Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Family Culture, Part 3: Honor

In 2 Peter the Apostle Peter addresses the redeemed of God, fellow saints. As he goes about instructing them (5-11) and mentioning his approaching death (14-15) he makes an important statement in verses 12-13 :

"Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things,
though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle,
to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;"

Peter is concerned that he remind he brothers/sisters of things they already know, but need to be continually reminded of. I think sometimes we get this idea in our heads that we 'know' the 'basics' and we are ready to move on to weighteir matters. It is important that we are reminded of these 'basics' and that we continually strive for the mastery of them, though we know that we shall not obtain it in this temporal body.

One such 'basic' is the duty of a child to honor his/her parents. Dishonor and rebellion, are a common part of our culture, parents are even instructed to expect this, especially during the teens years, and to just go with the flow. The message to them: just hold on, you'll survive it and then you can ship them off to college so you don't have to put up with it. The message to us? Rebellion and dishonor are just a part of growing up, it's normal, besides you're just trying to find your identity and assert yourself. No big deal. I'll never forget my graduation banquet in '07; a pastor had been asked to come in and give us a word of encouragement as we finished highschool and prepared to enter the world as adults. I was sorely disappointed in his address, to be honest, I came home and fumed about it in a journal I am keeping for my future husband, and if he can ever read my handwriting from that entry, I'll be blown away :-)

Back to the point of my short narrative, the guest pastor said that our "parents are right more often than not, but, if we don't realize that now, that's okay, we'll figure it out soon." Excuse me?

Granted, there is a wisdom that comes with age which I do not have and to which I must submitt with honor regardless of whether or not I understand the reasoning, but the wordly attitude implied by his comment, demeanor and lack of follow up (i.e. he should have followed that with a quote from Proverbs or something, a little 'Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.") is what grieved and angered me.
The honoring of our parents has multiple aspects, some in the form of positive admonitions, others in the negative form of warnings.
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and thy mother, (which is the first commandment with a promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." Eph. 6:1-3
To obey in the Lord is to be obedient so long as the commands are not in direct violation of the Word of God (Acts 4:19), a concept which I think is pretty universally understood in the Christian community. It is interesting to note, however, that the command to honor is not conditional. If we must disobey because a command is in direct violation of scripture, not in opposition to our plans/emotions, we are to disobey while giving our parents the honor they are due, regardless of whether or not we think they are worthy of this honor. God does not take the dishonoring of His apointed authorities lightly. For example take the rebellion of Korah, in Numbers 16. Korah, Dathan and Abiram, along with 250 princes of the assembly rose up against Moses and accused him of arrogantly taking too much upon himself. "We are all God's chosen people," they argued, "so why do you place yourself on some kind of pedestal?" In the end, we all know what happened, the earth swallowed Korah, Dathan, Abiram and their families as well as consuming with fire the 250 that were with them. They rebelled against God's authority and were severly punished. Romans 15:4 tells us that the things written before (the Old Testament) were written for our learning, let's learn from this example and honor our parent's for their God-given authority.
"Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, "Amen"" Deut. 27:16
My understanding of "setting light" is that it is a reference to mockery. A child who mocks their parents, whatever the age of that child and whatever their status in life, is cursed. We must not take the honor of our parents lightly.
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:17
I had the priviledge of hearing Doug Phillips speak once on Ephesians 6:1-2 and he brought out a very interesting aspect of honor. We are to defend our parents' honor. Not only are we to respect them, but we are to refrain from dishonoring them by speaking of them in a disrespectful manner/context. Our parents aren't perfect, they have sins and failures, inconsistencies, some of which may be frustrating to us. But, it is not anyone else's business. Those things remain between my parents and the Lord, my job is to pray for my parents and continue to honor them, not vent and complain. If I have a problem, I take it to Christ in prayer, I should not go and tell Susy and Jane all my woes that my parents "cause". If one struggles to honor, it may be good to get an accountability partner who will pray and encourage. However, it would need to be someone who is strong in this area, who would resist the temptation to sulk with you. In sharing the need for prayer/accountability, don't elaborate on what you don't like about your parents or the way they lead the home, rather focus on your need to lovingly honor them.
"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." Proverbs. 3:1-2 "Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law." Proverbs 4:1-2 " A fool despises his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent." Proverbs 15:5
Listen and learn from the wisdom of your parents, especially if they are children of the Most High. Learn from their example and guidance. Honor them by learning from them.
How beautiful is obedience to the commands of God! Let us purpose to honor our parents and to obey them in the Lord.
"The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity" Proverbs 10:29

Saturday, February 14, 2009

First Post of the New Year! (I know, kind of sad) :-)

Hello All! I am so sorry for neglecting to update my blog! Believe it or not, I have neither forgotten nor abandoned it, but other things have taken priority! :-)

By way of personal update I am happily home again with my family after spending 32 days (Dec. 27-Jan. 28) helping some dear friends, the Phero family. I thought about trying to do a post to sum up my time in Pennsylvania, but decided I really couldn’t do any justice to the people and events! As a very quick recap, I had a wonderful time! I really enjoyed being able to work alongside Sarah, talking with her and learning from her; Sarah, you are such an amazing example and I am so thankful for the way you made me a part of your family while I was with you! Sarah and her husband made a point of making sure that I was able to get some good, encouraging fellowship during my stay and I am so grateful! There are two families I really came to love and hold dear: the Einwechters and the Martins. I think the best way to describe my time with these precious families is: contagious laughter; sober discussions; studying the word; randomness; snowball fights (the epic snow battle, fighting for our rights!); and a bunch of “long time no see”! Karen and Abigail, Carmen and Candace, you all hold a special place in my heart! Bet you didn’t know I have five sisters! :-D

The Einwechters and Martins opened their homes and hearts to me and became my “family away from family”, thank you all so much and may the Lord bless you in a special way!

My flight home was pretty good, I flew out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and went from there to Philadelphia, about a 25 minute flight and from there home, which was about 3 hours. I missed my family so much and I am so grateful to the Lord for safely reuniting us! Dad and Mom, Joseph; Samuel; Noah; Timothy; Benjamin; David and Victoria, you all deserve a word of praise, I never would have been able to serve the Phero’s if you had not shouldered my responsibilities while I was gone, I know it was a sacrifice on everyone’s part and I thank you for your love, support and service!
A special word of thanks to my adopted Christian Grandmother, Mrs. Linda Fordyce; your prayers, love and support carried me through some interesting times, thank you! :-)

Not long after I got home and started trying to get back into the swing of things we received a call from some friends in Illinios, the Smiths, whose mother/grandmother had just been treated for cancer in Texas. The elder Mrs. Smith lives about 45 minutes north of us and was in need of someone to come and stay with her for about six days while she got readjusted at home. So, that is where I am currently, I go home tomorrow for the weekend. If she needs me again, she’ll call, otherwise I get to stay home :-)

So, things are busy, in the midst of this we are gearing up for the busy-ness of Spring. Joseph trying to get his own business up and going, he is selling naturally raised beef and possibly chicken. So he is busy developing contacts for that. I am getting ready for the milking season to start up. Samuel has egg laying chickens and he is trying so hard to get an egg business up and going, unfortunately predators have done a number on his hens, I believe they’ve killed over 20! Poor Samuel! He, Joseph and Dad and trying to track the varmints down and ‘remove’ them. We’ve found several cats, some we got in live traps and took elsewhere and then I think we’ve shot two. Last year we had barn owls taking the chickens out. Owls are protected by law (wish the chickens were too!) so all we could really do was trying to owl proof the chickens’ home, thankfully we haven’t had any problems with them this year. Unfortunately, we have had some problems with coyotes. They try to get the chickens, they good news is that we built the MCCU’s (Mobile Chicken Containment Unit) securely, the unpleasant part is coming out the next morning and finding a chicken running around missing a wing, or scratched and bloody inside the MCCU. I won’t go into details, but you can learn quite a bit about chicken anatomy that way! Actually, the dogs were worse. We haven’t had any problems this year but last year they got I think 3 or 4 of the chickens. Do you have any idea what it’s like to try and convince your dog to give you a chewed chicken? Unfortunately, dogs don’t reason, so you have to get your hands in there and open the dog’s jaw and pull out the chickens. The cool part is when you can identify the various organs, the nasty part is that there are visible organs to identify!

We are also trying to prepare for a family garden, we’ve never really had good success with gardening, but we are determined to master it at some point! We aren’t licked yet! It looks like the plan is going to be to give each person a portion of the garden for their own, to plant as we please and to be responsible to care for. We kids are pretty excited and trying to figure out what we are going to plant. My grandfather Hoffman passed away Thanksgiving 2007, one of his favorite things while he was living was gardening. He had come down and helped us start our gardens many times. When we were stationed in Norfolk, Virginia he brought up potted tomato plants since we were renting and couldn’t tear up our landlord’s lawn J As we prepare for the garden this year there is an underlying sadness, we really miss him :-(

I am also hoping to get some sewing projects done, I want to make a few dresses for the Spring/summer and I really want to start on a quilt, Sarah, Karen and Abigail have inspired me! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for four years now, but after actually seeing some homemade quilts I decided to get a little more serious about it!

Well, by the grace of God this former suburban, military family is really having fun living on 38 acres and learning to be a little more self-sufficient.

I have contemplated adding pictures to my blog, to give some visuals. It would be anything amazing as I am not camera savvy in any way, unlike some good friends of mine, but it would be fun just the same. Unfortunately, I am not sure how I would do that just yet. We have s-l-o-w internet access, it takes about six minutes to upload a single photo L So, unless I can figure something out, it might not work. We’ll see.
That’s it for now.
His servant,
Monique Hoffman