Father’s Blessing

fathers blessing 1

Q. Why is the blessing of the father so important in OT days? Is there relevance for today?

A. A father’s blessings was important for several reasons:

1. They were usually given before the father’s death, and served as a “last will and testament” governing inheritances:
Gen 27:4, 7, 10 so that my soul may bless you before I die. … and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death. … so that he may bless you before his death.

The firstborn receives a double portion as his right:
Deut 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.
But sometimes the firstborn lose their birthright because of folly or sin:
Gen 25:33-34 And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
• 1 Chron 5:1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright.

2. The blessings contain the father’s observation of the sons’ character, and provide commendation or caution of their conduct to encourage or warn them as the father departs:
Gen 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him. (Read Gen 49)

3. They expressed the father’s wish (“may”) but, at least in the case of the patriarchs, were prophetic and fulfilled, possibly due to their covenant relationship with the Lord:
Gen 27:28-29 Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine; May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you.
• Gen 27:33 Yes, and he shall be blessed. …

Isaac’s words indicate that Jacob will be blessed despite his deceit, because the blessing was not conditional.

I believe nowadays the written will has replaced the verbal will, and that our wish for our children are not prophetic in the same way as the patriarchs’ were. However, the second reason, that of appreciation or advice, is still valid. Frequently a child’s success in life is integrally tied to his acceptance and approval by the father, the lack of which often leads to his struggling to win what he did not have. In that sense I feel the blessing, even though it may be informal, is still relevant today.

More from Grand-children

You don’t know what goes on in their little brains! Last Sunday there was a baptismal service in our daughter’s church. So after the kids got home KSP started practicing baptizing NCP! It’s good to bring up your children in church. They absorb the Christian worldview naturally. Prov 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

SEL learned phonics in JK and practiced at home. This is her first attempt and she was at the bottom of the first column when the movie camera started rolling. It’s way better than the rote memory method we used when we were kids.

Preparedness (2 of 2)

preparedness 2

(Continued from yesterday)

5. Medicine
Get a first-aid kit to disinfect and bandage up cuts, burns, and basic off-the-counter medicine to relieve pains, colds, flues, diarrhea, allergies etc. For prescription drugs, both government and private health insurance plans only provide for a 3-months supply. If you want longer you have to pay for it yourself.

6. Sanitation
You still need to use the bathroom even when you are in the dark and there is no heat. So get enough toilet paper and soap to maintain hygiene.

7. Communication
For outbound to call for help, cordless phones may not work when there is no power. The old land lines still do because they have their own backup generators. Keep extra power cells for your mobile phone. For inbound to receive news, a hand-crank short-wave radio is a good investment.

8. Safety
Our US neighbors would likely associate this with carrying firearms to protect against riots and looters. For Canadians not into carrying guns, this may mean retreating to rural areas until the dust settles, which in turn translates into having a means to evacuate. Since you can’t store large quantities of gasoline in the city, at least top up your fuel tank when it’s half empty. Gas stations, in addition to supermarkets, go empty very quickly when trouble starts.

9. Money
In these days of cashless society, few people have more than a couple of days of currency on them. But what if banks and ATMs are closed and you can’t use debit or credit cards for anything? Cash becomes king until normality is restored, or when bartering kicks in. Have enough cash on hand for essential goods and services to tie you over the crunch.

Others would add mental and physical preparation, travel documents, survival skills etc., but the above would be basic to get you and your family through the storm.

preparedness 4

Preparedness (1 of 2)

preparedness 3

Q. You wrote on spiritual preparedness. How about the physical? What preparations would you recommend for tough times ahead?

A. Well, if you’re thinking about the end of the world, then you can hardly prepare enough to last through the Great Tribulation! Some people have actually built for themselves bunkers stocked with food and water, with a generator so they can survive for months or even years! But that would be beyond the reach of ordinary folks like us. How many people you know have a rural cottage where they can hunker down? Few, I suppose. Having said that, all of us should be prepared for shorter-term emergencies such as natural disasters e.g. snow/ice storm, hurricane, flood, or man-made ones like riots, terrorism, financial collapse etc.

What you need to prepare depends on many factors such as the type of disaster, its duration (days, weeks or months), your location (urban vs. rural), the season (summer vs. winter), how many members to your family (their age and health), your finances etc. But most people would focus on the following areas:

1. Water
On average, each person drinks 2 liters of water per day, plus use another 2 liters for cooking and cleaning. A large bottle of distilled water in grocery stores holds 18 ltr. or about 5 gal. Calculate the number of bottles you need based on how many people and how many days you want to prepare for.

2. Food
You need 2,000 calories per person per day, in a balanced diet of all 5 food groups:
• Carbohydrates – grain, pasta
• Vegetables – canned
• Fruits – dried
• Protein – beans
• Dairy – powdered
The problem is shelf-life, only 2-3 years for sun-dried or canned foods, which means rotation to replenish older stock. You can’t depend on the refrigerator either, as frozen food starts going bad when power goes out for more than half a day. Some buy MRE (meals ready-to-eat) packaged food, which have a shelf-life of up to 20-25 years if stored in a cool dry place. These are vacuum-packed, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods which you only need to add hot water.

3. Light
Conventional flash lights using batteries do not last very long. More energy efficient, longer lasting are LED nights. Better still if they have solar panel for recharging. You also need to store candles and matches.

4. Heat
The trouble with gas or oil furnaces is that the blower fan stops working when there is power outage. For that you need a generator hooked to essential appliances such as furnace, fridge, and some lighting. However, If you have a gas fireplace, they keep going even when power is out.

The other usage is for cooking. For short-term emergencies, get a camp stove or hot-pot stove that use propane or butane in containers. Make sure you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by cooking or boiling water in a well-ventilated place.

(To be continued)

Abused? Divorce?

Q. My unbelieving husband abused me physically and mentally? I would rather die than continue like this. Can I divorce him?

A. I am sorry that your husband is like that. A man who abuses his wife or children is not fit to be a husband or father, but is a coward who vents his inferiority on those physically weaker than he. Death is not a solution to your pain, and the Bible permits divorce only in the case of sexual immorality (Mt 5:32, 19:9; see yesterday’s post), or abandonment (desertion) by an unbelieving spouse:
1 Co 7:15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

Your husband is unbelieving, so if he chooses to leave, let him leave. You are not bound to the abusive marriage. However, if he does not show any inclination to leave, the biblical option is separation. Nowhere in the Bible does it require an abused wife to submit herself to her abusive husband. Her safety and that of her children are paramount. She can extract herself and any small children to a safe shelter, whether to her parents, her friends, or to a government-run shelter.

In fact, abuse is a criminal offense in many jurisdictions, and must be reported to the authorities. And it is not restricted to physical violence either. The abuse could be physical (e.g. hitting), sexual (e.g. subjecting her to his perversions), verbal (e.g. taunts), emotional (e.g. tearing down her self-worth), and mental-psychological torment. If you are afraid, inform your family or close friends and ask the church to help. The police could place restraining orders on the abusive husband, or put him in jail if he poses a threat to you and/or the children’s safety.

The best option of course is for your husband to become a Christian submitted to the Word of God. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict his heart of sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn 16:8). Ask your pastor or church leaders to witness to him, and pray for his conversion. If he is truly repentant, reconciliation is possible. Don’t submit in silence. God never intended you to.

Variety of Gifts

Tree house

Tree house

Enjoying cake

Enjoying cake

Partying with friends

Partying with friends

Playing watchmen to sound the alarm when enemy approaches

Playing watchmen to sound the alarm when enemy approaches

Family photo

Family photo

Our son-in-law is very handy. He knows how to repair cars, and fixes many
things around the house. He built the foundation for his tool sheds, and flower beds by splitting logs a foot in diameter. For his children, he designed and built a tree house from scratch, single-handedly, within a couple of weeks. He is good in photography too, and plays drums for the worship team. In short, he is very gifted with his hands.

I have a friend who is very handy too. He is an outdoors man – hunting, archery, fishing, camping, whether in trailers, tents, or even perched up in trees waiting for deer. He renovated his basement by himself, and of course fixes all kinds of furniture and gadgets. He too, is his church’s drummer, and gifted with his hands.

I am the exact opposite. I am happy when I can assemble a BBQ or a desk from components within half a day when others take only a couple of hours. I’m the only one in the family who can’t play any music instruments, and my eye-hand coordination is such that I can’t save myself if my life depended on it! Does that mean I’m useless? Not at all, because there are varieties of gifts:

1 Co 12:4-11 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Are we different? Yes. Are some unimportant? No! Just as there are many members to the body, and no part can say to another, “I have no need of you”, so no individual member within Christ’s body can live without other members. We need the same care for one another, because if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. I do wish I am more handy, but I’m glad I can do my part, even in a small way, and contribute to Christ’s body. Thanks and praise be to God.