Be Fruitless and Subtract?

 

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The very first command God gave humanity was, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen 1:28).  This command is the reason I believe the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin in Genesis 3 happened very quickly after they were created.  Maybe no more than a day or two.  For surely in their state of Purity, they would have delighted in obeying God’s first command!  But no children are mentioned until after the Fall.

But I digress.

I write this blog as a Dad of two amazing daughters.  My wife is the best mother I have ever known.  We’re thrilled to be parents and have found it deeply sanctifying and satisfying.  But we also experienced the pain of a medical condition forcing a surgery which ended our ability to have more biological children.  So, please know that I am in no way condemning every couple who has not had a child.  Nor am I trying to say every couple must have x number of children to be holy.  All children are gifts of God and family size is no measure of true holiness!  I realize there are legitimate reasons for childlessness, such as a call to single-hood or medical / health conditions.  My heart is with those of you who want children but cannot have them (at least biologically).  And I would ask you to prayerfully consider adoption, if you find yourself in such a boat.

All that said, the dilemma or disaster being faced by America today is childlessness.  Intentional childlessness.  By married couples.  Not only is this a sad commentary on our hearts as it relates to God’s command, but it is also heading us toward disaster as a nation and culture.  We are not multiplying.  We are subtracting!  Our view of marriage and family and children is plunging us over the cliff of our own making.

Rather than try to regurgitate what very capable researchers are discovering, I invite you to explore this subject further by clicking this Link.

 

 

 

 

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Stephen Cox - I agree dear Pastor that this command, this blessing in our generation, is being disobeyed for many reasons, most of them worldly in many cases. Anna and I could not have children for physical reasons as well as legal in my situation. We sought to adopt but because of my criminal past while a teenager, where refused by the adoption agency. We determined to be the very best Aunt and Uncle we could be, as well as those who set a godly example to the many children of our Brethren in the Church.
Our greatest ministry to the family and their children is constant prayer to God for this foundational unit called the family. Abortion,abandonement, and chronic neglect, are the great curses of our day, and this is far to prevelant in the church I fear.
We are a distracted people, a peolple who know not their past history, nor the course we are on for the future in the church or Nation. Some signs of hope are seen, but not to the degree we need for God to revive, restore and establish a godly heritage. May the Commandments of the LORD, like the one you highlighted, once again have the heart of Gods people in order that, He may bless and prosper the church and Nation we are blessed to live in is my prayer.

Lessons Learned in 2015

thBy Lori Beard

Well, there have been so many.  And then, I fear, there is so much I have not learned yet.  And I say fear because the older I get, the harder the lessons get to learn.  Thank God for grace.
So much of what I learned this year is tied to how I eat or have eaten, and the consequences of those choices.  I have discovered that gluttony is a poor task master and a sin that deceives us right into sickness and sadness.  I have also discovered that God is faithful and his grace is sufficient for me and my sin and all my consequences.  Hopefully, I will post some knowledge that will help you as you think about honoring God in how you eat.
Things I learned:
1.  Food affects us all.  We all care about it.
2. Food is an act of grace.  We do not deserve it.  We also are not entitled to the best tasting food or good food at all.
3.  Most of us think we cannot go a day without food but think very little of going a day without the bible or prayer (me ).
4. Eating too much food causes your knees and hips to carry too much weight.  This does not affect you in your 20’s and 30’s but destroys your mobility in your 50’s.
5. Eating too much junk causes your pancreas to work super hard and wears it out.  This does not affect you in your 20’s and 30’s but causes diabetes in your 50’s.
6. Losing mobility causes you to be unable to exercise.
7.  Losing mobility and developing diabetes scares your family and creates a burden for them that you never dreamed would happen.
8.  Being a burden to your family makes you feel hopeless and scared and useless.
Well, there you have it.  I learned some scary stuff this year.  Wish I would have learned it in my 20’s and 30’s.  Oh wait I would not have learned it.  But you, you have no excuse.  You know now.  If you are struggling with gluttony, get help.  Get help.  Your body will protest.  God will discipline you if you belong to him and discipline is painful. Really, really painful. I am thankful because I learned some other things this year too.
1. I learned that God loves me in my obesity and my mess.
2.  I learned that his grace is really sufficient for my sin and he really has cleansed me and SET ME FREE.
3.  I learned that I have sisters who will stand by me through the ugly and not love me less.
4.  I learned that my family is solid.  They are real and true and my dearest allies in this fight.
5. I learned that I love Jesus more than my sin.
6. I learned that He is my hope and my life. I learned that food has nothing to offer me that is better than Jesus.
7. I learned the power of real repentance and turning from my sin.
I am looking forward not behind.  I am straining and cannot wait to see the results of freedom in this part of my life. I have learned a lot.  I have hurt a lot.  I have grown a lot.  I have cried a lot.  I have laughed a lot.  I have praised a lot.  I will live a lot.  I love Jesus more than ever in my life.  He has faithfully held me and did not let go when I was so faithless.  Praise God for a new year to honor Him.

 

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Star Wars – Episode VII

2000px-Star_Wars_Logo.svg copyJust went to see the latest Star Wars installment yesterday.  Really enjoyed it.  It picked up on the themes of the “real” Star Wars of my childhood in the 70s and 80s.  Hans Solo and Chewie and Leia returned!  What’s not to love?  I really struggled to enjoy the three “back story” episodes.  Seemed somewhat disconnected and truthfully I didn’t think any of those three lived up to the “original” three (which for me is Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi).  But this most recent installment was well done and took me back to familiar territory.

Although this whole series of movies is thick with Hindu and New Age theology, it is not my intent to rehash all that here.  Rather, what struck me about this latest and greatest of the ongoing (and perhaps never-ending) saga, is how so many “true fans” insisted on watching all six previous episodes before going to see this one.

Why?

They wanted to brush up on the whole story.  Make sure they got the big picture, so as to know where this most recent piece of the puzzle fits.  And that’s the beauty of this whole Star Wars thing.  It’s one big story.  Even if I cannot seem to put it all together yet, I’m assured by true fans it’s a unified whole.

Hmmm.  Sounds a lot like the Bible to me.  I wonder how many believers in Christ spent hours and hours reading the Star Wars books and watching all six episodes in recent weeks, but they simply will not commit to reading through their Bibles in 2016?  I wonder how many Christian parents encouraged their children to read the Star Wars books and watch all the movies but think it’s unreasonable for those same kids to read 4 chapters of God’s Word each day in 2016?

I wonder.

God help us!  We’re missing the Big Picture.  And it’s so much more glorious than Star Wars.  Several times in this latest episode I heard comments about the presence of a Jedi keeping “the force in balance.”  That’s the best Star Wars offers?  Yin and yang?  Oh friends, I know a unified story-line far better!

Forget balance.  Trash yin and yang.  I want a Warrior-Redeemer-Savior-King and Lord to vanquish all evil and banish it from us forever.  Want to read the Greatest Story Ever Told? Click here are some reading plan options for you:

 

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davidblair - Great post! Here’s to another year of reading Greatest Story Ever Told

Stephen Cox - Amen Pastor! What a glorious Story, and one that has no error or uselessness in it at all. I love Gods glorious word of life.

Sowing & Reaping

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By Lori Beard

There have been times in my life when I have been in the position of seeing sad, hard consequential life circumstances that were a result of ungodly choices.  This has happened in my life and in the lives of others around me.  Galatians 6: 7-8 says one reaps what one sows.  A dear friend of mine paraphrased that scripture like this…why would you plant corn and be upset when a green bean doesn’t grow?
She was mentoring me through relationships. I was a young, brash truth-teller.  I never had a kind word for anybody, but I couldn’t figure out why I had no friends.  She read this verse to me and then asked me, “Lori, have you planted kindness and generosity?  Have you planted gentleness?”
No…no I had not.  Why was I so surprised then that I was reaping what I had planted?  I taught my girls that about life.  They would make choices…live certain ways… and they would reap from those choices.  Thank you God, they were wiser than me.
Well, I have lived a lot since then and seen a lot too.  So often, things have happened as a direct result of someone’s ungodly lifestyle or choice and I have thought so many times, “Somebody needs to say that to them.”  But the timing to do that is tricky because ungodly choices almost always lead us to places of sorrow and loss.  So, I decided to write a blog with some of those hard things that need to be said now for people to read while they are not hurting from the consequences they are reaping.  Maybe it will help us to think before we act.  Or to consider the seeds we are so blithely tossing in the ground without thought as to what they will look like when they are grown.  So, here goes.
These are not about anybody in particular … just scenarios that happen in real life everyday where we wish we could say a hard thing to prevent it happening again but the timing just stinks.
1. A man who loses his job again because he ___________ (fill in the blank).  Then he cries about not being able to take care of his family, not having what he needs to provide.  The hard thing that needs to be said is this: “If you sow seeds of laziness and disregard authority, if you refuse to go to work, well, you will lose your job and you will not have what you need to provide.”  Seeds/reaping.
2. A woman raising a daughter yells at her husband, disrespects him, belittles him.  Her daughter treats him exactly like momma.  Well, that daughter will not be able to respect dad’s authority or accept his protection in areas of dating or marriage because mom taught her he was an idiot.  The hard thing that needs to be said: “Repent momma to God, your husband and daughter.”  Seeds/reaping.
3. A father or momma gets offended by another church member.  They decide not to talk to that person.  They ultimately leave the church over the offense.  The hard thing that needs to be said: “Well, you have taught your children how to deal with offense when they become adults and also how to ‘love’ the Bride of Christ.  The result of that is often that a child as an adult will respond exactly like you did.  They will spend a life time searching for a church that doesn’t ‘offend’ them and never get into the deeper things of God or the deeper things of the Bible because they’re constantly hunting for a church.”  Seeds/reaping.
4. A woman or man chooses a life of sexual immorality and contracts an STD.  Hard thing that needs to be said here: “Sexual purity matters.”  Seeds/reaping.
Every action…every single action has a consequence.  God says so.  This blog does not discount the providential will of God.  And I fully understand that often suffering is simply about our becoming like Christ.  But church until we admit that our actions have consequences and we stand ready to beg for mercy for our godless decisions, well,  why then would we keep asking why?  Why does this stuff happen to me?
We serve a God of incredible mercy and grace.  Look over your life.  Turn the spotlight of Psalm 139 on it and ask God to search your heart.  Do you make godless choices and then wail about the consequences?  Do you plant corn and get mad when green beans don’t grow?  I do sometimes.  Broken knees from years of gluttony.  Broken trust in relationships because I was short tempered or too quick to speak.  Lost opportunity because I was lazy.  Little girls crying themselves to sleep at night because I made threats to leave their daddy.  Yep…I am a loser.  But I made a choice with unbelievable consequences over 40 years ago.  I begged God to forgive me and to live in me.  He never ever gives up on me.  He has been changing me ever since.  I often say hard things to myself now because I know the gospel truth:
My sins are washed away under the blood of a mighty Savior who will change me if I own it, admit it, and beg to be free.  Seeds/reaping…it’s in the Bible.
Praying we sow seeds that bring glory to God dear church.

 

 

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