Month: June 2015

The Proverbs 31 Man [Re-Tweet]

It’s not often we hear Proverbs 31 in the light of manhood, but there’s relevance for men who have ears to hear. When we become abundantly familiar with a passage, apathy and assumption are often waiting at the door. We must not let those twin hucksters steal our Bibles and rebrand Proverbs 31 as a passage applicable only to women and women’s ministries tote bags.

And we must reject the industrialization of Proverbs 31 into a 31-point inspection system for a potential spouse. Paul reminds us how the entirety of God’s Word is profitable for all believers, equipping us for every good work toward the glory of God (2 Tim. 3:16–17). Thus, Proverbs 31 bears fruit for all believers. So what is a Proverbs 31 man? He exhibits three attributes.

Three Marks of a Proverbs 31 Man

1. A Proverbs 31 man treasures his wife.

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. (Prov. 31:10)

The wise husband actually, in a sense, compares his wife to other women, and even to exotic gemstones, but he discovers the same result every time: she is amazing. “You surpass them all,” he declares (Prov. 31:29). When he sees his wife’s amazingness clearly, he sees her as God does. She’s precious.

The wise husband never demeans his wife, or puts her down, or makes her the butt of a joke. She’s far too precious for a cheap laugh. The husband who fears the Lord believes and lives in sync with the fact that his wife is far more valuable than a truck bed filled with diamonds. She’s rare; therefore, she’s treasured above all the things moth and rust will destroy. A man ought to be enamored with his wife. She is far more interesting and invigorating than Netflix, touchdowns, or a beautiful golf swing.

Men who find more joy tinkering in the garage, fiddling with their hobbies, hanging with the fellas, or working late into the night rather than being with the wife of their youth reveal their heart’s appraisal system is out of whack.

It is the wise man who sees his wife as a living and breathing testimony of God’s grace toward him. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD” (Prov. 18:22). Husbands who want to live for the glory of Christ must ask some critical questions. Is my wife precious to me? Does she sense how much I adore her? After God himself, would she believe how dear she is to me because of how I love her? Is it obvious?

2. A Proverbs 31 man creates a culture of flourishing.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. (Prov. 31:11)

What’s unmistakable in Proverbs 31 is how fruitful, productive, and active this woman is. She is buying fields, making goods to sell at the market, tending to everyone in the house. She’s a go-getter because her husband isn’t a dictator. There is no room for a messiah complex in marriage.

A Proverbs 31 man trusts his wife; he’s not suspicious of her, not cynical towards her ideas. The wise man supports, encourages, and refuses to micromanage her. There is a difference between gospel-formed leadership and flesh-favoring control. It’s impossible for man to maintain his control issues while he lives crucified with Christ.

The Proverbs 31 woman goes out and buys a field without her husband on her hip. I imagine this lovely couple talked before they both headed out to tackle the day: “Honey, I think I’m going to check out some fields today. I might even buy one. What do you think?” I imagine he replied, “Go get it, babe. I trust you.”

I heard of a man insisting he approve the weekly grocery list before his wife went to the store. Ridiculous. Sure, talk about what’s needed for the week, and talk about the budget, but let her do her thing. Even as I’m typing this sentence, my wife is in the other room buying a new dishwasher and cooktop for our kitchen, and I have no clue what she is getting. I trust her. She knows our budget and our family’s needs. Go for it, babe.

3. A Proverbs 31 man is an encourager.

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (Prov. 31:28–29)

This is an amazing home. It’s a safe environment, a place of encouragement, a culture of love. There is a gospel culture in the home. Children, who haven’t learned the stealthy ways of selfishness like adults, rise up and encourage their mom. And what does the husband do? He joins in the honoring of his precious bride. “There are lots of great women in the world, honey, but you are the best. What a woman you are!” It’s real, it’s sincere, and it’s godly.

The Proverbs 31 man seeks to encourage his wife and labors to outdo her in showing honor (Rom. 12:10). No one has ever felt too honored, but the wise husband gives it a whirl as he pours encouragement and thanksgiving onto his praiseworthy wife. I suspect most husbands—if not most believers—are prone to underencouraging others. Let’s change that today (1 Thess. 5:11).

When was the last time you moved forward in an umprompted, pure act of love to encourage your wife? The wise husband seeks to affirm, thank, and honor his precious wife. He, like Christ, nourishes and cherishes his bride (Eph. 5:29).

The mega-grace we enjoy in the gospel gives us the power, the vision, and the heart to build one other up (Eph. 4:29). Brothers, it’s no longer us who live, but Christ who lives in us (Gal. 2:20). The ultimate Proverbs 31 man is alive and well in the heavenly places, leading us, guiding, us, empowering us, and conforming us into his image. The Proverbs 31 man is more than a neat way to go about husbanding—it’s the way of Christ. He rejoices over his bride. He encourages us, walks with us, and fills us with his Spirit. Jesus Christ is the Proverbs 31 man in the flesh. Let’s draw near to him and he will draw near to us—and then we, and the homes we lead, will never be the same.


Christian Liberty [Part VIII]

Free to be dominated by The Good News. …Do you know what the good news is? …The good news is that God the Father has sent God the Son to drink the cup of hell for you, so that you never have to drink it; and instead – God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost adamantly serve you the cup of blessing which shall be savored FOREVER by redeemed sinners!  This new cup – even now – renews the believer’s heart …the foretastes and forever future realities of this cup of blessing dominates the believer’s life!
[this is a somewhat adapted quote from Brian Habig]

Free to be merely a steward, sojourner, ambassador, etc.  …NOT the Owner or Author.

Free to embrace the fact that I was born into a world (by no choice of my own) that is entirely designed to celebrate Another! (i.e. free to love the fact that it’s not about me).

Christian Liberty [Part VII]

Free to Laugh & Lament (many times @ the same time).

Free to be Exposed & be Excited (many times @ the same time).

Free to be both Sad & Celebratory (many times @ the same time) [#rejoicew/mournw/].

Free to Gobble Gobble Gobble Løs Good Nëws.

Free to embrace the reality that your circumstances don’t cause you to do what you do; what happens to you doesn’t decide for you what your reaction will be; people don’t cause you to react the way you do; situations don’t established your attitude, words, and/or actions. …YOUR HEART (Mark 7) is the fount of your thoughts, words, and deeds.  Many secondary things might set your heart to detonate, but the charges were put there by YOU!  …The fragility is of your own making.  You are like the man who walked through Time Square on New Year’s Eve with a cup brimming with his own personally poured pint of Lava Acid – and whenever he’d be bumped his P.P.P.L.A. would spill on himself and on others, and subsequently he would explode in anger saying, “Why did YOU bump me! …my P.P.P.L.A. would never have spilled on us if you hadn’t run into me!”

Free to BELIEVE that In The Beginning God.  …You live on God’s Planet, which hangs by God’s Power in the vastness of God’s universe, and is full of God’s Provision, and is governed by God’s Providence, which is aligned with – and marching toward – God’s Glory.

Free to BELIEVE in the ZEAL of God for His own glory!  …Free to BELIEVE that it’s NOT ABOUT YOU!

Free to BELIEVE you don’t own power, sex, or money.  …Free to embrace the role of steward and channel/conduit. …Power is not for you to decide.  Sex is not for you to determine.  Money is not for you to decide.  Your identity is not for you to determine.

Blogseeds – Christian Liberty [Part VI]

#1 – Liberty to be dominated and defined by (infatuated w/) The Good News:  When it comes to WORSHIP (that which we do all-day, everyday, every moment all the time, etcetera) – identity precedes activity.

#2 – Liberty to hate our sin.  That’s when Marty realized that he was the worst parts of what he perceived in the people he hated.

#3 – Liberty to reject Aimless Accidentalism (a coincidental cosmic bag of meaningless purposeless chemicals).  Ed thought his commencement speech was going to be a huge hit.  He “personally” (the word “personal” “of course” being “governed” by aimlessness and meaninglessness) found his speech to be nothing short of “courageous” (for the basis of the word “courageous” see the note on the word “personal” above).  But apparently “people” just weren’t “ready” for such an “enlightened” “understanding” of the world.

Saul & Saul/PAUL – Christian Liberty [Part V]

Saul settled in.  He resolved never to let go.  He clung to his rubbish as if his life depended on it.  And in a manner of speaking his life (the “life” that he had made for himself) did depend on it.  Of course it wouldn’t matter in the end – his work was destined to perish no matter how hard he clung to it, though if he severed himself from it his soul could be saved …but Saul was unwaveringly committed to himself and he adamantly refused to be crucified.

Saul/PAUL was committed too.  However, Saul/PAUL’s commitment was of a radically different kind than Saul’s.  Saul/PAUL was just as adamant as Saul, but the resolution was in no-uncertain-terms aimed at self-crucifixion.  He wrote a letter to his friends in Galatia about his staunchness, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  He insisted on regarding his personal resume as rubbish.  He wrote his family in Philippi about his perspective saying, “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Good News – Christian Liberty [Part IV]

James rushed into the room and declared, “Good News!”

Amanda (startled) abruptly rose to her feet and said, “What?”

“The cure for your disease has been revealed to me!” James proclaimed.

“What disease?” Amanda asked through a thick tone of apprehensive atheism.

“Your sin disease!” James reminded her.

*At this, Amanda walked out of the room, and by this gesture vehemently denied that any such disease actually existed – and even if it was an actual disease – she was convinced that she was certainly NOT a carrier.

**James glanced over at the framed print hanging on the wall branded with the words, “The cure for cancer is not ‘Good News’ to a culture that has no qualm with cancer.”  James HATED cancer, and decided then and there – with or without his wife – he would partake of the cure and be consumed with the consequences!

Christian Liberty [Part III]

What Marty called “Legalism” Jesus called “Liberty.”  [The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed – Luke 4:18].  To do the will of the Father!  This is His food!  This is His delight!  The LIBERTY to do what is pleasing to the Heavenly Father!  …This is the gift He bestows upon us! – – – > that we may now show up (void of all former hostilities) to dinner with the family [Heb. 10:23-25]!  That we may KNOW [John 17:3] (absent any bygone bitterness) the Heavenly Father – relishing the unhurried time, simply being with Him! [Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work – John 4:34]  [Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent. – John 6:27-29].  Liberty is Matthew 18:23-35 …to bask in the reality of actually being recipients and conduits/stewards of unprecedented / unbelievable forgiveness!  Liberty is Matthew 25:14-30 …to live in light of the life-giving liberty to risk the Master’s money!  …The liberty of severing from our minds and hearts – the notion that we are the authors and owners of our own talents, and instead thoroughly embracing, adopting, and appropriating the reality that we are attendants and stewards of God’s God-given talents!  …Marty had been deceived, and subsequently everything in his life had been marred and manipulated (perversely personalized by his own self-serving individualism and foolish quest for autonomy …the hard-wired harbored pride of seriously believing that he was smarter than God – – – and this had given rise to re-defining the word “liberty” – sucking the life out of the word and replacing it with death).  Marty had pounded pillars so far into his own soul – his self-reliance was such – that he applied the word “liberty” to his affair.  This had appeared to have all the promises of satisfaction and life (and it even boasted a measure of security – though even Marty doubted the veracity of such a pledge).  As it turned out – this affair was now devouring his soul and eating him alive.  Marty was “the expert”!  Marty had told Jesus to stay away from this part of his life …no one was going to tell Marty how this type of thing worked.  Marty had so thoroughly desensitized himself to the reality of Jesus’ Lordship, and he had preferred instead to foster the conviction that he was somehow the architect and author of his life – the master & maestro of all his movements …and THIS he regarded as “Christian Liberty.”  Wretched man that Marty was! …Who would ever be able to (let alone have the desire to) deliver him from this body and belief system of death!?

Brain Dump / Christian Liberty [Part II]

“The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distilate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.”
― Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace

Imputed (sheep & yoke)

Infused (superman)

Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. [Lk. 10:20]

Articulation & Application are 2 different things [Liberty to APPLY].

Xn Liberty …Being allergic to weakness is like a fish being allergic to water.

Busy busy busy …but does he ever stop to ask, “What’s my reason for doing all of this?”

The true meaning of Christmas is GOD WITH US.  Not caroling.  Not trees.  Not cookies.  Not presents.  Not Whoville.  Not Paris.  Not Florida.  Not NYC.  Not New Years Eve.  Not sex.  Not drink.  Not charisma.  Not sweaters.  Not puppies.  Not Legos.  Not boots.  Not movies.  Not Netflex.  Not Meth.  Not fear.  Not shame.  Not obesity.  Not family drama.  THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS IS – – – > God clawing His way through anything and everything, moving heaven and earth and life and death and hell to WITH US.  …Application – does this STUN & SILENCE you?

Christian Liberty [Part I]

“Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world. It is a floating, cosmic bash shouting its way through the streets of the universe, flinging the sweetness of its cassations to every window, pounding at every door in a hilarity beyond all liking and happening, until the prodigals come out at last and dance, and the elder brothers finally take their fingers out of their ears.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace