Death Our Teacher?

With the recent passing of two women I loved dearly (a great aunt and a grandmother), death has been on my mind.  Sounds morbid, I know.  That’s because death is morbid!

Here in America, we are blessed (or is it cursed?) to be able to shield our children and ourselves from death.  Most of us will rarely ever have to see death in the raw.  Heck, I spent 6 years in the Marine Corps and never had to see anything remotely close to what my Fireman/EMT brother sees routinely.  For all but a few of us, death in America is painted over and made to look dainty, even pretty.  We even make comments when standing over corpses in funeral homes like, “Doesn’t she look so pretty?”  I’ve often wanted to respond, “Well, I guess she is as pretty as a dead person can be.”   

But as Christians living life from a biblical worldview, we must not miss out on the tremendous teaching opportunity death presents us.  The topic of death is one of the simplest gospel “lead-ins” I know of.  Nobody wants to think long on the issue, but when death draws near people, they typically become a “captive audience” to anyone who can offer words of counsel or consoling.  And the gospel is all that and more!  

But as Christian parents, solemnly charged by God to instruct our children in His ways and His word, we dare not shield our children from death, nor miss the teaching moment it brings with it.  Here are a few thoughts drawn from my own feeble attempts at using death to teach my daughters in recent weeks:

  1. Teach your children death came into the world because of human sin (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12; 1 Cor 15:22).  My Mamaw, as sweet as she was, died because she was a sinner by nature and by choice.  That’s why we all die.  There was no death in this cosmos prior to Adam’s sin.  This is why the whole creation groans anticipating the day when God once again removes death from its midst (Rom 8:18-25).
  2. Teach your children death is an ugly enemy.  Because it is a result of disobeying God, and loving someone or something more than God, death is a horrific thing.  It is not to be trifled with or coddled or painted to appear pretty.  Do you think Adam and Eve found death attractive or something trivial as they stood over their son Abel, bludgeoned to death by his own brother Cain?  “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23).  This is what we’ve earned with God.
  3. Teach your children death goes beyond the physical realm.  Yes, the physical bodies of Adam and Eve eventually died, just as God promised (Gen 2:17).  Every person thereafter has also died physically, and all of us will, too, if Jesus does not return in our lifetimes.  But friends, Adam and Eve died spiritually the moment they rebelled against the word of the Lord.  To be spiritually dead is to be cut off from God, who is life (Isaiah 59:2; John 5:26).  And now we all, too, enter this world spiritually dead, unable to patch things up with our Creator God (Eph 2:1).  Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves . . . it did not work then, and it does not work now.
  4. Teach your children that after death, there is no “second chance” to repent and trust Christ alone for salvation (Heb 9:27).  Jesus did not believe in purgatory (Luke 16:19-31).  Neither should you.  You see, friends, our children must know that how they, in this life, answer the question of Jesus to His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” matters forever!
  5. Teach your children that nobody knows the day of his or her death.  “Boast not yourself of tomorrow; for you do not know what a day will bring” (Prov 27:1).  “Instead, you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we will live'” (James 4:15).  Living like each second of each day is not guaranteed has a strong tendency to help us focus on what really matters.
  6. Teach your children that in Christ, God remedied this greatest of dilemmas for us poor sinnersWhen Jesus died, death died with Him for all those whom the Spirit births anew.  This is the best news ever!  This is the gospel, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4).  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  Who but Jesus, the Perfect Son of God, God in the flesh, could say, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live”? (John 11:25)
  7. Teach your children that for those granted repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ, death is a defeated enemy!  “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:54-57).  Those who die in Christ simply pass from “death unto life” (1 John 3:14).
  8. Teach your children that one day, Jesus will sovereignly eradicate death once for all.  “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more” (Rev 21:4). 

Wow!  Death is a great teacher, if we will let it lead us to Messiah.  This all makes me wonder if instead of the “afterlife” we Christians should speak of the “afterdeath”? 

Whoever has the Son has life” (1 John 5:12).  Got Jesus?  If not, you have every reason to fear death.

Contact UsShare on FacebookTweet This

Lovely Lovine

On March 30th, 2011 my Mamaw died.  Or, more biblically, she passed from death unto life. 

Lovine McWhorter grew up during the Great Depression.  She knew hard times and like so many of her generation, she knew what sacrifice meant.  The sacrifices Mamaw made for our family were legendary, and very humbling for us grandchildren to observe.  Every single one of us knew that Mamaw would gives us her last penny, her last piece of bread if it meant she would literally starve and die.  She simply had been given an extra measure of God’s grace when it came to selflessness.

Mamaw was a simple woman.  Materialism seemed to have absolutely no hold on her life.  She left this world with almost nothing of temporal value to her name.  She spent most of her final years in her own home, often alone with just her God and her Bible.  And what effect, do you suppose, this had on her life?

Well, let me just tell you that in His providence, God called my great aunt Bonnie (Mamaw’s sister) home to heaven just 6 short weeks ago.  I was close to Aunt Bonnie, so I was compelled to attend the funeral, some 13 hours drive from my home.  But, this gave me a few precious days to spend with Mamaw, mere weeks before the Lord called her home.  God is good.  I’ve done nothing to deserve this obvious kindness from His sovereign hand.  Thank you, O Lord, for giving me those few days with Mamaw.

As was always the case when visiting with Mamaw, our conversation turned to the Lord and His Christ and His Word.  Unlike so many around me in the church today, Mamaw always wanted to hear me comment on the Scriptures.  She was never ashamed or afraid to ask questions about the Bible, even after reading it for 75+ years.  She was a true “learner” of Jesus, even at 86 years of age.  She often had questions so deep I had to leave them unanswered.  God does, after all, blow our minds, doesn’t He?!

But during the course of my preaching to Mamaw (which she loved to provoke, by the way) on the last night I spent with her on this earth, lovely, simple Lovine waxed eloquent.  Mamaw and I were speaking of the greatness and beauty of Christ as compared to the foolishness of so much ornate religion and bombastic ritual.  Mamaw particularly did not appreciate flash and pomp in the pulpit.  And so, with tears streaming down her wrinkled cheeks, she said:

My High Priest wore no ornate robes, but was stripped bare on the cross. 

My High Priest had no gold chains around His neck, but bore my sin on His shoulders.

My High Priest had no golden crown, but was crushed by a crown of thorns.

My High Priest received no applause, but was slapped and spit upon.

My High Priest wore no gaudy rings on His fingers, but had His hands and feet spiked to a tree.

Now, friends, this is the legacy Mamaw leaves me – lavishing praise and adoration on her Savior and King, the Lord Jesus.  It was so beautiful, to see her so in love with Jesus.  Her heart and eyes that night were just so full of Jesus.  The Savior was enormous in her vision!  She died walking closer to Him than ever before in her 86 years of life.  Is it any wonder, then, her King called her home to finally rest on His breast, and behold God’s glory in His face?

For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens” (Heb 7:26).

Thank You, O Lord, for the gift of my Mamaw.  She was a lady who left us a legacy of a soul captured by Your grace.  In our grief, turn our eyes to Your blessed face, Lord Jesus.  This is, after all, what my Mamaw would have insisted upon.  So, to honor her, I honor You, and bless You, and worship You, and love You, and long to see You.  Until that day, help me live with Your light in my eyes and Your love in my heart.  Amen.    

       

Contact UsShare on FacebookTweet This

Ssis - Brother, dearest….I have no words to add. What a legacy she leaves behind. <3

Holly Garcia - That was a precious and touching tribute. God is so good to the children of men…such wonderful works He does in our lives, so many unnoticed. What a blessing we have to have godly family, praying you all are comforted with the same comfort I have been given. God bless you all 🙂

tlbcassocpastor - Thank you, sister. Our Savior is good and awesome to the highest degree!

tlbcassocpastor - Amen. May we receive grace to live in that legacy.

Jeanie Carman - Keith,

I love you so much!!! What a tribute to my wonderful Aunt Ine!!

Aunt Ine always had a talk with each couple in our family who were getting married and Gina turned to me and said, “Nathan and Courtney will be the first couple to miss out on Aunt Ine’s talk.” Her words of wisdom always were to put God first in their marriage and to never go to bed mad at each other. It was always like her blessing on the marriage.

Can you imagine the reunion with her Lord who was first and foremost in her life, with her wonderful husband, parents, sisters, etc.

Heaven indeed gets sweeter every day!!!! Thank you Lord!!!!!

Love!!!!
Jeanie

Lou Ellen Wilkie - Dearest Children,
How blessed you were to have a wonderful Mamaw. She was the source of earthly and heavenly learning, each woven into the other. Mom saw God’s hand in all of life and taught all of us the to do the same. I yearn for the day to once again kiss and hug her, to tell her that I love her and most of all, to thank her for pointing my life to Jesus.

tlbcassocpastor - Love you, too. Mamaw’s counsel to not “let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph 4:26) has served my own marriage very well, to God’s glory. I pass along this same, godly marriage counsel to every couple who seeks biblical counsel from me. Her impact on marriages, by the time it is all said and done, may very well prove astounding!

My Pearl Turns 11

On March 27th, 2000 the Lord blessed my wife and I with our first child, Meaghan.  She was so tiny, I called her “peanut.”  We also called her “squirt” because the doctor literally had to catch her as she shot out of the birth canal.  Meaghan made quite an entrance!  My life has never been the same.

Please indulge me as I write this post just for my precious daughter on the eve before her birthday.

Dearest Meaghan, we surely did name you rightly.  Your Celtic name means “pearl.”  And, to me, you are an amazingly beautiful gem, and your life sparkles as it reflects the glory of your Creator and Savior God. 

May God uphold you by His mighty right arm as you move away from girlhood and into womanhood.  Some parents seem to want to keep their children in their childish years forever.  Though I do have a great sense of how precious each day is with you because the time of your departure from my home is drawing ever nearer, I also want you to know your mother and I are intentionally raising you to become a woman sooner, rather than later.

May the Lord make you a lady whose heart always and forever belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ.  You shall never make the godly wife and mother that we so strongly desire you to be if you give away your heart to another lord other than Jesus.  May God keep and establish you in the faith.  May you never forget what is means to be “the called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” (Jude 1).

May God grant you a heart that “hungers and thirsts for righteousness,” for such a heart “shall be filled.” 

May the Lord give you an undying passion for His Word, for our Savior said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  May you truly hide His word in your heart, that you might not sin against Him.

May you pursue holiness as a young woman, taking your view of a “successful woman” from Proverbs 31 and Titus 2.  May God Almighty give you strength of spirit to reject the view of woman being given to so many young girls by Hollywood, our culture, college and career counselors, and indeed anyone who guides you away from what God has said about being a woman.

May King Jesus bless you with a man after His own heart one day.  The Sovereign Lord has so obviously given you a sweet, submissive and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4) that is precious in the sight of God.  You will by God’s grace truly make some strong, Christ-exalting man an “excellent wife.”  He and your children will surely “rise up and bless you” in the Name of Jesus.  Your mother and I can aim no higher than to raise you to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul”, and to “love your husband and to love your children and to be a worker at home so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (Titus 2:4-5). 

In all these things, you are already making us so proud.  We worship the Lord today and each day as we watch you grow and mature in the grace and love of Jesus Christ.  May you never forget you were created for His glory, for His pleasure, and for His kingdom.  May the Holy Spirit always and forever consume you with a burning passion to “worship God in the spirit of holiness” through the blood of Jesus spilled out for you on the cross. 

May God fix your eyes on Jesus, the Risen Lord, and help you live the “resurrection life” as you take up your cross daily to follow Him.  Jesus is the Author and Finisher of the faith, the King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is worthy of whatever acts of service He ever demands of you.  Go with King Jesus to the gates of hell, to the jungles of Africa, or to your neighbors here in America, and spread the good news to everyone in your path that Jesus saves!

Your soft, compassionate heart is such a living testimony to the powerful grace of God in Christ.  May the love of God pour out of your heart and into the lives of those around you.  If God make it so, your beauty will only keep growing, and the glory you bring to the One who died in your place will only find new heights. 

Oh Sovereign Lord, make it so.  Be glorified in “my pearl.”  May she always and forever be willing to sell it all to follow the Pearl of Great Price – the Blessed Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Happy Birthday, Meaghan.  I love you.  Mom loves you.  Little ‘Sis loves you.  But above all, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has lavished on you, that you would be called the child of God.”

Contact UsShare on FacebookTweet This

Holly Garcia - I came here to read a tribute about a friend’s grandmother who had recently gone to be with the Lord. I read your letter to your daughter. Such another blessing to read a dad write to his daughter from the Word of God. Dads are so important in girl’s lives, such a gift from God a glimpse of the goodness of the Heavenly Father. My husband is with the Lord, but the Lord is my children’s Father now, just encouraging to see your post. God bless you and your family.

Homeschool Matriarchs

Anyone who has known me for very long quickly surmises that I am a firm believer in Christians homeschooling their own children.  The primary reason is that the Bible simply knows no other educational method than for parents to teach, train, disciple and raise up their own heritage (children).  I find no biblical warrant for Christians to turn their children over to the state (or other secular institutions) for 40+ hours per week.

That said, I realize in this culture it often does prove nearly impossible for every Christian parent to homeschool.  For example, 40% of our homes in America (and the church sadly just reflects the cultural reality at this point in history) are single-parent homes.  In my neck of the woods, military families are also single-parent homes for long periods of time due to deployments.  Or, perhaps sickness or illness prevents a parent from homeschooling.  I also have a soft spot in my heart for women married to non-Christian men.  This would make homeschooling very challenging.  And in a very few instances, a family truly does need a dual-income to provide the basic necessities of life. (NOTE: This is a far cry from a Christian family refusing to downgrade lifestyle to obey God’s design and commands in their homes).

The point I wish to hammer on today, however, is father-focused.  Even among Christian homeschoolers, I find a conspicuous absence of the father in the educational process.  Homeschool families in the church are too often Matriarchal.  The mom who does all the teaching and training and disciplining of the children “wears the pants.”  Dad is just along for the ride, assuming he is even “in the family car” a few hours each week.  This results in an obviously “out-of-balance” family.  It’s particularly devastating to boys who are trying to learn how to become young men.  But, it’s also harmful to girls who look to their Dads to see what a man should be. 

Factors for this “weak dad” phenomenon are probably many.  Work-aholism is surely one major factor.  I am so far from being impressed by dads working 60-70 hour weeks.  Their family is suffering BIG TIME.  It makes me sad that they cannot or will not give up the materialism that typically drives their work addictions.  Work is a good thing.  God made us for it.  But it is not to be on the thrones of our hearts, and it is not to stand in the way of us obeying our God.  

A second factor may be a warped view of fatherhood and motherhood.  Children are mom’s area, work and hobbies are dad’s area.  This view does not come from God’s Word. 

A third factor may be the influence of feminism, which has told moms to basically take over everything.  You can have it all.  Go work full-time or part-time, take care of kids, go to soccer games, cook and clean.  It’s killing women at the cyclic rate and far too many Christian homeschool moms seem to have bought into the “control freak” mentality of feminism.  Be warned.  It’s deadly to the body and soul.  And it marginalizes men.  Again, this view is anti-biblical.

The first year my wife and I homeschooled, I am shamed to confess I sat the bench, content to dump the full-load of child-rearing on my bride.  Oh, to be sure, I actively disciplined my daughters, and played with them after working hours.  But, the stress level on my wife rose to the point that Holy Spirit God forced me into His Word to see where I was missing the boat.  I knew God commanded us as parents to be the primary teachers/disciplers of our children, but I had not searched the Scriptures for what God said to me, Dad.

What I found in God’s Word pricked my heart like a two-edged dagger:

For I [the Lord] have chosen him [Abraham] that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice (Gen 18:19).

He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach to their children that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn (Psalm 78:5-6).

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4).

These are merely a few examples of the overwhelming evidence of the Bible that God calls on Dad to be the teacher and discipler of children.  Now, this obviously will demand that much of the training time be delegated to mom, as Dad works outside the home (though I would argue dads should frequently take their sons to work with them once they reach age 12 or so).  In God’s kingdom, Dad is the Christ-like Patriarch who actively instructs his children in the Word, disciplines them with the Father’s love, and ensures they know redemptive history.  If others are brought into the educational process (mom, adult mentors, Bible teachers), it is on Dad’s shoulders to prayerfully delegate. 

Now, be honest, dads.  Doesn’t this sound a bit impossible for you?  Our cultural expectations on home and family life are absolutely at odds with the Bible.  We’ve almost necessitated a Matriarchy by the ways we work, live and educate.  How can Christian American dads truly become the primary disciplers of children?  Well, they can’t unless they radically change some things and re-order their priorities.

And this radical shift, I believe, is as needed in homeschooling families today as it is in all families.  How sad, that so many homeschooling Christians squander the potential of that God-ordained educational method by excluding Dad.               

Contact UsShare on FacebookTweet This

Life Reaches Land

BA2274-001On page 344 of Science Explorer, Pearson Prentice Hall, an 8th Grade textbook used in our local middle school, we read a section titled “Life Reaches Land.”

“Until the Silurian Period, only one-celled organisms lived on land.  But during the Silurian Period, plants became abundant .  These first, simpe plants grew low to the ground in damp areas.  By the Devonian Period (dih VOH nee un), plants that could grow in drier areas had evolved.  Among these plants were the earliest ferns.  The first insects also appeared during the Silurian Period.

Both invertebrates and vertebrates lived in the Devonian seas.  Even though the invertebrates were more numerous, the Devonian Period is often called the Age of Fishes.  Every main group of fishes was present in the oceans at this time.  Most fishes now had jaws, bony skeletons, and scales on their bodies . . . Sharks appeared in the late Devonian Period.

During the Devonian Period, animals began to invade the land.  The first vertebrates to crawl onto land were lungfish with strong, muscular fins.  The first amphibians evolved from these lung fish.”  [emphasis original]

Now dear Christian parents, realize this is what is discipling your children.  The textbooks do the discipling, along with the curricula.  Your children will, if they remain in public schools, spend 14,000 seat hours in their illustrious K-12 career.  Fourteen thousand hours!  Soak it in.

And what, pray tell, will they be learning?  [Go read the above quote again, slowly.]

This whole section “Life Reaches Land” has not one factual statement in it, nor is any assertion supported by genuine, scientific evidence.  It is mere speculation, guesswork, framed by those whose view of history is unbiblical and godless.

But it’s all written in this 8th grade textbook so matter-of-factly.  I mean, what 13-year old is going to question what these science experts have written?  Why, they write as if they were actually there, watching this all unfold in the supposed Silurian and Devonian Periods!

In these three short paragraphs, students were taught not only a fictitious timetable of earth’s history, but were also taught that plants evolved (meaning one kind of plant transformed into a totally new kind of plant), and lungfish turned into frogs.  Evidence?  Transitional fossils?  Don’t bother asking . . . they don’t exist.

More tragically, students were just taught that WE ALL CAME FROM A LUNGFISH.  And that fish came from pond scum.

Friends, our public schools are bastions of pagan religion and godless worldviews.  Christian teachers in this system are, some of them, fighting hard for the right.  But, there is no denying the system is godless and will not change.  Many in the church wish folks like me would stop “picking” on public schools, but I love your children too much to stop exposing the demonic lies being pumped into their brains (and hearts?) for hours on end each day.

It is time to reclaim family discipleship for God’s glory and the raising up of godly offspring.  We dare not forget our Master’s words:

The student is not above his teacher; but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40).

God help us.  Our children are being swallowed up in a sea of godlessness.  Sound the alarm!  Blow the trumpet!  Warn the people of God to stop giving to Caesar what clearly belongs to God!  “Children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127).  So, why then do 90% of us keep turning them over to the state to be discipled?

And for those of you who think I have no bones to pick with homeschoolers, stay tuned . . .

Contact UsShare on FacebookTweet This

is limewire gone - Can I just say what a relief to find an individual who genuinely knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You really know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more folks must read this and understand this side on the story. I cant think youre not a lot more popular due to the fact you truly have the gift.

Carrol Muffley - I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I’m quite certain I’ll learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

tlbcassocpastor - Glad to serve you in this way. Keep learning for God’s glory!

free website - I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content in your case? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome web log!

tlbcassocpastor - Glad you’re enjoying it. I blog primarily for the members of the local church I serve and really have little desire to expand at this point. But, thanks for reading and may the Lord use your life for His glory.

http://linkyoga.wordpress.com/masaje-ayurvedico/ - I’ve gone ahead and bookmarked http://kmcwhorter.blog.com/2011/03/11/life-reaches-land/ at Digg.com so my friends can see it too. I simply used Life Reaches Land | Cross-Centered Homes as the entry title in my Digg.com bookmark, as I figured if it is good enough for you to title your blog post that, then you probably would like to see it bookmarked the same way.

tlbcassocpastor - OK. 🙂

free online games - It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

Natividad Hovorka - My spouse and i have been very happy that John managed to complete his studies out of the ideas he came across through the web page. It’s not at all simplistic to just continually be giving away tips and hints which usually people have been trying to sell. And we recognize we need you to give thanks to for this. The most important illustrations you made, the easy web site navigation, the friendships you will make it possible to create – it’s got mostly great, and it’s leading our son in addition to the family do think the subject is exciting, and that is extremely vital. Many thanks for everything!

Conveyancing Solicitor - Outstanding post, you have pointed out some superb details , I also believe this s a very great website.your link on my blog here http://tinyurl.com/immigration1001 ,

Immigration - your link on my blog here http://www.conveyancingquotes.info/?page_id=9 ,I really prize your piece of work, Great post.

Ali Garcelon - Superb blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused .. Any suggestions? Thanks!

tlbcassocpastor - Thanks for the compliments, but you’re asking the wrong person. I’m just a simple blogger and have no idea how to do much of anything other than write to glorify my Redeemer and edify His people!

Laverne Berenbaum - Hi. I needed to drop you a quick note to impart my thanks. Ive been observing your blog for a month or so and have picked up a heap of effective information as well as relished the way youve structured your site. I am undertaking to run my own blog however I think its too general and I would like to focus more on smaller topics.

T r u t h