Who Is Accountable?

This morning we dropped Little E off for the family specialist to take him on his weekly visit to see his biological mother. I wiped his face, which still bore the cinnamon and sugar gooeyness of Einstein poppers, and quickly gathered his belongings. Just before jumping in my own car, I glanced in the family specialists’ car. Usually when she picks up Little E, he is the only child present. This morning, I was surprised to see two little boy heads bobbing in the backseat as E made three.

Sometimes one glance can change or renew a perspective.

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With that one glance in the car revealing three heads instead of one, I quickly remembered there are thousands of children separated from their biological families for a multitude of reasons. Indeed, there are multiple reasons why children enter the foster care system. While not all of these reasons point directly back to the sins of the parents, many, if not most do. For example, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence within the home, child abuse and neglect. Conversely, some parents lose their jobs and do their best to take care of their families, many times living out of their cars. In these situations the homelessness of families lead to foster care.

I am sure that many foster parents have heard their fosterchildren’s biological parents say similar to the following: “This was not my fault. My child should have never been taken away from me.”

Doesn’t this remind you of the state of our culture? Aren’t most people reluctant to take accountability for their actions? I believe so. We are a people, sadly both Christian and non, that refuse to point the finger of blame at ourselves. Rather we will join with the adulteress and declare, “I have done no wrong.” (Proverbs 30:20 ESV)

Can you recall the last time you heard a president, politician, or preacher mention the word sin? What about your general conversations with fellowman both Christian and non, how often does this word come up? I would venture to say rarely, and rarer still in regards to personal application.

I am working through Jerry Bridges’ book, Respectable Sins, with my Bible study group. In the second chapter of this book we read that according to Dr. Karl Menninger’s book, Whatever Become of Sin?:

In the presidential proclamation for the annual National Day of Prayer, the last time the word sin was mentioned was in President Eisenhower’s proclamation in 1953–and those words were borrowed from a call to national prayer by Abraham Lincoln in 1863! So, as Dr Menninger observed, “as a nation, we officially ceased ‘sinning’ some twenty [now 60] years ago.

Interestingly, a fellow Bible-study woman summarized the disappearance of sin in our vocabulary in this way, “As goes God (from our culture) so goes sin. People do not believe in God therefore, they do not know who they would be sinning against. Christians understand that when we talk of sin it is against a Holy God; non-Christians [and our society as a whole] do not understand or recognize this concept.”

As goes God so goes sin. We have softened the language of sin to “flaws, mistakes, weaknesses, secret pleasures.” With the softening of sin has come the loss of accountability. “It isn’t my fault…I have rights. My actions only affect me.”

Until we Christians call sin sin, how can we expect those outside the Body of Christ to do so? Until we rid our own houses of the sins of the flesh, how on earth are we expecting to be the the salt and light to this lost and dying world? (See Matthew 5)

Yes… I am going to say it, if you live with your mate outside of marriage and yet claim to follow Christ, you are blatantly disobeying and disregarding His commands to keep the marriage bed undefiled. If we watch filth within our home and condone the acts which we would abhor in our physical presence, then should we turn it off? Yes. If we curse and then praise with the same mouth should seek forgiveness for our SINS? Yes. If we harbor bitterness and resentment in our hearts should we seek to forgive and restore? Yes. If we are quick to anger and slander should we bow in repentance and seek forgiveness and a change of heart. Absolutely.

It is our sin which separates us from God and not our flaws or weaknesses.

We alone, you alone, I alone am responsible and accountable for the decisions that I make to sin.

Today is the day for repentance and salvation. Today is the day to resolve to obey the commands of God, without picking and choosing those we find comfortable or agreeable. We can do it by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the resolution of man to walk forward in obedience. Even if it is more like trudging than walking at times.

Those three heads bobbing in the car this morning reminded me that regardless of the outcome with Little E and our family, God’s children are out there in need of a home. If you are a Christian, would you consider today taking up the cause of the Father and providing temporary homes for children like these three? It may be the only home they grow up in that preaches the gospel and teaches the word of God. We are accountable for our sins and for the Great Commission: to make disciples of all nations. Where better than to start than in your own home?

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Creation: Why does it matter?

 

 A single visit to the ocean on one vacation will likely not be enough to produce a deep love and appreciation for God’s creation. A single museum visit or concert will probably not instill a deep understanding of how God’s creative image inspires people to create. But moment by moment, as we take time to reflect on creation, sketch a favorite mountain scene, write a poem of praise, or admire the new buds on a tree–and share all of these things with our children–we have the opportunity to cultivate an appreciation for God’s creative greatness in their souls and invite a grateful, in-his-image creative response. ~Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood, p. 195

 

 

 

As in stooping low we serve, bending the knee we humble, and pouring out we teach, so in quiet observation the created studies the creation and creating overflows. Man cannot help but attempt to create beauty from the beauty observed in creation.

Every gardener knows that in digging down deep, planting a seed, and tending to it regularly new life springs forth from the ground. In the same way newness of life is observed in those who abide with their Creator God. When we hide His word in the soil of our hearts a seed is planted and a harvest is sure to come.

Chance it to say that most outward, outright sin begins as inward iniquity…sin of the mind.

To take the inward iniquity of man and simply deny the outward temptations will not work forever. We must hide God’s word in our hearts that we may not sin against God. Scripture memory gives us a replacement thought, a living Word, to combat inner uttering and outward pulls toward our weak flesh.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. ~Matthew 26:41

Even a father in the faith, Paul, cried out,

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ~Romans 7:15

We are no better and no worse than Paul… and neither are our children. That is why we must teach them God’s word and creation science so that when they are old they will not be easily persuaded to leave the path.

I am very far from having all the answers. However, we are as close to the scriptural truths as we place ourselves.

We must, in the words of Bro. Bill Anderson, put ourselves at the spout where the blessing comes out. Both you and I must do this. Meditation and memorization of God’s living word will bring us closer to this point. Involving our children in this will bring them closer with us.

Today, as we were outside playing in the dirt from which we came, I proceeded to recite the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:1-20 that I have attempted to memorize the past weeks. At the beginning of the first attempt, Emily asks, “What are you doing?” “I am reciting the scripture I have memorized.” “Like me in Cubbies?” she replied. “Yes, except my verses are all lumped together.”

She and Joshua heard me recite this portion of Scripture around four times as it took that many takes between questions from the children, a settlement of property dispute over a bubble-wand, and other happenings.

In creation, the created was creating and the Creator was glorified.

My children were watching and then followed my lead. Emily picked up her camera and began recording Joshua and the leaves, trees, and grass around her. She also prompted him to recite one of her Cubbies verses. Joshua, in turn, was given my camera and snapped shots of the “birds.” As he aimed the lens at the trees, we watched birds fly in and out as they were singing their praises to God.

 

 

 

Many in our culture would have you believe that religion is for the spirit only. The God who created us made us both intellectual and spiritual; therefore we must teach the Bible, creation, science, math, and everything else under the sun in relation to God, the truths of the Bible, and the evidence of Intelligent Design.

I was first introduced to such thinking above in the book,Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, by Nancy Pearcy. I was not sure that I was smart enough to read this book…the verdict is still out. However, I finished it. When the final page turned I was met with a quest to learn more, study more, and become more of a worker approved rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

In order for our little children to grow up and not depart from the faith we are teaching them, we must give them the tools they need to defend their faith against our culture, “scientific” theories such as Darwinism, and other worldviews they will encounter.

This begins with a solid foundation of hiding God’s word in their hearts.

Next, we continue equipping them via instruction at age-appropriate levels while engaging them in activities within God’s created order.

By providing evidence of God’s work in nature, it restores Christianity to the status of a genuine knowledge claim, giving us the means to reclaim a place at the table of public debate. Christians will then be in a position to challenge the fact/value dichotomy that has marginalized religion and morality by reducing them to irrational, subjective experience.  ~Nancy Pearcy, Total Truth, p. 178

Here is our video with recitation of the Sermon on the Mount. For the non-blogger friends of mine, it is called a vlog. So, listen and watch til your “vlogging” hearts content. Thanks, if you make it through its entirety.

 

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