Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Some thoughts for the New Year...

Greetings everyone! I hope you have had some wonderful time with family and friends to reflect on God's gift to sinful mankind of a Savior who is Christ the Lord. As we approach the final days of 2009, no doubt many of us are gearing up for one New Years party or another. This brought to the forefront of my mind a familiar question, the discussion of which is very prevalent this time of year. "Is it alright for a Christian to drink?"

I know that I probably have readers on both sides of the issue, and I'm not interested in stirring up a long and heated debate that won't get us anywhere, but I think it is important to look at our lives in the context of God's word and seek to align them with it.

Paul wrote "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." I Cor 10:31 As Christians, we are Priests and Kings "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Rev. 1:5-6)

I think in light of this passage, the admonition of Lemuel's mother in Proverbs 31 is worth our consideration. "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted." (Proverbs 31:4-5)

I believe that the best best course of action is to abstain from any alcoholic beverages for the above reasons as well as a few more:

1) Because I drive my wheelchair everywhere I could get a DUI at any time.
2) I might become an alcoholic
3) Even if I could "handle it," my brother to whom I am an example to might not be able to do so. Work at the mission has given me a front row (sometimes downright scary) look at what can happen after "just one" drink.
4) There's plenty else to choose from.

I can't tell you what to do, but I think instead of asking "Can we..." we should ask "Is this bringing Honor to the One whom I serve?"

As I close, I want to leave you with this parting thought. 2009 is almost history and 2010 is just around the corner. How will you approach the coming year? I hope you will join me in echoing the prayer of the song writer Frances R. Havergal.

"Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee."

God bless you in 2010!



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chapter 2

Chapter 2
Doubling the Curse?

Imagine that you have just had a busy day at the office. You had a big project due and had to stay two hours late to get it done. Your boss yells at you because it’s late and you leave with a headache bordering on a migraine. If you are anything like me, a day like that leaves with a desire to go home, put your feet up, and read a good book.
Now imagine that have a second job as a personal secretary, food manager, nurse, nanny, chauffer and all around personal assistant. The hours are unpredictable and the rewards, though great, are not always clearly visible. The combination of these jobs makes for late nights, early mornings, and busy days.
The only way to avoid burnout with this situation is to get rid of one job or prioritize one over the other. This is a dilemma that many mothers face daily. They are trying to balance their obligations to the workforce with their responsibilities as wife and mother that greet them at the door when the come home. They often wonder how they are supposed to balance all of these responsibilities.
I believe that the answer is surprisingly simple…They’re not! I believe that the reason that women face this dilemma is that we as men have allowed women to shoulder a much greater burden than God intended.
“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;” Genesis 3:16-17
Both the man and his wife were given curses for their disobedience. These curses specifically affect the God-given roles. The man was given sweat and toil in his work of the ground. The woman was given pain in childbirth. I believe that the woman has taken on double the curse and as a result is running herself ragged!
Much has been said about the difficulties that women find in balancing the responsibilities of work and home. Much of the focus has been on how to do both successfully. I firmly believe that these discussions have failed to truly consider the effect that being a working woman can have on a wife and mother.
Both career and family are extremely demanding roles. They each require an extreme amount of focus and passion. As a result, one or both of these roles will suffer when they are embarked upon simultaneously. For a working mother, this often means that the having children is either put off until a better time or is greatly limited in order that they not interfere with her career and way of life.
When children do come along they are often put into daycare and spend there most impressionable years of their lives in the care of someone other then mom. Thus, one of God’s greatest blessings has been relegated to a scheduled commodity.
I believe that we as men bear a great deal of blame for this tragedy. Instead of taking responsibility for the needs of their families (thereby allowing their wives and children to reach their full potential), many men have succumbed to the cultural norm. By allowing their wives to work, they may have better prospects financially, they also inherit a great deal of stress.
Remember that just because God allows something doesn’t mean he is pleased to do so. “They [the children of Israel] soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:13-15)
I believe many Christian families today are in this position. They have much in the way of earthly resources, but in the things that really matter they have very little!
It is also quite possible that the financial gain of a second income might not be as great as we think. By the time you factor in the cost of daycare, gas and other car expenses, along with other miscellaneous expenses incurred by this, and you could find that the actual net total of your take home pay is actually quite low..
Consider the following facts:
• “The 2004 the median income of FTYR (Full Time Year Round) male workers was $40,798, compared to $31,223 for FTYR female workers.”
• Daycare Expenses: $6770 ($65 per week; 2 small children)
• Transportation Expenses: $624 (gas only)
• Lunch Expenses: $520
• Clothing/Dry Cleaning Expense: $520
• Dining Out Expenses: $1820 (family of 4)
• Miscellaneous Expenses: $300
• Median NET yearly income: $31,223
• Total income after expenses: $20,679
Based on these numbers (which are calculated on the low side) a working mother can easily spend upwards of 1/3 of her take home pay just to keep her job. Being a working mother can be emotionally costly as well. 75% of men and 65% of women admit to having sex with people they work with. Considering that this is not something that people are generally proud of or bring up in everyday conversation, the numbers could easily be higher.
If woman were at home under the protection of their husbands, these numbers could be greatly reduced. I am not trying to say that men are not to blame in this. In fact I am stating quite the opposite.
The ramifications of failing in our duties as men are great. One of the reasons the man was placed over the woman was that in addition to being created first, the man was not deceived as his wife was.
“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (2 Timothy 2:14) This is not a pleasant truth to discuss, but ignoring truth doesn’t make it any less true. We as men must evaluate the cost of following this cultural norm and ask ourselves, “Is it worth it?”