Sunday, November 30, 2008

11/30/08 - Hardworking

The second of the three qualities my dad said were important to look for when finding a mate is: hardworking.

The way I would describe a hardworking person is: dedicated, honest at their job, willing to go the extra mile, doesn't look for ways to get out of work, willing to work hard even when the boss is not watching, doesn't complain about work, and is humble in their work ethic.

Life is filled with hard work! God put Adam to work before the fall. Work is part of God's plan for us. Work should not be seen as a curse!

I believe a man should provide for his wife and family and this is why having a hard work ethic is very important. (I understand some of you may not agree with me, but I am a complementarian in roles of men and women, not egalitarian.) I also believe a woman should know the importance of a hard work ethic. If a woman works or is a full time homemaker, life is filled with work, hard work!

Again this is a quality you can observe in someone without becoming emotionally attached to them. It's easy to spot those hardworking people! They are the most enjoyable to work with because you know they are not going to slack on anything!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

11/29/08 - Teachable

My dad is a wise man! I am thankful that he gave me many nuggets of wisdom to "chew" on as I prepared for marriage.

There were three qualities that my dad said were essential in looking for a mate. Over the next three blog posts I will share what those are, but for today we'll start with the first one: teachable.

(I will say that these qualities are aside from our future husband's walk with the Lord. That, of course, was the utmost important thing to find in a mate!)

This morning as I was reading the Proverbs of the day, I started with this verse in Proverbs 29:1 "He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing."

I stopped and meditated on this verse. This describes someone who is not teachable and is stuck in their ways. The outcome of not being teachable is quite frightening, to say the least!

What does being teachable look like? For starters, it is a man who is able to take advice or seek out counsel. He doesn't think that there is just one way for something to happen, but is willing to see something from another perspective. He doesn't get easily frustrated when things don't go exactly how he wants them to go.

This is a quality you can observe in someone that you are just friends with. You don't have to become emotionally attached to someone to see if they are teachable or not. This is also a quality to be working on yourself! Because in marriage it is all about being teachable and selfless!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

11/26/08 - Nothing Left

When you get to the end of your life, what do you want to have held back for yourself?

What was Jesus' example? He didn't hold anything back for himself! He gave, gave, gave, and then gave some more!

Lately, as I ponder the life of Christ, I realize that a Christ-like life, is a life totally poured out. It means not thinking of myself or my comfort at all. It means thinking of others as more important than me.

Practically, I've seen how God has worked this in my life lately. I selfishly want to do something, but in order to think of someone better than myself, I do what would please them. It's tough! It's not a lot of fun, but the pay off is to live before God with a pure heart and a clear conscience!

Let me just say, so there is no confusion, I believe in boundaries. I believe in saying "no" if my husband or family will suffer by me being too busy. However, most of the areas that God challenges me in this area are little acts, not huge time sacrificing!

So this is my goal: live my life poured out for the sake and glory of our Lord and Savior!

Monday, November 24, 2008

11/24/08 - Does emotional purity mean no pain?

Are you sold on the idea of emotional purity because you fear being hurt? Or because you've been hurt in the past and there is no way you're going to let that happen to you again?

Although I believe, in the long run, practicing emotional purity will save you heartache, should this be the number one reason people strive for it in their life? I don't think so.

We don't obey and follow God's call to just avoid pain or hurt. At times God will use our deepest hurts and pain to draw us closer to Him. He will make Himself more alive in our hearts when we're "walking through the valley of the shadow of death".

When I think of some of the greatest lessons I've learned in my walk with God, they haven't come from the happy, rosy moments of life, but the heart breaking and painful moments. It's in times like these that we come face to face with out own humanity, our own sin, and our own fragility.

So don't cling to the concept of emotional purity to just avoid pain. Cling to the concept of purity for the glory of God!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

11/22/08 - Moral Relativism

"What works for you works for you; what works for me works for me."

"I don't think it's right, but who am I to tell someone else not to do it?"

"Don't tell me what to do and I won't tell you what to do."

"Really you should just mind your own business, because it's not your place to judge."

These are a few ways we express moral relativism in our society. We have adopted this attitude that whatever you want to do should be okay and we have no right to impose our biblical standard (truth) on anyone.

I appreciate what John Piper says about relativism: "The claim that there is no one standard for truth and falsehood that is valid for everyone is rooted most deeply in the desire of the fallen human mind to be free from all authority and to enjoy the exaltation of self." (You can read his entire lesson on "The Challenge of Relativism")

To clarify, I am not talking about issues that are non-essential. Christians often fight over whose standard needs to be followed, but I am talking about issues that are essential.

I believe we don't want to say, "This or that is wrong" is because then we open ourselves up to being under the authority of Truth.

We, as Christians, must examine areas where we've allowed ourselves to say, "Well, I don't agree with that and I think the bible clearly says it's wrong, but who am I to say anything about it, after all, if it's good for them, it's good for them. I would never do it, but I can't judge."

How do you believe this mindset has filtered into the church?

Friday, November 21, 2008

11/21/08 - Pure Joy, Pure Freedom

There is pure joy and pure freedom in living your life in such a way, you never fear being caught or living in shame. You walk with a clear conscience before God and man.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

11/20/08 - Obedience

In my bible study this week I read this quote:

"The wise person is obedient to the Word of the Lord. He chooses to build his life on hearing and doing the will of God. When trials and temptations assault him (as they will), he does not fall. He is secure because his foundation is solid. The foolish person, on the other hand, hears the Word of the Lord but does not act on it. He too is inundated with trouble at times and, having no foundation, he collapses.

Obedience is literally foundational to the Christian life. No obedience, no foundation. Unless we are living in obedience to what God says, we have nothing upon which to build our lives, nothing upon which to rest for assurance, and nothing to rely on when we are tested.

The only reliable means of measuring our love for God is to examine whether we obey Him. We may dress the part, act the part, talking the part of being a Christian, but none of these things proves that we genuinely love God. Obedience is the only way."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

11/18/08 - Gay Right Movement

Every since California voted yes on Prop 8 there have been protests all over the US from gay activists.

We live in a country where we have the freedom of speech, so although I would have voted yes on Prop 8, I believe the movement has the right to protest where they'd like.

But I think a group of protesters went too far at Mount Hope Church in Michigan. Here is an expert from the church's official press release:

"On Sunday, November 9, 2008 at the 11:30 AM services the people of Mount Hope Church were shocked by an unwelcome violent demonstration by a homosexual/transgender anarchist group based in Chicago, IL. The group threw fliers at churchgoers and shouted sentiments such as, “It’s okay to be gay” and “Jesus was a homo” during a Sunday morning service. The Eaton County Sheriff’s office was called and the illegal demonstration ceased."

Can you imagine being at church and be so violated? There were rights and laws broken and I think this is too far!

Just imagine what would happen if a radical pro-life group entered into an abortion clinic yelling, "Abortion is murder" and "You're a murderer" while throwing fliers at scared young women! You'd hear about it on every main media station and there would be jail time for sure!

We as Christians, have the right to have our views and apparently there are pockets of people in the gay movement who have no tolerance for us Christians. They don't just want tolerance, they want complete acceptance.

There is a difference! You can be tolerant of someone, but not have to accept their lifestyle. I recently told a gay friend, "If everyone I hung out with had to agree with all my convictions, I'd have no friends!" We as believers are called to be in the world, not of the world.

This goes along with the latest posts I've made on some of the battles this generation of Christians are up against!

Monday, November 17, 2008

11/17/08 - Delayed Gratification

Part of the reason, I believe, we are in such a financial mess here in America, is because we as a nation don't understand delayed gratification. We want it, we get it now. We don't wait on anything.

We have microwaves, fast food restaurants, credit cards, cell phones, e-mail, text messages, the Internet, and other modern day conveniences that make waiting for anything nearly extinct.

Actually I heard that K-Mart and Sears have been promoting their lay away program for the holiday season! (There is even a possiblity of more savings with a Sears layway promotional code: SEARS PROMOTIONAL CODE)

Yes, we have collectively realized that all our overspending and not living within our means is finally catching up to us.

The news reports show that we've been overspending for about the past 25 years. So for some of you, you've only known this style of spending and living. But reality has caught up to us in a real eye opening way!

Since we've lost the disciple of waiting, we transfer this to other things. The first thing that comes to my mind is sexual intimacy. Since we're so used to having what we want when we want it, we feel no need to wait for anything.

Learning delayed gratification is not fun! It's down right unpleasant and hard. But the more you practice this lost art of waiting, the "easier" it becomes because you see the downright joy of watching the Lord provide in His perfect timing!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

11/15/08 - Anything Goes

Do you feel like you are surrounded by people who have the "anything goes" mentality?

I believe part of our acceptance of crude language, sexually explicit behavior, drunkenness, and a host of other "normally" shameful sins, is because this generation has grown up watching the "Real World" and other reality TV shows that promote this type of behavior. Not only promote, but encourage and glorify shameful, sinful acts!

So how are we as Christians to live?

The pat answer is to say to avoid and don't participate in these activities, but I think it goes beyond that and showing a watching world the joy you can have in the Lord. Often Christians are some of the most depressing people I know.

Imagine if every Christian had such joy it was contagious? Imagine if every married Christian couple had a thriving, happy, fulfilling marriage? Imagine if every Christian teen stood out at their school as a person of integrity, purity, and peace? Imagine if every Christian single displayed the deepest satisfaction in the Lord alone?

Can you only imagine! People would be flocking to our Lord and Savior and happily replace shallow, temporal, sinful activities to pursue the Lord full throttle!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

11/13/08 - No judgements

I'll admit right off the bat that this is a tough topic. We are called to not judge one another, yet many times in the scripture it says that believers will bear fruit. What is the balance? Where does accountability come into play?

I struggle with these questions myself. How do I honor God by not being critical, yet be a voice when someone is needing an outside perspective? We see in the Word, times when God used a person to bring another person into repentance (I think of King David and the prophet Nathan 2 Samuel 12). So how do we strike a balance in a world that says: What's good for you, is good for you and what's good for me, is good for me!

Many have a view of Christians as being loud, opinionated hypocrites. So before we begin holding others accountable, we have to be sure our lives are being lived for the Lord. Making sure we don't have one foot in the world and the other in God's kingdom. We must make sure that we are living authentic lives before God and others.

Sure we're not perfect, but we must strive towards actively keeping the plank out of our own eye (making sure in doing this pride doesn't creep in!) In keeping our lives pure and holy before God, others will see that and it will bring credit to our name and reputation (remember though it's not about us, but about glorifying God in and with our lives!)

I also believe that if you feel led to confront someone on a sin, you must have a relationship established. When you've taken the time to really get to know someone, it leans credit to being able to speak freely.

Also, remember we have allowed this mindset to creep into our churches. Many come and love the grace message, but refuse to admit we have to preach truth along side that. Christ also struck a perfect balance of grace and truth. As we grow in His likeness, we can ask Him to give us this ability to present grace and truth in a perfect balance.

How do you feel one can strike a good balance in this area?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11/11/08 - No Truth, No Absolutes

There are many in our society who may not come right out and said, "There is no truth, there are no absolutes...or there are no absolute truths!" but their attitude, lifestyle, and thoughts prove different.

In saying, "There are no absolutes." Well, that is an absolute! So that's one absolute in just saying that statement...makes no sense, right! It's logically an incorrect statement!

In saying this or adopting this mindset, what your saying is there is no right and wrong. We can justify any behavior if we say there is no truth or absolutes.

How do you feel this mindset or worldview is played out in real life?

Monday, November 10, 2008

11/10/08 - This Generation

I heard over the weekend that the gay marriage ban in California was kept in place because people over 35, no matter their race, voted to keep the ban in place. The percentage of 35 and under who voted to lift the ban, was in the 60% range!

This made me sad! It seems that this generation has no moral compass. I sat down with my pen and paper and began writing down some of the things stacked against young Christians and some of the ideas that they have had to fight against!

1) There is no such thing as truth. You can not know what is absolute truth.

2) There are no absolutes. This is related to number 1, but anything goes because there are no absolutes.

3) There are no judgements. Because there is no truth and no absolutes, you do not have the right to judge anyone. Anything goes, therefore you don't have the right to say what is right or wrong. (What's good for me, is good for me, what's good for you, is good for you!)

4) You are to be tolerate of anyone and everything. Again this goes with number 3, but we are to be totally tolerant of anyone's lifestyle choice. Not only tolerate, but accepting. We've lost the idea to peacefully disagree.

5) There are no boundaries. Anything goes! There is no shame in sin and there is no sense of seeking holiness.

6) No delayed gratification. This generation has grown up with e-mail, Internet, text messages...they don't have to wait for anything. If you want it, go get it, without waiting!

7) Creationism is a joke and anyone who believes that there is actually a God who created the earth in 6 days is ignorant and narrow minded.

8) Physical intimacy is not all that important. It doesn't really matter if, when, with whom you are physically intimate with. It's just a physical act and shouldn't be such a big deal.

This week, I am going to break down each of these points. I hope to encourage some of you who may be feeling these worldviews and are frustrated with responding to those in your generation who have bought all of these lies of satan!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

11/06/08 - God's Grace

This week in my bible study I've looked at God's grace.

I'll confess that I walk through much of my day not pondering the grace that's been extended to me, but I must realize that all my life is possible through God's grace.

I found today's exercise helpful and wanted to share.

"I need God's grace in my life to:
  • deal with major disappointment
  • be morally pure
  • forgive someone who has hurt me deeply
  • seek forgiveness from someone I have wronged
  • bear chronic physical pain
  • repent of a particular sin
  • mend a broken relationship
  • resist a particular sin
  • break off a wrong relationship
  • overcome a besetting sin
  • meet pressing financial needs
  • break a habit
  • guard my tongue
  • handle loneliness
  • love a family member who is hard to love
  • deal with the pain of my past
  • be faithful to my mate
  • deal with guilt and failure of my past
  • take specific step of obedience
  • honor my parents (or in laws)
  • be kind and patient with my kids
  • love my wife as Christ loves the church
  • accept a particular ministry opportunity
  • respect and submit to my husband
  • fulfill the ministry He has entrusted to me"

What a great list and I am sure we can add to that.

Thank you God for your amazing grace, may be ever be mindful of it!

(I love this video and song from the movie Amazing Grace)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

11/05/08 - Pro-Life Movement

As I laid in bed last night, feeling defeated and saddened, my thoughts turned to those millions of babies who have died because they were unwanted.

Now some of you may feel like the abortion issue is just one issue and there are many facing our nation. Many of you feel like the right man is now firmly in office and although he doesn't agree with my (or your) position on abortion, that he is the man to take us where we need to go.

Let me share, very frankly, why my heart breaks for those babies and why this issue is so important for me. Then I'll share what we can do these next four years.

When I was 10 weeks pregnant with our first baby, I miscarried. It was awful, tragic, and emotionally painful, but the night that our baby died, I held its little body in the palm of my hands. Its hands and feet were formed. I could see its heart, spine, eyes, mouth, nose, ears, and all its fingers and toes. We wept as we held our baby and cried out to God for His peace and comfort.

That night, through my emotional and physical pain, my thoughts turned towards the millions of babies who are ripped from their mothers at that same stage. Many are told that before the end of the first trimester that it's not a baby and it's not a big deal to abort that baby at that stage. But as I looked at that perfectly formed tiny body, my heart hurt for all those babies. I became very impassioned about this issue, in a way I had not experienced before.

So last night as the new President was announced, I wept for those babies who have lost their voice for the next four years. I thought of Proverbs 31:8 (Words of a mother to her king): "Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute."

I also began praying fervently for the new President. I pray that the pro-life movement loses NO ground in the next four year and that the mighty hand of God will be moving the hearts of the President, Senate, and Congress. I ask you to join me in prayer for our nation. This is our most powerful weapon and this is what we can do over the next four years!

We can also make sure that the bans and laws in place, stay in place. Learn the name of your congress Representative and your state Senator's. Keep their numbers close by and call anytime this issue presents its self.

May God be glorified!

EDIT* Again after I posted I got a timely e-mail. If you'd like to remember to pray for the new President Elect, you can sign up to pray for him the next 77 days till the inauguration. Click HERE!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

11/04/08 - Our Election

Of course everyone is talking or thinking about the election today. My feelings is that we're all collectively holding our breath to see the outcome of this election (not that we'll even know tonight!)

On yet another blog I read: "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

After reading this on a couple of blog, I decided to read the context of this verse this morning. In 2 Chronicles 6 Solomon spends most of the chapter in prayer to God as they dedicate the temple, God's house.

2 Chronicles 7 God responds by consuming the sacrifices, then the temple is dedicated. Then in verse 12 we read that the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and verse 14 is part of what the Lord tells Solomon.

As I think about our nation, I see how far off the mark we are. We abort about 3,000 babies a day. We have a society that has no shame in sin and sexual perversion. The church is filled with people who want grace, but don't couple that with truth. There is corruption on every level of business and government.

Do you think this is the first nation that has strayed so far from God? No, we're not the first, and sadly won't be the last. But God's people can do something about this.

Verse 14 is packed full of action words: humble, pray, seek, and turn. Only then will God hear us from heaven and He has promises for us: forgive and heal.

I take this very personally. I must humble myself, I must pray, I must seek God, and I must turn from my sin in repentance!! Today I've spent most of the day praying. I trust God is fully in control and He will put whom ever He chooses! Whatever He does will be for our good, whether it's a judgement on our nation or a blessing (not that I think any of the candidates is capable of complete blessing on our nation..I guess I should say protection).

May we each turn back fully to God and pray for God's will to be done!

Monday, November 3, 2008

11/03/08 - Teasing

Are you someone who is always saying, "Oh I am just kidding!"?

When I was younger I used to be very sarcastic and I was always teasing people. One of my common phrases was, "Oh I am just kidding!"

Until I read these verses in the bible:

Proverbs 27:18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death
19 is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I am only joking!"

Wow!

When I read that I worked very hard and letting the words that come out of my mouth be true, pure, and pleasing. Not careless and rude...but then brush them off with the all covering, "I am just joking!"

(After I posted this blog, I checked my e-mail and I had this message from Nancy Leigh DeMoss in my in box. It's all about controlling our tongues! How timely!)