MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

The Erosion of Morals

January 31st, 2005 Viewed 2091 times

Think About It

Wendy and I have gone back and forth on a number of issues. You can see our latest on spanking in my previous post about Discipline leading to self discipline. Her site, if you go and visit, advertises the fact that it wants prostitution decriminalized. Today, this very sad and sick article shows where her kind of logic ends up. I quote from the Telegraph in the UK:

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing “sexual services” at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year. Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

So basically, the government declared that this woman must work at a brothel or be forced to come off of unemployment. How would you like this choice? The government says you must use your body this way, or else you can no longer be supported while finding another job.

“There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sex industry,” said Merchthild Garweg, a lawyer from Hamburg who specialises in such cases. “The new regulations say that working in the sex industry is not immoral any more, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk to benefits.”

Do you see what he’s saying? Since prostitution is no longer immoral in Germany, women are being sent to the sex industry. If you find that appalling, check out the next snippet:

Miss Garweg said that women who had worked in call centres had been offered jobs on telephone sex lines. At one job centre in the city of Gotha, a 23-year-old woman was told that she had to attend an interview as a “nude model”, and should report back on the meeting. Employers in the sex industry can also advertise in job centres, a move that came into force this month. A job centre that refuses to accept the advertisement can be sued.

So, basically, the call centre can protect these women, but if they don’t place people they don’t get paid, and more and more brothels are placing ads.

It starts out as “we want the choice” and ends up “you have to do this or lose unemployment.” Watch Europe and what happens there, because they are a good indicator of what could happen here if we lose our moral standings!

Discipline yields Self-Discipline

January 27th, 2005 Viewed 2960 times

Woman Holding a Little Girl

I don’t know exactly the first moment I understood the point of discipline. For years, I had been under it, and that first point of
understanding may have come from a summer music camp at which I was a counselor. During one of the training sessions, we discussed discipline and it’s roll with the teens that were about to be coming on campus. The head counselor spoke about how we discipline so that they, in turn, would discipline themselves.

Now that I have kids of my own, I’m still following that principle. I do spank my children. I was spanked as a child, and I believe it works. I endeavor to spank out of love, and not anger. I try to use it as a training tool, not a venting tool.

Some may argue that my “hitting” and then not allowing my child to hit other children causes a rational problem. My wife asked a similar question a few months back. How do we teach our children it’s ok to throw a ball, but not another toy? Should we ban all throwing?

In my parent’s house, there were only certain few foods that the children were allowed to drink a soft drink. However, my father was allowed to have a soda any time he wished. In my parent’s house, we each had different bed times, and my parents were always the last ones to bed.

In each of these cases, there were different sets of rules for different groups. Same with spanking. Parents are allowed to discipline their children in this way, children are not to hit others.

It’s also illogical to try to compare spanking to assault and battery (normal or sexual) between adults. For one thing, children (at times) need some kind of physical reaction to a wrong accomplished. That’s why you send them to their room, place them in a time out chair, or whatever you do whether or not you spank. However, if you send them to their room, you might also have to include “no computer”. If they’re younger, how do you expect their young minds to associate being sent to their room with something they did wrong– especially if it was something they were not supposed to touch? Furthermore, I find that it just gives them time to get angry.

A simple light slap on the hand can instantly tell a young child not to touch mom’s new vase. It’s immediate. They know what it’s about. Now, that isn’t efficient for older children, but you tailor your discipline for the age level. I don’t ever remember being spanked as a teenager.

Lastly, the Biblical aspect. The Bible has multiple things to say about discipline. It says that God chastens those He loves. It shows that God is the only one that can fit the punishment to the crime. It tells fathers not to provoke their children to wrath. It tells children to obey their parents. It talks about sparing the rod and spoiling the child. An honest search of the Scriptures will yield a great understanding of what God’s thoughts are on how to raise children.

What do you think about when you shovel snow?

January 26th, 2005 Viewed 1126 times

My thoughts as I shovel snow usually tend to be around money, for one reason or the other.  It’s not something I guess I’m proud of, but it is the truth.

The first time I had to shovel I believe said thoughts centered around my sons and I forming a snow shoveling empire.  We’d start out small with shovels and since we still are planning to homeschool our kids, we could offer premium service shoveling before people got home from work.  From the profits of the shovel, we would upgrade to a snow thrower, and eventually graduate to a truck with a plow on the front.

More recently, though, I started to wonder if we, as a family, should have some kind of “Evangelism” category in our budget that would allow us to provide for those in need around us, to pay for a neighbor kid to shovel it.

The other day, I thought something else, though.  I saw the shoveling and the sun as a joint effort between God and man.  I was doing the work moving, but only God could make my driveway black.  I saw that in what He asks of us– He expects us to give our best for Him, and He will do the rest.  Like sharing the Gospel– we are responsible to give the Word to all men.  He’s responsible to take that Word and make a new creation.

A Thankful Heart

January 24th, 2005 Viewed 2008 times

I wonder how often we say one thing, and mean another…

Thank you, Lord, for this food…  but I wish it were pizza.
Thank you, Lord, for this job… though I wish it paid more.
Thank you, Lord, for this house… though I wish it were bigger.
Thank you, Lord, for my family/friends… though I wish they treated me better.
Thank you, Lord, for my church… but I wish they were friendlier.
Thank you, Lord, for my clothes… though I wish they were newer.

Are we truly thankful if it includes a but?  We probably don’t say the “but”, although it is there.

It reminds me of a Veggie Tale I just got done seeing the other day (since we only have three, it seems like we know the dialogue and songs by heart because young children never seem to tire of them!) called Madame Blueberry.  In this story, the Blueberry belives that if she just gets more stuff she’ll eventually be happy.  What she finds is that a thankful heart makes for a happy heart (and that houses in trees don’t do well with a lot of stuff in it!).

So, my exhortation for today is to take a look around you and be truly thankful for those things that you are blessed with and have a happy heart!

Republic, not Democracy

January 21st, 2005 Viewed 1686 times, 2 so far today

It’s not a little thing. Democracy brings anarchy, the belief that the majority makes morality, and can utterly rule a nation. That is why when our Founders created a government, they created a Republic. We may have democratically elected officials, but those officials serve in a Republic. That’s why we say, in the pledge of allegience, “and the Republic, for which it stands…” You would think that after years of saying this we’d get it right.

Though I think Peggy Noonan was probably a bit too critical of the President’s Inaugural address, she nevertheless brought out an important point. This side of glory we are not going to see a free and peaceful world. (Ms. Noonan is a practicing Catholic, and I don’t know of her personal state with the Savior, but I do know that this part she has right.) If our understanding of the Scripture is correct, it will get worse.

Should we desire to all people free? Certainly. It allows us better chances to witness. It allows for people to see the kind of life they can live. Will it be accomplished? Not until the Prince of Peace comes. I sometimes wonder if we’re getting close to that time with Israel being somewhat at peace right now. If you see any treaties floating around promising 7 years of peace to Israel, get ready to leave.

The Hand off to Moses

January 20th, 2005 Viewed 1058 times

I found it interesting to read about a case where disobeying the king was rewarded.  The Pharaoh had ordered the Hebrew midwives to kill every male child that was born.  When the midwives did not, the Pharaoh asked why not, they told them that it was because the Hebrew women were having the children before the midwives arrived!  And then the telling sentence– that God blessed the midwives because they did not kill the Hebrew males.

It’s also fascinating to think of Moses being taken in by the princess.  She knew that he was a Hebrew, and that must have infuriated  Pharaoh to no end.  No wonder that at the first sign of trouble from Moses, Pharaoh was ready to get rid of him.  One could imagine that if Moses was an Egyptian, the slaying of another man could have made him highly exalted.

The other thing that struck me was that Moses, the deliverer out of Israel, was right there, and the people did not want him, so he left.  Then there’s the comment “and Israel cried unto the Lord.”  It’s almost like a movie running in my head– you have Moses sitting on the side of the hill watching sheep, and the cries of
Israel in the background.  The suspense is there (if you didn’t already know what was going to happen) and in true “underdog” fashion, God is going to call this “farmer” to come back and save His people.

What a great God we serve!

Joseph the Capitalist

January 19th, 2005 Viewed 878 times

Still another thing that struck me as interesting reading through the account of Joseph was what he did with all the food that he had collected.  If you’ll read it, he first sold food back to the people, then he took their livestock for food, and then bought their land.  No wonder Pharaoh kept him on as second in charge– on Joseph’s watch   Pharaohgot possession of everything in the area.  What a switch when the next few years, where the Israelites go from welcomed guests to servants…

Jacob, Joseph and Hey Jude

January 18th, 2005 Viewed 937 times

Anyone following Veggie Tales knows the story “The Ballad of Little Joe” if only for the fact that it has the infamous “Boyz in the Sink” singing about the fact that Mr. Lunt doesn’t have a belly button.  The nice part of these stories is that they take a rather complex story, boil it down to a single lesson, and then add some fun into it.  However, nothing substitutes for the real thing.

Last night, in our reading through the Bible, we were in the passage dealing with Joseph revealing himself to his brothers and Jacob coming to Egypt.  Don’t you find it interesting how God and Moses keep changing Jacob’s name back and forth, from Jacob to Israel?

What struck me as something new this time around?  The comment Jacob makes to Pharaoh about his age.  If you’ll notice, Jacob says something to the effect that the years of his pilgrimage are shorter than the years of his father’s pilgrimage.  Jacob was around 130 at the time he made this statement, and didn’t die for another few years.  The point is that he knew that people were not lasting as long.

Also, it was interesting to see the back and forth about Manasseh and Ephriam during the blessing.  That Jacob knew what he was doing, and that this was the second time that God was going to bless the younger over the elder probably didn’t escape Jacob.

Did you notice that Joseph’s wife was a priestess?  How did a person that followed God like Joseph did fit together with a wife that was a priestess for On?  Is that why Joseph (a person whose whole life growing up was full of dreams and disappointment) had a problem with Jacob blessing his younger son– because his faith may have been eroded away a little?

Just some things to think about.

Abraham, Isaac, and Esau?

January 11th, 2005 Viewed 922 times

My father relayed the answer my sister had to the following question: Why was it that God chose Jacob over Esau?  Because “Abraham, Isaac and Esau” would sound funny.  It is one of the age old questions, why did God choose Jacob and say he hated Esau.  Did he look down through Esau’s life to see the many bad choices he would make?

Last night’s reading brought us to the point of Esau’s third marriage.  This guy just didn’t get it.  He sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, he marries two women from the Canaanite land, and when Jacob gets sent away to find a wife from Abraham’s family (and for other reasons too), he thinks that’s the problem and goes out and married a third woman– one from Ishmael’s line!  Now, granted, Jacob was the sup-planter, he did deceive his father, “stole” the birthright, and even will fleece Laban in a little while here, but how could Esau miss the mark so badly?

It’s hard to think of this as a time where there would have not been a complete Bible available.  Isaac probably told his sons about God, and they would have heard about all of what had happened so far.  One would hope that Esau and Jacob would have been told about the difference between Cain and Able’s sacrifices.  One could easily imagine Isaac telling them about how Rebekah was selected from his home, and yet Esau still made choices for himself.

How about you and I?  It’s easy to look back at Esau and see where he made his mistakes.  It’s especially easy when the most we see about him are his mistakes!  Yet Isaac loved him more than Jacob (not that
parents should have favorites) for more than the fact that he made good venison.  There must have been redeeming qualities within the mistakes.

Do we make colossal mistakes in our lives that we live with the consequences of– sure we do.  My mom says “We live with the decisions we make” and that’s what I take away from Esau.  He kept trying to
please his family and kept goofing it up because he guessed at what he needed to do.  We have no excuse.  We have God’s complete revealed Word.  Think about it…

At what Priority Level is God in our Lives?

January 7th, 2005 Viewed 1197 times

My father, my wife and I are all reading through the Bible together.  My dad was a late addition and read ahead, but came back with some interesting questions / thoughts.  One of them I’ve encountered in many
different ways, and it poses today’s post.

How much do we really love God?  Where is He in the priority of our lives?  Job could be relied on to love God for himself– not the things that he gave or took away.  The Apostle Paul called knowing God the end
of His being.  How do we truly love and submit to God– or anyone else for that matter?

It has to start with a keen desire to want to know all there is to know about the person.  Reading through a book I was given when my wife and I were married about how to be the “Perfect Husband” the author used a passage in Peter that said that we are to dwell with our wife with all wisdom– meaning to find out about her, know her in and out.  For the author, humorously, he said that he couldn’t even keep track of what soft drink his wife liked– but he said that was part of the adventure of growing in knowledge.  We should get to a point where we can anticipate her thoughts and desires, and to provide them in our means.

To know God we must have a desire to know everything about Him– to anticipate His thoughts and desires.  We must find pleasure in serving Him and making Him happy.  We have to do things after His heart.  I think this is what Tozer was getting at in the reading I had of his last night.  He was talking about
organization being necessary, but that too much gets us away from God– we rely on it.

I know that, for me, it is easy to rely on the training in the Word that I have had and to fall into a pattern– kind of tying into Bible Study and the rich being able to rely on their money instead of on God.  Where is our desire, Christian?  Where is our yearning to know Him and to see Him pleased?  We know He never changes, and that to deserve our worship He has to be “bigger than us”, so where is our desire?

I can only think that we need to be like Moses, who went from seeing the burning bush to seeing the glory of God– that we need to trust God with what He shows us, but get on our knees and ask for more– more desire, more of Him.  It’s true that we get as much of Him as we ask for.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.