The Dancing Puritan

Thursday, October 31, 2013

No Horns and No Teeth

The Protestant Reformation was a time in which the Bible was rediscovered, dusted off, and made available to the common man. For many years church leaders had concealed the truth of Scripture. The Bible was hidden behind layers of tradition and was considered to be only one source of authority. The church did not want the common people to read the Bible for themselves. During Martin Luther's day the Church believed that the pope and the church were primary sources of authority and that the Bible's authority was derived from the first two authorities.

When Luther stood before the assembly at the Diet of Worms he was asked to recant much of his teaching and writing. This was not an easy experience for Luther as he stood before the powerful Church and State. In fact Luther became fearful and asked for more time to consider and pray. The day after his request he appeared again before the assembly and was asked again to recant. Leaders of Church and State wanted Luther to reply without horns and without teeth--that is, simply. Luther's response was faithful and heroic.

Since your Majesty and your lordships desire a simply reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I cam convicted by Scripture and plain reason I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other. My conscience is captive to the Word of God, I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me, Amen.

Luther was saying that the Word of God alone was the determiner of his convictions and his actions. The Scripture is to direct the Christian's life. That being said the Bible recognizes certain authorities that God has ordained. He has ordained civil, family, and church authorities. The faithful Christian must be submissive to those authorities, unless they seek to bind his conscience in contradiction to the Bible. In that case his conscience is captive to the Word of God.

Luther stood on the Bible. What about you?

He left Worms but his life was in danger. The pope forbid him to preach, commanded that his writings be burned, and the emperor said that Luther could be killed. On Luther's way back to Wittenberg he was kidnapped. However, he was kidnapped by friends and taken to the castle of Wartburg where he was protected for a year and then he returned home. Luther wrote constantly during that time and completed a German translation of the New Testament in 1522.

We stand on the shoulders of Martin Luther. Let us learn from his mistakes, imitate his courage, and deepen our biblical convictions. Let us thank God for the Protestant Reformation.

Happy Reformation Day!

Material above taken from Family Worship for the Reformation Season by Ray Rhodes, Jr. Published by Solid Ground Christian Books.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Praying for Your Marriage

Marriage is a constant reminder that we are standing in the need of prayer.

Today I read from Song of Solomon (SOS) chapter five. I take SOS to be primarily about the love relationship between a man and a woman. After chapter three the context is marriage. I opened my reading today with a brief scan of chapter five and with a one-sentence prayer. Lord grant me grace for the challenges that are associated with marriage; physical, emotional, and relational. After reading and meditating on the passage I prayed, Lord help me to have character, respectability, and attitude that is sweet, distinguished, and desirable. A key phrase that I noted, came from the lips of the woman in reference to her husband, . . . This is my beloved and this is my friend . . . (16b). From my reading in chapter five I developed four primary points of prayer.

First, I asked God to grant me grace for the challenges of my marriage. 

Second, I prayed for a deepening of godly character in my life. 

Third, I asked God to help me to cultivate a sweetness and desirability that is obvious to my wife. 

Fourth, I prayed that God would grant my wife and me wisdom, insight, knowledge, and skill to cultivate an ever-growing friendship. 

Though Song of Solomon gives numerous examples of the joys of marriage, it also contains at least two sections that speak of the challenges of marriage. The first challenge happens on the night before the wedding (3:1-5). The second major challenge is on the wedding night (5:2-8). Both seem to deal with the unique burdens of womanhood (though guys have their own struggles). Indeed marriage is a good gift from God and there are numerous opportunities to enjoy blissful experiences. However, marriage is always between two people who are struggling with remaining sin, the frailties of the body, and the insecurities of the soul. As wonderful as marriage can and should be, it is nevertheless fraught with dangers and in need of God’s grace.

Every time that I read through the Song of Solomon, I am reminded of how much I need God in my marriage. I am also reminded of the ultimate purpose of marriage, which is to display Christ and his church. At the end of today’s reading I am reminded again that I am weak but the grace of God is sufficient to grant me the desire, the ability, and the courage to be a godly man and husband. I am also encouraged to pray for my wife. There are indeed unique challenges to being a woman as chapters three and five of Song of Solomon illustrate. It is my desire to be sensitive to and patient toward the needs of my wife. As I concluded this section of Scripture I was reminded that the challenges that we face in our marriage are not unique. The people that I come in contact with today are facing similar challenges and are in need of God’s grace and help. That thought lead me to one final prayer, Lord grant that I might be used today to point hurting people to the gospel of your grace.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Garden Of Marriage

Both Solomon and his bride overflow in rapturous love for one another. Poetry flows from their lips as they call forth colorful words and vivid descriptions. Solomon refers to his lady as a garden fountain, a well of living water (Song of Solomon 4:15). She offers an invitation that no thoughtful husband would reject: Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits (4:16b). And he responds as we would expect, I came to my garden, my sister, my bride, I gathered my myrrh with my spice, I ate my honeycomb with my honey, I drank my wine with my milk (5:1a).

This sort of creative speech and delightful engagement is celebrated by their friends who sing, Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love (51b)! Does such speech characterize your marriage? Is such love celebrated?

I think that marital neglect is a common problem. I don't mean the neglect of food, clothes, or shelter. Those things are sometimes neglected and a wife may struggle to be a well-tended garden. Prior to the woman's marriage to Solomon she described herself as a . . . vineyard I have not kept (1:6)! After her marriage she sees her body as a garden of spices and filled with lilies (6:2-3). Prior to marriage she was very self-conscious about her body and appearance. After marriage she is confident and unashamed.  Marriage made her better.

It is God's design that you seek to make your spouse better. Confidence grows in the fertile soil of a happy home. Joy flourishes in the midst of sincere compliments that flow through the air like the smell of a fresh-baked apple pie. Creativity dances across the pages of a marriage filled with poetry. Problems will come, even to the most musical of marriages (5:2-8) but where the roots are deep, the words are spicy, and delight is cultivated; problems are resolved (5:10-6).

A wife is her husband's garden. The Song of Solomon lady refers to her body as his garden. She says My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies (6:2). When a man fails to tend his garden he hates himself and dishonors Christ. In the same way (as Christ loves the church) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body (Ephesians 5:28-29).

Husband, care for, and creatively nourish your garden; your wife.

Wife, with great confidence, invite your husband to come to his garden and enjoy.

Perhaps you need to get to work today cultivating the garden that is your marriage.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thinking about Your Best Life Now

Many of us do not think. We just do things. There is no time to think when a baby is crying. Who has time to analyze anything when the boss is demanding and the grass needs mowing? It seems that there is no time to think when duties are barking orders.

Thinking is painful. Thinking is not for cowards because it brings grief and sorrow. If you don't believe me, ask Solomon (Ecclesiastes 1:18). Real thinking causes one to have to face stark realities. Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, did some hard thinking about the meaning of life. He put theories to the test and the results were not all pretty.

I said in my heart, 'Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself' (2:1).

Solomon theorized that the meaning of life might be found in pleasure. He tested laughter, wine, and building projects. He had folks at his beck and call. He summoned to his personal theatre the best singers and musicians of the land. Supermodels filled his bedroom. He held nothing back (2:1-11).

Dream for a moment. What if you had unlimited resources? What if you could have Your Best Life Now? What if you could break out and soar the heights? What if you could bring Aretha Franklin, in person, to your living room to sing for you? What if the best wines of Bordeaux France were yours for paring with the best foods from Italy? If only you could have it all, what would you have?

Solomon put such things to the test and he felt empty and unfulfilled (2:11). He turned his analytical thinking to consider death. Voices inside screamed at him, "You are going to die and no one will care for very long, or even remember you." He thought, "All that I have worked for will be left behind, perhaps to a fool." He had spent so much time, energy, and money trying to find the meaning to life and he came up empty. He hated his work, his life, and he fell into deep despair. He had gained the world but was in danger of losing his soul (2:15-23).

Finally, he came to a good conclusion. His thought and analysis first led to the realization that what he was looking for could not be found in money, music, women, work, wine, industry, and leisure. He said, in essence, "Its not here." That realization was the first step towards figuring out the meaning of life. When Solomon was jarred awake, he realized that ultimate purpose cannot be found in the good things of life. He then considered where meaning and purpose could be found. He discovered that there is no meaning, apart from God. He found that when one is in relationship with God, there is “ . . . wisdom, knowledge and joy" (24-26).

Tired when you work and tired when you eat.
Restless when awake and restless at sleep.
Everywhere you turn, there is sorrow and tears,
Grasping at you coat, filling you with fears.

What is the point, the meaning of it all?
You try to understand but you continue to fall.
And just around the corner, your breath will depart.
You are forgotton, though you were so smart.

No one will care, at least not for very long.
They will continue to eat and listen to song.
Not knowing that soon they will go the same way.
And the sun will come up, the very next day.

Madness and folly, it chases you down.
And life just continues to go around and around.
No happiness nor joy, and not even a smile.
You hate this vain life, you hate the next mile.

Then a glimmer of light and now you can see.
There are gifts to be grasped, gifts that are free.
There is joy immeasurable, where all trouble can fly.
It gives meaning to life and hope when you die.

An Interpretation of Ecclesiastes 2:12-26

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Strange Familiarity

From time-to-time I travel alone. Occasionally I am in a place that is very familiar. It is a place rich in tradition and filled with memories. The only thing is that those memories have to do with the people that I love most. When I am in those familiar places, without those people, it is a strange familiarity.

Such is the case right now. I am sitting in a chair in a lovely room. The floors are hardwood, the ceiling is high and rustic, the walls are brick, and various works of art hang on them. In fact, just over the fireplace (where a fake fire makes noise and puts off light) is a painting of an old lady, book in hand, and staring off into the distance. She seems sad. Not many days ago my family was in this very room. Abigail (our almost two-year-old) was pulling on my hand saying, "Come daddy, come." She is a young explorer. Unlike the lady in the painting, we were not sad.

This morning I jogged streets that our family has walked on a hundred times. I passed a field that we have played on, once a year, for almost 20 years. The old water pump on the corner of the field drips water, but there are no children to receive it's offering.
The breakfast room, that has often been livened up by our family, seemed very quite this morning. Thankfully no one was sitting at our table (at least not when I had breakfast). I sat at a small table in the corner and read Brothers, We are Not Professionals by John Piper. It is a book for Pastors and an eye-opening reminder that the ministry is not for folks who long for esteem but for people who follow a crucified Savior.

When I got to my room yesterday the bed was made up nicely. On the pillow were two pieces of candy labeled Ferrero Rocher. Just a few days ago I noticed my wife unwrapping a Ferrero Rocher and enjoying it very much. Therefore, I dared not unwrap the candy. I value my life too much for that. I will take them home to Lori. Will she see them as a gift from a loving husband?

We have visited this city for a lot of years. Most of those years we have stayed at this Inn. It is a lovely refuge. One of my favorite places is the patio. The floor is brick with holes cut out in various places so that trees can grow.  Leaves of various colors decorate the surroundings. There is a stillness out there and a strange familiarity.

I am thankful to be here. I wish that I could stay here for a week or so, just to think, pray, read, and recalibrate my mind and heart. But I have to leave in a couple of hours and travel to the next town. The next place does not have the strange familiarity of this town.  Yes, I am glad to be here. Yet it is strange. Yes I am enjoying this familiar place. Yes, I could stay here alone for a week. Something is missing though. Or, I should say, several some one's are missing. This is a sacred place. It is a place that our children have grown to love. I miss their voices. I miss their laughter. I miss holding Lori's hand as we walk down the street together. Right now everything is just strangely familiar.

Just two week's ago we were all here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Theology To Die With

Death is a strange thing. One minute a person is here, the next they are gone. Their shoes are still beside the chair, their coat hangs on the hook, and their cologne remains in the air. Everything changes when a person dies. The color of the sky, the brightness of the sun, the song of the birds, all seem different. The last shovel of dirt is thrown into the hole, the last arrangement of flowers is carefully placed on the grave, and the folks walk back to their vehicles.  Everyone drives away. The sun goes down and darkness drapes the earth.

While the person was alive they were able to bring things out in others that are now pushed back inside. They changed the dynamics of the circle by their presence. To paraphase a thought from C.S. Lewis: When A, B, and C are all together something happens that is different than if C is missing. A and B may still have rich conversation but C added to and brought out of both A and B something that is now lost. C made things different. C made both B and A better. When C is gone, A and B will never be quite the same.  This is one of the ways that death stings.

On occasion A and B will bring C back into their conversation. They will remember a funny event, a smile will stretch across their faces, and they may brush back a tear. The memory is good but C is still gone. Under the sun, C will never add his voice again. He can't. He lives in another realm.

I was talking with a man a year ago. His dad had recently died. He was not close to his dad (in fact he had rarely seen him over the years). This man in his fifties said to me, "It dawns on me from time-to-time, I don't have a dad anymore." Here is a man with his own family, with children and grandchildren, who was never that close to his dad, and yet he was different because his dad was gone. The world is always different when someone dies.

I understand my friend's thoughts. I was close to my dad. I loved him very much. He loved my mom and his family very much. He talked about his family all of the time. I feel his absence every day. The evidence that he existed is all around. When I walk on the ground that he cleared, use the tools that he purchased, drive the vehicles that he drove; there is a heavy sense of his absence.  I look in the mirror but I am only a mere reflection of him.

I have a wrinkled and greasy ten-dollar-bill in the drawer beside my bed. I found it beneath some old tires at my dad's shop. He labored long hours at that shop and I am sure that the bill fell from his pocket as he worked. The bill is a reminder to me of how hard he worked to provide for his family. He continued to work even when he was wrinkled, like that old bill. He knew that God provides food for the table by the sweat of the brow. He was willing to sweat, sacrifice, and spend himself so that others could be cared for.

My dad's theology was built around John 3:16. That was the verse that he quoted most of all. Though he read the Bible through several times, he always came back to John 3:16. God changed his life through that verse. All of the sacrifices made by my dad grew out of his understanding that God was willing to sacrifice his own Son in order to provide for his bride, his children.

I don't have a dad anymore. I have found that I cannot carry the burdens that he carried as well as he did. I often grow weary.  One day my children will walk in these same steps. They will feel the absence of C. They will see the traces.  My dad directed me to a Father that never leaves. That Father dries my tears and pulls me close. His ears are always open. When I am missing my dad, I call on my Father. He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). It is my prayer that when I am gone that my children will remember to pray, Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name (Matthew 6:9).

Today would have been my dad's 76th birthday.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Family Worship for the Reformation Season

Excerpt below from Family Worship for the Reformation Season by Ray Rhodes (Published by Solid Ground Christian Books).

The Morning Star

Scripture Reading: Psalm 19; Mark 1:1-8

As a boy I would often gaze into the sky at night. I was amazed by the beauty of the stars and the vastness of the universe. Just before sunrise the morning star is visible. It is an indicator that a new day is about to begin. 

Prior to the Reformation the church was in a dark period. During those days a "morning star" arose on the scene. His name was John Wycliffe. His life and ministry was a "morning star" indicating that the day was about to break and the sun would soon shine. The sun indeed would rise in the characters of Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and others.

John Wycliffe, from England is called the "morning star of the Reformation." He was a faithful student of the Bible, a powerful preacher and a godly man. He preached against the wickedness of religious leaders and against the corruption that he saw in the church. Wycliffe is most remembered for his work in translating the Bible from Latin into English. Getting the Bible into the language and hands of the common man was one of the significant works of Wycliffe and of the Reformers. What must be remembered is that Wycliffe did not have the benefit of the printing press and so his work was hand copied. Can you imagine how difficult and time consuming it would be to write out the entire Bible by hand?

Wycliffe was often persecuted in his ministry. He died in 1384.

Richard Newton writes:
He was buried in the graveyard connected with his church at Lutterworth. About 44 years after his death, his enemies dug up his bones, burnt them to ashes, and threw the ashes into the Swift. Thomas Fuller quaintly said about the Swift River, that it 'conveyed his ashes into Avon; Avon into Severn; Severn into the narrow seas; they into the main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wycliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed the entire world over." 
From Family Worship for the Reformation Season" by Ray Rhodes, Jr. To purchase a copy simply message us here.

Dr. Ligon Duncan writes, Imagine, leading your family in daily worship in the home, reading the Scriptures, singing and praying, but simultaneously introducing them to the history, leading figures and theology of the great sixteenth-century Reformation--all that in a fresh and interesting way, in just about a quarter of an hour each day. 'That would be great,' you say, 'but it would take me hours and days to put that together; I could never do it.' Well, Ray Rhodes has done it for you in Family Worship for the Reformation Season. Use this book with joy. It will inspire, inform and instruct you and your family. The studies are simple but meaty. The Scripture passages are helpfully chosen. And most of the lessons can be completed in fifteen minutes. Employ and be edified.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Word for Men: Applicable for Women

How many men, if given the opportunity to be with an exciting and beautiful woman (not their wife), would allow their hearts to be turned?

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh...from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, 'You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn your heart away after their gods.' Solomon clung to these in love...And his wives turned away his heart (I Kings 11:1-3).

Perhaps you imagine that though Solomon fell into such a trap, you would never do the same. If you think like that, the Bible has some words for you.

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall (I Corinthians 10:12). 

Solomon had it all. He had wisdom and wealth. His wisdom was so vast that people would travel from great distances just to hear him speak. When confronted with what would have been mind-stumping questions for others, Solomon answered them without blinking an eye. And we must not think that God only miraculously deposited wisdom into Solomon's brain. God did grant Solomon's prayer for wisdom (and no doubt there was unusual providence at work) but as is His normal way of doing things, God used means. God gave Solomon the tools but Solomon put those tools to work.

And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven (Ecclesiastes 1:12a).

Solomon took the wisdom that God gave to him and he applied it. He studied work, the sun, wind, streams, the ocean, and women (1:1-11). He made some striking conclusions about the inability of man, the sovereignty of God, and the vanity of life (1:12-18). He also came to some provocative conclusions about women, love, and marriage.

And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things--which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found (7:26-29).

The only way to escape an ungodly relationship, according to Solomon, is to please God.  Solomon knew. He had failed to please God.

So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of God...And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded (I Kings 11:6,9,10).

The cost to Solomon, his family, and the nation was tragic. It always is when a person (man or woman) turns from the true God.  Sexual temptation is real and it is powerful. Let the wisest man in history be an example to you. You are not too wise and too smart not to follow in Solomon's footsteps. You need God.

What must you do?

1.  Please God. There is only one way to please God. The fact is that, by nature, we all have a wandering heart that is wholly inclined towards sin, enslaved to sin, and without ability to please God. The requirement is that we must please God. The reality is that we cannot please God. The provision is that God provided His Son who lived righteously, died for sinners and was raised again. God the Father is well pleased with Jesus the Son. And He is well pleased with all who turn from their sin and turn by faith to Christ. Only by faith can we please God (Hebrews 11:6) and faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-10).

2.  Fear God. (Ecclesiastes 12:13).  With all of Israel standing before him, Solomon summed up his message with these words:

The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Do you fear God? The fear of God is not a slavish fear but a fear that takes God seriously. God will judge.

3.  Enjoy life with your wife.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun (9:9).

I believe that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes near the end of his life. It is a reflective book. He looks back and writes with experience. He has known good and evil. His greatest wisdom is served up just prior to meeting God face-to-face. When Solomon speaks of life being vain, he does not mean that life is worthless. It is hard. It is burdensome but life is not worthless. Life is, fleeting. Marital love is fleeting. It is a temporary gift from God and it is God's design that you enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life. This is a life that God has given you. Enjoying life with your wife is your portion in life. Don't waste your gift, your portion, and your joy.

There is nothing better for a person than he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who have have enjoyment (2:24-25).  

So many people throw joy away.

He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away (Proverbs 6:32-33). 
If you have fallen in this way, there is hope. Turn to God. Seek your joy in Him. He is full of grace and mercy.

Recommended Reading: King Solomon by Philip Ryken.
Ecclesiastes and The Song of Solomon (Bible Study Book) by Kathleen Buswell Nielson
Order both books by sending us a message here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Housewife Theologian: Aimee Byrd Interview Pt. 2

We are pleased that Aimee Byrd, author of Housewife Theologian, is joining us again today. Learn more about Aimee by reading yesterday's Dancing Puritan.

DP: Aimee, thanks for visiting with us. Lets open with you sharing a few thoughts for ladies who read your book.

AB: There seems to be a lot of confusion in our culture about femininity and womanhood. What does it mean to be a woman? 

These days it seems that womanhood is defined in terms of what we can or can’t do. This is troubling. There is so much diversity among all the women God has created, and that is a beautiful thing. As we are distinctly different from men, we also share in the source of our meaning, value, and dignity. Both men and women are created as bearers of the image of God. This is truly wonderful, and it is worth investigating our particular roles in glorifying God.

Aimee Byrd
DP:  Aimee what do you think is the single most important way that a woman can honor her husband?  

AB: Whenever I’m asked about the “single most important” or “most influential” (see below), I get scared. What a big question! I never picked a favorite color until my son forced me when he was a toddler. (It’s orange, in case you are wondering.) There are so many ways to honor my husband, just like there are so many ways for him to treasure me. But, I will say that there is an overarching respect that I have for the responsibility God has given him to love me as Christ has loved the church. This kind of self-sacrificing love laid out in Eph. 5:25-33 makes me want to ease his role as his helper rather than sabotage him with my own self-seeking efforts.

DP: Aimee, you have been influenced by C.S. Lewis. I have personally found that Lewis helps me to think in a more imaginative way. John Piper refers to Lewis as one of the four people on the planet that has most impacted him. What is it about Lewis that you find so fascinating and helpful? Who are others (past or present) that have helped to shape your thinking?

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AB: Lewis was an artistic thinker. He had a creative mind that was able to make perceptive observations about God, people, and the world. His writing glorifies God in a unique way. While I don’t fall in line with all of his theology, reading Lewis just makes me a better thinker and a better writer. There are so many others that shape my thinking; it would take too much space to write! But let me mention an unlikely theologian, Mary King. She was the cook in one of the schools that C. H. Spurgeon attended as a very young man. Spurgeon talks about her in his autobiography, and I write about her in Housewife Theologian. “Cook,” as they called her, is an example of just how far-reaching the influence of an ordinary person can go, and why each one of us should take care to be good theologians. You’ll have to read to find out!

DP: What are a couple of ways that a husband can show that he values his wife? 

AB: This short video that a friend sent me demonstrates perfectly how not to value your wife:

DP: That is a painfully funny video and indeed reflects wrong thinking about the value of women.

DP: Aimee, I appreciate the way you emphasize and value the Lord's Day.  Sometimes a woman is in a situation where she is a Christian married to an unbeliever. Perhaps the unbeliever does not want her to attend church. What counsel would you offer that lady?

AB: I actually have a friend in a similar situation. Ultimately, our allegiance is to Christ. The church is his bride. The preached Word and the sacraments are the means that God has promised to bless us in Christ. We cannot disobey God in order to please our husbands. And yet, this is a very difficult circumstance for some women. Jesus challenges us that our affection for him should be greater than any other relationship and that we are to count the costs of being his disciple (Luke 14:25-33). The details of this could be another whole book!

DP: All of life is to be lived for God's glory. Obviously one should wash dishes, bake cakes, program computers, build buildings, write music, and play basketball to the glory of God. How can we best capture the "other 6 days?"

AB: Martin Luther taught that God is hidden in our vocations. In his providence and common grace, God provides the means for food, shelter, and entertainment through the vocations of many. As Christians, we know that we are not trying to earn salvation by our service. In the covenant renewal ceremony of the worship service, we are given Christ and all his blessings. We can then go out into the world and truly love our neighbor in gratitude. We are to be as salt in the world God is preserving until he has called all those whom he has foreordained to his kingdom. While we labor alongside unbelievers in the civil kingdom, we look forward to the tasks we will be doing on the new heavens and the new earth, where everything will be holy.

DP: Aimee, you have written a wonderful and helpful book. Thank you for joining us today on the Dancing Puritan. What final words would you like to offer our readers?

AB: My final words are, thank you for this invitation and interaction, and thanks to your readers for sticking around! My hope is that my book will serve as a good tool to stimulate more theological thinking and conversation to the glory of God.

Ray Rhodes, Jr. writes for The Dancing Puritan. He is the author of Family Worship for the Reformation Season, The Marriage Bed, and other books on the family. Ray is the President of Nourished in the Word Ministries and serves as Pastor of Grace Community Church of North Georgia. Ray is married to Lori and they live in North Georgia with their six daughters, one son-in-law, and one granddaughter. To contact or schedule Ray to speak for your next event contact him here. Check out the blog of Lori Rhodes here.