the pile but he threw his whole self into getting this steel off of me. We struggled valiantly for several minutes but we never succeeded in doing anything more than keep the pressure off of my chest so I could breathe. To make matters worse, due to the height of the panels I couldn’t wedge my arms between the trailer wall and the panels so all that was holding all that weight was his muscle and my fear. As the minutes wore on and the adrenaline wore off the desperation of our situation began to show in the Crusader’s face telling me he was worried that what I already thought was really true – I was in real trouble. As we prayed and struggled the steel kept bearing down inch by inch. We were out in the middle of the country over 20 years ago, no cell phone, no one to hear us scream and the nearest phone was at our house a 1/2 mile drive away with real help at least 20 minutes distant after that call. I finally asked him to go get help before we were both total exhausted and I had no chance, thankfully he didn’t listen to me (I never would have made it).

Instead the Crusader mustered up all the adrenaline that his bullriding body contained and with a mighty heave he raised the panels enough to wedge his own body in between the trailer and the panels. At the time I didn’t know whether this was better or worse, now instead of just one of us in trouble we were both in the pickle. Even with the new leverage for the Crusader all it bought us was time to struggle. Things looked bleak and I was spent so the Crusader did what he does best, he took the bull by the horns in a death struggle that would end in either his death or the defeat of his opponent. Summoning an effort born of true manhood in a heart that will not quit no matter the odds the Crusader took one look into the eyes of the brother he was determined to save and gave what can only be described as a heave powered by divine providence. With that push, a push that separated some of the cartilage from his sternum, by God’s grace the Crusader shoved the panels vertical, holding them while I scrambled by and then dove free himself.

While some might have (or continue to) question his sanity in a few of the decisions in this process, I could not be more thankful for the Crusader. His willingness to jump into the bite when the chips are down is just one of many reasons that the Crusader is one of the finest men I know and for whom I am very grateful. I never like being in a pickle, there is no one I would rather have my back than the Crusader – a truly faithful man in more ways than one.

I am ruined

Well it is official, all of this Bible study and Jesus stuff has ruined me. Tonight I did something I have not done in a very long time but something that holds fond memories for me – I watched a John Wayne movie. You see I loved watching John Wayne movies with my Dad growing up and so tonight I thought I would watch one I had recorded. So after the Dear Wife had gone to bed and the Little Pauper was asleep I settled on the couch for a bit of fun and nostalgia with The Duke in “The Wings of Eagles”.

As the opening credits began to roll for this John Ford film, I was really looking forward to seeing this film about Frank “Spig” Wead for the first time. The opening scenes set up a typical Wayne military movie with side splitting hijinks  and the usual fisticuffs. Oh, what memories and the fun. The only problem is that as the film portrayed this very real man and his trials and successes, all I could see was the sub-plot of his failings as a family man. You see while “Spig” was making a career in the Navy it was at the expense of his family. Then when he realizes what a dolt he has been and is trying to put his family back together he has an accident and is rendered a quadriplegic. After a surgery to save his life and hopefully help him walk again, when he would most need his family, “Spig” does the “heroic” and I guess “expected” (for the era) thing and tells his wife to go make a life without him since he will “never” be any good to her now. She foolishly listens to him and leaves. The story then goes on to show how “Spig” eventually walks with 2 canes and leg braces, goes on to be a successful screen and playwright. All the while his DAUGHTERS grow up without him and while he saves his money for them, it is not until he is old and they are in college that he attempts to re-connect with them. Then just when he and his wife are about to once again try to put their marriage back together again WWII breaks out and his mistress the Navy calls him like a Siren away from his family and into active duty once again. The only thing that stops his march into the Naval War in the Pacific is a heart attack. The movie ends with all of his Navy buddies saluting him as he rides a ship to ship transfer seat headed home.

Now John Ford meant this movie to be a tribute to his friend who no doubt made a lasting and significant contribution to the Navy and the War effort. The problem for me is I can’t get lost in the fantasy painted by those without Christ anymore. The father’s heart that beats in my chest watched this movie and broke for a man and a family I have never met. I am not sure how much of the movie is “real” and how much is “dramatic license” but for me it did not matter. You see as one who YHWH has begun to teach about the importance of fathers and who has turned my heart to the hearts of my children (Mal. 4:6) all I could see was the mess left by an absent, albeit ambitious, father.  I could not see the achievements, all I saw was the sad story of a man who had gained the adulation of the world (even played a part in saving it from the Axis Powers) but had traded the souls of his wife and daughters to get it.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” (Ephesians 5:25, ESV)

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4, ESV)

“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25, ESV)

See I told you am ruined. As one for whom Jesus is turning on the lights of his wisdom through his Word, my flesh might want to return to bliss of the dark where movies are just harmless entertainments but I can’t. Even if the lights went back out, the brightness of His truth would be so burned in my retinas that the illusion of the dark would still reveal its horrible ugliness.     ………. Sure makes you want to come and watch a movie at my house doesn’t it?

What Legacy will You Leave Today?

Today you have the chance to impact your children’s future for many years to come with a mere 15 minutes of your time. The question is will you invest the time to take your children with you to exercise your right and responsibility to vote or not?

Today you have the opportunity to disciple you family as they walk along the road with you (Deut 6:1-9). What better opportunity to implant your values into their heart will you have?

So take your family, get out there and vote!

My Debut as a Guest Blogger (sorta)

One of my internet friends, Gary Taylor @ GENDADS, generously used a comment of mine in a post discussing one of the hidden dangers of public “leadership.”

Thanks to TIVO, Carolyn and I completed our interaction on true legacy reported in my last post, then went back to the “60 Minuutes” piece on Nelson Mandela.  What an extraordinary man.  The last 15 seconds spoiled the story, though.    The last few words still has me pondering.

Mandela knowingly sacrificed his children and abandoned them to real suffering to save the “millions who suffered as well.”  I know, sadly, leaders in missions and ministry who were on call to save the world and lost their children.

I got this reply from a friend whose blog, “A Pauper in the Court of the King“.  I urge you to slowly read through his short, deep, clear piece.  What he says is far more central to godly family life and legacy.

“Gary, you raise a very good point. The clear answer from scripture (the example of Eli the priest is a case in point) is that if you fail in your family – you fail period. God never calls a man to win the thousands at the expense of his family. Your first ministry is at HOME and if you fail there you are absolutely disqualified from leadership in the church of the Living God (Titus 1:6, 1 Tim 3:4-5)

The first and primary congregation that a man (EVERY man) is called to pastor and serve is the one born in his own home when he and his bride say “I do”.  To ignore, slight, or fail here is to build with wood, hay and stubble which WILL be borne away in the judgment fire (1 Cor 3:10-15).  To “lead” others without shepherding your own family is merely performing for the praise of men.

May God have mercy on me so that I might be found faithful in my home even if it means being derelict everywhere else. – The Pauper”

GT: “Amen!”