23 Passionate Appeals From a Father’s Heart

What would you think if your Dad addressed you 23 times “My son, my son, my son…” and so on. It would get your attention wouldn’t it?

That’s what God does in and through the book of Proverbs. Yes, Solomon and his co-authors are addressing their sons. But through them, God is revealing Himself and His heart towards us.

23 times he calls out “My son!” It’s a term of ownership, of relationship, of affection, of appeal, and of hope for all who will hear it.

Read through the 23 occurrences and feel the cumulative power of the passionate desire behind them. (Maybe substitute “daughter” for “son”, if female).

Or print them out and give them to your children as a plea from a father’s heart, both God’s and your own.

My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother. (Proverbs 1:8)

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. (1:10)

My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path. (1:15)

My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you… (2:1)

My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands. (3:1)

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction. (3:11)

My son, let them not depart from your eyes— keep sound wisdom and discretion. (3:21)

Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. (4:10)

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. (4:20)

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, (5:1)

For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress? (5:20)

My son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger… (6:1)

So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; for you have come into the hand of your friend: go and humble yourself; plead with your friend. (6:3)

My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother. (6:20)

My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. (7:1)

Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. (19:27)

My son, if your heart is wise, ny heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself. (23:15)

Hear, my son, and be wise; and guide your heart in the way. (23:19)

My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. (23:26)

My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste. (24:13)

My son, fear the Lord and the king; do not associate with those given to change. (24:21)

My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me. (27:11)

What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? (31:2)


Check out

Blogs

Seven Practices of a Listening Leader | Eric Geiger

Three Reasons Not to Homeschool | Christina Fox

I Want a Bigger Bible | TGC: Trevin Wax

High School Senior, Prepare to Launch | TGC: Joe Rigney

Free eBook: The State of American Theology | Ligonier

The Sixth Planned Parenthood Video | TGC: Justin Taylor

Kindle Books

To Win Our Neighbors for Christ: The Missiology of the Three Forms of Unity by Wes Bredenhof $4.99.

Adoption: What Joseph of Nazareth Can Teach Us about This Countercultural Choice by Russell More (FREE)

The Gospel according to Daniel: A Christ-Centered Approach by Bryan Chapell $2.99.

Biblical Exegesis by John Hayes and Cael Holladay $2.99.

Video

Have the Planned Parenthood Videos Changed Anything?


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Blogs

Ask R.C. Is it a Sin to be Wealthy? | R C Sproul Jr.
Not a question most of us have to trouble ourselves with.

Three Dangers Associated With Studying Backgrounds | Bible X
Good caution for my students about to start Old Testament Introduction.

Confessions of a (more recent) Bibliophile | Credo: Timothy Raymond
“Should every Christian aspire to be a bibliophile?  Only if every Christian desires to be increasingly conformed to the image of Christ.”

An Introverted Christian | Tim Challies
Like Tim, I’m naturally on the introvert side of the scale. I appreciate his challenge.

Self-Care and Self-Denial | TGC: Amie Patrick
This is such a good article: “Many of us don’t consider the issue of self-care until a crisis forces us to wake up. God, in his kindness, uses these crises to take us to places we wouldn’t choose on our own, but in these places we find greater freedom and joy in him.”

Five Important Theological Pairs | Christward Collective: Nick Batzig
“One of the many wonderful things about the Westminster Shorter Catechism is that it includes several extremely important theological pairs (i.e. joint categories) in the opening questions that help us robustly systematize the biblical truth concerning our relationship to God, God’s work in the world, the nature and effects of man’s sin and the saving work of the Redeemer.”

Hope For The Unhappily Single | Desiring God: Marshall Segal
“There is a new and widespread epidemic in our nation and even in our churches. It’s called the not-yet-married life.”

Kindle Books

A couple of Kindle devices have dropped in price for a few days with the entry level Kindle coming in now at $59.

On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church by Deepak Reju $4.99.

Mindscape: What to Think About Instead of Worrying by Timothy Witmer $0.99.

The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World. Price of the Kindle book has dropped a few dollars to $6.99.

Recommended New Book

A Well-Ordered Church: Laying a foundation for a vibrant church by Danny Hyde and Bill Boekestein $5.99 (Kindle).

Video

Stories of God’s Grace: Stephen and Ellen

W.O.W!


An Abortion Testimony: It Matters to This One

latayneThis moving account was written by Latayne Scott, author of The Mormon Mirage: A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church TodayWhy We Left Mormonism: Eight People Tell Their Stories, and Discovering the City of Sodom: The Fascinating, True Account of the Discovery of the Old Testament’s Most Infamous City. Tim Challies and I interviewed her a few years ago on The Connected Kingdom Podcast.


I wish I could credit the unknown author of a story that, perhaps more than any other, has deeply influenced — and paralleled — my life.

This story tells of a young man who was walking along a seashore. Far ahead of him, he saw a distant figure:  someone who like him was walking, but who paused every few steps, stooped down, and seemed to be throwing something into the sea.

His curiosity aroused, the young man hurried forward, his feet awkward in the sand, as he tried to catch up with the man.

As he came closer, he saw that it was an old man, and the reason that he would stop every step or two was to pick up a starfish and fling it into the ocean. It was only then that the young man noticed the thousands of starfish that littered the beach for miles, stranded there by the tide.

The young man felt a rising sense of anger. What the old man was doing seemed so pointless, and he couldn’t wait to catch up to him to tell him so. By the time the young man came abreast of the older man, he was out of breath.

“Why are you doing this?” he gasped. “You can’t save all of these starfish! It’s useless! What does it matter?”

The old man paused for a moment, looking down at the crusty starfish he’d just picked up. He turned it over slowly, then answered.

“It matters to this one,” he said as with a slow, deliberate motion, he tossed it back into the sea, into life.

It matters to this one

I know a woman who grew up in a Christian home, but who was rebellious. She began dating a young man her parents disapproved of, and despite their protests, she continued in her relationship with him. After a few months, she and he eloped, crossing over from their home state of Tennessee to Corinth, Mississippi, where they could be married immediately. She was seventeen, he was nineteen.

From their wedding night it was obvious she had made a terrible mistake, for it was then that the physical violence began. As she sat, bruised and shaking, she knew that her parents’ worst predictions had come true. But in a matter of days she was a thousand miles away, living in a small town in New Mexico.

The words of her parents rang in her ears daily:  “There has never been a divorce in our family.” After she had telephoned to tell her parents where she was, they had responded, “You’ve made your bed.  Now lie in it.”

And she tried to, as best she could.

There were some happy times, but they became more and more rare. Her husband’s fits of rage and curiously alloyed morality (all rules were strict, demanding, and applied to everyone but himself) soon led her to a conclusion that would eventually be vindicated, though years later: he was mentally ill.

And then the worst thing of all happened:  she found herself pregnant. With only a high school education, hundreds of miles away from relatives and friends, she felt cut off and abandoned. Her husband was so jealous that he would even remove the spark plugs from their car so that she could not attend church, where, he was convinced, men were looking at her.

She has told me with tears in her eyes that she was desperate.  She knew even then that children in such a marriage would be abused, too. Had abortions been available in that time, decades ago, she would have unhesitatingly sought one.

The child was born, and another. Her fears were realized. His rages began to be focused at times on the children.  Many times the husband would leave for long periods of time, and she would sell furniture and household goods to buy groceries. Another child was born. He cheated on her with other women, and came home and told her that they were younger than her, and prettier, too.

He bought diamond-and-emerald rings for these women, and his wife and daughter folded newspapers in torn fabric to use for sanitary pads because there was no money.

It was seventeen long years before she saved up enough to file for divorce. And even then, she was alone:  because of her husband’s illness, she never received a penny of alimony or child support to raise the two teenagers and the toddler they had.

When that woman looks at me and tells me of her hurt, her desperation when she found out each time that she was pregnant, I know she is not exaggerating. I know that all her fears came true.

We cry together for a little while. She is remembering her first pregnancy, the profundity of the emotions of the lonely twenty-year-old she was. She does not say what she says to hurt me, but it does.

With that hurt comes a rush of love for her, of admiration for her courage, of gratitude for her perseverance. I think about the fact that when she went into labor with that first child, her husband dropped her off at the hospital with the instructions that if the child were to be born during the night, not to wake him until morning. I remember the black-and-white photograph of her in the hospital holding that baby.

Holding me.

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You see, the questions of the morality of protests at abortion clinics are, to me, somewhat relative to a greater personal reality. I am puzzled by the thinking that any of us knows enough about the long-term future to be willing to kill to avert it.

And the matter of when life begins is much less important to me than this truth: we each only have one life. The Bible puts it this way: “It is appointed for a man once to die, and then the judgment.”

If the Bible is true, then there is no reincarnation, no “overs” on living. The childhood I described wasn’t a great childhood, but it was my only childhood. It stands in my life as the great witness to the truth of Romans 8:28, that God will work all things for good.

Simply put, I’d rather have lived, than not have lived.

The statistics on abortion are staggering.  They are as numbing by their preponderance as the prospect of millions of miles of sand, strewn with helpless beached starfish.

I can only speak for one.  And it matters, very much, to this one.


Check out

Blogs

On Marriage: Protect Freedom For All | First Things: Ryan Anderson and Robert George

CNN’s Chris Cuomo Has Absolutely No Idea Where Babies Come From | The Federalist: Mollie Hemingway

Delighting in the Trinity | Ligonier: Michael Reeves

Do we Alienate our White Brothers and Sisters | RAAN: Keith Echols Jr.

The Joys of a Multi-Author Blog | Gentle Reformation: Barry York

10 Things You Can Do To Prevent Pedophilia in Your Church | Clare De Graaf

What Not To Say To Single Women in the Church | Christianity Today: Lisa Anderson

Kindle Books

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa Terkeurst $1.99. Although I don’t agree with everything in this book, a discerning reader will get much good from it. Pastors and women’s ministry leaders should also read it because it’s been such a popular book among Christian women.

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin $4.99. Great price for a brand new book.

Big Love: the practice of loving beyond your limits by Kara Tippets $2.99.

Grief Undone: A Journey with God and Cancer by Elizabeth Groves $1.99.

New Book Recommendation

Church with Jesus as the Hero by David E Prince.

Video

Rubio: I’ll support any legislation that reduces the number of abortions

Not a perfect answer but a better answer than most Republicans have managed.


Political Correctness and Plain Rudeness

Judging by the levels of support for the insurgent campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, many voters on the right and the left  are totally disgusted with the two political parties and their candidates. Americans want to punish the political establishment, both red and blue, for their multiple failures and are looking for someone, anyone, to be a battering ram through politics as usual. As someone said, trying to explain Trump’s popularity, “He’s giving voice to what millions of Americans are yelling at the TV’s every night.”

As a conservative, I must admit I was initially intrigued by Trump. I share the widespread frustration with the political culture, especially the disconnect between elite politicians and ordinary people, and the ever-rising taxes and living costs for the squeezed middle-class. I too long for an outsider to come in and shake things up. I’m fed up with the Republicans’ cowardly surrenders to the slightest media criticism, and admire Trump’s disregard for what mainstream journalists think of him. Like Trump, I’m sick of all the promises that never seem to produce any action, and I’m angry at the use of political correctness to silence debate and sideline Christian views.

Trump Troubles
Was I troubled about Trump’s three marriages, his multiple casinos, his bullying arrogance, his Clinton donations, his anti-Mexican rhetoric, and his support of single payer health care (despite his remarks at the debate, he clearly knows nothing about Scottish healthcare)? Sure; I was and am deeply concerned about all that. Even one of these problems would have sunk him in the polls in the past. In the past; but not now, apparently.

Surely it demonstrates the level of animosity towards the political class and system that someone with so many fatal flaws has become so popular with a large section of the electorate.

Like many, I doubt I could ever ultimately vote for him as President, but he’s been a useful way of registering a protest and disgust at so many of the politicians, judges, and journalists who are so out of touch with, and even hostile to, ordinary Americans and their everyday concerns.

Many who would ordinarily have been turned off by Trump’s many inconsistencies and glaring weaknesses have said they would vote for him, perhaps with the hope that his business skills would get the economy moving again, or maybe just to exact vengeance on the political classes and commentators.

Trump Damaged
Until now that is. Trump’s debate performance was extremely disappointing, with little substance or coherence to his answers. And then came his appalling post-debate comments about Megyn Kelly.

If that doesn’t fatally damage him, then nothing will. If he survives this, the Republican establishment will have to face up to the fact that people are even more disgusted with them than with one of the most vulgar and crude individuals in public life.

Trump initially tried to defend his comments about Kelly, other women, Mexicans, and other targets of his vicious tongue, by using the “anti-political-correctness” defense, another indicator of his skillful political instincts. He knows that many Americans are infuriated at the way the left has used political correctness to shame, sideline, shut-down, silence, and even prosecute voices and views that dissent from liberal dogma. We’re glad to have a champion who will just say what he thinks and “tell it as it is” regardless of what the media and the political establishment think.

Plain Rudeness
However we must not use our opposition to political correctness to justify plain rudeness. There are Christians and even some pastors I know who also use “the Donald defense” to excuse their lack of kindness, tact, and gentleness in witnessing, preaching, and pastoring.

But there’s a difference between fighting for free speech and using filthy speech. There’s a difference between telling the truth and simply insulting opponents. There’s a difference between ridiculing policies and ridiculing people. There’s a difference between breaking liberal control of politics and losing all self-control in the process. There’s a difference between highlighting bias and resenting any challenge to explain ourselves. There’s a difference between bravery and bluster. There’s a difference between being fearless and being foolish.

 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4:29-32)