No One Saw It Coming

I recently saw this headline in connection with Karl Rove’s mom committing suicide. I see these headlines or something like them all the time concerning all sorts of different crimes or sudden events like a suicide or a school shooting.

On the one hand it is true. No one probably saw whatever it was coming.

On the other hand, it’s not because it couldn’t have been seen.

People were just not paying attention.

In most cases if someone is suicidal (or thinking about killing others) it is very easy to tell. But you (and I mean the personal you) have to be aware of what is going on. If it is a friend or family member, there are all sorts of warning signs. Perhaps they are involved in harmful behavior or “lifestyle choices” such as drug usage (and not just illegal ones either), homosexuality or other sexual immorality like jumping in the sack before marriage. Homosexuals have about a nine times greater chance of suicide among other bad effects. There could be a sudden loss in a person’s life such as death of a spouse or child. The key is you have to spend time with them, listen, attempt to understand, and just be there. We have to try and dissuade them from bad choices, rather than “affirm” their lifestyle idiocy.

But see, that takes too much time. And we are too damn busy to slow down, take time, and be around. If we spend time and listen, we will hear the cries for help.

Karl Rove’s mom was in a failing third marriage. Third marriage? Failing? And “no one saw the suicide coming?” Give me a break. Mr. Rove didn’t see the election of Trump coming either, but it’s because he wasn’t paying attention, not because “no one could see it coming.” Blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other as my dad used to say. Or as Jesus said, having eyes they do not see and having ears they refuse to hear.

As tragic and sad as a suicide is, trying to say “no one saw it coming” is just an excuse to take ourselves off the hook for choosing our own, frequently meaningless (in the long run) activities over taking time for someone. We feel the guilt, and mostly rightly so, but we try to dodge it. So we never fix the problem which is in the heart that generally rejects God or much of what God tells us to do.

A school shooting occurs and the parents are mystified about their child killer? Give me a break. We kill babies in the womb and then act surprised when a child performs a “post natal abortion?” There’s no way that even a half-way loving parent spending time with their child wouldn’t be able to see that something was wrong and find out what it was. Were the parents following God? I mean really following, not just going to church or being a decent person. Was home schooling an option, or were they too busy pursuing money and career satisfaction? Were they feeding their own egos, or looking to feed their child on the Word?

We choose our own way in this world, and then we are surprised when tragic things blow up in our faces. Come on, it’s not that hard to figure out. Selfishness inevitably leads to bad results. God’s been telling us this for centuries and centuries. No God means no life.

At a time when people all around are talking about love in many different ways (“all you need is love” as John Lennon sang) love is actually waxing cold. As Jesus said in Matthew 24:12 “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”

Lawlessness is increasing because people are ignoring more and more the Law of God. God’s Law is intimately connected with love, and to move away from the Law of Christ is to move away from love. Talk about it all you want, continue to be surprised by tragic events, but until we repent and return to all of His Living Oracles it’s just so much empty rhetoric. Trying to absolve yourself of guilt or blame won’t make a difference either. We have to be in the Word daily, walking with God and working at putting more of it into our own lives. Then we can “see” to help others.

Admit it. If “no one saw it coming” then we have to do something about our vision. The healing comes when we turn to His Word.

Shalom

Bruce

Daughter’s Wedding

Watching a little bit of my daughter’s wedding video as I transfer it from tape to a computer file. It was a happy occasion, but I was a little sad in the watching. We couldn’t afford a huge wedding ceremony or reception, so it was pretty simple. Just a quick exchange of vows in the base chapel (he was a Marine at the time) and a “reception” at the local buffet. One set of their friends, and my wife’s side of the family were all that could make it. My brother-in-law (Dan) earned a great deal of my respect then because he made sure that his family was there, and the others followed.

 

But the sadness is only a tiny bit. I take solace in the fact that while the wedding was simple a lot of times those are more lasting than the multi-thousand dollar ones. My own wedding was not much fancier, but we’ve been married over 30 years. I’m very happy my daughter and son-in-law are going on 12 years with four beautiful children. The start might’ve been no-frills, plain, and lacking in an ostentatious display of wealth (like mine), but the marriage has been strong and will get stronger. I remember I told them at the beginning, “It’s not the wedding that counts. You will forget a bunch of that over time. It’s the marriage that counts. Commit to God and each other, and all the rest will work itself out.” If I had to depart this physical plane this would contribute to my peace, knowing they are established on a good foundation. Even if it is a simple one.

Childbearing salvation

One of the more puzzling verses in the Word is directed at Timothy by Paul in what some refer to as a pastoral epistle.

 

Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:15, ESV)

 

It seems that Paul is saying that women can be saved through having kids. I’ve heard a lot of teaching connected with this, mostly focusing on the second part of the verse (faith, love, holiness, self-control) but also trying to work in how women are saved by having kids. I’ve tried to understand it myself by going with that teaching and thinking that perhaps the discipline of actually having kids (it is very difficult to bear children in case you didn’t know) was somehow helpful for learning salvation. Sort of going along with “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). But I could never really make it fit with my understanding of other parts of the Word, such as that salvation is by grace through faith.

 

I recently read a different take on this by Dr. Walter Kaiser in the book The Promise Plan of God. He says that we should think of this as the act of childbearing as in the fact that the Son of God was birthed by a woman. Salvation came to the world because a woman bore a child. Paul was trying to elevate women because of the gift of bearing children, contrasting their poor treatment at the time (which continues to the present time) with the godly point that they should be honored instead. Yes, Eve was deceived, but a woman was given the privilege of birthing our Messiah Jesus.

 

Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. (1 Corinthians 11:11–12, ESV)

 

Paul is encouraging godliness by acknowledging faults in both genders and at the same time pointing out equal blessings from God. We are not independent; we are interdependent. We each have different jobs, we are made differently (thank you Jesus!) but one gender is not inferior to the other. Women are not property, they are sisters in the household of God and have equal standing with men before God. The childbearing gift was how God chose to bring the Messiah to us, and should not be discounted. Women are saved through the act or gift of childbearing, because our salvation Jesus came to us by way of a woman.

 

An interesting proposition, and one that fits better with the rest of Scripture than any others I’ve heard so far. It’s probably an old teaching in some places, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it.

 

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4–5, ESV)

Adopted Into Salvation

God has given us space to “choose this day whom we will serve” as Joshua says (Joshua 24:15). But those who are born naturally also have to be adopted into God’s family no matter their family tree. As Jesus says in John chapter 3, everyone must be “born again” to enter God’s kingdom. This spiritual birth or adoption is much more binding than natural birth.
I was adopted at 14 by my own request. I asked my natural parents to relinquish their parental rights and signed my own adoption papers with my new family. So I understand the concept very well. Adoption means that the former family is not yours anymore. You have a new one. Even your birth certificate is changed to reflect the change in families.
I don’t agree with people who were adopted young and later search for their birth parents. Birth parents that let go of their offspring are just egg donors and sperm donors to me. They have nothing to do with the blood, sweat and tears of raising a child. So in my view they are not really the parents. Adoption is permanent, and at the age I was adopted I had the privilege of choosing a new family. They are more than merely genetic influences for me.
When we are adopted into God’s family, it is the same. We make the choice, and it’s permanent. God takes us as His children, with all of our faults and failures. He chooses us even if we are not the model child. Like my adoptive parents, He sticks with us through our teenage years when we know everything but are still dumber than rocks. He is patient, loving, and kind, and requires that we live by the rules of His household. We are treated just like any other son or daughter, protected and nourished and disciplined to stay on the right path.

From Whole Bible Christianity chapter 2 Salvation

Passover Traditions

Well, our “sheep” are out (see previous photos to take a good look!) and today my kids and I headed to a local pond to feed the ducks our bread ends. It’s one of our Passover traditions to “get rid” of the leaven in our lives. We are “purging” it all and giving the ducks an nice treat. What Passover traditions has your family started over the years?

388426_497362593655425_1205842287_n

Teaching Children

From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 8 The Whole Purpose of the Law – Teaches Children

A few years ago a good friend in a Sunday school asked how he could help keep his kids in the faith. It seems his teenagers were starting to drift away, and he was concerned. I listened in some amazement as another friend took ten minutes to advise the first friend to keep his kids from watching ‘R’ rated movies and make sure they went to church every week. My response to both friends was to teach the Word through God’s traditions, especially the feasts (Leviticus 23). I told them how we observed Sabbath with a family meal as a kick off on Friday night, and how my daughter who went to college in Hawaii for a while still participated even though she was far away. She would call on Friday nights and we would put her on speaker phone. Then we would say blessings and eat together.

Later her fiancé, a Marine training in North Carolina, would call too and we had to find a second speaker phone for him (we already had two phone lines). It was a lot of fun, and helped keep our kids involved in and connected with the family and with the Word. The key to this of course was to practice God’s Word all the time, not just after they left home. I lost touch with that friend, so I don’t know if he ever took me up on my advice. I don’t think so. I think he was too indoctrinated by standard church teaching to accept the whole of the Word.

Practicing the whole Bible has made a huge, wonderful difference in our lives. We still have a family meal once a week, even though my daughter and her husband have been married for ten years. My children (and now grand children) have been taught the Law and they are still following its precepts. They tell me that the Word is much more meaningful to them than ever before. God’s Word is guaranteed to work because it is backed by His authority and power. We don’t always cooperate, but the Word works. If we follow His directions, we will end up right where He wants us.

Sandy Hook Thoughts

Today I headed out to a birthday celebration for a little girl, a friend of my own youngest daughter, who I remember being born 3 yrs ago. We were out celebrating all morning, and came home at lunch time. I plopped down on FB and was jarred by the news and information screaming from the wall. So awful, so sad and so tragic. 10 minutes after reading up on the news, I had my own little 3 yr old come up to me and ask me to help her put on her dress-up dressy dress. with a black cowboy hat on top. And all I wanted to do was hug her to me, squeeze her tight, and Thank God that she was with me, and is still. Hearts, thoughts, prayers and sorrows going out to Connecticut today, on this sombor 7th evening of Chanukah. Hope you have had a a blessed week, and that you have a peaceful Sabbath this evening.