SAVE THE DATE
6.20 | Father's Day
June is a month where summer break begins for students in our area and fathers are honored on Father’s Day. These two make for great opportunities to pray for a safe and fun filled summer for families who will doubtlessly be traveling and making memories of all kinds in the days ahead. Prayer for fathers is also in order and greatly needed. More than ever we need godly men leading and shepherding their homes in the strength and power of the Lord. Please join us in asking the Lord to encourage dads who are striving to provide for their families and walk in the way of Christ.
By Bill Powell
The summer months affords me the opportunity to write what is on my heart. This article I must forewarn you may be a little prickly. I have noticed for some time now a trend towards an increase in profanity or what some would call swearing. I have noticed it growing even among the Christian community. What about it? Am I nit-picking, prying or being legalistic, judgmental, or just off base here bringing up this subject? Believe it or not, it has even become a trend in some of the more modern churches right from the pulpit. Does God’s grace give us a pass? Is throwing out a curse word every now and then, ok? What about it? Does the Bible have anything to say about it? What words would be considered profanity or swearing? There are no modern English four-letter words in the Bible. The word used in the Bible “curse” does not necessarily refer to four-letter words or what we would consider swearing exactly. How do you know a curse word when you hear it? Here is how: just say one once around a child and watch how quick they pick it up.
Is “cursing” vulgar, crude, dirty, or are they just words? Could using them be considered a bad habit or filthy talk? What would happen to you when you were a kid if you used a four-letter word in front of your parents? Is it a good way to emphasize a point? Is it the frequency that determines if it is acceptable? Is it ok once you turn 18? I intended to list the scriptures that speak to our speech but found too many to fit in this article, so I will just list the chapter and verse of some of them. Look them up; it is an eye opener. Here are just a few I thought I would print out for you. You can decide if this is proof texting.
(Eph 5:4) and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
(Jas 3:10) from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
(Jas 5:12) But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.
(Col 3:8, (Col 4:6, (Jas 1:26,) (1Pe 3:10,(Mat 15:11, (Rom 12:14), (Eph 4:29), (Mat 12:36,),
(Mat 12:37), (Jas 3:8), (Exo 20:7), (Luk 6:45), (Psa 141:3), (Pro 4:24), (Mat 5:37),
(Pro 6:12), (Psa 10:7, (Tit 2:6), (Tit 2:7), (Tit 2:8), (Hos 4:2), (1Ti 4:12), (Rom 12:14)
(Pro 10:32), (Psa 59:12), (Mar 14:71) It doesn’t matter what version of the Bible you use.
Following a list of man-made moral rules in and of itself is legalistic. The Bible does teach us, however, that out of the heart the mouth speaks. (Mat 15:18) "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” So, to answer my questions, the answer is what is in our heart. The Christian life is one of changing the heart to be more like Jesus. Do we seek to model Jesus or take up the ways of the world?
Back in the day, slipping a curse word out would get you in hot water, maybe even getting your mouth washed out with soap. Today it is common language of the world. I even feel a little trepidation writing this. I am not pointing fingers. I was just compelled to consider this because it is so pervasive. You decide for yourself. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
A FATHER THAT READS
By Chris Johnson
As a father of three, I often contemplate what I long for most for my children. There are far too many things to list here but there is one thing that always comes to mind. Reading. I want to instill and prayerfully foster a love for reading. I meet with people all the time who regularly tell me they don’t have time to read. That is tragic. Have we become so busy in our day? Have we succumbed to the mind-numbing media distractions of tv, social media, etc.? In moderation, there is nothing wrong with those forms of media, but they should never replace the discipline of reading. Yes, I called reading a discipline. For many people, reading is a joy and for others it is work. Whatever the adverb, it should be a regular part of our lives. Reading engages our minds in a way that visual media cannot. For example, reading engages the theater of our imagination. As one reads a fanciful tale your mind paints the scenes and brings life to the characters. Sure, the author provides details and such. However, the imagination is set free to run wild and sense the danger lurking in the shadows, smell the blossoms of the orange groves, or feel the shivers of the cold. Just think, even as you read that last sentence your mind was engaged with each one.
As a Christian father, I don’t only desire to foster a love for reading, but particularly a love for reading that glorifies the Lord. For example, this summer our family is engaging in a summer reading schedule. We each have reading from the Scripture, a biography of a Christian from history and various books that pertain to theology (an attribute of God, a Christian discipline, etc.). These opportunities are not made up of hours and hours of reading but a simple 20-30 minutes a day. Of course, each person is welcome to read more if they desire and there’s great freedom in adding stories like Chronicles of Narnia, the Wing Feather Saga, etc.
Ephesians 5, commands fathers to raise their children in the fear and the admonition of the Lord. The book of Proverbs is filled with instruction from a father to his sons concerning the ways and wisdom of life under God’s omnipresent eye. Deuteronomy instructs parents to be intentional about leading their children to know and fear the Lord. I long for my kids to know Jesus. He is the Word incarnate and told His disciples that their love for Him would be demonstrated by their obedience to His word. That is true for us today as well.
Happy Father’s Day dads. Among the many wonderful things we get to show in our children, may one of those things be a knowledge that their father loves to read.
GARAGE SALE & GOOD BOOKS
By Denisha Stearns
Are you someone who loves garage sales? My husband does. Every once in a while, he finds an item to buy just for the intrigue. One day, he brought home the Emergency War Surgery NATO Handbook from 1958. Research revealed that this book isn't rare like I thought. These handbooks have been given to surgeons of the NATO-member countries since 1958, and it gets revised periodically with new information. I especially like a quote by William Mayer in the forward of the 2000 edition. At the time the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Mayer states:
“Ours is a high calling. We are here to save lives, not to destroy them. We are committed to the future, not the past, and to the primary mission of military medicine, which is to keep the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines alive and whole: in the words of Abraham Lincoln, to minister to 'him who has borne the brunt of battle.'”
This quote makes me think of the spiritual battle we are in as Christians. One has only to read our Bibles or a Voice of the Martyrs book to perceive this. But like a good evangelistic-minded friend once told me, “I am going to heaven, and I want to have as many people with me there as possible.” Unlike a physical war, we willingly enter into this spiritual war and its battles for the good of others and because of the high calling of Christ. So while you are out there in the trenches, remember that someone is praying for you. In the Christian ranks, we are never fighting alone.
JESUS, TRUE FRIEND
By Christina Hutchinson
And so summer is here, and like every other season of life we find ourselves either to be elated or not so! I’ve already given you reasons for my love of summer, but I have my reasons why I don’t like the season all that much. One being hurricanes. The other is that August and September heat. Those two together make a terrible combination but they happen together, a lot.
In other seasons of life, one minute we feel like we’re on top of the mountain peak and then the next we are low in the valley. Maybe it’s a season of loss or maybe a season of loneliness. Maybe there’s been changes in your life and you suddenly look around and no one seems to be there. In seasons such as these I remind myself of the goodness of God. I remind myself that Jesus is the one and only true friend. These seasons help me to once again trust, hope, and rest in Christ alone.
Maybe your season looks like mine. Maybe you’re going through some isolation due to different circumstances. People are busy. Friends move away. People change. Well, Jesus isn’t busy. Jesus hasn’t gone anywhere. Jesus certainly has not changed. He is faithful, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
It’s not always easy to see Christ in the low valleys, or the rough seasons, or in times of loneliness. But He is 100% there through it all and truly is the only friend you can count on. He designed friendship amongst Christians to be a beautiful thing. He commands us to love one another and build each other up so that we reflect Christ. He even tells us to bear one another’s burdens. Because of our humanness, we don’t always live up to Christ’s standard of a friend and fail to fulfill the way the Christ can. It’s important that we remember who our trust should be in. We should remember Jesus, the true Friend.