Thursday, October 28, 2010

10 Things to Teach your Son about True Manhood
    Our culture (especially “pop-culture”) is, typically, dead wrong about this topic! Check out the role models readily available to kids today: The Internet, movies, television, music, magazines, the sports world and politics. There’s a huge pile of information available and “ideals” presented, but precious little that’s much short of flat-out harmful. So let’s not leave this one to chance, dads. Be all over this list, think about what it means to engage “True Manhood”, and let’s begin to take responsibility for what Junior is exposed to. You are the # 1 role model for your child! Like it or not, it’s a fact, and there’s not much you can do except make sure you’re the best. Living manhood out loud is one of our primary responsibilities as dads. Seriously, there’s a lot that can be done, and kids with proactive dads are going to be head and shoulders ahead. For starters, here’s All Pro Dad’s list of 10 things to teach your son about true manhood.
  1. Being a gentleman is still worth the effort:
    - Hold the door.
    - Stand up when a woman leaves or joins the table.
    - Walk on the “splash” side of the sidewalk.
    - Attempt (gently) to pick up the tab.
    - Go get the car when it’s raining.
    - Offer your hand…
  2. At the same time, be respectful: All the above “gentlemanly” actions must be offered subtly, and  - if necessary - set aside graciously when refused.
  3. Take responsibility: In a word (well, two), “step up.” True manhood takes responsibility for its actions, choices, values and beliefs. And – while taking responsibility, manhood is also willing to admit – with grace - when it is wrong.
  4. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable: Real strength allows other people in. Manhood is honest about feelings and not afraid to be known. True manhood never builds a wall where there should be a window, or a fortress where there should be a sanctuary.
  5. Actually “being” a man is more important than “talking” like one: Real men don’t just stand up and speak up - they “put up” too. Loud talk and tough posturing don’t cut it. True manhood involves finding a need and doing something about it. Real men don’t complain about social problems – they go out and do something about them. Real men don’t point fingers – they work for solutions. Real men get calluses on their hands – not from flapping their lips.
  6. Listen respectfully, disagree politely and never exclude women from conversation: True manhood is inclusive.  It may be strong, but it’s unfailingly polite. Men who equate bluster or machismo with strength are typically covering something up. Men who think women have nothing to contribute to the conversation need to wake up and smell the 21st Century.
  7. Love is stronger than muscles: True manhood understands that brute force is less compelling than self-giving love. The best solutions to difficulties involved applied love.
  8. The first shall be last: True manhood puts others first. Jesus is quoted more than once as saying something like this: If you want to be a leader, then the place to be is on your knees, with a towel in your hand, washing someone’s feet.
  9. Manhood is – sometimes - more about what you could do but didn’t than what you could have avoided but did anyway: There’s a lot of restraint – a great deal of “Quiet Strength” in true manhood. Real men tend to always have something in reserve.
  10. True manhood is more about giving than about getting: Our culture often touts a “men see what they want, then they go out and get it” view of manhood. But true manhood is more along the lines of “see what the world needs, then go out and do it.” Strength leveraged for the benefit of others.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

5 Things Men Must Know about Women

There are 5 things that men must know about women. Women desire to “feel” these things, not just know them logically. In her book, For Men Only, author Shaunti Feldhahn goes into great depth addressing these five, and a few others men need to know.
Men must know that:
  1. Women want to feel loved. Many women feel insecure about our love for them. There are two things we men can do about it. First, reassure her. In times of conflict with our wives, we should tell them we love them no matter what and that everything will be okay—“I love you. We’ll get through this.” When she’s upset, she doesn’t need space,” she needs a hug and to be held. Second, pursue her. Women need to be pursued throughout the relationship, just as we pursued them before we got married.
  2. Women want to feel understood. Women need us to understand how they think and feel, even though that is virtually impossible. It would help us to understand that most women’s thought lives are like computers, with multiple windows open and processing all at once. Unlike men who can only process one thing at a time, women are constantly juggling multiple thoughts and emotions all at the same time. On more than one occasion, I’ve watch my wife, daughters and their friends having a conversation where three of them were talking at once about three different things. And guess what, they all understood each other! So, hopefully, if we can generally understand how women think, we might be better able to understand how they feel.
  3. Women want to feel emotionally secure. Women want security. Yes, financial security is important, but it comes second to emotional security. Women do think about the house, bills and tuition, but feeling emotionally connected and close to us; and knowing we are there for her, no matter what, is what really matters.
  4. Women want to feel listened to. Men, she doesn’t want us to fix it, she just wants us to listen. She doesn’t want or need our solution to the problem, even if she asked for our opinion. She does want us to understand how she’s feeling about the problem and identify with her in that feeling—“Thanks for sharing that with me.” or “I’m so sorry that happened.” might be good words to consider saying to her.
  5. Women want to feel beautiful. She needs to know, deep within, that we find her beautiful and that we only have eyes for her. She doesn’t just want to know, “Am I beautiful?” but, “Am I beautiful to him?” There may be many mirrors in your home, but the mirror that means most to your wife is you.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Posted: 30 Sep 2010 03:35 AM PDT

What is faith?
I think the whole concept of faith is one of the most misunderstood ideas that we have, misunderstood not only by the world but by the church itself. The very basis for our redemption, the way in which we are justified by God, is through faith. The Bible is constantly talking to us about faith, and if we misunderstand that, we’re in deep trouble.

The great issue of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century was, How is a person justified? Luther’s controversial position was that we are justified by faith alone. When he said that, many of the godly leaders in the Roman Catholic Church were very upset. They said, “Does that mean that a person can just believe in Jesus and then live any way they want to live?” In other words, the Roman Catholic Church reacted fiercely because they were afraid that Luther’s view would be understood as an easy-believism in which a person only had to believe and never had to be concerned about bringing forth the fruits of righteousness. It was crucial that those who were involved in the Protestant Reformation carefully define what they meant by saving faith. So they went back and did their studies in the New Testament, specifically on the Greek word pistein, which means “to believe,” and they were able to isolate three distinctive aspects of biblical faith.

The first is the Latin term notitia: “believing in the data” or the information. It’s an intellectual awareness. You can’t have faith in nothing; there has to be content to the faith. You have to believe something or trust someone. When we say that a person is saved by faith, some people say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, just as long as you are sincere.” That’s not what the Bible teaches. It matters profoundly what you believe. What if I believed that the devil was God? That wouldn’t save me. I must believe the right information.

The second aspect of faith is what they call assensus, or intellectual assent. I must be persuaded of the truthfulness of the content. According to James, even if I am aware of the work of Jesus—convinced intellectually that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died on the cross for my sins, and that he rose from the dead—I would at that point qualify to be a demon. The demons recognize Jesus, and the devil himself knows the truth of Christ, but he doesn’t have saving faith.

The crucial, most vital element of saving faith in the biblical sense, is that of personal trust. The final term is fiducia, referring to a fiduciary commitment by which I put my life in the lap of Jesus. I trust him and him alone for my salvation. That is the crucial element, and it includes the intellectual and the mental. But it goes beyond it to the heart and to the will so that the whole person is caught up in this experience we call faith.

Taken from Now, That’s a Good Question!
©1996 by R.C. Sproul. Used by permission of Tyndale.