Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Thursday, March 15, 2012

  • The Gospel Alphabet by Timothy Keller

    T is for Theology
    Both our doctrine and our manner of living must be in alignment with the Gospel. While errant theological thinking on a variety of issues can lead us to a twisted Gospel it is more to the present point to state that an errant Gospel can unleash a host of heresies. It is worth noting that Satan is a competent theologian with great skill in confusing and misleading with regard to God’s truth.

    Patrick's Hymn - The Lorica, Breastplate or Deer's Cry
    Originally composed in the 5th Century. Later known as the "Old Irish Morning Prayer"

    With the upcoming celebration of St Patrick's Day, besides the fun of the day with the green, there is a lot of great Christian history with St. Patrick. He is often associated with the Roman Catholic Church, however there is much more to the story and what he did for the sake of the gospel. It is worth the time to research. An example of his gospel-centeredness is this translation of one of his writings. Enjoy and Éirinn go brách (Ireland till doomsday).

    I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.

    I bind this day to me forever, by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation; his baptism in the Jordan river; his death on cross for my salvation; his bursting from the spiced tomb; his riding up the heavenly way; his coming at the day of doom: I bind unto myself today.

    I bind unto myself the power of the great love of cherubim; the sweet "Well done" in judgement hour; the service of the seraphim; confessors' faith, apostles' word, the patriarchs' prayers, the prophets' scrolls; all good deeds done unto the Lord, and purity of virgin souls.

    I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven, the glorious sun's life-giving ray, the whiteness of the moon at even, the flashing of the lightning free, the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks, the stable earth, the deep salt sea, around the old eternal rocks.

    I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, his eye to watch, his might to stay, his ear to hearken to my need; the wisdom of my God to teach, his hand to guide, his shield to ward; the word of God to give me speech, his heavenly host to be my guard.

    Against the demon snares of sin, the vice that gives temptation force, the natural lusts that war within, the hostile men that mar my course; of few or many, far or nigh, in every place, and in all hours against their fierce hostility, I bind to me these holy powers.

    Against all Satan's spells and wiles, against false words of heresy, against the knowledge that defiles against the heart's idolatry, against the wizard's evil craft, against the death-wound and the burning the choking wave and poisoned shaft, protect me, Christ, till thy returning.

    Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
    Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

    I bind unto myself the Name, the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three. Of whom all nature hath creation, eternal Father, Spirit, Word: praise to the Lord of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord.

    (Taking a step in the right direction for yourself and your son)

    With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.
    All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life. 
    Proverbs 7:21-23

    Wives can read this as well, but this week is mainly for men, especially husbands and fathers. This is to touch upon the uneasy subject of pornography and something you can do to take a step in the right direction.

    First of all, the subject is simple yet complex. The simplicity of it is that the basic problem comes down to what Paul calls in Ephesians 4:22, “deceitful desires.” It can also be called “lust” but the term deceitful desires is a good one because it describes lust as a simple, straight-out lie. It creates in you a hunger for something and gives you a meal that will never satisfy. That is why everyone who struggles with pornography always has a struggle with discontentment. It promises a physical pleasure but always delivers a heart-wrenching dissatisfaction. Pornography is a master deceiver and turns smart, strong, and successful men into what the Bible describes in nicer terms but can be translated, stupid-idiots.  (See Proverbs 5, 6 and 7)

    Pornography is certainly a cultural issue, but we do no favors to ourselves by blaming it on easy access or giving it a term that eases responsibility like it is an addiction. This leads to even the church misdiagnosing the problem that leads us to repent of everything but the sin itself. The solution is usually given that we set up firewalls or special software on the computer with the hope that will stop it. Though helpful, many find ways around it or go elsewhere to find it. Or we set up accountability with the hope that we will be truthful to others when we have been willing to lie to ourselves, our spouses, family and friends in the past.

    So where do we go?  We seek what the Apostle Paul called, the foolishness of the gospel, and the grace of God that helps us to repent of the heart of the issue and not just give a remedy to the symptoms of the problem. Christ’s death on the cross is the prescription to free us from the bondage of such sin and selfish desires and reminds us that the problem is not our behavior or circumstance, but it is the workings of our heart. The power over lust is brought to us by the sacrificial love of Christ and frees us from the self-indulgent shackles that pornography brings.

    Whether you personally struggle with pornography or not, you probably know someone who does. If you are a father and particularly if you have a son, you need to step up and deal with this. We need to fortify our own lives and the lives of our sons against the wave of pornography that currently is flooding us. Just setting up controls that keep it out of the computers and televisions in your home will not keep it out of your son’s head and heart. Only the gospel can reach him there.  

    On Friday evening, April 13, 2012, Bob Bevington, author and speaker, will be at Heritage Bible Church in Lincoln speaking on the topic, “Pornography, 5 Applications for Freedom.”  This is an invite for you men and if you have a teenage son, bring him along. The evening starts at 6:00pm with a hamburger supper and then Bob will give a presentation, followed by a question and answer time. There is no charge for the supper or seminar. Bob will also be speaking on Saturday about the topic of the gospel from the book, “Bookends of the Christian Life,” which he co-authored with Jerry Bridges. Consider this as a great opportunity to take a step in the right direction in understanding and dealing with this issue and how to not only run from pornography, but how to run to the satisfying reality that is found in Jesus Christ. Click here to learn more about the Bookends Conference on Saturday, April 14, 2012.


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