The Dignified Vocation of Homemaker

Wednesday is for homemakers and homeschoolers. Today I read through a Q&A that the late R.C. Sproul answered concerning the dignity of homemakers. I’d like to share it below praying it might be of encouragement to those whose  significant and dignified vocation is ‘homemaker’. 

» How does a woman find dignity as a housewife and mother in today’s career-minded society?

The quest for dignity is not limited to women nor to women in careers or in the home, but it’s a universal quest. I’ve been involved in many, many seminars that focus on the quest of human dignity, and I have found that every person I have ever talked to wants to be treated with dignity and wants to be sure they have dignity. At the same time, I have discovered that giving a clear definition to the concept of dignity is a very difficult task, yet everybody knows when they have lost dignity.

The woman whose vocation is being a homemaker and a mother, and that is her career rather than working in the business community, is feeling sort of a reverse pressure that other women felt a few years ago when they went into the business world and were discriminated against for somehow abandoning their place in the home. Women today are feeling an imposed guilt for not having a career; somehow being a homemaker is considered a less–than–dignified vocation.

Obviously God clearly affirms the dignity of that role for a woman. The children will rise up and call her blessed. But when God’s Word affirms the dignity or value of something, that is not always enough for us to keep our own security about it. It should be enough—if God says it, that should settle it. But it doesn’t settle it with us. We’re feeble, fragile in our feelings, and we can be made insecure by the culture that looks down upon this particular role.

I would say that the single most important individual in maintaining the dignity of a woman in the home is the husband in the home. If the
husband demeans or ignores or puts down or treats as insignificant the labor of his wife, he becomes the principal destroyer of this woman’s dignity. And so the first thing that has to be done to restore the dignity of the woman in the home is having the husband and children create an environment of appreciation and verbalize that appreciation.

Somebody once made the statement that the negative input of one criticism requires nine compliments to be overcome in our personalities. That’s certainly true. One criticism of a wife in the home can devastate her self-esteem in that role, particularly when the rest of the culture is trying to tell her that homemaking and mothering are no longer significant enterprises.

Science Tuesday–A World Magazine Blunder

It’s Science Tuesday– The Oxford English Dictionary defines science as follows:

Science comes from the word to know, having its origin in middle english denoting knowledge. Doing science technically means that you do the scientific method of observing and repeating experiments until a conclusion can be made that is both observable and repeatable.

Thus, the estimation of the universe being young or old is not an issue of science, but of faith. Christians believe with Jesus that the universe was created in six literal days and that God rested on the seventh; that there was no death before sin, but sin came into the world through Adam and Eve. On the six days specific things, creatures, and ultimately humans were created by God, distinctly from one another. For example, on the fifth day birds were created, and on the sixth day land animals and humans were created. Nonetheless, just this month I received an article in World Teen Magazine that said that T. Rex was covered in feathers. Usually evolutionists would say that dinosaurs evolved into birds, but the article cited “New Take on T. Rex” teenwng.org/worldteen/mudroom shows a picture of a man made hatchling that is supposed to be a baby t-rex. The problem with this is numerous. To begin with, this is not science, but secular faith in a creation contrary to God’s Word. 

Let’s make it very plain and simple: If Word Teen Magazine is suggesting from the American Museum of Natural History’s exhibit that dinosaurs evolved from birds, which it is, then it is contradicting the Genesis account that shows birds being created on day 5, and land animals including dinosaurs being created on day 6, distinctly after each of their kinds. Thus, what World Teen Magazine is doing is not holding to their commitment to bring news from a Christian WWorldview.They are promoting another faith, not science by definition. 

For a helpful article on refuting the false teaching that birds and dinosaurs are somehow related, see David Menton’s excellent article “Did Dinosaurs Turn into Birds?” in The New Answers Book pp.296–305 (Master Books) accessible at https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/feathers/did-dinosaurs-evolve-into-birds/ .  Menton mentions many insights that would relate to the article in question.

Just after writing this article, it was brought to my attention that not only is this article in World Teen Magazine, and God’s Big World (for the youngest ones), and on the front page of World Kids (age in between version). World Magazine may you know the kids are disappointed. 

Disability Monday—The Disabled Can, and Should, Hear From God Too!

Monday’s are for disability. There is a myth that the disabled are unable to respond to God. This is not true. For example,

“The late Helen Keller, whose sight and hearing were destroyed before she was two years of age, expressed this awareness of God when just a teenager. She was to become a truly inspirational woman. Anne Sullivan who lived with Keller and taught her for many years though tit would be impossible to teach little Hellen about God. But when Helen was fourteen, Miss Sullivan placed her sensitive finger son her lips and slowly spelled out ‘G.O.D.’ It was a breakthrough. Helen’s face lit up and she exclaimed, ‘Oh, I am so glad you told me His name, for He has often spoken to me” (Carswell, What is a Christian, pp.2–3).

The image of God is not bound up in our physical disabilities, but in that which God works within so as to redeem all of us, including our bodies at the last day. Some may object and say that those with developmental disability lack this ability. However, this comes down to the issue again of God’s image. God’s image is part of every human being.

Genesis 1:27 states, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Moreover, man did not cease to be man after the fall. There was a certain depravity, but it did not take away the fact the men and women are image bearers of God.

I was at a conference for pastors at the Creation Museum in recent years where geneticist Georgia Purdom spoke. I wrote down a point she made that stays with me:

“Don’t use argument that special needs are positively contributing to society or other positive traits. No. 

Life is valuable as it is an image bearer of God. If we lose any positive, then the matter becomes a basis of opinion.”

As Christians we don’t live on opinion, but truth. And the truth is that every human being is made in the image of God. The value of a human being is not on the basis of its contribution to society, but on the basis of God’s Word telling us plainly what a human being is.

So, the disabled are image bearers just as anyone else. And the disabled can and do respond to God by the same grace needed for those who are not disabled. All must then look to God. And we must teach every human being about God.

Hope for Israel and Hope for All

Saturday’s are for media and the arts (Or so I mean that to be the regular subject here). Last week I covered a book by Elizabeth Prentiss, but this week I want to cover some Scripture that may be fitting for the close of this holy week. It’s Saturday before Easter. In terms of what happened at this point 2000 + years ago, the apostles creed helps us confess that Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, “Was crucified, dead, and buried.” At this point it seemed to many all hope was lost of a savior of Israel. But was it so?

Matthew 12:22–32 describes a hopeless state where the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is committed by the Jewish religious leaders representing if you will, the nation of Israel. Matthew records,

“Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David? But when he Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts,” he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then he kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word agains the Son of man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Now to be honest, I was reading some comments on this text in a study where there was strong emphasis on Jesus coming to literally sit on the throne in Israel one day, a very dispensational thought to some. I put that book down and thought not to read it any more at this time. I said, “Here we go again!” Not that I am opposed to the idea, but there was something that just made me not want to continue reading about that. Perhaps it was because I wanted to read about me. Isn’t that often why we stop reading something we need to–It’s not enough about us?

Well, I opened my next chapter in reading through the Bible to Ezekie 37, and things made sense here. It is obvious to me that Matthew 12:22–32 on the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit has its context in the religious Jewish leaders rejection of the Messiah, saying he was doing the things he was doing as a son of the devil, not God. This was a great sin, unforgivable, leaving them hopeless, and perhaps the nation of Israel which they represented–or did it?

Ezekiel 37 reads,

“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out into the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.”

Observation #1 They were a bunch of them
Observation #2 They were without any hope of life, they were very dry

Continuing…

“And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, “O Lord GOD [Yahweh Adonai], you know.” The he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD [Yahweh Adonai] to the bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD [Yahweh].”

Observation #3 Ezekiel leaves it up to the Lord God to know if there is hope.
Observation #4 The name which Ezekiel uses of God to address him is Yahweh Adonai. Preface of the ESV Bible explains when both of these names are used together they are translated in our Bibles Lord GOD (God being capitalized]. The first name speaks of God as master, the second in relationship with his people in covenant.
Observation #5 God’s proclamation to Ezekiel that he will cause these dry bones to live will result in someone knowing that God is the LORD [Yahweh]. That is the name that refers to covenant relationship with His people. They will know that he keeps covenant and steadfast love with his people no matter their condition at this time.

Continuing forward Ezekiel prophesies at the command of God and the bones live and become an exceedingly great army (Ezekiel 37:7–10). Then the LORD God explains…

“Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your raves and raise you from your graves, O my people.”

Here it is clear that Israel as a nation is described, and they will say their hope is lost. They will die this way, believing their hope was lost; or they will be in a spiritually dead state at least saying this. They are promised they will be brought back to “the land of Israel.” That is very specific to the covenant with Abraham. Continuing…

“And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declare the LORD.”

Now, New Covenant language is brought back into the picture from Ezekiel 36, coupled with “land” promises specific to God’s promise to Israel; along with the covenant name of God being referred to again.

Perhaps we can see it in the resurrection scene of Luke 24 where the two disciples speaking with the resurrected Jesus on the way, say that their hope is lost; they had thought that He was going to redeem Israel (though the knew not who was speaking to them.) A day is coming when people from Israel a reside to receive New Covenant promises and when they do, part of it includes, “Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves fro your iniquities and your abominations” (Ezekiel 36:31).

This language is very specific to Israel as a nation and their future conversion. We may very well want to spiritualize it because of preconceived systematic preferences in our theology, however it takes removing words and twisting statements to do so.

The fact that it is not always about us does not make it any less comforting. The church today is made up of largely gentiles (non-Jews) who hope in the God whose first workings were with mainly Jews. Why? Because He chose it that way. The church today experiences in fullness the New Covenant in the blood of God’s Son and Lamb of God Jesus Christ. To know that God will keep his promises to a people who in their feeling rightly hopeless and separated from God is an immense comfort to any believer who also may feel this way in their own backslidings (compare Ezekiel 37:23 b).  This is indeed just as much resurrection hope as any Easter sermon. It is hope that exists in the reality of God’s promises beyond the grave, given substance by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Perhaps what we learn here in studying our Bibles, or at least what I have learned and am endeavoring to pass on, is that Scripture gives us hope when it is not primarily about us, but about God and even about others. God is gracious to teach me so, and I hope you as well as a reader of this simple post. Happy Easter! There is hope for all because there is hope for Israel as a nation still.

Flavel & Fishing Friday: The New Creature

I first read it as thus, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” It was given me written on a bookmark by my wife’s father within the first year of my conversion. The words still are quite encouraging to me. All that I was before in my sin was gone, and I was indeed a new creation of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

I read the words again today. I’m dedicating Fridays to Flavel (John Flavel) the English puritan preacher whose works compose six volumes. I’ve been reading through them for some time, and have decided to pick them up on Fridays to reflect upon, and as an accompaniment at times, I like to share some fishing pics, so consider Fridays are for fishing and Flavel! 

Now, to the text briefly. In a sermon on the use of this verse, Flavel ends it on a most encouraging note for those have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ:

“if God hath renewed your natures, and thus altered the frame and temper of your hearts, he hath bestowed the richest mercy upon you that heaven and earth affords. This is a work of the greatest rarity; a new creature, may be called, One among a thousand: it is also an everlasting work, never to be destroyed, as all other natural works of God  (how excellent soever) must be: it is a work carried on by Almighty Power, through unspeakable difficulties and mighty oppositions, Eph 1:12 The exceeding greatness of God’s power goes for that produce it; and indeed no less is required to enlighten the blind mind, break the rocky heart, and bow the stubborn will of man; and the same Almighty Power which at first created it, is necessary to be continued ever moment to preserve and continue it, 1 Pet 1:5. The new creature is a mercy which draws a train of innumerable and invaluable mercies after it, Eph 2:13–14; 1 Col 3:20. When God hath given us a new nature, then he dignifies us with a new name, Rev 2:17; brings us into a new covenant, Heb 31:33; begets us again to a new hope, 1 Pet 1:3; [and] intitles us to a new inheritance, John 1:12–13. It is the new creature which through Christ makes our persons and duties acceptable with God, Gal 6:15. In a word, it is the wonderful work of God, of which we may say, “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” There are unsearchable wonders in its generation, in its operation, and in its preservation. Let all therefore, whom the Lord hath thus renewed, fall down at the feet of God, in an humble admiration of the unsearchable riches of free grace, and never open their mouths to complain under any adverse or bitter providences of God.” 

It is then this reflection on 2 Corinthians 5:17, being new creatures in Christ, that according to Flavel should indeed make us less complaining under any providence. May it be of use for the readers.

Now, one fishing pic for the day:

Pastor Thursday: Rescued by a Text of Scripture

Thursdays are for pastors. Today, I was reading a book on Spurgeon and came across the place where the incident of October 1856 occurred in Surrey Music Hall. Iain Murray says that he was preaching a Sunday evening service in Surrey Gardens Music Hall, packed with thousands of people and a false cry of fire was raised in one of the galleries. As a result of trampling, seven people died and more injured. He went on preaching only to discover all of this later, was devastated, and took up residence in a friends home thinking he would never preach again!

The question is: What brought him out of it? Murray goes on to explain that Philippians 2 was brought to mind, in particular verses 9–11, which in read:

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

According to the biographer, 

“assurance came to him afresh that Christ would certainly triumph over all. In that same moment he forgot himself, and the clouds that had hung over him were gone. Christ was at the right hand fo the Father and that was all he needed to know. When he returned to his pulpit these words from Philippians chapter two were his text. ‘In a great measure, he told his people, it was these words which ‘enabled me to come here today.’”

As it seems, Spurgeon experienced what the apostle Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:19–20,

“And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.”

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