Saturday, June 22, 2013

Do Not Be Deceived

When I was preparing the walls of our new house for painting, I discovered the oddest thing: the new off-white paint and even the reddish paint beneath were added over the blue painter's tape around a light switch.  Who paints over painter's tape?  It seemed like no big deal, especially with the tape buried under two layers of paint and concealed by the switch cover plate.  That is, until I tried scraping the wall and taking off the paint. Now that tape is making it a lot harder, and its removal will probably do a lot more damage.

Have you ever done something wrong and tried to cover it up with a lie?  Of course you have.  We all have.  This leads to one of two almost inevitable additional steps--or both: You add to that lie by fabricating an entire deception-filled ruse so that your original lie won't become uncovered, or you repeat that original lie over and over again with greater force and confidence.  Either way, the original truth becomes so buried under a mountain of lies that we cannot even find it anymore.  Eventually we get to the point where we think it would require more work and damage to unravel our wicked web than to maintain the facade.  We come to the point where we've lied so much that our minds become reprogrammed, and the lie becomes our new functional truth.  We become no longer able to tell the truth from the lie; we believe the lie we keep telling is the truth.

Rather than deceiving others, you now have deceived yourself.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Father's Day Gospel

Father's Day provides an annual chance to awkwardly think about why you love your dad.  But what if you are the dad?  Do you start shifting in your chair, wondering if you're doing a good job?  What if you fall short?

Maybe you're a dad who worships the living God and reads the Bible.  What would you do if you came across these passages in the Old Testament?
"You shall have no other gods before me. ... You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments." (Deuteronomy 5:7, 9-10) 
"And the LORD said to me, '... Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and keep my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!'" (Deuteronomy 5:29)
The Old Testament is rife with examples of poor fathers raising foolish children who don't fear the Lord, and of how indeed the sin of fathers consumes their whole families.  (Take, for example, the families of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in Numbers 16, or the sons of Eli in 1 Samuel 2!)  God works in and through family relationships throughout the Bible, and for the most part, families rise and fall on the faith of the father who leads the home.

So when we as fathers read these passages about the God who is "the same yesterday and today and forever," how can we have good hope for our children after us?  How can we be sure we will raise a wise family who repent of their sins and embrace Jesus, who fear and trust God and call him Father?  How will we know we will see his blessing upon our households rather than curses?  After all, does not God threaten to return fathers' sins upon their children's heads?