Loving Simply and Better

Have I mentioned that we have a new church home?  Not a perfect church home of course but a healthy church home.  A church home where the Gospel is preached, where we are allowed to think for ourselves and allowed to grow in knowledge and wisdom regarding the Bible and our relationship with Jesus Christ.  We’ve heard some great sermons from our pastor and from men that are not our pastor.  This is what a healthy church looks like!  It has been time of refreshment!  Praise God our children are thriving and growing! He protected their souls during their formative years! Shane and I are thriving and growing!  Dear Jesus thank you for our new church home!

Here’s why I bring this up. Being out of where we were makes it easier to love these people from a distance.  Praise God our life is much simpler now that we’re settled in somewhere else.   Now that time has been passed and I realized even more how messed up those souls are, I can love them better.  I can pray for them more compassionately because I’m not being manipulated or attacked any longer.  Anger no longer wells up in me because I’m not watching the wolf lead that flock astray first hand. Sorrow wells up instead for all involved.  I’ve realized that I can love better without the junk in the way. Sometimes in order to live at peace we need to distance ourselves.

 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

In order for me to live at peace, this blog must go.   I won’t take it down yet, I’ll just forget it’s here. (If I can). If I can’t it’ll disappear.  At some point I may feel comfortable coming back to it, but to keep myself from the temptation to sin, I’m at least taking a break.

Since Thanksgiving,  Google Analytics has shown me that some folks who made a promise many years ago didn’t keep it.   Having that information does not help me live at peace with them.  Having this place doesn’t help me live at peace with them.  In fact, since Thanksgiving I’ve written some things that I’ve had to take down because the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin. The fact is I am too tempted to use my words to lash out.

More than anything I desire to obey God.   I’m tired of the struggle.  It’s not worth it.  It’s not worth the temptation.  It’s not worth the worry.  I’m going to simplify and maybe the same thing that happened with the church situation will be able to happen in this situation. Maybe I’ll be able to love these people better.  Maybe I’ll be able to pray for them better than I can right now.  Maybe God will bring some healing to the wounds and help me be more compassionate towards them.

Five Minute Friday?  That’s gonna go too. Even if I begin writing again, it’s not what I’m looking for any longer.  It doesn’t fit who I am.  I’m not sure it ever has and that’s okay.  It was a place where I could write and for that I am grateful.  I hold no bad feelings.  It’s just time for me to move on and find a different groove.

Will I still write?  Honestly right now I don’t know.  I’ve lost my desire.  I need to rest.  My heart is not in writing right now.   I’m not working on the book about my Uncle.  That makes me sad but it’s just not there.  I pray it returns because I really feel this is a book that should be written.  It’s a great story that I believe many people will enjoy reading.    Not because I’m a great writer but because it’s a great story!

We’ve got a writing community right her in our metro area.  I may need to get more involved there.  I just found out about a new critique group that is planning to meet a couple of times a month.  I like local and face to face.  I already know a couple of the people involved, so it may work well.

I’m a proud Momma.  Sometimes I fear I go over the top because of where my life was when I was my kids age. I was nothing like them.   I watch my kids and I’m just so stinking proud of them.  I’m proud of their integrity and of their faith, of the way they think and interact with their friends.  That was so not where I was when I was 17 or 18 or even in my early 20’s.   I am overwhelmed at what God has done and sometime I’m afraid I go over the top as I watch them in their element.  Every so often I ask one of my sons if I’ve gone too far.  He tells me I’m a little too much sometimes,  but then he says, “Mom, you do you.”

I’m taking his advice.  I’m gonna do me to God’s glory!  Right now, me is not here. Right now me is simplifying my life to remove temptation.  Simplifying my life to be able to love those that are unlovable better.  Right now I’m going to take time to rest, revive and rejuvenate.  I’m trusting that I will find my groove in God’s perfect time.   Right now I’m taking a step to lay down my life.  Jesus laid down his life on a cross for me. I’m trusting God to grow me in this area.  I’m not going to lean on my own understanding in this; God’s got this!

God be with you until we meet again,

Christy

 

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Why The Drama?

I know the topic on many of our minds is the most recent school shooting.  It is tragic when anyone dies.  It’s tragic when a child goes on a shooting spree and kills more children.  We want to know why?

The weather report came on the radio the other day.  We were having an extraordinary 60+degree day.   The meteorologist talked about a “massive” cold front coming in.  I was ready to prepare for a blizzard. The “massive” cold front meant we were going from 60’s to 40’s which is pretty normal for our area. Why the drama?

Whenever a child, dog, car, bicycle,or _______ goes missing we go to Facebook.  Forgive me if you’re one of those people that posts every missing everything, it is not my intent to offend you.

When Hillary lost the election, social media blew up with U.G.L.Y.  If you were on the wrong side of it, you got blasted by the “compassionate” people that were devastated.   Why?

Letters and/or texts sent that spew mean, nasty and rude. How does one answer them.  How does one resolve problems if numbers are blocked and communication doesn’t happen. Few seem to actually be able to talk to each other about a problem and resolve it.  It seems they’d rather cause the other person pain.

I love the Olympics.  Like many, my favorite sport has always been ice skating.  But this year, the drama with Tara L. and Johnny W. is just too much for me to handle.  The Olympics isn’t about them–they had their turn.  And while I admire them for their skating ability, their turn is over.  It’s about those skaters on the ice today.  So you know what? I’m not watching anymore.  I’ll get the news the next day and maybe watch the videos later.

Why do we need the drama?

Not only do we need it, we feed the drama.  School shootings are the most recent copycat killer series.  We’re giving these kids exactly what they want.  Days of news coverage, social media blitz’s.  These shooters get their moment of fame.  Yes, it’s in a weird backwards sort of way, but I have to believe that’s part of the why.  We share the missing _____ post in an effort to help. We blast the unknown person in the comments of a  Facebook post because a wreath their sister make them is butt ugly to us…WHY?  Why do we care? Why must we share our opinion and why must we be nasty about that opinion we shared.

Our current culture demands drama. Social media and technology make it possible for us to know more about the world around us than ever before.  Some of it is good, but much of it is downright ugly. Stress isn’t good for our bodies, yet we feel the need to bring it on.  Drama produces stress.  Everyone’s got an opinion and we don’t care who we hurt when we post it.

Maybe you haven’t noticed, but our world is not getting any nicer.  I’ve noticed drivers honking their horns more lately because I’m not rolling before a light turns green.  Drivers that refuse to move to the left lane when cars are entering the highway.   I’ve always gotten passed on our 2 lane highways but lately, I’m getting passed on solid yellow lines!  (I drive the speed limit and others want to go faster).  Few say excuse me, please or thank you anymore.

Self centered focus.  That’s what happens when we become our own gods instead of worshiping the One True God.  When we believe we know what’s right instead of looking to Scripture for what the God who created us tells us is right, we get ugly to those around us.  I’ll be the first to admit my guilt.  No, I’ve never pulled out a gun to shot someone I disagree with, but I’ve used ugly words before when I believe my rights trump someone else’s.  We all do!

When we become so focused on ourselves it can cause us to treat others as if they’re sub human.  The battle between the Spirit and the flesh is strong.  It can lead disturbed children to open fire on classmates, or former classmates, it can cause road rage, it can lead parents to treat their children in ways we never dreamed we could.

Even in our Christian culture, so many churches are more interested in a social gospel than in preaching the Gospel. In an effort to be compassionate we convince ourselves that God would never want us or others to be unhappy, that gives us the freedom to live as we please, to divorce our spouse that we “no longer love” or act out on our sexual desires when we’re not married.  Living as we please, outside of God’s law does not bring happiness.  It brings despair and hopelessness.  It keeps us running for the next thing.  It keeps us sticking our noses in the business of others instead of searching our own hearts.  It leads us to seek the drama in the lives of others so our life doesn’t look so bad.

The Israelite’s did what was right in their own eyes.  When I look around at this world today, I see many that live for what is right in their own eyes, that have little or no regard for the humanity of the world around them.  That make up their own gospel instead of seeking the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel of man that walked this earth but not only man but also fully God to take their sins upon his perfect, righteous, holy flesh to give eternal life to all who believe.

I was there once.  I “believed.”  It must be true because the little Bible I was given at the Methodist church many years ago says I asked Jesus into my heart at least 4 times as a child.  I believed in God.  I believed that He created the world.  But I had no foundation. I never opened that little Bible to actually read what it said.   I didn’t know what that belief meant.  That is why Gallup polls indicate such a high percentage of “Christians” in America.  Because most people are like I was thinking belief means that there is a God and I don’t need to do anything else.  Those people are like I was, wrong. I continued to live for myself into my mid twenties.   I recognize my former self in so many around me today.  I ran ragged.  Seeking, searching for something. I was full of drama. I was empty.  I didn’t even realize I searched for Jesus.  Until the day He opened my eyes to see and I could do nothing but run to Him!

Friends, you may be where I was.  You may even go to church every week, you may be a pastor, or teacher in your church and not realize the depravity of your sin.  You may be chasing the drama, living for yourself instead of living the Gospel.  If that is you, I pray God will open your eyes.  As one that has been on both sides, seeking and finding, I can attest wholeheartedly that living for Jesus is better than living for the drama.

If I can encourage you, please let me know.  I don’t have all the answers, but I can point you to the One that does!

Christy

 

This post is inspired by the Five Minute Friday word: why.

The Beauty of “This is Us”

I don’t watch T.V.  very much.  We don’t have cable, satellite or any other expanded t.v. options so our selections at home are very limited.  We might turn on reruns of M.A.S.H. or Andy Griffith in the evening but to sit down night after night and flip channels is something we haven’t done for decades.   Somehow we’ve found favorite shows however;  Superman: The New Adventures of Louis and Clark, Family Matters and Full House was our unwind time each weekend when we were first married.  Monk and Psych in later years on DVD because we found them well after they were on t.v.  There were some others along the way.  Home Improvement, Everybody Loves Raymond, Diagnosis Murder (yes there’s a theme here) and every so often an evening of flipping channels.

That’s how I found “This is Us.”   Of course by now I might have found it because the nation seems to be buzzing over the drama of the simple life of Jack and Rebecca.   I didn’t even know what it was when I ran across the first episode I watched, and I certainly didn’t understand the flash back scenes,  but as I watched that first night, I was hooked.  Here was a t.v. show that didn’t seem to have an agenda.  They didn’t portray the men as bumbling idiots who could barely tie their shoes without help.  It was a story of a normal family facing life every day.

This is Us is very different from a lot of programming.  It is one of the few shows where the men are not portrayed as bumbling idiots. Jack and Randall are painted as the leader of their homes and as men who make mistakes.   Toby, even though unmarried to Kate, has stepped up to be the man in her life.  He’s smart, thoughtful and supportive.  Kevin?  We’re all still waiting to see where he’s gonna land aren’t we?  Still he’s not portrayed as stupid; he’s portrayed as a man with a past that haunts him.  Those are two very different things.   I appreciate that very much.

Why does it work?

I believe “This is Us” works because of the common, real life scenarios the writers give us each week.  The  drama that comes could be our very own drama.  Every day “normal” type drama that happens in a family.  Marital ups and downs, a daughter that struggles with being confident, a son that breaks a leg playing football, even the way Jack died, I won’t give spoilers, but it is something that could happen to any of us.   There isn’t anything superheroish in either of them, it’s what parents do.  It seems superheroish because this isn’t our culture anymore.  Our culture is more self serving than other serving, in marriage in parenting, in the workplace.  But those of us that live like the Pearson’s know it’s just what you do when you’re a committed married couple in love with each other, raising kids and doing the best you can to teach them to be respectful, responsible and honorable as they grow up.  You face life as it comes, sometimes laughing until you cry, sometimes pushing through the pain for the better of the family, other times dealing with outside influences,  having late night talks with the teenagers, or “discussions” with the spouse.

This is life.

Jack and Rebecca are normal people living their life every day.  They are committed to each other and face their problems head on, together.  Even at the end of the last season when Jack leaves, you knew it wasn’t over.  You knew they’d work it out because that’s what the Pearson’s do.  They don’t bail when things get tough.  In fact, they seem to thrive in the difficult times.   That’s why Jack’s death couldn’t be climatic.  It could only be normal because that’s what the show is; normal, everyday life of a family facing life as it comes to them.   I wonder if the commitment comes because Jack didn’t have that commitment in his own home growing up?  He was strong and resilient.  He learned from his parents mistakes and decided that he would not live that way.

And then there’s Miguel. Jack’s best friend.  They had been through a lot together.  We got a little glimpse into how him and Rebecca reconnected, but we’re missing a lot there.  I for one would like to know more.  It almost seems as he’s gotten Jack’s seconds but he’s secure enough in his own skin to understand that love like Jack and Rebecca is a very rare and beautiful thing.  What he and Rebecca have definitely works for them.  He is her man.  Her support and her protector, even from her own son when necessary.  Miguel and Jack; very different but very similar at the same time.  I’m hoping the writers develop this story line a little more than they have done so far because in it’s own way the love he shares with Rebecca is also very rare and beautiful.

What it Lacks

The one aspect the program lacks is the spiritual. You never see the Pearson’s experiencing the Sunday morning  rush.  The truth is, in reality, very few families stay as committed as the Pearson’s do without a connection to God.  Without a foundation, without a moral base families generally have no reason to stay together when times get hard. It often seems easier to bail, blame the other person and find someone new than it is to stick together and fight for what is already there.

Of course I don’t know what the writers intended but here’s what I see.  Jack went through AA and has some sort of connection with a “higher power.” Does he (and the family) attend church?  Do any of them have a relationship with Jesus?  I don’t know but I do believe the “higher power” influences the Pearson home…it had to.  But we know it didn’t influence the family for a permanent heart change .  Kate and Toby are great together, but as wonderful as they are, they’re making babies and playing house instead of committing to each other. I realize this is very 21st century and I’m actually kind of glad they writers have done this. It shows the current cultural climate and I believe that’s very important.  Kevin’s life also portrays a disconnect from the spiritual realm.   “JackandRebecca”  seem to have an uncommon love.  Kevin and Sophie seem to  have that same kind of connection but they can’t seem to make it work.  They lack the commitment.  They can’t be together and they can’t be apart.  Even now I have a feeling that it’s not over…and I wonder if they’ll ever make it?  Maybe after Kevin works through some of his stuff they’ll come back together and be stronger. Randall and Beth seem to have the most stable home life of the three, which I think is interesting on many levels.  And I wonder if it’s because his personality is more determined and focused and if part of it might be because he’s faced more hardships than the olders.

The Crock Pot

I can’t not mention the crock pot.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you might want to jump over this section).  The writers gave Rival a bad wrap.  I’m not an electrician, but I know enough about electricity to know that Crock pots don’t go up in flames and burn down houses; even crock pots with faulty switches.  It might flip a breaker or blow a fuse but to flame up?  No way.  We know the smoke detector needed batteries, we know fuses blew in that old Pearson home, but again, I think it’s very ordinary.  Many families do what the Pearson’s did.  It’s not uncommon to forget to buy the batteries, or to even have  the batteries without taking the time to put them in the smoke detector.  The fact of the matter is with or without working smoke detectors everyone got out of the house alive.  But I’d like to think fewer homes are without smoke detectors or batteries this week than were two weeks ago.  Complications from the fire might have killed Jack but even now we really don’t know do we?  It seems Jacks heart might have already been weak.  If it hadn’t been smoke inhalation would it have been something else?

Wrap Up

I know I’m doing a lot of speculating for a t.v. show that’s not real.  But I’ve also watched t.v. shows and movies for years to see what can be gleaned from them, be it good or bad.  We were the parents that would stop a movie to discuss a character’s choice with our children when they were younger.  I believe our kids are the better for it.  I know I’m better for it!  Why pass up an opportunity, whether real or fake to learn from it?

I believe “This is Us” resonates with so many because either you’re living the ordinary life with a family you adore or because you wish you were living the ordinary life with a family you adore.  For me, we’re living the life.  We face most outside adversity on the same page, and we’ve certainly faced our share of it.  We strive to raise our kids to be respectful and responsible.  Each of them have made a profession of faith, been baptized or will be soon (Shane has the privilege of baptizing Tabitha this coming Sunday).   Each of our children strive to serve others before themselves.  They’ve seen their Momma and Daddy struggle with their faith and stay committed.  They’ve seen their Momma and Daddy struggle with their marriage, because ALL marriage have their moments, and stay committed  They’ve seen their Momma and Daddy stand firm and come out stronger when they’ve been attacked by those outside the walls of their home.  Shane and I have done our best to model Christ’s love to each other, to our children and to those outside our walls. Our goal in life is to glorify the One, True God.

For those that don’t have this kind of family, I pray that God can use this t.v. show to give hope that it is attainable.  I pray that it will move people to search for what is missing and turn hearts to Jesus.  I pray that God will use this show to bring people to Gospel preaching, Bible teaching churches where marriage and family is valued.   Yes!  God can even use a fictitious t.v. program with writer’s and actors that have no Christian faith to bring people to himself.   (disclaimer: The truth is I don’t know if any of them have a faith in Jesus, I haven’t seen anything to indicate it).

To God be the Glory!

Let’s Talk Tolerance

First of all.  I am mucho better this week!  Praise God for over the counter meds which when necessary knock out the creepy crud!  Please keep praying for my boy.  He boards a plane in the morning for Arizona.  He feels great right now and my Momma heart prays it remains that way.

This week’s five minute Friday word is AGREE.

Tolerance is a word that is thrown around quite often in this current culture. And it’s  true, we do need to be tolerant towards those that have differing beliefs.  However, I see a lot of intolerance in this world that speaks of being tolerant.  It seems we only want tolerance when one is tolerant of our view.  But friends, that’s not tolerance.  There are many views in the world of many different beliefs.  It seems we agree to disagree until we don’t and that is sad.  The truth is, I don’t have to agree to be friends or to love others.  I do have to answer to God and so do they.  I can share my perspective and leave it there.  I can share my belief but I don’t feel compelled to make someone believe as I do.  That’s not my job.

That’s true tolerance.  Tolerance is not saying that we can agree to disagree and then shoving our view down the throat of others.  It’s a sad state of affairs when relationships are ruined because people feel that they must force their beliefs on others.

Honestly, I’m not usually the one that has the problem.  I can disagree a lot because I know ultimately it is not my responsibility to convince others of truth. It is my job to share the truth, but not my job to make someone believe.  Unfortunately, probably like you if you are a Bible believing Christian, I’ve been on the receiving end of some terrible U-G-L-Y in the name of tolerance.   The other party usually cannot find it in themselves to agree to disagree.

STOP

That my friends isn’t tolerance, it’s being judgemental.  Funny, that’s another word thrown out by those that preach tolerance only as it agrees with their definition of the word.  As a Bible believing Christian, I find that I am often the one bending.  I’m often overlooking things that are offensive to me.  But as a Christ follower isn’t that the way it should be?  I shouldn’t expect the world to understand tolerance really.   Unregenerate sinners don’t understand, they can’t understand that I can believe something is wrong and still love the person that believes the absolute opposite of what I do and get along with them too.  It’s like I wrote a couple of weeks ago. People deserve dignity because they are beings created in the image of God.  They deserve respect because whether they believe God created them or that they evolved from some big bang millions of years ago, I know the truth.  Every intricate detail of their being was fearfully and wonderfully crafted in the hidden place by One who loves them more than anyone ever could.

Down for the count; I Surrender

I’m sick. I thought I was better yesterday evening but at 2am I realized How wrong I was. I woke up coughing and snorting and by 2 pm today I was almost ready to take a trip to the ER or Urgent Care. This is serious because I do not do ER’s or Urgent Carey less it’s really Urgent.

I can think of maybe 3 times since Shane and I married where I went for me. And one of those was when We realized that Isaac had an old inhaler for his asthma that only shows up once a year or so. It wasn’t even for me.

I was having a hard time getting a deep breath, my heart was jumping around and I could barely stand up or side down. I was trying to use the yoga breathing I’d learned at the 2 public library classes I just took. That helped momentarily but not long term.

Yes, I know I’m a wimp especially when i think of our dear friend Andrew who has faced so much more than my few hour escapade. But you must remember he’s had at least 4 years of battling this monster to adjust —maybe a little longer. Being down helps me have a little more sympathy for him except I know I’ll be better in a few days and he’ll only be better when he’s left this earth.

I fell in just a few hours.

That’s saying a lot for me. I don’t typically fall. I go natural when I can but that wasn’t helping. I try to avoid over the counter stuff but it was time. Thankfully we were abble to use a Samaritans benefit and call a doctor. Ge said flu. He recommended a couple of things (including Tamiflu which we decided against after Shane talks to the pharmacist). Praise God, I’m feeling much better this evening.

I tried to push myself yesterday. Too far. But I’ve learned by lesson. Sometimes you can push your body, and sometimes you can’t. I’m staying on the couch tomorrow no matter how good I feel!

And if you think about it, would you pray for us? No there’s never a good time to be sick but this week is extremely busy. Most of us are down. We were planning for Tabitha to be baptized Sunday, Isaac leaves for his first Teenpact Class if the season a week from tomorrow and Dad’s wife is sick on a mission trip in Nicaragua. We have a rental to get ready for a Feb 1st move date. Malachi has his cleft team meeting on Thursday and we’re hoping to go early and spend a few days with our friends.

Thanks so much!

Linking up at Five Minute Friday today.

The Sanctity and Dignity of Life

Yesterday was deemed Sanctity of Life Sunday; a proclamation made by Ronald Reagan on January 22, 1984 in recognition of the lives taken in murder in response to Roe v Wade.  Since that time it has grown to mean much more.  This is where my thoughts roam today; to the more.

We are beings created by a Holy God.  If we are among those saved from eternal wrath we are counted as righteous and holy; not because of anything we’ve done but because Christ took the sin that separates us from the Holy God himself as the perfect sacrifice.  His life atoned for our sin.  His death gives our life value.  Not only that, but the fact that he created us, each and every one of us with purpose and meaning.   This value extends to all people.

Life is sacred.  Even a “worthless” life is sacred.  A baby conceived, one with a terminal illness, a mental handicap, a physical handicap  or one so old they no longer (in our opinion) have anything to offer.  Each of these persons has worth.  A sacred worth.  Their lives formed by the hands of the Creator has value and meaning and purpose.  We may not understand the purpose, but God does and that alone is enough.

Because each life has value, because each life is sacred, each life also deserves dignity.  Each of us deserves dignity.  It doesn’t matter if we’re young or old, black or white, straight or gay, perfect or imperfectly created, a “good” person or an “evil” person.  The fact that we live and breath means we should treat each other with dignity.

Dignity

2 : the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed
(Thanks Websters!)

This doesn’t mean one person has more value than another.  This doesn’t give rise to the self-esteem movement.  No, it means that we treat each person with respect as if they are created in the image of God.  Because they are!

[bctt tweet=”Every person deserves to be treated with dignity because they are created in God’s image” username=”@mywritingplayground6″]

The fact is, we cannot dictate how others live or what choices they make.  Yes, we have laws that determine how we should live and treat others, but when it comes down to it,  no one can mandate anyone but themselves.  The truth is, there are choices that other people make that I don’t like.

Let’s make this a bit more personal.  As a parent, I’ve watched my older children make choices that I don’t agree with but I’m smart enough to know that I cannot mandate what they do or don’t do.  I can offer counsel and I often do (usually with their permission, but sometimes without). I can show compassion when things don’t work out they way they thought it would.   I can pick up the pieces after things fall apart.  But I can’t control them.  I can’t tell them what to do; that is outside my jurisdiction at this point.   Honestly, I couldn’t make them do anything when they were little either.  I could teach and train them.  I could guide them, I could discipline them and the Word of God dictates that I do this,  but I couldn’t make them do anything.

Yet there are those in this world that abuse their power, those that attempt to overstep their place of authority– groups like Westboro Baptist, parents that try to control their adult children, employers that act more like slave owners than the bosses they should be. This friends is not showing others dignity.  It is exalting ourselves to a place God never intended us to be.  You see  when we ramrod others, with words or actions, we are not showing them love or kindness or mercy.   We are showing them that we have no respect for them.

This happens when we esteem ourselves more highly than we should; when we look to the sin of others instead of to our own sin.  Paul once said that he was the chief of sinners.  It is this attitude that humbles us.  When we realize that what we did, our sin, and our sin alone is enough to nail Jesus to the cross, we stop pointing our fingers at the sin of others.   When we realize our total depravity we have no time to correct everyone else, we’re too busy correcting our own sin. Unfortunately, that’s the consequence of living in a fallen world.  It is easier to have the beam in our own eye and point at the speck in the eye of those around us.  But when we respect others and realize that we have little or no control over those outside our own person, we are showing them the dignity they deserve as human beings created in God’s image. And sometimes we find opportunity to influence.

Yes, I can know that abortion is murder and show the woman that has had multiple abortions compassion because she is a human being created in God’s image.

Yes, I can know that God’s word teaches homosexuality is wrong and treat those living that lifestyle with respect because they are human beings created in God’s image.

Yes, I can show love to the sex offender because that person too was created in the image of God.

Yes, I can be kind to those that treat me poorly because they pre-judge me because of my beliefs because that person judging me is one of God’s created beings.

Are you catching on?  Each person, whether in the womb or out of the womb, no matter what shade of brown, no matter what sexual orientation they claim, no matter what sin they’ve committed has value in God’s sight, which means they should have value in our sight.   In other words, they deserve dignity because of who God is, not because of who they are.  He gives our lives value and worth and meaning.  And when we look through the eyes of Christ we can see value in the lives of those with whom we disagree.  We can treat those people with respect and dignity an disagree with them at the same time.  In fact, we do this all the time with people we love.  It’s those people that have no name that make it hard.  But when we understand God’s word it becomes easier.

[bctt tweet=”We deserve dignity because of who God is not because of who we are” username=”@writingplayground6″]

Relationship problems come when we forget.  Or when we think we know what the “other side” believes; when we pre-judge–and both sides of any issue is guilty.  Those on the life side prejudge those on the death side.  Those on the homosexual side prejudge those on the one man one woman side.  Problems arise hen we treat others as if they’re not as good as we are or when we judge others because they don’t do, or believe or say what we think they should.  When we refuse to treat others as human beings created in God’s image (sacred).

The fact is we are ALL guilty of treating others poorly.  If you think you don’t you’re a liar, plain and simple because we ALL fall short and even the humblest person has a bit of pride.  I want to encourage all of us to look inward today and examine ourselves to see if we’re treating others with the respect and dignity they demand as human beings.  Forget their appearance.  Forget their sin.  Forget that you wish they were doing what you want them to do instead of what they want to do.  Forget the pain they’ve caused you, or the pain you think they’ve caused you.  Focus on who they are as a person formed at the hand of the Creator of all things and consider their value in this light.

Maybe it’s time to soften our hearts. Maybe it’s time to repent.  To turn away from the way we’ve treated them (whoever the them is in your life) and begin to treat them as they deserve.  (Not because of who they are, but because of who God is).

That’s my challenge to you today.  Are you treating others a sacred persons created in God’s image?  Are you treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve, not because of who they are, but because of who Christ is?  Are you willing to humble yourself and repent for behavior that has not shown dignity and respect to others, first to God and then to them if you are able?

 

This Parenting Think is too Important! We Can’t Flounder!

It’s time to gather with the gang at Five Minute Friday.  My timer is set.  Today’s word is intentional.  I’m ready: go!

We can’t leave our kids to themselves to figure out life.  Parenting godly kids doesn’t just happen it takes time and effort.  You might say, “they’re so young, they don’t understand.”  “They can’t memorize scripture at age 2”

I say, Oh yes they do and yes they can.

These little boogers are sinful beings, their life is affected by sin before they are even born whether it’s seen or not.  The child whose mother smoked, or took drugs or “nature” caused a deformity that causes a little one to be born imperfect.  Their imperfect is just more visible than the :perfect” little babies imperfect.

When we allow our children free reign because training is too hard, they grow up with no boundaries.  They’ll live for themselves not to please anyone else.  (Ask me how I know).

When we over shelter our children or make arbitrary rules in our home without meaning or explanation we set our children up to rebel.  You don’t like the word dude?  Oh well.  Get over yourself because it’s not wrong, evil or bad.  In fact, I happen to think it’s almost the perfect word.  Inflection is everything, but that’s another story.

You say they must be exposed to the world to understand it? They must experience it firsthand?  I say no.  Seeing the world without being in the world is possible.  I recently read an article where the author tells his readers that in order to teach respect of authority and the drug and alcohol culture, the author and his wife exposed their children to the T.V. show “COPS”.

This is an excellent way to be intentional in parenting.   As parents, we can’t flounder.  We can’t lay down the law.  We can’t make arbitrary rules in our homes without reason.  Our kids our too smart for that.  We must teach them and train them.  We must be like the Israelite’s when we train our children and make it a lifestyle, not a list of regulations or worse even, we must not leave our little ones without any guidance as they maneuver this sin sick world.

I realize we no longer live under the old law, but it is extremely valuable in understanding the new law.  Look at verse 5 below:  “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul mind and strength.”  Sound familiar?  Of course it does.  When we do this.  When we love the Lord in this way we will be compelled to love others as ourselves.  We will be compelled to treat others with kindness, we will be compelled to teach and train our children to love, honor and serve Christ alone and as a response to serve others first.   This entire passage is replete with God’s way to raise our children intentionally and not only that, but it also teaches us how each of us should live as we maneuver this sin sick world around us.

Love the Lord Your God

Deuteronomy 6

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

13 Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.

20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.