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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Biblical Manhood

Sin’s Domino Effect

Fathers, are you listening? Some good counsel here from my new blogging friend, SpaniardVII at Spiritual Minefield.

2 Samuel 12:1-10
So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When he arrived, he said to him:
There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one small ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up, living with him and his children. It shared his meager food and drank from his cup; it slept in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man could not bring himself to take one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest. 5 David was infuriated with the man and said to Nathan: “As the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 Because he has done this thing and shown no pity, he must pay four lambs for that lamb.” 7 Nathan replied to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you and your master’s wives into your arms, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah, and if that was not enough, I would have given you even more. 9 Why then have you despised the command of the Lord by doing what I consider evil? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife as your own wife—you murdered him with the Ammonite’s sword. 10 Now therefore, the sword will never leave your house because you despised Me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own wife.’

domino-effect

When the leader of the household sins against the Lord he is putting his family in danger as well. God treats the family unit as a one…Let’s look at it with an illustration: The husband is driving the car with his wife and kids. He gets into a car accident for not paying attention and not only does he hurt himself but also hurts his family who’s with him in the car. To the husbands out there, remember that your sin doesn’t end with you but with your family. Don’t sin and drive.

Read more posts at Spiritual Minefield

A Father Lost

This is my Father’s Day post from last year. Nothing to add to it, so here it is again. So many today either didn’t have a father, or had a dysfunctional one. Just remember, we can all have the best father, our Heavenly Father.

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I’d love to post a nice, happy Father’s Day Post, but I fear this won’t be it. But here it is in all its sadness. But, there is a wonderful positive here also that I hope you all will see, and a lesson to father’s everywhere.

My father had more positive qualities than could be possibly listed, in many ways. First of all, he was quite handsome, in a very classic way. He was truly the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. He was about 6’2″, olive skinned, slender, and very well built. He apparently was one quarter Native American coming from his mother’s side of things. Rumor was his mother was half Cherokee or Reelfoot. Nobody really knows, as his side of the family was rather shrouded in mystery and rumor.  Lot’s of talk various and sundry crimes on the Fry side of the family.

He was quite charming and engaging as well, and could sell the proverbial snow cone to the proverbial Eskimo. In fact, sales was what my father did for his entire life, and was very successful at it.

My father was extremely gentle and kind. I am not sure I never heard him express anger at a person in my life(other than my mother), and made quite a big deal about always being nice to other people. He was a real “golden rule” kind of guy. He had been a Marine right after WWII but  was very anti war. In fact, the only conflict we ever had was when I decided to join the Army. He really thought I had become some kind of jack booted Nazi. I remember still the one and only time my father ever spanked me, he cried the whole time.

My father was literally the smartest man I ever knew. He had no degrees or formal education outside of school, but was the smartest and most well read man I ever met. Read all the classic philosophers during his lifetime. He was also quite a gifted writer as I discovered after he died. The man was a literary giant in the making to tell the truth. Found out he fancied himself a real Earnest Hemingway type of person. My father was simply put, a genius.

Now, the dark side of my father.

My Father was a cheating, unfaithful womanizer. That handsomeness and charm, combined with his profession as a traveling salesman produced very bad results. He didn’t, however, have to travel to philander, he was perfectly capable of that locally.

My father went broke. He sold and serviced dry cleaning machinery. The rise of polyester literally ruined my life. In a matter of what seemed like months we went from great success to utter lack.

My father was an alcoholic. Apparently he had been for years, but the financial ruin brought it to the forefront in bad ways. In the midst of great financial setback my father chose to abandon us instead of staying. Things worked out okay for him for a while but for me and my mother the result was years of poverty and struggling.  He never recovered from that addiction, and it ultimately took his life. We reconnected while I was in college, but that was only because everybody else had given up on him. The most vivid memories of our reconnection were mostly me driving somewhere where he had failed to pay rent and was drunk in a bed, picking him up, and dropping him off at the VA Hospital for another stint in recovery. We did, however, during that time come to know each other better than we ever had. That all finally ended with a deadly, perhaps intentional, combination of pills and booze, and he was gone at the age of 54.

Most importantly, my father was lost, He did not know The Lord, nor did he wish to. He was simply too smart, too independent, and too in love with his decadent lifestyle to ever surrender his life to Jesus. I really don’t even know if anyone ever told him to be honest. He certainly never mentioned God around me.

I miss him horribly, even to this day. He never did a thing for me, but one’s father is always their father. If only he had stayed around to see my conversion, perhaps things would be different for him now. Sadly, I won’t ever see him again.

As normal, there is a Bible lesson buried in this post; I usually have one. This is my father’s day gift to all the father’s out there, and it is this one simple statement from what I believe to be one of the greatest fathers who ever lived other than God our father. That man is Joshua. Every inch a man’s man, a great warrior, and a leader of men beyond compare. He had the following to say:

As for me and my house. we will serve the Lord

Growing Up To Be Like Jesus

Another great message from Patching Cracks on Biblical manhood


By: Patching Cracks

From: Patching Cracks

I’m not an athlete. In high school, I lettered in competitive public speaking. As a kid, my idea of a workout was changing extra channels on the remote. I was marathon watching television shows before Netflix marathons were invented. All of my years of non-athleticism culminated in a glorious moment when I stood in the path of Dave during a pickup football game behind the library one afternoon in college. Dave had been named the hardest hitting football player in the state of Michigan before coming to the small private college where we were playing ball. Dave took the ball and ran right up the middle. I planted my feet and stared Dave down as he charged at me. Several moments later I was on my back and Dave was somewhere downfield. I had pretty much no chance of stopping him because he was fit, strong, and an experienced football player. I wasn’t any of those things. There’s an important lesson here. I wasn’t prepared to stop Dave. Had I done the work to grow in stature and prepared for the momen,t I would certainly have done a better job of standing firm in the moment. As Alexander Graham Bell once said: “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

Of course, this sports moment doesn’t matter much. However, the lesson behind the experience is worth learning. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul describes the various gifts that believers receive from the Spirit in order to mature and prepare the church to stand firm in the faith. He explains that the various leadership roles, like pastors, teachers, and evangelists, are there to train the church. At its core, training the church involves training individuals to help them grow to spiritual maturity. The church and God’s people are to constantly train and grow to become solid and mature. When difficulty, temptation, persecution, hardship, or anything else come at us, we are to be prepared to plant our feet and stand our ground. This is the product of spiritual maturity. Which begs the question: What does this spiritual maturity look like? Paul answers the question in 4:13:
…till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ… 
Simply put, the church grows in its resemblance to and imitation of Christ. This is the goal. Jesus is the ultimate man, who all men should aim to resemble in their lives and lifestyles. His life and teachings are the model we’re to imitate. The job of teachers, preachers, and leaders is to help the people of God grow to be like Jesus by discipling them.
Paul goes on to explain that once this discipleship is completed:
…we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ… (4:14-15)
Paul’s letter focuses on causes of division and the need for believers to live righteously before God. For men, this means that living out our masculinity means becoming the kind of man who shows Jesus to others through his words and actions. Men should aim to act and speak like Jesus. They should be firm in doing so, not stumbling or inconsistent. This is no small task and cannot be accomplished alone. It requires that men who desire to grow to be like Christ to enter into the task of discipleship, or rather, training for Christ-like living. It is a daily, conscious effort to grow.

Read the original post here on Patching Cracks

Real Men Treasure Their Mothers, Wives, Daughters, and All Women | Patching Cracks

From: Patchingcracks Blog

This blog post started out as a brief comment on an article from Mental Floss that I was sharing on my Facebook page. It slowly evolved into a rant. I decided it was an important enough idea to share publicly. The link is a collection of advertisements from 70 plus years ago that use overt shaming of women in order to convince them to buy products. The gist of most of these ads is simple: you are not pretty or hygienic enough for a man to love you. The article points out how ridiculous and offensive this approach to advertising is. Click the link to read it in depth. It’s an interesting read and Mental Floss is a pretty awesome website.

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In particular, the novelty of the ads featured in the article is interesting, but the most fascinating part is the explanation about how advertising set out to make women feel inferior in order to sell them products. Advertising has changed a great deal in the sense that it has gotten more subtle and sophisticated, but it hasn’t changed that much in how it devalues women in order to convince them to consume products. It seems like most television and advertising has geared itself toward a select few messages, most of which can be boiled down to: “You’re not happy” or “you’re not adequate.” There are variations of these messages, including: “your family isn’t happy, but they could be if you use our product.” The vintage ads in the article are offensive, but they sell with the same message as most Cosmo covers and weight loss products. “You aren’t as good as our model, but you could be.” There’s a terrible trick built into the whole scheme as well. Which is that it’s a shell game. You chase the elusive prize, but even when you find it, you don’t. If you reach the “ideal” standard, the ads will keep telling you “you’re not happy” or “not good enough.” These advertisements and messages are everywhere, telling our wives and daughters to question themselves and telling young men that these are the standards of beauty that they should lust after.

The truth is that physical attractiveness is far from the most important quality for a woman to possess. Proverbs tells us: Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Beauty is important in some ways and men tend to be very visual by nature looking for beauty and attractiveness as a part of who they are. These are a part of reality, that we shouldn’t shame or decry, but to worship a standard of physical attractiveness that is unattainable and manufactured is wrong. It is even more wrong to shame women for not perfectly emulating it. God designed us for better than this. Men, in particular, need to lead the way in telling their wives, sisters, and daughters the truth about their value and worth as God’s creatures. Sometimes, my 4-year old daughter gushes about how she will be prettier and everyone will like her if she wears the right dress or has the right hairstyle. I do my best to correct this every time, telling her that I love her because she is herself and because God made her wonderful. The women in our lives are not to be cherished because of their beauty, though my wife and daughter are beautiful. They are worth cherishing because God blessed me with funny, clever, caring, awesome women that make my life better. I learn to love God more and be more like Jesus because of my wife and daughter. It’s hard to love my wife like Christ loved the church. It’s easy to forget that Eve was created as a perfect counterpart to Adam, to be cherished and valued as a gift. We need to do the same. It drives me crazy to think that my wife and/or daughter would ever think they are anything less than a treasure. I am amazed at how my wife becomes more beautiful every day and my daughter looks more like her all the time. I am even more amazed that them being so pretty is the least of their great attributes. Loving, respecting, honoring, and cherishing women is a blessing and a responsibility that all Godly men ought to embrace.

View the original post here on Patchingcracks

What Does It Mean to Be A Real Man?

By: Patching Cracks Blog

“Next week, if you guys would like, we will start a teaching series on ‘what does it mean to be a man?’” I was pretty surprised by the response this statement garnered amongst the young men in the room. I was teaching Bible to a group of clients at a drug treatment program. The boys were largely placed by the local jail, most were from bad neighborhoods and broken homes. There were lots of kids with gang affiliations and long criminal histories. The biggest challenge in teaching them anything was finding things they would engage with at all. In this case, the young men who were present responded enthusiastically. Many of them approached me later, individually, to express their excitement about learning how to be a real man. I was initially perplexed by the response, largely because the young men routinely and loudly proclaimed their manliness. It was common to hear them yell and carry on about how tough they were. I often joked that it was like watching an episode of wild kingdom, with the young male lions strutting and posing in an effort to intimidate each other. The crazy secret behind the whole display was that most of the young men had no idea at all about what it meant to be a real man. They just figured that if they faked it loudly enough everyone would buy their act. Boys learn how to be men by watching their dads. This is the way God designed the world. If fathers are flawed, their children learn to be flawed men. This is one of the reasons why alcoholic men tend to raise alcoholic men and why the Bible says that sons are punished for their father’s sins for generations to follow. In the case of the boys in the program, because none of them had a dad to watch and emulate, they were left with what they could piece together from pop culture and their peers. The challenge with that is that boys compete with each other naturally. This meant that the fatherless boys tried to be men by being tougher than the other guy. The end result was emptiness. If a man tries to find his manhood in violence, sex, work, wealth, or anything else in the world that is temporary and fleeting, they will simply end up emptier. Solomon said that wealth, sex, work, and everything else is just a vapor. It passes and disappears as though it was never there in the first place.

atlasThe topic of manhood is complicated and will take more than one post to properly explore. In the short term, it’s important to establish a basic concept of manhood from which to work. I’d suggest that the place to start is with the source of manhood identity that is built into our world: Boys learn to be men by watching their fathers. This is because parents stand in God’s place in the lives of their children for the first several years of their lives. They provide life, food, shelter, moral guidance, correction, etc. Children’s conception of God is often shaped by their perception of their dads. Genesis tells us that when God created man, He created them in His own image. Fathers (and all men for that matter) are supposed to be copies of God in many respects. We are to share His heart, passions, loves, understanding of family, and work. When dads fail to model this lifestyle and teach their boys to do the same, they create problems. Fortunately, God provides us a more clarified example of manhood in the person of Jesus, who is God made flesh. A boy without a good fatherly model to follow can see ideal manhood in Jesus. When we choose to follow Jesus, our job is to learn to be like him through a lifetime of training, which is discipleship. This is why Christ’s self-sacrificing love and attitude of humble service is the example for husbands. He demonstrates the ideal manner of intimate relationship through his relationship with the church.

overly-manly-man-ansd-steakIt’s easy to picture Jesus as a pollyanna-type figure or as the feathered haired guy in a bathrobe that we all encountered on flannel graphs in Sunday School as kids. Fortunately, the tame version of the Son of God is far from accurate. C.S. Lewis captured Jesus’ identity best when he wrote: “He’s not safe! But, he’s good.” Jesus’ integrity, passion, penchant for action, grace, wisdom, willingness to speak openly (even offensively if necessary), self-sacrificing service, and lifetime focus on making the world better are just a few of the qualities that make Jesus is the ideal standard of manhood. He is the ideal mold from which men were meant to be cast. It is from Him that we learn how God desires us to be. Once we know, our job is to enter training to become like him.

Read the original post here

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