In the past several weeks, a very important discussion has taken place on the blogosphere regarding the practice of baptism in the local church. We have great respect for the men who have participated in this discussion and are so grateful for their fierce commitment to apply God’s Word, their charitable and humble communication, and their gifted scholarship. Even though they may disagree on this issue, they are united by their passion and commitment to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We girltalkers have our own position on this issue but will leave it to the pastors and theologians to discuss and decide the mode of baptism in the local church. However, we’re pretty sure everyone can agree, this isn’t it:
This week, besides readying the kids and bracing ourselves for the start of the new school year, we’re also cooking up some new stuff for the blog. We hope to add some special features soon.
We aren’t making any promises though.
You see, we are wives and mothers first, and blogging is about 114th on our list of responsibilities. All it takes is for one of the kids to get a cold (which then moves methodically through the grandkids, one at a time for six consecutive weeks) and we’re winging it. Should one of us get pregnant, new blogging plans are shelved for at least twelve months.
But there are no colds or pregnancies this week (not that we know of!), so we’re dreaming about ways to improve the blog and serve you better. Which is why we’re going to take the week off from writings posts, and send some laughs your way instead. Yep, it’s a whole week of nothing but Friday Funnies. (I predict a spike in our male audience this week—welcome guys). We’ll get started with the moment this woman’s age caught up with her:
A woman was sitting in the waiting room for her first appointment with a new dentist. She noticed his DDS diploma, which bore his full name. Suddenly, she remembered that a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in her high school class so many years ago. Could this be the same guy I had a crush on way back then? she wondered.
She quickly discarded any such thought when she met the balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face. He’s way too old to have been my classmate, she thought to herself.
Still, after he examined her teeth, she asked, “Did you happen to attend Morgan Park High School?”
“Yes! I’m a Mustang,” he gleamed with pride.
“When did you graduate?” she asked.
“1959,” he replied. “Why do you ask?”
“You were in my class!” she exclaimed.
“Really?” he said, looking at her closely. “What did you teach?”
A few days after my engagement, I went to the bridal shop to purchase a gown. When I told the shop owner that my wedding was only four months away, she chided me: “You should have come earlier. Most brides purchase their dresses a year in advance these days. I can’t guarantee you’ll receive it in time.”
It would seem (if this bridal shop owner knows her stuff) that not many couples are in a hurry to get married these days. One reason for this trend may be that many couples are already living together or engaging in sexual immorality before marriage. Thus they feel no immediate need to “make it official.”
Certainly many single women can attest to the truth of Robert Wright’s words at the beginning of this chapter: “If it’s harder to drag men to the altar today than it used to be one reason is that they don’t have to stop there on the way to the bedroom.”
But Christian couples who believe it is God’s will to get married, may find wisdom in John Ensor’s advice:
“…keep the engagement period short (three to six months). I was engaged for nine months. Too long. It was like waiting at a light that did not really look red (we were engaged, after all) or truly green (yet we weren’t married). This muddied middle, interminably long in our culture, is hard on virtue and honor.”
This counsel is drawn from Scripture where Paul concludes “It is better to marry than to be aflame with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:9, NIV). In short, if two people believe it is God’s will for them to be married, virtue and honor should come first on their list of considerations when setting a wedding date.
Now obviously, we are not recommending anyone rush into marriage without having carefully and thoroughly prayed through this decision and received encouragement, counsel and blessing from those around them. This advice is for some of you and not for others. Most likely, you know who you are. And if not, ask your parents, a godly friend or pastor and they’ll tell you.
But let’s value marriage for what God has made it—a “reward for waiting,” and no matter what the bridal shop owners say, let’s “get to it.”
I have to admit that “Back to School” was never a real exciting time for me. Summer was my cup of tea. But here it is again—the end of August and if you are like me you have to face the facts. Playtime is over and school is starting. Nicole posted a timely reminder yesterday—the Lord is faithful to “go with you” and His grace will be present as you begin this new year.
More important than good grades is the opportunity to share the gospel and be a light to those around you. One of the singles pastors here at CLC, Eric Simmons, gave a message two years ago on evangelism that is a “must-listen” before you hit the books. He provides practical, biblical wisdom to help you reach out to those around you. So, along with text books and school supplies, don’t forget to prepare to be a witness of the love of Jesus Christ this school year.
For many of you reading this blog, “Back to School” is where you are going in the next few weeks. Whether a private or public school, high school, college or university, you may find yourself surrounded by those who do not believe in or love the Savior.
You may be tempted to join the party scene (rebelliously indulge your sinful desires, James 1:14-15), to downplay your faith (hide it under a basket, Matt. 5:14-16), to keep an open mind (question the only eternal truth, 1 John 1:1-4), or to chase your dreams (pursue selfish ambitions, James 3:13-18) instead of running after God’s commands.
As you consider these potential temptations, you may feel weak, unable to stand, desperate for God’s help. Good. If so, may the words of the Lord to Joshua encourage you today: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
The day after Labor Day I’ll send my oldest, Andrew, off to second grade at our church’s school. I’ll also be homeschooling Liam (who is four) this year, and trying to keep Owen (who is three) out of mischief. The past few weeks I’ve been busy purchasing school supplies, visiting the doctor, and planning Liam’s schedule. As I anticipate the school year, I’m grateful for the advice and tips that many of you sent us last year. So whether you’re about to send a kid off to school or preparing to teach them at home, here are some posts from the archives you may want to check out:
In 2002 Covenant Life Church celebrated it’s 25th anniversary. The church came together for a weekend of activities recounting God’s great grace and faithfulness through the years. With Josh Harris as narrator, the pastors put together a video presentation of my parent’s life and testimony. We just found out that the video has been posted (in two parts) on youtube and we thought y’all might enjoy taking a look.
As pastors’ wives, we’ve unfortunately been on the receiving end of conversations with young women that go something like this:
“I’m trying to get him to have consistent quiet times and be more passionate for the Lord. And I know that we’ve crossed the line more than a few times in the area of purity. But he says he really loves me and I love him. I’m sure he’ll shape up once we’re married. I can’t live without him.”
As women, our desire for marriage can be so strong, that we’re willing to settle for what John Ensor calls, “the immature, selfish, ungodly man” or even fall victim to the “deceitful and cunning predator.” But now, we have the “Manhood Test Kit”—the essential tool for determining if a man is ready to be married, or not. And it’s this: does he obey God by leading your relationship in purity?
I can’t say it better than John Ensor has already has:
“Men willing to wait, and wanting to wait, will test positive. It is not a lack of sexual interest; it is a healthy fear of God. It is love, which at this point rightfully expresses itself as protection frm sin and shame. If he weakens, help him succeed. If all else goes well in the development of the relationship, you know you are marrying a godly man, one who has self-control and a clear sense of his calling as a man.
Let me just add that the “Manhood Test Kit” is most effective in the context of community. Make sure you are asking for and seriously considering the counsel of godly men and women around you as you test the maturity of the man you may marry.
May God raise up many godly men who are committed to leading in purity as they walk toward the altar. And may God grant the women they are leading the discernment and wisdom to test their character against the straight edge of God’s Word.
To paraphrase the first magnificent answer of the Shorter Catechism, let’s not forget that: Mommy’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
And isn’t it interesting to note, as J. I. Packer points out in his new book,Praying the Lord’s Prayer, that this doctrinal statement uses the word “‘end,’ not ‘ends,’ for the two activities [glorifying and enjoying God] are one.” Dr. Packer continues:
God’s chief end, purposed in all that he does, is his glory, and he has so made us that we find our own deepest fulfillment and highest joy in hallowing his name by praise, submission, and service.
Christians get so hung up with the pagan idea (very dishonoring to God,incidentally) that God¹s will is always unpleasant, so that one is rather a martyr to be doing it, that they hardly at first notice how their experience verifies the truth that in Christian living duty and delight go together. But they do! And this will be even clearer in the life to come. To give oneself to hallowing God’s name as one’s life-task means that living, though never a joyride, will become increasingly a joy road.
In other words, as we continue “lub-dubbing” along (I love that expression!) and learning contentment as mothers for the glory of God, caring for our children will increasingly become a joyful experience. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or a “joyride” as Dr. Packer says. But if our highest fulfillment is found in worshipping and obeying God, then motherhood will undoubtedly be a “joy road.” And if this is what God has called us to, then there is no other road we would rather be on.
The other day I was walking through a furniture store with my three boys (not something I do very often, but I was inspired on this particular day – call me crazy!) when an older man passed by me. He smiled, looked at my three boys and said, “That is a full time job.” I looked at him, smiled back, then replied “Yes, but I love it.”
I do love it. There is no other job in the world that I would trade for being the mother of my three little guys. But if I were to be completely honest, there have been many days in my short career as a mother when those “I love it” thoughts were replaced with “If only…” thoughts or “I’ll be happy when…” thoughts.
It’s on those particularly tough days—when the boys arguing seems constant, when juice spills all over my freshly mopped floors and laundry is piled high—that I find myself fighting for a biblical perspective, fighting to love the season the Lord has me in, fighting to be content in every situation (Philippians 4:11).
Recently I read the article “Learning Contentment in All Your Circumstances” by Robert D. Jones in the Journal of Biblical Counseling, which I highly recommend. In this article, he describes the attitude of contentment that I should have every day:
“What is contentment? It is having a satisfied mind in any situation. It is finding inner satisfaction in God alone and in His provision for you. It is experiencing His peace and confidence in difficult times. It is consciously enjoying the fact that God is good, even when your circumstances are not.”
So what do I do when my circumstances in mothering seem “not good”? I know I am supposed to be content, but how do I get there? The answer, says Mr. Jones, is in the verses that come before Philippians 4:11 which he’s arranged into a helpful acronym, “PTO”:
These three simple steps offer a clear path out of discontent, regardless of whether my circumstances change or not. As Mr. Jones points out, “If you seek God’s face, renewing your mind with His truth and walking in His ways will produce inner peace amid circumstantial problems.”