A Plea For Modesty

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Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense…   1 Timothy 2:9

In shopping for my daughter’s clothes, I am reminded of how little attention is paid towards modesty anymore. Almost everything is so shorter and revealing. Nothing is left to the imagination. Finding modest clothes is quite a task!

Women have to fight to not be looked at as sex objects but finding clothes that don’t give off that vibe is difficult. I come off as an old prune when I talk hand length and no cleavage to my daughter. I am ok with that though.  I don’t back down though because I know how men think and how they will see my daughter if they are invited to do so by her outfit. If any dad is ok with that then he is not much of a dad.

Here is what every woman needs to realize. Lust is an issue. An issue for both men and women but especially for men. I know this because I am one and I talk to men often about this issue. Temptation faces us at every turn and the struggle is real. Jesus addressed this issue:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  Matthew 5:27-30

God is adamant that his creation will not be reduced to an object of lust. He takes it seriously enough to tell us to pluck out your eye or cut off our hand if need be to avoid sinning! I rarely meet a man who does not struggle with lust and those who tell me they don’t… I assume they struggle with lying as well. Our struggle is not helped by the short skirts and shorts and the revealing tops. I am not a woman so I enter dangerous territory here but I can only assume this is why women would wear revealing clothes… to be noticed.  Well, unfortunately men are noticing and they are falling into sin for it.

I don’t know if women know this but men are reducing them to their looks when they wear revealing clothes. Men don’t care about their IQ, personality, or spiritual health in the moment. Men’s attention has been moved to her body and she becomes an object of lust for him. There is no respect or genuine care. It is about animal instinct in that moment. Not healthy for the woman or the man. Here is what I believe: What you wear says something about who you are. To think it doesn’t is irrational.

We want to teach our daughter about the importance of modesty as a Christian. We want to teach our daughter that her body is meant only for her husband. It is not to be on display for men to notice. She is not an object but a person worthy of respect and care. She is much more than her body type. We will preach this to our daughter. My wife will model this for her through her modest dress. I will continue to give affection to my daughter (even though she acts awkward when I do) and hope that she will not feel the need to find value from other men because she is receiving it from her daddy.

Now a disclaimer here: there is a big difference in making oneself look attractive versus making oneself look seductive. If you are modest in your dress and yet a man finds you attractive that is on him if he takes it too far with his eyes and thoughts. You shouldn’t degrade your beauty. God made you how you are. That is much different than you giving the man a head start into his imagination by revealing half the puzzle. I think a woman knows the difference if she is honest with herself.

I pray that parents will talk more about modesty with their kids. That dads will teach their sons not to reduce women to objects of lust. That women will model for their daughters how a woman shook dress. I pray Christian women will not buy into the cultural conditioning that sex is the only way to be truly appealing. That they will be courageous and hold each other accountable.

Dressing revealing is not harmless fun. It is tempting and leads others to commit sin. God is definitely not ok with it and neither should we be as His people.

 

Sacred Home: Challenge To Parents

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For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should teach them to their children, That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children. Psalm 78:5-6

As infected saints, parenting is a struggle. We know we don’t own our kids but are given stewardship over them by God.  Still, we are sinful adults training sinful children. Amazing, then, that God created mother and father roles as essential to raising children. Moms and dads play unique roles that, together, make a powerful partnership in leading their children. Both are crucial. God is gracious and can work through a single mom or dad, but a partnership between both parents gives the child the best chance of growing up in the ways of the Lord.

Here are a few ways this fleshes out:

1) Together, father and mother bring a combination of masculinity and femininity to the home that represents the fuller image of God. This lead to healthy children who best understand what male and female are meant to be within the design and will of God.

2) Spiritual neutrality in the home is nonsense. I have heard some parents say they don’t want to force their religion on their children. They want them to be free to make up their own mind. This is foolish thinking! If you bring your children up this way, they will likely be neutral with God, too. They will not follow God, but they will try not to offend him either. This leads to spiritual death.

3) One hour of Sunday school in a 168 hour week doesn’t cut it. If you are trusting in Sunday school to train up your child in the ways of God, you are going to need your child to move in with the teacher! One hour is not enough to sufficiently train them to be godly. The home is the training ground; the dad and mom are the primary teachers.

4) Dads are the spiritual thermometer in the home. If you want your wife and kids to follow God, to listen to His Word and practice what it says, then you have to lead the way. Most dads would like to leave the spiritual work to the moms, but that is not how God ordained it.

5) Set spiritual goals for your children, and work to see them reached. Setting goals makes you accountable before God to work toward them. It helps keep you from getting distracted by the many pitfalls of this world. It helps you not to focus in on good things to the neglect of the great things of God.

6) Take your kids on dates. I regularly take my daughter on daddy-daughter dates. I use this time to teach her how men should treat women. I know these times with me show her she is special. If she feels my love and attention she will not seek unhealthy attention from boys.  Moms, this works well with boys, too!

Parents, knowing the importance of our roles and the stewardship required of us, we need to be intentional about creating sacred moments for our children.  I am sure there are many other good habits that can be established in the home to foster spiritual growth within the family. Feel free to comment below and offer ideas you have heard of or practice.  ~ Dax

 

 Top 10 Topics Christians Are Not Learning About

As infected saints, we would do well to not avoid topics because they are convicting. If we desire to be like Jesus, we should want to know and experience the deeper things of the faith. Here are the topics I believe are being neglected by most Christians today.

1. Fasting– Fasting is found throughout Scripture as a way of mourning and refocusing. Even Jesus fasted before He started His ministry. Fasting is a spiritual act of creating space by abstaining for a period of time from something good in order to draw nearer to God. I can say from my own experience with fasting that it is a megaphone to God’s voice in my life. I gain clarity of purpose and perspective from the Lord. It is a neglected discipline that would be powerful in our lives if we practiced it.

2. Repentance– Who wants to talk about turning away from the pleasures of sin? Repentance is out of style with churches that have gone easier on sin. Yet, repentance is a way of life for a Christian trying to be like Jesus. Confessing and turning away from sin must be part of the Christian life.

3. Holiness– We are called to be holy as God is holy. We don’t talk often enough about being “set apart” as a holy people. Holiness is what makes us different than the world. If we look like the world, then our message loses its relevance and power to a lost world. How we live matters.

4. Accountability– In our rebellion towards God, we resist accountability. We don’t want to be told we are wrong, especially when we like doing what we are doing. We find all kinds of ways to excuse accountability and rationalize our sin. Many Christians neglect this practice in their lives and are hindered spiritually because of it.

5. Singleness– The church often lacks a strong message about being single. Most messages and programs are centered around the married. Singleness is not addressed as it should be. The Bible celebrates singleness as an opportunity to be more devoted, without distraction, to the Lord (1 Cor 7).

6. The Holy Spirit– We often celebrate two members of the triune Godhead. We magnify the Father in worship and prayer. We highlight the Son as our hope of salvation. So often, the Holy Spirit is, at best, insinuated in our churches. There is the assumption the Spirit is real and moving. We non-charismatics just don’t speak about Him often enough. He was so vital to the church that Jesus told His disciples to be glad He was leaving because He was sending the Spirit!

7. Sex– This is often a taboo topic in church, though it is a major topic in the minds of young people and adults. Its distortion is plastered on billboards, magazines, Internet, and television. Yet, God created it as good. The church needs to speak boldly and clearly on the topic.

8. Old Testament– It is easy to focus on the New Testament as a Christian; it is the story of Jesus and His church.  On the other hand, the Old Testament offers strange stories, the constant failure of Israel, several gruesome battles, and prophets preaching naked in the streets and talking about dry bones. It feels more appropriate for a Jerry Springer show than our reading list. Yet, the Old Testament is raw because life is hard and cruel—it gets real about sin and consequence. It tells the story of man’s restoration to God and the promise of the coming Savior.  Therefore, it is vital to our understanding of the Gospel.

9. Heaven/Hell– We refer to Heaven and Hell a lot, but do we talk about them as a future reality in our lives? We need to talk about Hell because it creates urgency within us to share the Gospel with those who are without Jesus. We need to talk more about Heaven because it spurs us on to endure and finish well.

10. Parents as Spiritual Leaders– Parenthood is the toughest thing I do! It is difficult to parent well. Our kids need to see their parents are not Christian in name only. Kids should not get all of their spiritual knowledge and training just from the church. Parents need to be challenged to be spiritual leaders at home. This is an epidemic in churches today. The church is given the task of raising students spiritually. That robs children of the guidance they need from their parents spiritually. It robs parents of playing a role in the most important area of their child’s life!

I pray we give more and more attention to these topics. They are vital to our spiritual life.  ~Dax

Happy Funerals

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He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4

Being an Infected Saint means facing the reality that we are all going to die. Infected saints are positionally perfect in Christ but still battle with sin. Unless Christ returns first, death is inevitable. Rarely does anyone look forward to dying. As Christians we get much more excited about the thought of resurrecting with a perfect body. I can’t imagine me with a perfect body. That is Heaven! But seriously, you cannot know the joy of the resurrection without first knowing the pain of death.  It is only out of death that something beautiful resurrects.

I read an article in Christianity Today (March 2016) recently on Christian trend towards “happy funerals.” Christian funerals are encouraged to have a positive spin: they are in a better place;  they feel no more pain; you need to move on while cherishing the memories.  More upbeat songs are being played at funerals. There has even been a change in clothing. Dark suits have been replaced with something more upbeat and casual. The goal is more celebration, more moments of joy. I get that.  Jesus brings victory over death. Death is not the final word for a believer. That is cause for celebration. Yet, joy should not replace our grief. It is not only ok to hurt; it is necessary.

If not careful, we could be in danger of brushing over the truth about death. Death is loss. It is a time for grieving. Shortest verse of the Bible shows Jesus weeping over the loss of his friend, Lazarus (John 11:35). Was Jesus showing a lack of faith? Did Jesus not know death was not the final word for Lazarus? Why didn’t Jesus celebrate? Jesus knew that Lazarus would walk again in a few moments from then, yet He still wept tears of grief. Jesus felt great sorrow. His tears were not just for His friend but for the necessity of pain and death because of sin. Death is a constant reminder of the destructive nature of sin. Jesus wept for it.

Hope should be apparent in a Christian funeral. As the word says, we “grieve but not as those without hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Yet, we are no different than any lost person who loses someone they care about. In fact being Christian means we understand better how to love and so our pain might be felt even deeper than the nonbeliever. That pain should not be ignored. Not letting yourself feel or express the pain is not a mark of spiritual achievement but a denial of the reality of loss. We need to deal honestly with our pain. We hurt because we cared. We need to feel that, experience it, and let it come through in whatever way it wants. Grieving is not a sign of doubt, but serves as evidence that you loved deeply.

Death reminds us of the tension between living in this age and the age to come. Infected saints know that this world is not home. We look forward to the afterlife but face the reality that we have to pass through death to get there. Death is necessary for resurrection. Resurrection is our hope. Death might be imminent but it is not the final word!

We should celebrate our hope in Christ at a funeral but not to the dismissal of our pain. So if you lose someone you love, grieve deeply. It’s ok. Don’t lose hope while you grieve, but do not feel guilty for hurting deeply. Jesus did and so should we.

Divine Appointments Happen Everyday

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20

When I worked at the bank, every day brought a divine appointment. What do I mean by divine appointment? Glad you asked. It is an opportunity to share the gospel with someone who has crossed your path. Might be a stranger or a coworker or a family member. Regardless, it is someone that you encounter where opportunity arises to share your faith.

For me, I helped people with their finances. That afforded me many counseling sessions as people looked to build homes or manage their money. Personal stuff always came up. Daily I was set up for a great opportunity to share Christ. Problem is… I rarely took it. I would hear people share their struggles or fears, creating a great launching pad for me to share the gospel. I would discuss with them concerns over their marriage and children. Fears about investments and retirement.  I always offered advice but never mentioned Jesus. A little bit of advice is one thing but Jesus takes it to a whole new level.

I always wanted to share Jesus. I had it in mind but I always talked myself out of it. They are not here to be preached at… this is a bank not a church… they will feel awkward… I will feel awkward! I rarely went through the  door God opened for me.

I would hint at things like church or the Bible or prayer. I saw this as seed planting but honestly it was just me being scared to speak the gospel. They were sharing with me their hurts and pains. I had the answer for that! I just needed to share it. Whether they received it or not was not my mission. I was to share Jesus with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). I was not to be ashamed of the gospel because it was the only thing that had the power to save them (Romans 1:16).  

Then I had a client die. She had bought a motorcycle and I did the financing for her. She had told me she was struggling with some things and wanted to ride to spend more time away with her husband. I listened and offered some quick wisdom but no Jesus. On her first trip on her bike she lost control and hit s guard rail. She passed on the scene. To this day it haunts me that I didn’t seize the opportunity to share Christ with her. I pray she knew Him.

The issue is getting started. Where do we begin? Here are some good conversation starters to sharing the gospel with those you encounter during the week:

  • What is your view of God and His role in your life?
  • Have you ever thought that God wants to help you deal with that issue?
  • How specifically can I pray for you?
  • May I tell you how God helps me with my issues?

Once you have started the conversation you what to share with them the gospel. Sharing the gospel means leading them to an understanding of sin, Christ’s sacrifice, and their need for Him. The Bible needs to be shared here to lead them to Christ. Here is a suggested plan:

  • Romans 3:23– all of us sin. Sin means missing the mark. We don’t meet the standard God demands for us to be acceptable. His standard is perfection. None of us are perfect.
  • Romans 6:23– Sin has a consequence. It is eternal death. Because of our sin we fail to meet God’s standard and therefore we will be found unworthy. You are not right with God on your own merit.
  • Romans 5:8– While we were unworthy, Jesus did something for us that we couldn’t do for ourself. He took on our penalty and died in our place. Because of  his sacrifice, we can have forgiveness of sins (John 3:16).
  • Romans 10:9-10,13– How do you receive the benefits of all Jesus has done and get right with God? You have to believe. You respond with faith, believing that your sins are covered by Jesus. You submit your life to Him and your sins are no longer held over you.
  • Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17– You are now a new creation. You have been transformed by the gospel. You need to now live by faith and trust in Christ.

We are given divine appointments every day to share the faith. Don’t pass on them hoping someone else will share. God wants you to share your faith with them.

Dax

 

Last week of Jesus- Resurrection


And if Christ has not had been raised from the dead, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.   1 Corinthians 15:17
To be “in Christ” is the opposite of being “in sin.” To be in something means you get the benefit of it. To be “in Christ” means you receive grace, mercy, forgiveness, adoption, unconditional love, and eternal life. To be “in sins” means you receive shame, guilt, judgment, death, and ultimate condemnation.

If Jesus did not rise from the dead then his sacrifice was deficient. It was not powerful enough to remove sins once and for all. Our hope is in vain. The gospel is not good news but a false hope. It’s like someone telling us to fly and then not giving us wings to do so.

This is why Jesus appeared first to the apostles and then to 500 more. He wanted them to know that He had conquered death by rising from the dead and thus freeing them from the bondage of sin. This appearance by Christ is why the disciples were willing to give up their lives for Christ later on. As Paul stated, “To live is Christ; to die is gain.” Once you fix your gaze on the risen Christ you will not be the same.

Here are a few truths I take from the resurrection:

  • Resurrection promises me that I will one day have a resurrected body that I will have for eternity
  • Resurrection power is not just for the life to come but at work in me now.
  • Resurrection means that Jesus was the spotless lamb whose sacrifice was sufficient to cover all my sins.

I hope as you celebrate the resurrection of Jesus today that you are reminded that hope is not found in a job, bank account, beauty, or stuff. Hope is only found in a risen Christ.

Last Week of Jesus- Friday


4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, Yet he opened not his mouth; Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.   Isaiah 53:4-7

It’s Friday. Today we call Good Friday. We look forward to Fridays every week. The weekend is before us. Friday for Jesus would be the day he died. But it would not be a quick death; only after being mocked and ridiculed, beaten bloody to the point of being unrecognizable would He finally breathe His last. What seemed like a senseless death was anything but.

He bore a huge weight on the cross. The soldiers who put him up there couldn’t see it. The crowds who gathered around to mock Him or weep for Him were not able to see the burden either. The burden was much worse than the beatings or the spear in his side or the thorns digging into his forehead. The burden was my sin and yours. Not their sin but our sin. It was personal.

Jesus didn’t deserve to die. Should we have been on that cross? Nope. Not because we didn’t deserve it but because we couldn’t do anything significant with the burden. He who knew no sin became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. There is no salvation without the cross and it was Jesus who had to die.

Wonder of the cross…God expresses judgment upon sin & endures judgment against sin at the same time. David Platt

The crowds saw a man hanging on the cross. God saw a sin sacrifice. A sacrifice for sins once and for all. A sacrifice that would open the way for all men and women who believe to have eternal life. What Satan meant for evil this day, God would use to redeem the world.

You ever played that game as a kid where you like someone and you took a daisy and picked the petals off saying, “she loves me, she loves me not, she loves me….” Every drop of blood that fell to the ground from the body of Jesus said “He loves me, He loves me, He loves me.” The cross put on glorious display the love God has for His people. Every scar, every mocking voice, everything that happened on this day had an eternal purpose.

Today starts the most important three days in the world’s history. What happens this day and onward will change the world. The question really is can you personally read it and not be changed? God wants you to experience the realities of the cross everyday. He wants you to remember daily the sacrifice that was made for you. He wants you to be a person who gives grace and forgiveness freely because you were given those freely. He wants this story to change your life and to keep doing so. If you are a Christian you need this story as much as the lost soul. It is your hope. You need to be reminded of it daily.

A few things I challenge you to do today:

  • As you finish this please don’t go on to something else quickly. Take a moment to pray and thank God for loving you so much. You have no hope apart from Jesus. As gruesome as it was for Him to die on a cross, you needed Him to do so.
  • Tell someone today about why this day is significant to you. Interrupt their reality with the remarkable good news of Jesus.
  • Today, I choose to so identify with Christ that I see myself being crucified with Him. My life is His.  Will you make the same declaration for your life with me?