Archive for June, 2007

The Husband’s Duty in the Family’s Pursuit of Joy in God

June 30, 2007

I just finished writing a paper for one of my classes called The Christian Home. It was an attempt to write a biblical theology on the man’s role in the home both as a husband and father. I posted it on the “Theology & Exegesis” page under the subheading “Practical Papers.” I included the introduction below to give you a flavor of where the paper is headed.

“In this present evil age, either passivity, resulting in uninterested, weak, apathetic households, or domination, resulting in stiff, joyless, and, sometimes, violent environments plague male leadership in the home. Although both sinful dispositions exist in the hearts of men worldwide, submission to the Lord in his designed role for the husband/father will surely advance the eradication of such ungodliness from the home. God established the husband as head over his wife and the father as head over the home so that through the fulfillment of this man’s responsibilities the family would aim to pursue their joy in God.” (To view the entire paper click here.)

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The S-Word

June 25, 2007

Our pastor has been preaching through Ephesians since before Bret and I started attending Redeemer ten months ago. Last week and this week, he expounded to us Ephesians 5:22-24:

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

Now, from this very politically incorrect passage of Scripture, the Lord used Pastor Tim to teach clearly and winsomely the beautiful, biblical meaning of submission. Week One covered the meaning of submission. Week Two was today’s sermon, which was very practical, and as Bret would say, “pastoral.” It was incredibly helpful to me in evaluating whether I am fulfilling God’s command to me to submit to my own husband. Here are some of the main points and questions for us, as wives, to ask ourselves in a manner that is not legalistic, but out of love for Christ and genuine desire to obey him.

Pastor Tim said that a submissive wife:

  • Makes home a safe place with her encouragement, comfort, and understanding (Prov 31:11-12, 21-22)
  • Is trustworthy and dependable (Prov 31:11-12)
  • Maintains a good attitude (Prov 31:25-26)
  • Discusses things in a loving, open, and honest way (Eph 4:25)
  • Is content
  • Is patient, forgiving, forbearing (Col 3:12)
  • Is industrious for the sake of her husband and family (Psalm 128:3)
  • Offers suggestions, advice, counsel, and correction with respect and love
  • Cultivates inner beauty (1 Pet 3:3-5)
  • Pursues God and His glory above all
  • Builds loyalty to her husband in her children
  • Is grateful and expresses thanks often
  • Shows confidence in her husband’s decisions

Wives, are you living this before your husband?

He followed this list with three categories of questions to help wives examine themselves and their obediance to this command:

  1. What thoughts spring into my mind when I think about my husband? Are they honoring of him?
  2. How do I speak to my husband? When we’re alone? In front of the children? In public? How do I speak about him?
  3. Do I show my husband respect by my actions? In the way I listen to him?

Then he challenged us to find ten specific ways to show respect to our husbands, and then discuss the ideas with them. I haven’t done this yet, but I’m going to, and I’m so thankful for the specific direction to help me foster and portray respect to my husband.

May the Almighty God raise us up as women who out of fear and delight in the Lord, obey Him by respecting and submitting to our husbands.

Church Matters: 9Marks Blog

June 23, 2007

If you have yet to hear, Mark Dever and 9Marks Ministries just set up their own blog called Church Matters. I would encourage you to visit not only their blog, but their web site regulary. In their own words, “9Marks wants to help local churches re-establish their biblical bearings and re-think their ministry methods. We exist to help local church pastors and leaders in the discovery and application of the biblical priorities that cultivate health and holiness in the local church.”

Jesus Reigns, the Saints Remain

June 22, 2007

“I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:8-11).

In terms of perseverance in the faith and waging war against this world, the devil, and my flesh, Thursday had to be one of the hardest battles I have ever fought since God saved me. This is also why this text was so sweet to me Friday morning. What an outpouring of grace there was as I meditated on this text.

Thursday, it felt as though I was fighting alone. Friday, the Lord showed me he fought for me as he stood at my right hand. Thursday, I thought I was surely overtaken at the core of my being. Friday, the Lord showed me that with him I shall not be shaken. Thursday, it seemed that nothing but failure and loss stood before me. Friday, the Lord testified that nothing but triumph and victory awaited me since my flesh dwelt securely. Thursday, joy had fled from me. Friday, the Lord graced me with joy from the endless wealth at his right hand. Thursday, I could not see through the death of darkness. Friday, the Lord made known to me the path of life. 

What is more, this Davidic Psalm bears witness to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, according to the Apostle’s words in Acts 13:30-39. The Lord did not allow his holy one, Jesus the Christ, to undergo decay. He did not abandon his soul to Sheol. Indeed, God raised him from the dead! Now he sits at the right hand of the Father, fighting for his church, interceding on behalf of the saints, and reigning for the salvation of his elect. O what pleasures we have in him! O what joy is in his presence! We shall not be shaken, for Christ is Lord! Let your heart be glad; your whole being rejoice! Amen.

Celebrating Anniversaries: 1st, 28th, 29th, 53rd, 61st

June 17, 2007

As mentioned before, Rachel and I had the joy of visiting my parents at their new home in George West, Texas. One of the days we were there, we all went to Corpus Christi with my Oma and Opa (that’s German for Grandma and Grandpa) to celebrate their fifty-third(!) wedding anniversary. Though I was fighting off a cold that afternoon, the time with them was both a delight and an encouragment. Fifty-three years of marriage is a wonderful testimony to the preserving grace of God in marriage, and is a good example that Rachel and I can surely look to and glean from as we celebrate our first anniversary. Certainly, Oma and Opa’s enduring marriage bears great testimony to the conclusion Jesus draws from Genesis 2:24, “so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (Mark 10:8-9). 

We also spent one evening later that week celebrating our first wedding anniversary and my parents’ twenty-ninth. That evening, the guys were in charge of the meal, the ladies were in charge of the dessert, and then both couples were to share a little bit about what the Lord taught them in marriage. To hear a small portion of what the Lord has taught my parents in their marriage was also an encouragement for our own relationship. My parents both testified of the Lord’s strength, his faithfulness, his comfort, his grace, and his provision. When they finished, the words of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:2 were quite fitting: “There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.

Apart from these June anniversaries in my own family, Rachel’s parents’ also recently celebrated their twenty-eighth last May, and her grandparents’ are currently celebrating their sixty-first (and doing so on a cruise to the Carribean!). Both of these marriages also continue to minister to our own in various ways: bearing witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, manifesting Jesus’ covenant-love for his bride, and declaring God’s goodness to his creation in designing marriage (Eph 5:21-32).

Celebrating these anniversaries has been a good time to remember God’s grace in kindness, not just to our own families, but to the entire assembly of the redeemed, the church, the bride of the always faithful, Jesus Christ.

Check Out “Says Simpleton”

June 13, 2007

Ched Spellman recently posted some great words of wisdom that will add biblical food for thought concerning the discussion on the church and her relationship to the culture. Click here to read his post.

Baptism in George West, TX

June 10, 2007

Rachel and I traveled to George West, Texas this weekend to visit my parents. This morning we attended their own local assembly, First Baptist Church, and enjoyed witnessing a baptism followed by an enriching sermon concerning the “priesthood of believers.” Just before baptizing a young man, the pastor explained something that I thought was worthy to repeat. He mentioned that this young man’s corporate confession in baptism was representing that he has now gone from a “self-centered, sin-controlled life, to a Jesus-centered, Christ-controlled life.”

What a statement! What a confession! Indeed, this is precisely what God in Christ has done for his elect: he rescues them from the darkness of self-centeredness, and from the bondage to sin, and by the strength of the omnipotent Spirit of Christ, causes them to walk a Christ-centered life.

Paul speaks of this transformation in relation to baptism in Romans 6:1-4. “What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all who have been baptized into Christ Jesus, have been baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so also we shall walk in newness of life.”

For those of us who have been baptized into Christ, let us be reminded that we have been baptized into his death. Moreover, let us also remember that we have been raised with him to live a new life, one that is no longer self-centered, or even sin-controlled, but one that is wholly focused on and controlled by Christ.

Chains, Paul’s Badge As Ambassador

June 1, 2007

“…to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:19-20)

This verse continues to sober me, especially when I am surrounded by such a posh culture here in Fort Worth. In this text, Paul reveals his position as a representative of Jesus Christ. With regard to the gospel, he calls himself an “ambassador.” Ambassador was a title normally attached to places of honor, such as an accredited representative. Paul reveals what this position of his consisted of in Ephesians 3:2-9.  He was entrusted with the stewardship of God’s grace to declare the mystery of Christ to the Gentiles. Along with Paul the other apostles were ambassadors, the spokesmen through whom God would declare the glory of Christ and the salvation that comes through Him (2Cor 5:20).

What strikes me most in this text, however, is that Paul describes his position as an ambassador as one that is “in chains” (Remember, this is one of his ‘prison letters’). By God’s grace, Paul is the authoritative representative of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet he describes this ambassadorship as one being “in chains.” Surely, the readers would have thought of this phrase as an oxymoron. Ambassadors do not wear chains. They are not imprisoned. They hold honored positions in society. Why is Paul writing this way?

The reason Paul writes this way is because as a prisoner in the Lord Jesus Christ, the chains he wears in prison are the marks of his position as ambassador. Paul understands that ambassadors of Jesus Christ wear chains in prison. In the midst of what seems for most to be a depressing point for the apostle’s ministry, Paul saw it as part of his mission as ambassador. This is why he can write words like those of 2 Timothy 2:8-10, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of the elect, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, and with it eternal glory.” Without doubt, chains are the Apostle’s badge.

May we all remember our brothers and sisters who are wearing chains now. May we pray for them and be a means of encouragement to them. May they find their hope and strength in the Lord, whose gospel cannot be bound.