Monday, January 28, 2013

How do you know if you have good character?

I was reviewing the book titled, Upgrade: 10 Secrets to the Best Education for your child recently because it has a good and Biblical emphasis on the role of character in learning.  Long story short, a person's character is what enables success in education or limits one's learning potential.  Get Biblical character and you will love learning because you love God who is the author of all worthy knowledge, wisdom, understanding and creation.  So what is Biblical character and how can I know the state of my character and its impact on my ability to learn?

"Character traits are seen in the various experiences and relationships in life..If education were a house, character would be the foundation..."  Latin, logic, math, science, geography, aquaponics are like wall paper, not very useful without the foundation of godly Character.

Proverbs covers nine character themes toward teaching godly character, they are about: tongue and truth, hard work, self-control/avoiding temptation, conflict resolution/getting along, fearing God, receiving reproof/respecting authority, trusting God, humility, and the virtuous spouse.

One of keys to growing in godly character is honoring and obeying parents, which extends to all those in authority.  The idea is to simply be willing to hear and learn and change as the Holy Spirit helps in alignment with God's Word... Here is what the Westminster Confession says about the Fifth Commandment [click the brackets for scripture references]:

Keep this in mind as you read...character enables learning and character growth is enabled by keeping the Fifth commandment, therefore keeping the Fifth commandment leads to prosperity in soul and body, which would include good grades in school.

Q. 123. Which is the fifth commandment?

A. The fifth commandment is, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.[648]

Q. 124. Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?

A. By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents,[649] but all superiors in age[650] and gifts;[651] and especially such as, by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family,[652] church,[653] or commonwealth.[654]

Q. 125. Why are superiors styled father and mother?

A. Superiors are styled father and mother, both to teach them in all duties toward their inferiors, like natural parents, to express love and tenderness to them, according to their several relations;[655] and to work inferiors to a greater willingness and cheerfulness in performing their duties to their superiors, as to their parents.[656]

Q. 126. What is the general scope of the fifth commandment?

A. The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors, or equals.[657]

Q. 127. What is the honour that inferiors owe to their superiors?

A. The honour which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due reverence in heart,[658] word, [659] and behaviour;[660] prayer and thanksgiving for them;[661] imitation of their virtues and graces;[662] willing obedience to their lawful commands and counsels;[663] due submission to their corrections;[664] fidelity to,[665] defence,[666] and maintenance of their persons and authority, according to their several ranks, and the nature of their places;[667] bearing with their infirmities, and covering them in love,[668] that so they may be an honour to them and to their government.[669]

Q. 128. What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?

A. The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward them;[670] envying at,[671] contempt of,[672] and rebellion[673] against, their persons[674] and places,[675] in their lawful counsels,[676] commands, and corrections;[677] cursing, mocking[678] and all such refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonour to them and their government.[679]

Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?

A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love,[680] pray for,[681] and bless their inferiors;[682] to instruct,[683] counsel, and admonish them;[684] countenancing,[685] commending,[686] and rewarding such as do well;[687] and discountenancing,[688] reproving, and chastising such as do ill;[689] protecting,[690] and providing for them all things necessary for soul[691] and body:[692] and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God,[693] honour to themselves,[694] and so to preserve that authority which God hath put upon them.[695]

Q. 130. What are the sins of superiors?

A. The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them,[696] and inordinate seeking of themselves,[697] their own glory,[698] ease, profit, or pleasure;[699] commanding things unlawful,[700] or not in the power of inferiors to perform;[701] counseling,[702] encouraging,[703] or favouring them in that which is evil;[704] dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good;[705] correcting them unduly;[706] careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger;[707] provoking them to wrath;[708] or any way dishonouring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behaviour.[709]

Q. 131. What are the duties of equals?

A. The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other,[710] in giving honour to go one before another;[711] and to rejoice in each others’ gifts and advancement, as their own.[712]

Q. 132. What are the sins of equals?

A. The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of the duties required,[713] the undervaluing of the worth,[714] envying the gifts,[715] grieving at the advancement of prosperity one of another;[716] and usurping pre-eminence one over another.[717]

Q. 133. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment, the more to enforce it?

A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, in these words, That thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,[718] is an express promise of long life and prosperity, as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good, to all such as keep this commandment.[719]


So, with the above in mind and remembering that character enables learning and character growth is enabled by keeping the Fifth commandment, therefore keeping the Fifth commandment leads to prosperity in soul and body, which would include good grades in school, here is a Character test question:

Proverbs 10:4 states "He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Webster's Dictionary (1828) defined diligence as:

DILIGENCE, n. [L., to love earnestly; to choose.]
1. Steady application in business of any kind; constant effort to accomplish what is undertaken; exertion of body or mind without unnecessary delay or sloth; due attention; industry; assiduity. Diligence is the philosophers stone that turns every thing to gold.

Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure. 2 Peter 1.
2. Care; heed; heedfulness.
Keep thy heart with all diligence. Proverbs 4.
On a scale of 1 to 10 how is your character quality of diligence doing?

Please take a look at the book of Proverbs and write another Character test question, like I did above, for your classmates to respond to. This might be interesting!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Preparing for Persecution

There is a sense among many Christian leaders that an increase in persecution of Christians can be expected in America in the near future, because it is already happening.  There certainly has been an increase in ungodly culture along with an increase in size and scope of civil government. And besides, American probably deserves some judgement if you consider Sodom. 

So how should Christians respond or not-respond or prepare? Withdraw from all aspects of culture to protect our families and churches? Advance Biblical truth in the public square through involvement in areas where we are called, in spite of opposition?

Are we approaching the great tribulation and seeing the great falling away prior to Christ's second coming? Or is this just another judgement or curse from God on sin?

For most of my Christian life, I would respond to these questions with something like, "I have read the commentaries, but I still don't have a personal understanding of Biblical eschatology (future things) or the book or revelation, so I will have to wait and see, and faithfully serve God in the mean time."

It has taken about 30 years, but I can now say that I do understand some of what the Bible says about the future, and it is very, very encouraging for Christians in the midst of persecution today. To summarize, apostate churches and tyrannical governments were the enemy of the church before Jerusalem fell in AD 70. We have the same opposition today and therefore the book of Revelation is the best document to understand in order to prepare for any increase in persecution today. In the end, the anti christian people and institutions basically self-destruct, just like we see happening in the public schools, and the people of God are victorious in the present time as well as the future.

Our family has been studying the book of Revelation by listening to the sermon series by Pastor Joe Morecraft.  Listen to one or more of these audios and let me know what you think!

Pastor Morecraft Revelation Audio Series

There is a study guide for this series HERE.

"Remember: It is the Gospel of Revelation that must be proclaimed, lived out, and received, if Western Civilization is to be Christianized.
          1. The Lordship of Christ over the nations.
          2. The judgement of Christ upon the nations.
          3. The victory of Christ and His Church over the nations."