Friday, December 4, 2015

Put on Your Sunglasses

The conversation I had today with my 4 year old son while driving in the car.

Tommy: Dad, can we pray tonight that Jesus will come soon so that we don’t have to die.
Me: Yes we can.
Tommy: Actually, Dad, can we pray for that right now?

[So we did—while driving in the car.]

Tommy: Dad, do you think God will give me a horse when I get to Heaven?
Me: I’m not sure, Bud, but maybe He will!
Tommy: Is Jesus’ horse white or black—I can’t remember.
Me: White
Tommy: Oh, yeah.  Everything in Heaven is white—the angels, Jesus…

[He then continued, with a completely serious, almost-theological tone...]

Tommy: Oh wait, Jesus is light.  He is so bright that I’m gonna have to wear sunglasses when I go to Heaven.

Me: Yup, that’s a good idea.

[And then he put on his sunglasses in the back seat, as we continued on our way.]

Did Tommy put on his sunglasses because of the sun beaming in his eyes through the backseat window?  Or was it perhaps, because, in his child-like faith, he believed God heard our prayers and that Jesus may truly come at any time?  I’m not really sure.

But I do know this—

  1. God does hear our prayers!
  2. Jesus will come back.
  3. God wants us to look for His coming and love His appearing.
  4. God wants us to be ready always!
He wants us to put on our sunglasses.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Teengers with Smartphones Need Smart Parents

"Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds."
(Proverbs 27:23)

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers..."
(Acts 20:28)

When God entrusts to a shepherd the care of His flock, that shepherd is responsible to love, nourish, guard, and guide the sheep.  In short, he is to protect and provide.

But how can a shepherd--be he a pastor, or perhaps, a parent--properly protect and provide for the sheep if he is unaware?


Unaware of their needs.
Unaware of their feelings.
Unaware of their struggles and temptations.
Unaware of their danger.
Unaware of their doings.
Unaware of their spiritual condition.

Parents, God has called you to know the state of your flocks.  

You are responsible, not only to take heed to yourselves, 
but to the flock over which He has made you overseers.

Over the last several months, my wife and I have given much time, in thought and in discussion, to the subject of teenagers with smartphones and the subsequent absence of parental involvement, guidance, or oversight thereto.

From my observations, it seems that parents are very unaware when it comes to smartphones:

Unaware of what is readily accessible on smartphones.
Unaware of what apps and social media their teenagers are using regularly.
Unaware of how to check their teenager's smartphone for particular "red flags".
Unaware of how much time and dependency their teenager has given to his/her smartphone.
Unaware of the longterm danger afforded by unguided, unrestricted, unlimited, and unsupervised access to their smartphones.

Parents, God has called you to know the state of your flocks.

You are responsible to be aware.


1.  Become aware.  Find out from your teenager which apps and social media he/she uses.  Just ask.  Have them take out their phone, show you what the apps look like, explain how they work, and tell you why they enjoy them.

2.  Have a heart-to-heart talk with your teenager about the three T's: testimony, temptation, and trust.

  • Testimony: Make sure you explain to your teenager that our social media should be "distinctly Christian."  That means that if someone were to browse through our social media, it would be apparent--by what we post, share, or "like"--that we are Christians.
  • Temptation: Warn them about the dangers of clicking on things that could potentially compromise their purity or safety.
  • Trust: Firmly insist that they remain open and honest about that smartphone activity.  Explain to them that dishonesty and sneaking destroys trust; and when trust has been broken the consequences are long-lasting.  Tell them upfront that if they lose your trust, they will forfeit their smartphone privileges for a LONG time.

3. Get connected.  Sign up for EVERY social media that your teenager uses.  Then befriend them accordingly.  Make sure you befriend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, check out their "story" on Snapchat, and so on...

"But I don't know how to do this.  Where do I even start?"

Ask your teenager for help.  (They might even think it's cool!)

4. Check your teenager's phone.  Do it periodically.  Look at history, contact lists, texts, recent activity in social media, etc.  Always do this UNANNOUNCED.  Don't give your teenager 4-5 minutes to make some deletions before they hand it over to you.

      "Son, would you mind if I took a look at your phone?"

      "Umm, uhh, sure Dad, let me run up to my room and get it."

      4-5 minutes later...

      "Son, what took you so long?"

      "Oh, I couldn't find my phone at first...and then, umm, I had to use the bathroom."

Don't let this happen.  Make sure your "phone checks" are unannounced.

* By the way, if you don't know how to check the phone, or what to look for, set up a meeting with someone from church who can help.  (Be sure to bring the smartphone with you to the meeting--not the teenager--just the smartphone.)

5. Know all passwords.  Ask your teenager to give you the passwords for everything, including the unlock code for the phone itself.  Explain that they are to notify you first if they ever feel the need to change a password.

"Honey, I tried to get onto your Facebook account earlier today, 
but it seems that the password has been changed."

"Oh, sorry Mom, I changed it the other day because my friend was hacking 
into my account.  I was going to tell you, but I forgot."

Don't let this happen.  Parents should be notified before passwords are changed.

6. Don't let your teenager go to bed with his phone.  Have him/her turn it in at a certain time each night, perhaps 9pm.  Keep the phone in your bedroom.  When teenagers have their phone in their bedroom overnight, it leads to problems.  More often than not (and more often than you would imagine), teenagers who have their phones in their bedroom overnight are up all hours of the night on social media.  They are texting friends, posting on social media, surfing the net, and watching hours of videos on Youtube.  The effects of this are damaging physically, psychologically, and spiritually.

"But Dad, I need my phone early in the morning--I use it for my alarm to wake up."

Don't let this happen.  Buy your teenager a nice alarm clock for Christmas.

7. Answer the phone when I call you.  Establish the following rule: If the parent calls the teenager, the teenager must answer the phone.  If there is some extenuating circumstance that precludes your teenager from answering the phone immediately, then the teenager must return the call as soon as possible.  Note: It is NOT acceptable for a teenager to decline an incoming call from mom or dad, only to reply back with a text.  The teenager must answer the phone.

8. Location Services should be turned ON at all times.  For example, on an iPhone there is an app called "Find MY iPhone". This is a feature that uses GPS to allow a parent to see exactly where the iPhone--and the teenager--are located.  This should never be turned off.

9. Another rule to establish: Do not use your phone when you are supposed to be giving your undivided attention to other things (e.g., school, youth outings, church, work, etc.).  Perhaps you might also want to establish times in your home when cell phones are off limits, such as meal times or during a family outing.

10. Keep your relationship with your teenager thriving.  Don't let months go by without spending significant quality time together.  Talk, talk, talk.  Take your teenager out on a fun outing--but be sure to talk together.  Pay close attention to your teenager.  Notice any changes of appearance, attitude, or actions that seem unsettling.
  • All my son ever wants to do is be by himself in his room.
  • My daughter used to enjoy family outings, but now she just wants to stay home alone.
  • When the family is spending time together talking, laughing, and enjoying one another, my teenager just sits on the couch glued to his phone.

Don't let this happen.  You cannot let your teenager become estranged to you or the family.  Keep the relationship thriving.


If you cannot maintain these above-listed recommendations, then it might be wise for you hold off in giving your teenager a smartphone.

Remember, teenagers with smartphones need smart parents!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Son...a Missionary to Africa?

"Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people."
(Acts 5:25)

On Wednesday night of our missions conference, our keynote speaker, Dr. David Pittman, shared a heart-wrenching story of how his son Jeremy was mugged and beaten by a group of thugs while serving on the mission field of Africa.  He was bloody, bones were broken, and he couldn't even speak a coherent sentence to his mother on his cell phone because he was so badly injured.  Someone picked him up off the side of the road and, eventually, he made it to the nearest African hospital, several grueling hours away.  Dr. Pittman told how he was "stitched up" with (literally) shoe laces, and then sent back to America for further treatment and recovery.

For several long months, Jeremy and his family were off the field, as he prayed and waited to regain his health and strength once again.

The point of his illustration was not to warn people how dangerous the mission field can be, nor was it to seek sympathy for his son and other missionaries suffering "the hard life."  The point of the illustration became clear when Dr. Pittman shared the words that his son spoke once he was fully recovered:

"Dad, it's time to go back."

The day after Dr. Pittman shared that illustration, I was reading through Acts 5.  There I read how the apostles, much like Jeremy Pittman, courageously went back to preaching the gospel even after they encountered opposition and persecution.  They had been thrown into prison for preaching the gospel, the Lord then sent His angel to miraculously deliver them, and the next thing you know, they are right back in the Temple preaching Christ!  What tenacity!  What courage!  What faith!  What role models to us...and to our young, impressionable children!

Well, Thursday night (late Thursday night) I told my little son, Tommy, that I would tell him a story before he went to bed.  So I told him the story of the missionary named Jeremy, who went to Africa to tell people about Jesus.  I explained that some bad men came and were "hitting him" and "hurting him," and that he had to come back home to his parents so he could get better.  But then I told him, that when Jeremy was all better, he decided to go back to Africa, so that he could continue telling people over there about Jesus, including the bad people that hurt him.

When I was done telling the story, my soon-to-be three-year-old, with childlike innocence and sincerity,  not fully understanding "the cost" that so many missionaries have suffered, said these words:

"Dada, when I'm a 'dult, I be a missionary and tell people about Jesus!"

[Tears in my eyes right now, as I write.]

I don't know if God will call my son Tommy to be a missionary.  But if He does, I will be so honored!

I don't know if my son will have the faith and courage to follow God's calling on his life.  But if he does, I will be so proud!

I don't know if my son, my wife, or I will have to suffer great persecution for Christ.  But if we do, I pray God will use it to bring glory to Himself and salvation to many multitudes!


Thank you, Jeremy, for loving God and loving people enough to go back to Africa.

Thank you, Dr. Pittman, for loving God and loving people enough to encourage and send your son to the mission field...and then back again!

Thank you, mom and dad, for always praying for me, modeling for me, and encouraging me to trust God, obey God, and follow God's calling, regardless of "the cost."

Thank You, Lord, for using me in a small way to accomplish the mission of reaching lost souls for Christ.  

Would You please use my son like You're using Dr. Pittman's son, Jeremy?

Would You please use my son like You used Your own Son, Jesus?

"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry."
(I Timothy 1:12)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Time Flies When... 10 Years at Greater RI Baptist Temple

"Thou hast given him his heart's desire,
and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah"
(Psalm 21:2)

Today is Tuesday, October 15, 2013.  It was exactly 10 year ago today that Christy and I began serving at Greater RI Baptist Temple.

It's marvelous to look back and see how God has led us, taught us, grown us, and blessed us over this past decade.  So many changes, so many experiences, so many memories!

My, how time flies!

1. Time flies're busy for the Lord.

It's hard to answer the question that is all-too-often asked of me, "What exactly do you do?"

"Well," I have often replied, "I oversee the youth and music ministries of our church."

Then I begin to think through all that I did that day, most of which had very little to do with youth or music.

If not youth and music, then what?  Was it Angry Birds or Words With Friends?  [Proudly, an assuring "No!" can be inserted here.]

Planning activities, phone calls, answering emails, discipling new converts, studying for sermons, counseling troubled teens (or, more often, their parents), putting up the sign on Greenville Avenue, setting up cones in the ball field for a made-up teen activity later that day, reading books on theology and practical ministry, trying to figure out which comes first, faith or repentance, witnessing to a group of young men on the basketball court, pulling weeds by the flagpoles out front, praying, planning upcoming activities and sermon series, playing Wallyball, paintball, or kickball, making an emergency run to BJ's for big bags of candy, and so on...

What do I do, you ask?  I'm not really sure; but what I am sure of, is that over the past 10 years, my life has been busy, to say the least!  And thankfully so!

What a blessing to give your time to people!  Life is all about God first, and family second...but then comes people.  And I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity over the past ten years to give my life to ministering to people.

Christy and I lead busy lives--but that's on purpose!  We wouldn't have it any other way.

2. Time flies're seeing fruit in your ministry.

If only we could count up the number of teenagers who have been saved through our ministry, both in and out of the pulpit...

If only we could know how many times a choir anthem touched the heart of a downcast saint...

If only we could see the rippling effect that one piece of Biblical counsel had on a particular family...

Well, we can't see and know all that God has done through us as His instruments.  But we can read (and re-read) the notes of gratitude we've received.  We can see teenagers who are now living for the Lord as young adults.  We can hear spoken words of thanks from time to time.  And thus we can know that God is changing and salvaging lives through feeble, overrated, "earthen vessels".

And to think that God uses us--we who are mere worms--it makes the fruit of our labor seem so incomparably sweet!

We are grateful to be used of the Lord.  We are nothing.  We have nothing.  We contribute nothing, except a desire and willingness to be used by the Potter.  Despite our many failures, our lack of faithfulness to God and man, our inconsistencies and human frailties...God still blesses those who heart seeks after Him.  And that makes 10 years of ministry seem like a blink of an eye!

3. Time flies're part of a wonderful church family.

We love Greater RI Baptist Temple.  We love the building, the location, the philosophy and demeanor of its spirit...but most of all, we love the people.

We have been treated with kindness, generosity, and love...from Day One!  And to Pastor Crichton, Pastor Amsbaugh, and our entire church family, we say thank you for embracing us, helping us, loving us, giving to us, befriending us, and praying for us!

I'm not sure if our church loves us because we love them, or if we love them because they love us--probably the latter.  But in either case, we are blessed to be a part of Greater RI Baptist Temple.

4. Time flies're [finally] a parent.

The greatest blessing God has ever bestowed upon us happened on January 2, 2011.  ["Oh," one might ask, "Was it some special gift for your birthday?"  Well, it was a special gift, and we did receive it on my birthday, and it certainly did have something to do with someone's birthday...but this special blessing had nothing really to do with my birthday.

Thomas William Krampert, III was born on my birthday, nearly 3 years ago.  While we gave him my name, God gave him my complexion (red hair and blue eyes) and my birthday, marking His Personal signet on Tommy's life.

"But didn't you have to wait for many years before you could ever have a child?"

Yes, we prayed, wept, and tried to have a child for 7 years.  We went from expectant, to assuming, to hopeful, to prayerful, to doubtful, to despair--and just then, at the eleventh hour, in His perfect time, God stepped in!

"Was it worth the wait?"

What wait?

"...but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world." (John 16:21)

The "unspeakable gift" of II Corinthians 9:15 is none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for whom we are "unspeakably" thankful.

But, with similar sentiment, words cannot adequately express the depth of gratitude we have towards our Heavenly Father for hearing our prayers and giving us, upon our asking, not a stone or a serpent, but the "good gift" of our son, Tommy.

5. Time flies're loving what you do!

As a boy, I always dreamed of being a professional baseball player.  I wanted to play for the New York Mets. (Of course, looking back, I can't, for the life of me, understand why anyone would want to play for the Mets, but that's a separate subject!)

I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing something that I loved!

Well, 10 years later, I can honestly say that God has allowed me to do what I love.

I love the ministry.
I love studying the Word.
I love preaching and teaching.
I love listening and counseling.
I love making a difference.

Closing thoughts:

King David said in Psalm 21:2, referring to the Lord's bountiful blessings upon his life,

"Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah."




"Thank You, Lord, for giving me my heart's desire, and for not withholding the request of my lips."

They say, "Time flies when you're having fun."  Well, they're right!

God is faithful.  His way is perfect.  He knows best.

Have there been difficulties, afflictions, sufferings, and trials over the past 10 years?  Of course.

But, strangely, I don't seem to remember them all that well.  

Time has gone by so fast.  But in this whirlwind of life, I'm so glad that God has, by the hand, led me all the way.

    Some day life's journey will be o'er.
    And I shall reach that distant shore;
    I'll sing while ent'ring heaven's door,
    "Jesus led me all the way."

    If God should let me there review
    The winding paths of earth I knew,
    It would be proven clear and true -
    "Jesus led me all the way."

    And hither to my Lord hath led,
    Today He guides each step I tread;
    And soon in heav'n it will be said,
    "Jesus led me all the way."
    Jesus led me all the way,
    Led me step by step each day;
    I will tell the saints and angels as I lay my burdens down,
    "Jesus led me all the way."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Two Witnesses of the Church Age

"And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."
Acts 5:32

When it comes to the work of evangelism, we have the responsibility to be the Lord's witnesses.  God has commissioned us to go out and "teach all nations", "preach the gospel to every creature", and proclaim "repentance and remission of sins."  In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, "Ye shall be My witnesses."

But isn't it interesting that in Acts 5:32, God teaches us that being a witness is not only something WE's something that HE does, too!  The Holy Ghost is also a witness.

Often, we have a tendency to do one of two things:

1) We don't witness.  The reasons for such disobedience can be exhaustive, and to enumerate them all is not the purpose of this article.  The fact of the matter is that many Christians don't witness.  I wonder if sometimes the failure to "let your light so shine before men" has to do with a erroneous belief that human instrumentality is unnecessary.  "For," we might think, "God will draw men to Christ whether we share our faith or not."  And perhaps it's this deterministic view of evangelism and of the sovereignty of God--this tendency to think that the Holy Ghost alone bears the responsibility of drawing men to Christ--that salves our conscience and justifies our passivity.

2) We witness by ourselves.  That is, we view the whole process of evangelization as a work that is initiated, kindled, and pursued unto completion by we ourselves and we alone.  Soulwinners often, in their zeal to save the souls of men, forget that the Holy Spirit must convict the lost of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  The Holy Spirit must open their understanding and their hearts.  The Holy Spirit must prick their hearts.  The Holy Spirit must teach and testify in their hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.  And without these divine works of the Spirit operating in the background of a man's heart, there will be no saving faith nor "repentance unto life".

So what is the point?

1) Remember that "we are His witnesses." The Holy Spirit does His work as we do ours.  If we don't share the plan of salvation with the lost, neither will the Holy Ghost.  If we don't testify to men, He will not testify to the hearts of men.  For you see, He speaks silently as we speak audibly; He speaks to the heart as we speak to the ears.  Be faithful to preach the Word everywhere (Mark 16:20) and be "ready always to give an answer" (I Peter 3:15).  We are His witnesses!

2) Don't try to do the work of the Holy Ghost.  For one thing, you don't have the ability to bring conviction and repentance to another man's heart.  And secondly, in your zeal to convict and persuade, you might cause someone to obey YOU rather than GOD.

This can be very dangerous, especially if the "new convert" is given assurance of a salvation that he doesn't possess.  I'd hate to assure someone that he is a child of God, leaving him alone to believe he is "all set", when he is actually no less a "child of hell" (Matthew 23:15) and is in no less "danger of eternal damnation" than he ever was (Mark 3:29).

Note: It's interesting to see the contrast between those who "obey Him" (Acts 5:32) and those who "obey" men (Acts 5:36-37).  Those who obey God, thus receiving Christ through the inner-working of the Holy Spirit, are born again.  But those who obey men, after a while, scatter and disperse.  I wonder if the reason why so many professed converts fall by the wayside is that they were merely led to follow a man rather than God.

3) Remember that you're not alone when you witness.  Success in evangelism is not dependent on your abilities, experience, knowledge, or persuasiveness.  You are responsible to share the Truth--to share the gospel.  In your own words, in your own way, based upon your own experience, and with heartfelt passion, share with the lost what God has said in His Word.  Tell them that Jesus died on the cross.  Tell them that He did it to pay for our sins.  Tell them that He rose from the grave and that He's the only Lord and Savior.  And then exhort them to turn to Him, believe on Him, and call upon Him to be their personal Savior.

The rest is up to your Partner.

A Virtuous Woman (Reflections on my mother, based upon Proverbs 31)

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies...her children arise up and call her blessed."
Proverbs 31:10, 28

Virtuous women are scarce.   They are far less common than precious gems.  On any given day, you can go to the local mall, and find dozens of rubies, emeralds, and even diamonds—all out on display at one of several jewelry stores.  But not so with virtuous women.  I would dare say that, on any of the 365 days of the year, given the task of seeking out virtuous women, you would be hard pressed to find a mere handful.  The dearth of virtue among ladies of this culture reminds me of the absence of righteousness in ancient Sodom and Gomorrah.  God had promised that He wouldn’t destroy those two cities if only there could be found ten righteous people; but alas, ten couldn’t be found.  The same is true today of virtuous women—very difficult to find because very few exist anymore.  Thus, if you ever happen to find and know one, you know she is precious!

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,
 so that he shall have no need of spoil.

Faithfulness is one of the salient attributes of God.  It is because of His faithfulness (i.e., His trustworthiness) that we can entrust to Him our hearts, completely and without reserve.  To trust in God is not to exhibit some excellent quality of my own, but rather to recognize the excellent quality of trustworthiness in my God.  The same is true of a virtuous woman—the very fact that a husband can safely trust in her reflects her character of purity and devotion, and yes, trustworthiness.  A man who is married to a virtuous woman never worries about her fidelity.  He never fears her absence.  Other men aren’t threats to him, not because of who he is, but because of who she is.  She gives no hint of betrayal; for she has made a covenant in her heart to stay true.  And this her husband knows.

12 She will do him good and not evil
 all the days of her life.

So many men find their wives to be a burden, so few a blessing.  A virtuous woman is a blessing to many in general, but especially to him in particular.  How common it is for a wife, through the wearing down of time, to become selfish and indifferent to her husband!  So many young ladies start out in marriage eagerly excited to make their husbands happy, but end up distancing themselves from their husbands, focusing on their own self-interests and hobbies.  But the virtuous wife is committed to doing her husband good for all the days of her life. 

In all of this, the children of a virtuous woman are educated, conditioned, and molded by her life.  They learn from her qualities, and, as they grow older and gain life experience, they begin to deeply understand how remarkable their mother is!

They find that the good qualities that have propelled them in life are qualities they learned from their mother.  They find that so much of what makes life difficult, confusing, and distasteful stems from a lack of virtue in the world.  And this they know, because they were immersed into a home where virtue was modeled and made prominent by their mother.

Children of a virtuous woman see the depravity of man more clearly than others; for the selfishness and pride of this world stand in stark contrast to the thoughtfulness and humility of the one who crafted their character.  The hatred and violence of the world is so loathsome to those who have tasted the sweetness of a tender and loving mother.

The children of a virtuous woman know they have a precious gift from God.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax,
 and worketh willingly with her hands.

A virtuous mother teaches by her example first, and her words second, that hard work is to be eagerly accepted.  She is like the Proverbial ant, who needs no ruler or overseer to ensure his diligence in a task.  Her work-ethic transcends the industrious success stories of the corporate world; for they do it for a reward, but she, for others.

14 She is like the merchants 'ships;
 she bringeth her food from afar.
 15 She riseth also while it is yet night,
 and giveth meat to her household,
 and a portion to her maidens.

A virtuous mother puts the needs of her family before the needs of her own body.  She suffers while they sing.  She aches while they dance.  She prays while they play.

16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it:
 with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

The niceties of home are not by chance.  Gardens don’t just appear.  And so often, it is the calloused, thorn-pierced hands of a virtuous mother that plant the vineyard from which the family drinks the juice.  It takes planning, risk, sacrifice, and toil.  And so shamefully often, the recipients of the fruit never realize, consider, or appreciate the work of the one who planted the vineyard.  Yet—she will plant again next Spring, and will so continue for as long as her hands can work.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength,
 and strengtheneth her arms.
 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good:
 her candle goeth not out by night.
 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle,
 and her hands hold the distaff.

How rare to find a woman who is strong for the sake of serving!  Many there be of women who spend countless hours and innumerable dollars to be fit.  They work out, they exercise, they join fitness programs, they train, they discipline themselves.  But for what? 

A virtuous woman is strong, not only because she serves her family, but in order to serve them.  She takes out trash, moves furniture, and works in the yard.  She scrubs floors, hangs Christmas lights, and carries children in her arms.  And though she’s weak, she doesn’t faint.  Though she tires, she doesn’t quit.  Though it hurts, she doesn’t relinquish her responsibilities as the “keeper” of her home.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor;
 yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

She is compassionate.  She sees not that the poor are deserving of their poverty; but that she is no less deserving than they.  She doesn’t avoid the needy; rather, she tries to find them.  She is not afraid to touch the afflicted and diseased, for she knows that the brutality of the plague is most heavily felt, not by infirmities of the flesh, but by loneliness of ostracism.  “Blessed are the merciful”—it’s true, and the virtuous woman knows it.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household:
 for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry;
 her clothing is silk and purple.

Fashion is not her thing.  Yet she fashions herself in a way that clearly identifies her character.  She is chaste, thus she covers herself.  She is a lady, thus she wears silk.  She is honorable, thus she chooses the color of royalty.  She doesn’t “dress to impress”—that’s not her goal.  Yet she makes an impression on all that see her!  And what is it that people see?  Virtue!  Virtue!  Virtue!  What a contrast to what the discerning eye can see of the pride and vanity that women shamelessly display by their obsession with style and fashion!

23 Her husband is known in the gates,
 when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

Some men are just lucky!  At least, that’s what her husband’s co-workers think!  While most men don’t have time enough to recite all of the grievances and heartache engendered by their wives, the husband of a virtuous woman can only share with his colleagues the marital blessings occasioned by his beloved.  He can’t partake in their griping, for to do so would make him a liar.  And when they see his freshly pressed clothes every day, and his lunch sack chock full of the homemade goodies he loves, and when they observe her stopping by the office just to tell him she loves him, and when they see all of the homemade cards made by his children plastered all over his office—the men in the gates, the elders of the land, know—they know—that he is a blessed man!

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it;
 and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
 25 Strength and honour are her clothing;
 and she shall rejoice in time to come.

Women who live for themselves rejoice for a season.  They laugh, sing, and dance…but then the night falls.  The virtuous woman bites the bullet for now, so that she can laugh in the end.  The mourning of the night is replaced by the joy of the morning.  When she sees that her husband has been raised up…when she sees that her children have been trained up…when she sees that the poor and needy have been lifted up…then she will rejoice!  And this she knows, and this she believes, and this is that for which she continues.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
 and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Law is a strict governor.  There is no variance in law.  And a virtuous woman has in her tongue the law of kindness!  She is not critical.  She is kind.  She is not harsh.  She is kind.  She is not demeaning or venomous.  She is kind.  She doesn’t seek to slander, embarrass, or cut down; for she is kind.  She doesn’t mock or ridicule; for she is kind.  She doesn’t use her words to punish, threaten, or intimidate; for she is kind.  Kindness is the law of her tongue. 

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household,
 and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Her focus is not on herself but on others, especially those of her household.  She doesn’t waste time that could be otherwise utilized for the well-being of her family.  She is not a couch potato, she’s not addicted to soaps, and she doesn’t sacrifice involvement with her family so she can be involved with the lives of fictitious characters on television.  She is more concerned about what is going on in the lunchroom, the locker room, and the bedroom of her child—far more so than what is going on in the Middle East, the White House, or the Superbowl.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed;
 her husband also, and he praiseth her.

They can do no other.  And it’s not a coincidence or luck on their part.  It is because they were blessed of the Lord to have a mother who is unlike most.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously,
 but thou excellest them all.

There’s a big difference between doing virtuously and being virtuous!  The virtuous woman is not virtuous because of what she does; she does virtuously because of who she is.  Most sons believe their mother is “the best”; but the son of a virtuous woman knows his mother is the best, for she “excels them all!”

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
 but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands;
 and let her own works praise her in the gates.


 These reflections of Proverbs 31 were not occasioned by a desire to give textual commentary; rather, the purpose for these expressed thoughts was to give honor to the virtuous mother with which God has blessed me.

Nancy Krampert is a virtuous woman.

She is everything that these twenty-two verses depict.  Anyone who knows her, including those who are closest to her, knows this to be true.

She is faithful.  Never has anyone in our family ever doubted her loyalty to us or to God.  She never quits or rests until she has finished the task.

She is diligent.

She is strong.

She is a lady.

She is known in the gates.

She is kind.

She is virtuous, and she is to be praised!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Why Does It Seem Like Such a Process for God to Answer My Prayers?

...because, most of the time, it is!

"And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies." 
Exodus 12:51

We pray to the Lord.
We know He hears us.
We believe He is able.
We trust He will answer.


Yet, so often, as we're praying, we forget to remember that God's answers are often accomplished through a series of events--a process.

On that glorious day, when the children of Israel were finally emancipated from 400 years of slavery, they triumphantly marched out of Egypt, experiencing the long-awaited, miraculous deliverance of God!

It's interesting to recall, however, that there were many necessary components in the process through which God wrought their deliverance.

The expulsion of Moses from the palace.
The keeping of Jethro's sheep in the backside of the desert.
The burning bush and God's call upon a man "slow of speech."
The increase in Egyptian brutality upon the Israelites.
And of course, the ten plagues.

Altogether, there was undoubtedly much fear and much doubt, as the children of Israel "sighed by reason of their bondage."

In Exodus 12:51 the Bible says that God "did" bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt!

He did hear them.
He did deliver them.
He did do what He had promised.
He did prove Himself faithful.

He did!  He did!  He did!

But do you realize that it wasn't until ten chapters later that God did what He did?!  You see, the deliverance of Exodus chapter twelve was the answer to the prayers offered up all the way back in Exodus chapter two!

"And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them." (Exodus 2:23-25).

There was a long duration of time between Israel's cry for deliverance and God's apparent answer to their cry.  But in that "meantime" there was a lot happening!

God was at work.  God was moving.  God was getting things ready.

Is there something for which you are praying?  Something for which you have been crying out to God?  Do you feel like He's not listening?  Are you tempted to think your prayers are being ignored, or worse yet, that your problems are too big for Him?

Be're probably living in "the meantime" and the process leading up to deliverance has begun!

We don't know all that He's going to do, or when He's going to do it.  But we do know this:

He hears us.
He loves us.
He knows what we need.
His timing is perfect.

And in the "meantime" there is a series of events--a process--that must take place as God works all things together for our good!

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6:9