Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Watching the Ways of God

Martin Luther died yesterday, 467 years ago. His last words were, "We are beggars. This is true." If we are normal American Christians, our pride and sense of self-importance doesn't allow us to say such things. But Luther wasn't proud or American. I imagine this contributed to his usefulness. And his existence has been a chief means by which any of us in our lifetimes have heard and understood the Scripture's good news. You should pay attention to this man, read him, read about him, and imitate him. Let's not be ignorant of our heritage and the church's history. When we learn these we are watching the ways of God (Ps 119:36-38).

Upon my death, when I sit down to rest in heaven, I want to do so next to Martin Luther, my favorite theologian with no inherently divine nature. And having read him regularly, I am sure he is also among my favorite people. I'd like to have him here now so I could take him to my favorite high end bar, the one with the high back leather chairs, in which we would sit and sip and muse and talk and laugh. And I would be a little surprised if we didn't share some tears too; tears of pain mingled with celebration. I don't get to do that in the world as it is now. But perhaps on the new earth I will.

Now that those two deaths have been mentioned, I move on to mention the death of this blog. "Sons of the Baptizer" began with death, on July 23, 2010 . How fitting then that it should end on the same subject. Perhaps it too will be resurrected. Time will tell.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Get Wisdom - Post 29

Proverbs -- Chapter 29

1. On the value of humility, discipline, and repentance (I believe these are related inter-working parts) in any life, but particularly the lives of a parent and child: vs1,15,17,19,21,23.

2. On the value of righteous leaders who do not impose high tax rates, mistreat the poor, or listen to liars; and do keep God's law, walk in humility, and seek the LORD: vs2,4,7,12, 14,16,18,23,26.

3. On the value of the happy freedom only God gives: vs6,25.

4. On the value of a calm spirit and its fruit: vs11,20,22.

5. On the value of the Giver of understanding, our only hope: v13.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

One In My Likeness: Offering Praise for Joah

"When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image. . ."
Ge 5:3

Joah on his 2nd birthday, and sporting his mother's Raiders cap
Joah prefers a big boy cup
As Adam was made in the image of his Father (Ge 5:1-2), so our children are made in the image of theirs (v3). There is a covenant connection between children and their parents. Adam was in a covenant with God (as his Father), a covenant with Eve (as his bride), and a covenant with his son (as his offspring). This last covenant binds us to our children in deep ways and with profound power. I think it is the reason our little ones naturally want to please us, and be like us. It's the reason they naturally love us, trust us, and imitate us. And it has to do with our own natural affection for them, and our consequent natural duty to raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ep 6:1-3). They are, after all, gifts from Him (Ps 127:3).

Birthday relaxation
We recently celebrated both Joah's birthday and his adoption finalization. On these occasions I am reminded of the gift that he is and am compelled to thank God afresh for him. My relationship to him does not run parallel to my relationship with my daughter. For one, he is a boy and she is a girl. Contrary to the foolishness fueled opinion of some, there are multiple genders, and that matters much. Also, Joah is two years old while Tess is five years old. This also matters. While there are similarities in how I relate to each of them, there are also stark differences. But let me talk about Joah for a few moments.

A younger Joah dominates his prey
One of the most fun and revealing aspects of my relationship to Joah is how much he enjoys showing me what he can do. Just this week he's begun regularly jumping over things -- toys mostly, and sometimes the cat. But before doing so he will often find me, beckon me to follow him to the toy, say "watch this," and then take the leap. Then he laughs in celebration. I laugh with him, and sometimes offer the over used "high-five". Good times. As my friend Chris says, "Shared joys are double joys."

The Joah Tree
Joah loves on me with hugs, kisses, waves good-bye when I'm leaving the house, and warm greetings when I return home. Sometimes his affection is revealed in sadness, like when he cries at my absence. He's also beginning to offer me his best drawings and other creative ventures, like yesterday when he adorned a decorative tree with toys and then eagerly sought me out to show off his work with enthusiasm.

As for me, my favorite activity to share with Joah is the wonderful experience of being still. He is so active and energized and so full of life and zest. As impressive as these qualities are, what I appreciate most in him is his desire to simply sit with me. When he crawls up on my lap, and nestles down to rest, in a secure place, that's the highlight. I am sincerely glad for his precious desire to share his achievements, his hugs, and his tears. But what I treasure most is his desire to rest on Daddy. I'm sure there's something in that, pointing me to the Father of enduring and saving rest (Ex 14:13-14; Dt 7:7-9; Ps 46; Mt 11:27-29; He 4; Re 14:13).

This blog is named in memory of the prophet John the Baptizer. The prophet Malachi tells us that one aspect of John's ministry was to "restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers" lest God come and smite the land with a curse (Ma 4:6). May it please the Lord to bring about such a restoration in our cursed day.

"Let Your work appear to Your servants, 
and Your majesty to their children."
Ps 90:16

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Post for Shepherds

Brothers, you are not saviors. You are just men, with the very limited powers of men. Please hear Russell Moore say how Jesus seems to be one of the few shepherds without a Messiah complex.