Proverbs 32 for Men

A Review of  “Home Behind the Sun”, by Timothy Willard and Jason Lacy. Nelson Books, 2014.

This beautifully crafted book, coauthored by Tim and Jason, two friends sharing the journey of being serious followers of Christ, is basically addressed to men, to married couples and parents, and is dedicated to “our daughters”. Their prose is elegant, poetical and full of literary allusions, making it a joy to read.

Using reason, logic and humor, they address the issues of fatherhood and parenting with gentle and humble beauty in a series of fourteen essays designed to bring men, husbands, and fathers out of the “shadowlands” into the glorious light of true sonship with God.

“Films and sitcoms cast manhood as a mindless endeavor defined by what we can get from society: money and power. We are encouraged to chart a narcissistic course through life, racking up notches on our bedposts, dollars in our bank accounts, and toys in our garages. Manhood looks like a trophy we can win, a card we carry, an image we curate, rather than the relationships we cultivate”

Their answer is simple and powerful: “Men we are men. We are strong yet tender, bold yet caring, stern yet loving”.

They challenge us to: “counter perversion with truth, combat despair with joy, topple bitterness and resentment with forgiveness, eliminate cynicism with belief and whimsy, and overcome pain with healing”.

The end of the book has an accompanying set of discussion questions for each chapter, to further enrich the conversation and to create a meaningful dialogue among Christians about how men, fathers, husbands, friends, and brothers can live out the gospel message in today’s world.

You have to read Proverbs 32 for men (pp.160-162)  I enclose a sample:

“A good man is hard to find. His wife trusts him without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, he showers blessing all lifelong. He enjoys his work, pursuing a meaningful vocational existence, and seeks God’s purpose.

He doesn’t waste time on temporal pleasures such as Modern Warfare or Breaking Bad. Instead he gets his lazy backside up and studies the Word, and prays for his family before he organizes his day. He doesn’t squander his money on frivolous things like gambling or stupid gadgets. Rather he invests in things that last: his children’s education, something beautiful for his wife, and a thoughtful retirement plan. He senses the worth of his work but knows when it’s time to go home and see his family”.

 

 

 

 

A Sacred Sisterhood

A Review of “Singled Out”, by Nikki Derouin, Hopkins Publishing, 2012.

 

Nikki Derouin’s book’s challenging subtitle, “Finding Contentment When It’s Just You and the Lord”, pinpoints the basic issues of individual worth and poor self image that an unmarried woman wrestles with in our youth-obsessed society, never mind the issues of sexual purity in a sex-obsessed culture. Single women bear the brunt of being painted with an oddball/weirdo brush, living in the 21st century as a devout follower of Jesus.

 

Young men have an easier time as eligible bachelors, and enjoy freedom from family responsibilities. If they fall from grace now and then, it’s not such a big deal. But when it comes to marriage they would like to have a virgin bride meet them at the altar. And so it goes, down through the ages, this double standard of sexual mores and society’s expectations.

 

Nikki has emerged from this social morass victorious, armed with an arsenal of truths anchored in the Word of God, ready to strengthen other young women to be part of the sacred sisterhood she espouses. Her validation and self worth comes from her relationship with God, and not from another person. This holds true whether single or married because anyone’s status may change any given moment. We can go from single lady to married woman to single mom or to widow all in one lifetime.

 

I remember telling my beautiful single daughter, aged 29, who had just returned from the Mission field, that she hadn’t missed the boat. There was nothing wrong with her. God had simply chosen to hide her under His wings for a season. Then I began to pray for the man God had “hidden” from her. Her hairdresser soon arranged a blind date, and they both discovered one another over a cup of coffee.

 

Nikki reminds us all of the brevity of life. “We are not promised tomorrow. Our life could end at any time. In fact, even if we lived to a ripe old age, our life would still be seen as a vapor…” (p.71) We must live purposefully and with integrity if we are to find that contentment, that peace of heart and mind.

 

Artfully written scriptural lessons are combined with questions at the end of each chapter, which makes this book perfect for small group ministries.

 

Bravo Nikki for writing this little gem!

 

Castle on Golden Rock

John and I decided to dedicate the whole month of July to HOME IMPROVEMENT.

Every change brings an accompanying challenge, stirring the creative juices.

Things left undone got done, finally, and we were on a roll. June saw the completion of my dream: a raised garden bed. That meant hauling heavy concrete blocks into place, uploading rich black earth bucket by bucketful through our neighbor’s fence, and planting the seedlings I nourished in our mobile greenhouse. John is my hero-husband. A labor-intensive labor of love.

 

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John reconstructed some of the old railings on our deck, and I helped to resurface it. What an upgrade that was from the battleship grey, half-painted eyesore it had been!! Our neighbor saw it and commented that it looked more like a courtyard. That set me dreaming about adding a fountain someday! And of course I had to redo all my plants to match the upscale, and paint all the rusted plant holders.

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A warn out battle ship transformed to an Italian courtyard.

 

Next on the agenda was our tired old hot tub. John had replaced all the rotting wood posts, and  removed all the lattice that kept nature from view. We added bamboo-like shades that could be pulled up or down for privacy and a windbreak. He placed waterproof siding on the edges, and we painted it all with leftover boat paint we originally thought to use on the deck. The old stair rug had to be thrown out, and I added ferns for ambiance. We covered the concrete with green outdoor carpeting, and used a portion of the lattice to cover pipes. Each evening when we are home, we have our daily debriefings here, and relax with a glass of wine. Hydrotherapy is the name of the game. In the summer it becomes our “cool pool”( 98-99 degrees). John has found it so helpful in combatting his PTSD.

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stepping up into an oasis of rest

 

Then we continue the conversation on the downstairs patio, looking out at the garden, surrounded by plants, birds, an occasional deer drinking water from the birdbath, and Pearl finding a cool spot nearby.

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We finally discovered the downstairs patio.

 

We are castling up our old home on Golden Rock. Next on our list of remodeling will be to paint our dark wooden kitchen cupboard doors, bringing in more light and color.

Everything is in flux, evolving, and being transformed. Everything is a gift, and we are showing our gratitude to the “Giver of all good gifts”.