Saturday, August 30, 2008

Someone else's observation . . .

but it works for me.

"I can handle anything that life throws at me - I may not be able to handle it well, or correctly, or gracefully, or with finesse, or expediently-but I will handle it."

I know that I feel that way when I don't let God handle it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Evil Bunnies Part Tres

And so, they took over the world. Knocked the President out of the White House and painted it pink. That made it the pink house. They really don't know why they colored it pink. But they tried and tried and tried to get the good bunnies to go evil.

You have now been tagged. What is your silly story?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Courtship

A dear friend has asked about the above subject. It has intrigued me for a while. Her situation is very different than mine however; her family is all boys and mine is all girls.

In looking at the online world for information, there are courtship stories out there for marrying age singles but I have found precious little regarding teens. (which my friend and I both have)

I have asked several sources for information but nothing has come through as yet.

I have looked at books in the library with little success.

I have prayed about this subject as well. I know that the dating scene as I knew it was not godly. In fact, God was never mentioned at all.

If we are raising Christian children to live godly lives, we should consult the authority; God. What does His Word say about this subject? Song of Solomon is about the pursuit of and response to lovers. It is not without respect for each other. If you look at the epistles to the churches, there are instructions for the husbands and wives, parents and children, young and old. Nothing specifically regarding choosing a mate other than being not unequally yoked.

From what I can understand, God wants order. God wants us to love Him. God wants us to love each other like He loves us. We will account for our conduct someday. Not so hard, right?

Wrong. Not everyone understands God's order. Not everyone loves us like He does. Some people think "Oh, they will never know."

Our children need to understand God's Word and the fact that the "world" doesn't align with it.

Let's look at what God wants.

Order. The man is in charge. I know, not a popular stance but it's true. It puts him in charge of the pursuit. The woman is to respectfully respond to that pursuit.

Once the woman has agreed to be pursued, the man and the woman need to seek God regarding the other person. Friendship and mutual interests should ensue. If it does not, the pursuit should end.

If the friendship and mutual interests are strong enough, then more God seeking needs to happen regarding lifelong pursuit. God's pursuit of us is lifelong.

During this time, no matter how it ends, have you done anything to cause someone else to stumble? Have you grieved the heart of God?

How does this effect teens today?

It is a very different view of how dating is presented by the world. Talking whenever you want (ie, cell phone, email, text), unsupervised time alone and no accountability. Without being indelicate, you know where this might lead. You also see how advertising plays sexuality in the media. We don't need to go there either.

You can see that these scenarios are vastly different. How do we make sure our children are acting in accordance with the principles of the Bible? We pray and set up guidelines for them that line up with God's Word. We enforce some unpopular things.

I am still formulating my plan for my girls. It is something my husband and I will have to discuss at length.

I think that we will be having lots of group dates, parent chauffeuring, and talking (until we are both sick of it).

Another homeschooling mom has a book for her very young daughter about her first kiss and how precious it is. In the end it purity that wins her first kiss. I hope that this sinks in for my girls.

I know that it would have made my life a lot simpler.

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's all about ATTITUDE.

I've been thinking lately about how hard life has gotten. I know, I know pity-party city. OK. Enough of that!

The Bible instructs us to give thanks in EVERYTHING. (1Thes 5:18) That means ALL things. Even when things are not going the way I think they should there is a reason to give thanks. I need to find the reason to give thanks even if it is just that I am still breathing.

Think about it. I am still breathing. If I weren't breathing, I wouldn't be alive. Most of us still want to be alive even if we are going through something terrible. So there is reason to be thankful.

As I heard preached recently, I need to focus on what is left in my possession NOT what I think I want or need. We won't even get into coveting!

Thank you Jesus for my health, my sanity;), my family, a roof over my head, a car to drive, food on my table, and friends like you.

Have I really . . .

posted 100 entries? Yes, it seems I have! I was doing some clean up maintenance and noticed that there were 100 entries since I started blogging.

Boy! A lot has changed since December 11, 2006. Some good, some bad but God is still in control.

Can't wait to see what the next 100 entries bring!

Thank you for clearing that up.

If anyone is confused about homeschooling, please visit my friend, Shelly's blog here.

Can you tell we homeschool?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Parenting for Purity

In light of my last post, immorality needs to be addressed on both sides.

What is appropriate? What would Jesus do? Courtship vs. dating.

Here are some folks who have addressed these issues.

Single?

This is from Family.org and their webzine Boundless.

Makes you think doesn't it? Should we be reviewing Song of Solomon?

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Pursue Her
by Drew Dyck

Have you ever heard the fairytale about the princess in shining armor? You know the story. She crosses an ocean, slays a dragon and rescues the man she loves?

Wait. You've never heard that one?

OK, neither have I.

Why? Because fairytales are always the other way around — the man fights for the woman. He takes the risks. He battles the beast. He pursues her.

Now I realize that fairytales are stereotypical, admittedly even a little sexist. But they do contain a measure of truth. These whimsical tales we learn as children mirror a deep-seated longing in the soul of every man and woman.

This article isn't about fairytales. I bring them up only to highlight what I see as a growing problem in the church: young Christian men unable (or unwilling) to actively pursue a potential spouse. Rather than saddling up the proverbial steed, many guys seem to be languishing in the tower, waiting for their princesses to stumble upon them.

If that's you, then I have some no-nonsense advice — it's time to man-up and take the lead in the romance department. And don't hide behind the whole too-holy-for-love fa├žade. When you meet "the one," pursuing her with all your heart is the most spiritual thing you can possibly do.

Let me explain.

Recently I was talking to a godly, attractive and single woman. She was exasperated.

"What's wrong with Christian guys?" she asked me. "They never go after you!"

She was getting plenty of attention from men outside the church, yet the guys at her congregation seemed reluctant to be much more than friends.

A few weeks earlier I had received an e-mail from a young man looking for advice. His questions echoed the problem I'd heard lamented from the other side of the gender divide. My interlocutor was plagued with, what seemed to him, insoluble questions: Should he date a woman from church? If so, how could he be sure he was going for God and not girls? And what if things didn't work out? Would he be able to go back?

Talk about over thinking it!

Those are just two anecdotes, but they reflect a larger trend. In her new book Where Have All The Good Men Gone? A.J. Kiesling reports her findings from an in-depth survey of 120 single Christian women. What was their most common complaint about men? Kiesling reports: "Over and over I heard the words, 'I wish men would step up to the plate and take a risk in asking me out.'"

Here is feedback that Kiesling she received directly from real-world single Christian women about Christian men.

"God didn't create you to be passive. Pursuit seems to be obsolete, but we still want to be pursued."

"It seems like men aren't willing to take the risk of asking a woman out, since they don't have to anymore. There are plenty of women who will chase them, yet, I won't. I want them to pursue me."

"Quit saying, 'I'm waiting on God to bring me my future mate.' What a cop-out! You're scared, and you're afraid of being hurt or rejected and — gasp! — you might be tempted to have sex!"

So why are Christian men not stepping up to the plate? What's behind this trend? I think there are at least a couple of factors.

First, our increasingly politically correct culture tells guys that women have equal responsibility when it comes to initiating the relationship. These days women are encouraged to be more aggressive while men risk appearing domineering if they get the ball rolling.

But here's the rub. While such political correctness is peddled in higher education and the media, it usually doesn't apply in the real world, where women still appreciate a man with the gumption and guts to make the first move. Kiesling writes, "The world may have moved on, become hip and high-tech and politically correct, but old-fashioned values persist in our very make-up." Part of that make-up is a desire to be pursued. There are ways that women can encourage men to initiate a relationship, but that's a topic that the highly skilled Boundless regulars have covered well.

The second factor is even more pervasive and hazardous to single Christian guys. An exaggerated sense of spiritual propriety can also prevent relationships from forming. I've met a lot of guys who seem to equate romantic passivity with spiritual superiority. In these cases the thinking goes something like this: If I wait and pray patiently, God will drop a woman right into my lap.

Such guys could use some advice from my 88-year-old grandfather. He might seem like an unlikely source of dating wisdom, but he gave me a talk during my single days that I think every Christian guy needs to hear.

My grandfather is a retired pastor. Most of his time he spends deep in prayer with a huge King James Bible splayed open on his lap. When he broached the topic of women with me, I wasn't sure where he'd go. Would he urge caution? Exhort purity? Instead he pointed to a verse that I knew well, Proverbs 18:22: "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord."

I knew finding a wife was a good thing. Was he trying to rub it in that I was still single?

No, he was pointing out that the verse implied that I had a responsibility in making it happen.

His mouth turned up at one edge.

"Find," he pointed out, "is a verb."

Lesson learned.

When I met my future wife, I knew it was my responsibility to initiate the relationship even though I was scared to death to make the first move. I still remember showing up at her doorstep with flowers in my trembling hands.

I believe it's the man's responsibility to initiate the relationship. But that statement comes with some serious qualifiers. Though it is the guy's job to pursue, that does not negate God's role. God is still the best matchmaker. We should never rush into relationships by running roughshod over the leading of His Spirit. Only after prayer and careful consideration should we proceed.

It's equally important that we be sensitive in reading women's signals. Women want us to be proactive, but when the romantic feelings are not mutual, being aggressive is not cool — it's creepy. If your advances receive chilly receptions, do not soldier on. Doing so will likely only fortify — not wear down — her defenses. Back off and behave like a brother. Once you've made your intentions clear, the ball is in her court. She'll let you know if her feelings change.

But if you're one of the myriad men sitting on the fence too scared or too "spiritual" to pursue a woman, it may be time to man-up and make a move. I know taking risks can be daunting. But often the most rewarding journeys begin with uneasy and faltering steps.

God created you to be a pursuer. So next time God brings a godly woman into your life, don't sit around twiddling your thumbs. The love of your life could be passing you by!

Copyright 2008 Drew Dyck. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. This article was published on Boundless.org on May 16, 2008.

Unpopular but Biblical

This is from Paul Burrell at Shepherd's Hill. A touchy subject but again a very important one. We are to love the sinner but NOT his sinful actions. We need wisdom to call sin as it is and not attack the person. It can be done in love.

Unconditional Love?

I appreciate the new readers who have written to us. When I write the message each week and see the counter go up, I know that it’s being read but don’t know if it makes any impact on lives. When I get an actual person stating that it affected them I feel encouraged. After all, no one would keep planting seeds if they didn’t see any plants coming up. They would change what they were doing after establishing that the effort was unfruitful and plant different seed or in another place. Each week we get emails from all over the world and I am amazed at how God’s Word is moving.

I have been carefully listening to a lot of news and trying to understand what is happening to our world. It seems that there is no good news at times and I know that it is just human nature to spread the bad and hide the good. Shocking news stories always get ratings so there is more of that told than the plain stories of neighbors helping neighbors.


This week in my quest to understand what our country is doing politically I was listening to National Public Radio. I have to say that looking at its title, one out of three is really bad as they are radio, but they are neither national nor public. They are an international news oriented radio station. They are not run in the best interest of the public but rather to change how the public thinks and to make them be more like the rest of the world. We are constantly compared to other nations in a negative light and our society is always looked at as being behind the times of what more liberal countries are doing. I don’t understand having a radio station that is publicly funded and yet pushing the agenda of liberals who are in the minority.


Anyway, I digress. A “human interest” story came on this morning as I traveled to a meeting I had in Birmingham. I listened as a man told about coming out of the closet and how his father had just brushed it off in saying that he was proud that his son was honest and didn’t hide things. This man’s mother did have a problem with this “lifestyle” (that makes it sound less like an abomination doesn’t it?) but on her deathbed she told him that she loved him un-conditionally. The man ended in tears and said that it was the greatest gift that she could have given him.

It seems to be a trend in churches to begin to preach something that isn’t complete truth and then the devil lays hold of our approach and catches us in a trap. Let me explain. It wasn’t long ago that sin was called sin from the pulpit. A new doctrine began to be preached that said that God had unconditional love for all and He just wanted to be regarded as your “religion” and then you would go to heaven. We have over eighty percent of the people in this country who claim to be Christian. That number doesn’t match the immorality and decadence of sinful agendas which are being elected in the name of financial help. In other words, people are voting for politicians who stand for un-godly morals but try and say that they have a better financial plan than their opponents. They are choosing immorality over morality because they think it will make them better off in the long run.


This story that I shared above gave way to some scripture that gets ignored and others which are misinterpreted. Let’s look at something today that the liberal denominations present as scriptural basis for their actions.


First, there is Luke 6:37. Jesus says that we shouldn’t judge or condemn so that we wouldn’t be likewise. I can see where one could misread this if it were the only scripture in the Bible that was read. Never, I repeat, never make a doctrine out of one verse without seeing if it agrees with all of scripture. If no one was to ever say anyone was in sin why did all the Apostles do it for the rest of the Bible? John the Baptist lost his head for standing up for righteousness and Jesus said that there was none greater born of women (Matt 11:11). Paul was thrown in prison for casting a demon out of a woman (Acts 16:16). In our times he would have had a hefty lawsuit for ruining the business of a fortune teller or even implying that the woman had a demon. So we cannot look to that verse as meaning we should never say anything was sin.


In John 7:24 Jesus said that we are not to judge according to appearance but rather to judge righteous judgment. If Luke 6:37 meant that we should never judge and then Jesus tells us to judge righteously it would mean that there is a contradiction here. Of course, we know that there is no contradiction in the Word of God as it is perfect. What happens is, we as imperfect people don’t understand it sometimes and make mistakes.


Look again at another passage. In 1st John 4:16 we see that God is love. It is a line that could pass through most of the world as being wonderful and true. It leaves one feeling that God is love and only love. We might try and throw away the rest of the Bible and hold to this one verse. God is love! Shout it from the mountaintops because God is love!


Well, He is love but He is also Holy. He is also righteous. He is also never changing. He is the same God that judged the sin of Achan in Joshua chapter 7. He opened up the ground and swallowed up the rebellious in Numbers 16:31-32. And, yes, He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin of homosexuality (Genesis chapter 19). If we read that God is love and only think about this facet of the diamond then we fail to see God for who He is.


The man who cried on the radio this morning told about unconditional love. It is a term that has been used with the kind of love that Christians are supposed to have. But is it? Are we supposed to have unconditional love for people and just accept them? There are many passages to pick from but I will show one for church discipline.


In Matthew 18 Jesus tells how sin should be handled. In verse fifteen He says that if one sins (trespasses) against you that you should go and speak to him privately. Then if he will not listen you are to take one or two others. If that doesn’t work you are to bring it before the church. If he will not hear the church then he is to be regarded as a non-believer (heathen).


This certainly does not go along with the way some interpret “judge not” does it? And unconditional love? By the world’s definition of it we should just overlook a trespass. Well, we are to love our enemy (Matt 5:44). Loving them also includes caring about whether they go to Hell or not. If we ignore sin and tell someone that God loves them even if they continue in it we love them right into Hell.


When I was young I had a tendency to think that I knew more than many. I dealt with electricity and lethal voltages and figured that I had never had a problem so I must be handling it safely. I found out that screwdrivers could disintegrate right in your hand! After that if someone told me that a circuit was hot and that I needed to either wear my gloves or kill the circuit I listened. If we’d just realize that the warning of sin is to keep you us from suffering we would gladly hear the message!


This unconditional love that is preached comes from several passages that people latch onto. Another is in Romans 5:8. While we were still in sin Christ died for us. He loved us even though we were in sin. Before there was anything good in us He died for us. In a sense, that is unconditional love. But read also John 14:21. Those who love Jesus keep His commands and are loved by God because of it. Look at Matthew 10:32-33. If we confess that Jesus is Lord then He will confess us before God. But if we deny Jesus before men then He denies us before the Father. We believe that Jesus confessing us before the Father means that He will stand and defend us no matter what accusation satan brings against us. If that is the definition of “confess” then we must stand up for Jesus and defend our belief before men no matter what accusation men bring before us. We wouldn’t dare to think that Jesus would half-heartedly defend. Neither should we stand for Jesus only on convenience nor when there is no real challenge to our faith. It also means that if we don’t stand for Jesus and what He is then He will not stand for us.


The unconditional love that was preached years ago now bring stories like the man I mentioned above who came out of the closet. Satan now brings it back on us since we brought it up first. It’s a path we should have never started down since we didn’t look to where it would lead us. If we fight an enemy and leave an opening he will fire a shot in it. This new “anything goes” doctrine of open doors and open minds is beginning to backfire on the church. While it may sound nice to say that a loving God would never send someone to hell we fail to see that He has made a way so that no one has to go. The Gospel is for everyone! God does have unconditional love for everyone. But He showed that love toward man when He sent His son to die in his place. We are misinterpreting unconditional love to mean that God doesn’t care if we sin because it won’t separate us from Him. If it doesn’t matter then why did Christ die a cruel death on a cross?


I often use marriage as an example of our covenant with God. If I said that my wife would love me no matter what I do I would be correct to some degree. But if I never came home or did an unthinkable crime then the love might be there but the relationship wouldn’t be. If I left her for another woman I doubt that she would feel the same way.


What am I trying to say? Do we suppose that we can live a sinful life and at the Day of Judgment we stand before Him and remind Him that He loves unconditionally? Do you think He will just wink at us and realize that He didn’t have to send His Son to die for us after all and invite us into Heaven? There is no way that will happen.


You see, God does love us unconditionally. He loved us first and showed us by giving up His son. The question is, do we love Jesus? The unconditional love that we need to focus on is ours. We must love God unconditionally or we will never see Heaven. Jesus is the way to Heaven. He is the only way. That is the condition that God requires. God didn’t create Hell for us but for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41). It’s our choice if we go there. His love cannot override your will. It’s just like the warnings I received about the high voltage. I could choose to heed the warning and realize that the messenger cared about me or I could be arrogant and decide that they were trying to keep me from having fun and that there was another way to do the job. You are loved today! God said it with His action of sacrificing His Son, Jesus. He doesn’t want you to go to hell.


2nd Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Receive Him Today!