The Most Important Trait

I think the most important trait in a man is kindness. Everything flows from that. Related to that is understanding. All the money in the world can’t buy the profound blessing of a man who understands you and doesn’t judge and dislike you for a weakness–someone who instead bolsters you up in that area instead of despising it. That’s what a good man does. They don’t crush the life and joy out of you, they give life and joy because of the way they live and show love. I am grateful to be married to a deeply kind man.

 

TomIngLake

Motherhood In One Picture

Emmy told me that last night she had a bad dream but that in the dream, when a monster was chasing her,  she came running to my room and jumped in our bad, and I kept her safe from the monster. That pretty much sums up how a child should view a mother. In a cold and often scary world, mothers should be a warm and safe place, a place that stays with you all your life in your mind and heart. I saw this unattributed photo today flying around Facebook and thought it summed up mother love all in one photo.

(This is in honor of my own mother, Freda, whose love has always come through, in good times and bad.)

 

mama

An Evening Gift

Our son, Will, is busy at college, but this evening he sent this beautiful and ancient hymn. It came for me at exactly the moment that God wanted it to. Will attached a version of this hymn with a French choir singing along with organ. The setting is by the compose,r Vierne. The organ music is powerful, contrasting with the voices of the choir. The cry of the supplicant, and the answering, response of the Spirit of our all powerful God. I hope this blesses you as it did me tonight. The words echo the cry of our hearts: Come, Holy Spirit. Without you, we can do nothing.

 

COME, HOLY GHOST
send down those beams,
which sweetly flow in silent streams
from Thy bright throne above.

O come, Thou Father of the poor;
O come, Thou source of all our store,
come, fill our hearts with love.

O Thou, of comforters the best,
O Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,
the pilgrim’s sweet relief.

Rest art Thou in our toil, most sweet
refreshment in the noonday heat;
and solace in our grief.

O blessed Light of life Thou art;
fill with Thy light the inmost heart
of those who hope in Thee.

Without Thy Godhead nothing can,
have any price or worth in man,
nothing can harmless be.

Lord, wash our sinful stains away,
refresh from heaven our barren clay,
our wounds and bruises heal.

To Thy sweet yoke our stiff necks bow,
warm with Thy fire our hearts of snow,
our wandering feet recall.

Grant to Thy faithful, dearest Lord,
whose only hope is Thy sure word,
the sevenfold gifts of grace.

Grant us in life Thy grace that we,
in peace may die and ever be,
in joy before Thy face.
Amen. Alleluia!

 

Laying a Sound Foundation

photo 2 (8)The local PBS station was on in the background last Saturday when our little daughter suddenly said excitedly, “He’s talking about Jesus!” Her eyes were shining.

I looked up at the screen to see Bill Gaither on the Gospel music program he hosts. The mention of the name of Jesus made Emmy’s ears perk up. She knows that that name is special in our home.

This last Monday our daughter began her formal schooling. It has made us think about how important foundations are in our lives. We are seeing the foundations of social order completely broken up and discarded in America. It is little wonder why the walls are buckling and the ceiling is coming down in our country. When the moral and spiritual foundations are destroyed, the rest comes down quickly. The same is true in our personal lives.

The reason we placed Emmy in a Christian school is because we know how important a spiritual foundation is. Begin with the wrong material or lay no foundation at all and you are setting lives up for destruction. Academics are important , yes, they are, but the most important thing of all is instilling the fear of the Lord in the hearts of our children. Introducing them to the Architect behind everything is crucial. We are not here by chance, we are not just carbonized life forms. There is a Designer and a design for all of it. Educators in secular schools teach that we are the result of random chance acting on matter. Then they act surprised and horrified when those who really accept that they are highly evolved slime live out that belief system in the halls.

Emmy’s school begins at the beginning. The very first day of school, she brought home a paper intended for the families. Not just the children, but the families. She already has learned the first of the Ten Commandments that God gave from Sinai. The Law of God gives us the basis for the Gospel message. First Law, then Gospel. I thought I would share a photo of the Congregation at Prayer sheet Emmy received from school. Foundations matter. Without them, spiritual ruination will follow.

 

Bible

On Authority

“Some people have an instinctive itch of irritation against the word ‘authority.’ Either they suppose that authority is a pompous name for mere bullying, or else, at the best, they think that mere bullying is an excess of authority. Tyranny is the opposite of authority. For authority simply means right; and nothing is authoritative except what somebody has a right to do, and therefore is right in doing. It often happens in this imperfect world that he has the right to do it and not the power to do it. But he cannot have a shred of authority if he merely has the power to do it and not the right to do it…. To abuse authority is to attack authority. A policeman is no longer a policeman when he is bribed privately to arrest an innocent man; he is a private criminal. He is not exaggerating authority; he is reducing it to nothing.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

—From the essay, “True and False Comparisons”

This essay can be found in the Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton Vol. 37, available here.

HT: Ignatius Press

Little Things Done Well

“Becoming aware of little things that need attention, and doing them exceedingly well for the love of God, is daily living lifted up into the heart of Christ. It means we arise in the morning, aware that this day is given to us that we may grow in love, grace and wisdom before the Lord. It means we realize that we have one more day to spend in the school of God’s love.”

- Catherine Doherty

 

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Spiritual Abuse – The Fallout Can Be Catastrophic *See updated at bottom*

abuseMy friend Karen posted a link to an article that captures the results of spiritual abuse. Hostility and opposition from those who hate Christians is one level of abuse. To have those you trusted with your soul and heart and mind, those who maybe even taught you what you should believe about God, to have them turn on you and discard you is a whole different thing. It makes you unable to believe any spiritual leader who says, “believe this”, or “this is who God is.”

I often see people linking to spiritual leaders on FB who have personally treated others worse than dog dirt. I think to myself, “They don’t know. I know who these people are screeching about worldview, etc. They are thugs. They lie. They destroy others without a conscience. They blame the victims and scapegoat rather than admit their own sin. They don’t care that they have destroyed souls. They just.don’t.care.

The Sola Sisters article accurately nails the fallout from such experiences.

Quotes from survivors of spiritual abuse express more clearly the effect of the experience.

•”I cannot express the deep anger this has left me with.”
•”This place is like a huge machine that sucks people in, chews them up and spits them out again.”
•”My husband finds ‘church’ impossible and has not been a regular attendee since last summer.”
•”This experience can damage the way we see God so that we distrust him as much as we distrust our pastors.”
•”I’m very cynical. But now, you see, I see a different side to people. I don’t trust people, I don’t trust people in authority.”

The long-term effects of spiritual abuse should not be minimized. In our experience the process of an individual coming to terms with what has happened can take years and there does seem to be a process to work through to come to some acceptance. It must be noted that for many individuals this does not happen and they remain angry. Their experiences invariably raise serious questions about God and the church. Many of these individuals will never attend church again.” (From Sola Sisters: Hope For the Spiritually Abused -Read the article here.

*A friend sent me this news story this morning. Dr. Warren Throckmorton has been covering the Mark Driscoll train wreck for a long time. He reports this morning that 21 former Mars Hill Church pastors have filed formal charges against Driscoll that surprised me not at all. The documentation from 21 former pastors pretty much spells it out. How did this kind of man end up in leadership? We spotted this 10 years ago, many of us. It was self-evident that Driscoll had no business in the ministry, period. Now he has left stacks of bodies behind. It took this long? Only in American Evangelicalism. 

Friends and Neighbors Are Good for Your Health

I came across an interesting article from Canada about the health-enhancing benefits of having good friends and social interaction.

“Those surrounded by a tight-knit group of friends who regularly gather to eat—and, crucially, gossip—live an average of 15 years longer than loners.  Quality face-to-face contact is essential for a social species, writes psychologist Susan Pinker, citing research that shows it fortifies immune systems, calibrates hormones and increases chances of surviving heart attacks, strokes, AIDS and cancer. 

“People with the most integrated social lives—overlapping relationships among friends, family, sports and other recreational or religious pursuits—have the best prognoses,” with the most life-threatening diseases.


It’s true even with dementia: A 2004 Swedish study found its lowest prevalence among those with the most extensive social networks.” (See full article here.)

amySadly, as the article points out, knowing and interacting with those closest to us is fading due to many factors in our society. The good news is that we can do something about that. It’s never too late to get to know your neighbors and carve out time for friends. I don’t enjoy large groups of people, but love to have coffee with friends one on one. These are the best kind of social networks, the ones where there are real faces across the table. I’m spending time that way more and more these days, and I love it! The side benefit is that it really is good for my health. (That’s me and Amy Spreeman of Stand Up for the Truth Radio, a recent coffee partner.)