My Summer Sabbatical (Follow Me)

As you may have noticed, I’ve taken a sabbatical from consistent blogging. As family time, summer part time jobs and football camps have taken precedent I’ve taken an extended leave from this blog. I really don’t “feel” like taking the time to contribute any coherent consistent blog thoughts on God, family, and life in general.

Focusing my time on leading and loving my wife and two sons seems like the best choice right now.

I’ll be back in commission at some point. I don’t know when for sure. But the itch to write rarely leaves me for long.

Meanwhile, I’ll devote more free time to reading this summer rather than writing. I want to keep a steady balanced diet of fiction and nonfiction works. First up is Jared C. Wilson’s Christological examination “Your Jesus Is Too Safe.” Next, I plan to finally finish off Leif Enger’s “Peace Like a River.” I’ll see where the summer wind blows me after those (I have a slight addiction of purchasing books I never get around to reading).

I’d also be honored if you follow me on Twitter. I may not have the mental fortitude right now to daily blog, but I can manage to tweet a few daily random blurbs in 140 characters or less. Probably half of my tweets are serious theological musings, the other half trite tongue in cheek snarks about current events. Excuse my sarcasm in advance.

Thank you guys for your continued involvement and encouragement on my little corner of the blogosphere. I’ll see you around soon.

The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always.

Bryan Daniels

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A Father’s Day Prophecy and Freestylin’ Dads

The very last written OT promise to the nation of Israel is found in the book of Malachi. It is followed by roughly 400 years of prophetic silence, until a carpenter’s son shows up on the scene to turn the world upside down. It’s kind of a “Father’s Day” prophecy for us today.

It says:

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (Malachi 4:5-6)

In the NT, we learn John the Baptist came as a fulfillment of this prophecy (Luke 1:17). But there are also compelling reasons to believe there is a final “end times” Elijah that will be the complete fulfillment of this prophecy (Revelation 11:3-12).

Regardless, this prophecy hits at the root of the matter with an axe hammer. Our current  cultural issues (or you could say “curse”) with absent parenting, abandonment, and child abuse all stem from the same fount: It’s a heart issue. All sins are.

Whether by overt acts of abuse, subversive attitudes of disappointment, or neglectful abandonment. Apart from a turning of heart, all father’s are susceptible to these sins.

Children are not entirely innocent. This promise would apply to rebellious younger children, neglectful older children and children embittered by what they perceived as a rough childhood. Malachi states children must have a turning of the heart too towards their parents, regardless of the parents past sins toward them.

If we want to see a revival in this nation, we must start with a reviving of families. It will start with broken families being broken and repentant before one another.

I long for the day when God fully restores broken families. I long for the day when boys with beards see freedom not in the context of abandoning their family, but only in the freedom found in Christ and abandoning their sinful proclivity to not “man up”. True freedom that breaks every curse, and makes them the fathers, husbands, and children that can revive a nation.

Do it in my family, Lord, start with me first and my two little boys, Josiah and Gideon.

Bryan Daniels

Chief of the least

Paul Washer has declared a war on the sinner’s prayer. He even goes so far as to call it the “golden calf” within some Baptist circles (Washer is Baptist mind you). I agree with much of this shocking sentiment. Hear me out: Though I believe the biblical reasons are manifold, I also have personal reasons for my particular distaste. I don’t believe I am alone.

Here is the way the sinner’s prayer is presented in many church (Vacation Bible School) contexts:

Towards the end of the week, the children (K-5)are herded into a big room where a pastor is waiting for them. They are greeted, seated, and told to have “every head bowed and every eye closed.” There the pastor gives a very brief Roman Road-ish gospel presentation and prompts the children to a decision in this way:

“Now you don’t want to spend an eternity  in hell apart from Jesus do you? (only the spawn of Satan would really want this

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An “Act of God”: He Apparently Hates Movie Screens

Two days ago my beautiful wife and I were able to pawn the boys off on my mother in order to have one of our rare movie date nights. We rode out to Pier Park on the beach to watch “Men In Black 3” at the Grand. After a delightful viewing experience for the first 30 minutes the screen suddenly went blank in the theater as the volume continued to run. After inquiring about the problem I learned that the screens in all sixteen theaters had been blacked out. We sat a few more minutes in the theater and listened to the plot as the sound rambled on. We decided to leave and approached the box office for a refund.

They claimed  they could give us replacement tickets but not a full money refund.

Why?

“We can’t give a refund because the reason for the blackout was an act of God,” said the kind young lady who was the ticket attendant.

I realize she was probably told by her superiors to respond like this when something like this happens (presumably lightning). I realize there is an “Act of God” clause in insurance companies that intimates disastrous events outside of human control (earthquakes, flash floods, etc.).

But I find it curious how God’s name usually only gets evoked when bad stuff happens to us.

God is the whipping boy when tragedy strikes, but not one thought of gratitude is thrown His way for the countless days, months and years of tragedy withheld from our lives. Why isn’t a beautiful sunset, a breathtaking mountain range, or a stunning sandy white beach deemed an “act of God.” Why isn’t such an amazing mystery as a successful child-birth and delivery called an “act of God” by OBGYN’s and Insurance claims?

Words mean something.

And the words and phrases our culture uses betrays something about it.

And it is strange when we use such words to quickly assign blame to Him for infrequent disastrous events and yet never praise for the consistently peaceful merciful everyday events of life. His Providential kindness is apparent everyday I get to wake up in the morning, but I can only offer anger when He takes back one of the many gifts He has loaned me for a short time? No. Both acts, those that seem like judgment and those that seem like mercy, are meant to elicit one awe-inspiring response.

Praise.

This is perfectly personified in Job after successive “act(s) of God” leave him with no family, no resources, and a handful of critical friends. Job knows only one proper response to this shockingly personal tragedy of epic proportions: Broken hearted repentant grateful praise. So Job worships and cries out from the depths of a shattered heart:

The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21

Maybe the theater girl wasn’t too far off in her assessment. But let’s not be hypocritically selective in our own lives when witnessing His “daily” acts that we take for granted: from family, sunsets, music, to food. His fingerprints aren’t hiding from us.

Modern Marriage Covenant: Honoring Christ or the Kardashians?

All of us are fallen, and all of us are very hard to live with – CS Lewis

Everyone has their natural born idiosyncrasies and foibles.

But these pet peeves become heightened exponentially when you throw two people in a full-time living situation.

When I was in college my personal mentor once told me that dating was a lot like the job interviewing process: Much of what you see is a front, and you better really like what you see, because it definitely not going to look or act better after you’re married.

I’m always amazed with some young couples who lead an unhealthy and tumultuous dating relationship and yet continue to glibly march towards a marriage covenant: As if marriage is going to magically dissipate all the issues between them.  Rather, it is probably going to exacerbate them.

Marriage is when men and women put on their big boy and girl pants and panties and resolve to do work in their relationship. Mix in some massive bills/debt and precious little kids pooping, crying, and bouncing around and this marriage thing is probably the hardest endeavor a human can undertake in their lifetime.

Marriage isn’t necessarily about keeping some teenage infatuation “loving feeling” going, it’s about keeping a sworn covenant to the death for the glory of God. The marriage covenant has ancient, even eternal, origins. This is a covenant that reflects the unbroken commitment Jesus (The Bridegroom) has for His church (bride) (Ephesians 5). This undying commitment came “before the foundations of the world.” Which makes it all the more tragic when modern marriages break apart at the seams: Families are broken AND the reflected image of Christ and His church has been effectively spat upon.

I’m not going to get into the issue too deep here, but: When heterosexual unions are broken and maimed for “differences” in taste like they are in America, homosexual union supporters rightly shake their head in disgust. Let’s be honest and repentant about our negligence and failures in this matter. As Alistair Begg has said, “Until the church learns how to cry, it loses any right to shout.”

Even though my wife, Jessica, is my beautiful best friend I fall short of the biblical standard for husbands. Yes I fall short, but I try my best not to fall stagnant. So I do get on my wife’s nerves when I don’t correctly fold and hangup my used towels, and she gets underneath my skin when she leaves the toilet seat down : ). We’re working on it. But we both have a higher vision than ourselves in this covenant, and it spurns us toward expressing mercy and grace when neither party is deserving of it.

Marriage isn’t meant to look like “the Notebook” or a Kardashian reality show. In marriage, we have the weighty opportunity to display Christ and His unconditional love for the church. If we’re married or plan on getting married at some point, let’s put on our working boots and big boy pants and fight, pray, and forgive in order to honor that goal.

Bryan Daniels