Saturday, August 30, 2008

Differences are okay

Since I've been writing about politics and also previous to that writing about culture.... I know that those topics can be so controversial.. so I wanted to add in something here.

I always seem to be the one that can understand all angles, feel compassion for all sides, see different point of views… I love talking to people and seeing their perspectives. I am very open to listening to anybody. I still very strongly about my values... but I have just learned I can be passionate yet not judgemental. Have strong convictions but understanding of others.

Regarding our thoughts on politics... I know that we all just have to do what’s right by us based on our experiences and knowledge up to date. I really believe so many (if not all) of us want good … we just have such different ‘information’ because of the paths we’ve walked, what we’ve seen, read, heard.

I truly believe that as The Body specifically, we are all so interwoven — all connected through Him that no matter at all what our differences are - no matter how far we are away from each other…… if we all ultimately move TOWARD God… because He is the ONE point on top of our web/our body/our triangle/whatever you want to call it… that we all automatically move closer to each other… oh wow - that’s cool. I like that. If we would just focus on Him and move toward Him - we could move closer to each other and be stronger.

These thoughts are just a play off something I heard at a wedding.

more on that here:

BUT saying all that.. I want to say that ultimately these differences WILL melt away yes... and at the end God will tell us 'what's up'... BUT I absoluty do NOT believe in relative morality. Moral relativism is not biblical to me at all.

So yes I can see all perspectives --- I can love on anybody --- I don't want to focus on our differences in The Body ---- and I can understand why people believe the way they do when I hear "their story".....

BUT whether people have knowledge of it or not... whether our society promotes it or not.... whether we follow it or not... I believe morality is not a flexible thing. I believe morals don't change because culture does.

Anyway - Just rambling.


Authenticity: The quality of being genuine; not false or copied; real

What does authenticity look like in your life? To be authentic...

To some it is justification to say what you want about others or to others without worrying about other's feelings and point of view. "Hey ... I'm just being real with you. I'm just trying to be authentic. I don't hold back. I am just telling you what I think".

To some it is justification for sins they don't really want to let go.

I don't agree with either of those hurtful 'ways' of being authentic. Authenticity is not above morality. Authenticity is not a cover for you to be able to be critical, hurtful or say whatever you want about or to others.

Authenticity to me is just sharing your life, good and bad. Inviting others into your physical house, into your heart, into all areas of your life.

There are SO many reasons to be authentic.... I wanted to write down one that a lot don't think about.

One reason I am authentic is because the truth always comes out in the end... I beleive it's better to be authentic and open NOW... to endure the pain/criticism/judgement by people because of our weaknesses and sin NOW then having it come out years later. When that bad harvest from those negative, bitter and toxic seeds comes up later - the negative is 100 fold and it almost discredits any good we have done from the ‘big lie’ until uncovery.

As painful as it sometimes - I want to be authentic. I really do… I want to able to share myself - good and bad with others and be genuine. Can you imagine if we were all really like that? It would ultimately be see free-ing and give those around us soo much freedom to be themselves and would make so evident that we all NEED a savior….

I want to be authentic so others around me have the freedom to as well and THEN the relationship really starts. Learning to love others as you see and experience their imperfections.

I know that when I expose my sin now.... when I put myself out there still totally ashamed of so many areas of me..... when I give and love and open up even when I feel totally not ready to yet — God will always be there to bandage me up and make me like new again when I get hurt again and feel pain of my wound being exposed to the air. He loves me so much more than I can understand. The world's view or opinion of me is in NO way a reflection of His view or opinion of me.

It’s just so hard sometimes! pride, embarassment, shame, guilt, the desire to just stay in our sinful state because we bought the lie that sin feels so good and we need it...the desire to fit into the world...anyway ramble ramble

Just some thoughts for today :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Actions speak louder....

I agree with this entry. I want to see a lot less talk and philosophical glamorous hollywood-like speeches.... and a lot more action and some proof he can walk his talk.

Do you believe in Truth, in Morality?

We could talk politics until we're blue in the face but really - as a christian to me it comes down to one basic issue. What is the candidates moral code he or she will operate on? I have been trying to sort through Obama's delivery techniques to find morsels of what he believes....... and all I have come up with time and time again is that he is a moral relativist.

I CLEARLY do NOT believe in moral relativism. I believe there is a moral code.... and though we will all fail to follow it at points in our lives, we are all sinners... it exists nontheless. Morality doesn't change because the culture does.

Wow - the past 6 posts are all about culture... interesting.

Here are some words from columnist Jon Sanders:

Lying is Moral When Your God is Electing Democrats
Jon Sanders
Friday, August 29, 2008

......And besides, it is an irreplaceable Christian doctrine that all people sin, and by extension, that lying is human nature. In that respect politicians may be the most human among us.
But a line is crossed when lying goes beyond human fallibility and campaign hubris and becomes instead a deliberate strategy. That line is what separates recognizing that there is truth and a moral law above our mundane affairs that must be upheld and seeking power by any means necessary not beholden to any morality except that of your own whimsy that day.....

....Truth to [some] is not an abstract concept, necessarily apolitical, reflecting the nature of the God who spoke creation into being; to the Left, "truth" is what serves the god of getting elected, in that any word spoken today that pleases the god, even if it is completely counter to yesterday's words in service to the same god, is still "true." .......

....When Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention, bloggers such as at Gateway Pundit remarked on her lifting of sentiments from radical leftist Saul Alinsky's book Rules for Radicals. That should have been no surprise. Both her husband and his Democratic foe, Sen. Hillary Clinton, admit being inspired and influenced by Alinksy. Barack Obama's Alinskian roots appear to run deeper than just topical influence....

Alinsky wrote in his Rules: "An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma. To begin with, he does not have a fixed truth — truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing. He is a political relativist."

A political relativist is someone who will lie to you for his own political gain. He also — and this is important — is someone who believes that lying for political gain is a moral act.

But beware the justification! As the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in Book One of The Gulag Archipelago, "To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good, or else that it's a well-considered act in conformity with natural law." When someone deliberately does evil in the name of good, he justifies it in ideology. Solzhenitsyn found that justification at work among the agents of the Inquisition, the Nazis, the Jacobin, and of course the Soviets.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Political post # 3

Okay --- I am totally turning off the t.v. now so I don't keep posting :) but I wanted to add in something I read on

So many of the major issues in our choice of president this year are dependent on what we believe government was meant to do/be. And I agree with what they wrote here.

Check it out:

Romans 13:1-5 gives us the God-ordained role of government in society:

1) to govern with authority from God (v1-2)
2) to praise the good in society (v4)
3) to punish the evildoer in society (v4)
4) to bear the sword and execute wrath against wrongdoers (v4)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Be the salt in your culture

The next question on my heart after my previous post was... by what do I do if my culture is just permeating evil? If I believe the culture promotes nothing but ungodliness? Can I be a part of it then? Do I hide in my house? What do I do?

I kept thinking about this last night and God wake me up with this verse on my mind:

"You are here to be the salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?" Matthew 5:13

The culture Jesus was in, obviously promoted ungodliness.... and even if the culture didn't, the culture of people He hung out with obviously did.... He touched and changed the lives of sinners in a culture of people living ungodly lives.

The world we live in is run by the devil, we can see evil in EVERYTHING in our culture!!!! BUT the Spirit and the Word are way more powerful than satan. We need to marinate ourselves in the powerful Word which is how Jesus rebuked satan. We need to use it as our weapon against him and his forces. And we have to have faith that we are "above the influence" because of who is protecting us! If we are doing all these things - we can 'go out there' into the world and find God EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE.

God is so awesome ---- AGAIN He answered my questions right away. I opened up The Worshipper magazine again and found an article by Craig Detweiler about finding God in 'secular' movies. It's so extremely important for us to understand and be able to relate to our culture because within our culture we can interpret the longing of the people, what they are searching and hungering for --- and then provide them with the answer when the time is right!

So that was God's first answer to me. It was:
  • You are called to go out there even though, yes this world and culture market evil
  • The presence of the Spirit in you alone, is a great addition to your culture and NEEDED
  • Be the salt-seasoning --- SEARCH for God in the world and culture. God is only found when you seek Him. If you expect to find Him, you will. You can be the salt for others to be able to taste godliness!

His second answer was also very clear through:

  1. Robin's blog here regarding protecting our eyes and ears, knowing that huge disasters, always are results of small choices along the way like I wrote about yesterday.
  2. A purpose driven email I got as SOON as I finished writing my previous post (God is awesome!!).

The Purpose Driven Email was also about our focus.

  • Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right. 2 Timothy 2:22 (LB)
  • We naturally move toward whatever we focus our attention on. The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you.
  • That is why repeating “I must stop eating too much . . . or stop smoking . . . or stop lusting” is a self-defeating strategy. It keeps you focused on what you don’t want.

YES I love this! This is so true. If you are constanstly saying this world is EVIL, there is nothing good in it..... if you keep seeking out the devil in ALL parts of our culture -- you will find him there without a doubt. BUT what if you constantly are seeking out God in ALL parts of your world?! You will find Him!!!

  • Temptation begins by capturing your attention. What gets your attention arouses your emotions. Then your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you felt. The more you focus on “I don’t want to do this,” the stronger it draws you into its web.
  • Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it, just hang up!
  • Sometimes this means physically leaving a tempting situation. This is one time it is okay to run away. Get up and turn off the television set. Walk away from a group that is gossiping. Leave the theater in the middle of the movie. To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees.
  • Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s Word and other good thoughts. You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better. This is the principle of replacement. You overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
  • Satan can’t get your attention when your mind is preoccupied with something else. That’s why the Bible repeatedly tells us to keep our minds focused: “Fix your thoughts on Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1 NIV).

Yes! Focus on finding Jesus amongst all this ungodliness!

“Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable” (Philippians 4:8 TEV).

If you’re serious about defeating temptation you must manage your mind and monitor your media intake. The wisest man who ever lived warned, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 TEV).

I loved this as well!! SO YES we must avoid temptations, we must protect what seeds are planted into us, we have to make sure the biggest influence in our life is the Spirit and the Word.... but we can go out into any culture/subculture and find Jesus!!!

If we're in a situation and feel ourselves getting tempted, yes flee..... that place is not our place to be the salt.... but just because WE aren't meant to be in that place, we can't assume every christian shouldn't be....we can't look at other christian's actions or activities or who they are around and assume anything of them... maybe that's the location and subculture they were called to be the salt of! Maybe they have been able to draw out God in that activity and not focus on the devil's work there. Maybe it's not a temptation to them at all, so they can be that's where God is using them. Maybe they are so spiritually mature and marinated in the Word they are completely above the influence that would crush us in the same situation.

We can't hide in closets. We can't be 'scared' of our culture. We can't have a spirit of fear when our mind is full with things that are True and good. We NEED to have our guard up and be protective of our thoughts, which is what shapes our life. But we can be on guard without being fearful. Protected without being hyper negative / hyper critical.

PHEW! :) What an AWESOME way to wake up!! I'm ready to face the day! :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Be IN but not OF the world! :)

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly God answers my questions... a lot of times it's within the same day!!! Sometimes it takes days, weeks, months, etc......but He always does provide answers or at least affirmation that I am on the right path and to keep thinking on those topics and searching out what He's laying on my heart.

Brandi & her hubby Pastor Pete are two of my fave christian blog friends (well 'friends' because if I know your name - I call you my friend - whether you know me or like me or not hehe).... they challenge me in many ways. One specific post indirectly sort of summed up why I am drawn to them so much... It was this post (really more the comments afterward) that had me asking her (and whoever because I was just sort of thinking outloud) about our actions and how we as Jesus-lovers and followers are to 'fit in' to this world. They seem to have found that balance of fitting in with the world enough that you have influence... but not being part of it so much that you are enveloped in worldly desires & activities. Somehow being able to be a part of this world and culture yet being a Jesus lover and follower above all.

I believe that the more I have grown in my relationship with the Lord - the spirit really does convict me in more and more areas and He reveals to me more and more how to live with a high moral code.
  • Do I believe these standards make be better than others? No.
  • Do I look down on people who don't have as high a standard (yet)? No.
  • Do I believe any way of living will get me into heaven? No.
  • Do I believe that God has called me to live differently than the world because of who is in me? Yes
  • Do I believe it's important to not be involved in cultural or social activities that will tempt me or others to sin? Yes!
  • Do I believe I should avoid all people who disagree with my moral code and live opposite of my lifestyle? No. No. No. No. No. That is who I should be seeking out to share Jesus' love with!
  • Do I believe it's my job to 'call out' all the actions of people around me that are sinful, a worldly temptation to them or others, etc.? No! SOMETIMES God will use me to sharpen others, SOMETIMES when asked, I can give advice or my opinion .... but more than anything I am to show with my ACTIONS, not my words. I am to pull people toward me to draw them to Jesus --- not push them to their knees to Him.

But I was asking God for help in this area... HOW do I influence the world - but not be influenced myself?!!!

I feel like I have such a high moral code because I know too much at this point. I have seen too much sin and I have seen it evolve from small little seeds to great, monstrous, full blown immoral ugliness. I have been able to become aware of one little action and be able to discern that that one bad decision I saw would be the trickle of evil that the devil would turn into a floodgate if the person wasn't on guard.

I have seen this evil world chip away at a person's heart little by little until the world has won them over and they didn't even realize they had put down their armor. I know that sin creeps in, in tiny tiny tiny ways.... that the devil doesn't come and steal people outright --- he turns up the heat and sin in our lives in almost unnoticeable ways... and before we know it, he has us. It boils down to very small seeds of sin that were the beginning of the end of a once pure cleansed heart. I put a lot of protection around myself, my home and what I allow in to our eyes and ears because I know what tempts me and I know myself and that many times it's better for me to avoid temptations all together!

Am I legalistic? What does that even mean?

  • I guess I am in the sense that I avoid many 'worldly' things
  • I guess I am not because I don't judge others or look down on them for not living the same as me.
  • I guess I am because I am 'strict' in what I will allow into my home and what I will allow my family to take part in
  • I guess I am not because I don't call out everybody's sin around me -- I have way too much of my own sin to call out.
  • I guess I am because I believe that Jesus did not abolish morality. I believe there is a moral code designed by God. I believe any action short of this perfect Truth to be a sin.....and although I will continually come up short, I believe that it's what I strive for... to be able to follow the Truth more and more as I become more christlike, as in perfect, perfectly moral, perfectly merciful, perfectly aligned with The Father. Now can I get there myself? No. But I believe that Jesus fulfilled the Law and lived a life to show us what righteousnses was all about. My goal is to allow Him to work through me to become more righteous and christlike every day.
  • I am not because I try not to assume things about a person by their actions - without knowing their reason or their heart.

PHEW! :) So that is what God has been laying on my heart.

SOOOO.... though I haven't gotten all the concrete answers I desire - I'm getting somewhere in my thoughts. I'm going to continue to read the Bible about this topic and listen to what God says to me. God DID answer some of my questions in this article in The Worshipper though. It wasn't even a few days later that I asked - and there He was speaking to me through this article!! I was blown away when I opened up that magazine Sunday and saw this:

How Can We Be In But Not OF The World? by Chuck Smith Jr. Wow! :) thanks God! :)

Here are some of my favorite parts of the article:

  • This language of "in, but not of" comes from Jesus' prayer in John 17.
  • Jesus prayed for them to be protected from evil - that is the harm that a hateful world/ devil would inflict on them
  • What world hated Jesus? The religious world (their laws, traditions, rituals?). In fact, their hatred had been predicted in their own sacred text. John 15:25
  • How was Jesus not of the world? Certainly not by standing outside of culture, because His first miracle involved providing wine for a wedding reception. John 2:1-10
  • On the other hand, Jesus was not a slave to the traditions of either culture or religion, for He violated conventional boundaries when He opened a dialogue with a Samaritan (and she as a woman!) and also healed on the Sabbath. (John 4:9, 27; 5:16-17)
  • In the light of John's entire gospel, it becomes clear that not being 'of this world' means that a person is neither a product of the world nor defined by it. (John 8:23 & 28-29).
  • Therefore disciples are free to go anywhere or venture into any cultural arena so long as these environments do not define them.
  • SOOO HOW can we be so completely in God that no place, culture or influence can redefine us? John 17 says, "sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is the Truth." (John 17:17 & 19). To sanctify is to make sacred, to surrender something to God so that is belongs to Him.
  • If our essential identity is defined kept and renewed by holiness, our belonging to God..... nothing in the world can own or change us! We are free to move about the earth, in and out of cultures like Abraham or Paul. We can be in Babylon (daniel) but not defined by Babylon.
  • HOWEVER, If we do NOT belong to God (& if we aren't sanctified in His word), we probably should not step outside or turn on a tv or computer.

SO WOW! I loved that! It just depends what I'm filling myself up with MORE right? Am I soaking myself in His Word and Truth so that all other influences are secondary!??!!?

That had some really awesome ideas for me to think on more. I'd love YOUR thoughts too! :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Quote - A Woman's Heart

I saw this quote here (I love her blog by the way!) and had to post it:

A woman's heart should be so close to God that a man should have to chase Him to find her.
C.S. Lewis

I love this. It really encapsulates (is that how you spell that?) the vision I have for my life as wife & mother.

It reminds me of the analogy I heard at our great friends Jim & Celeste's wedding. The pastor expressed that christian marriage is like a triangle. God is the top point and then coming down on both sides is husband wife and then the line at the bottom connects them. If you picture geometrically in your mind..... the surefire way to get closer to your spouse is to get closer to God.... and unfortunately it works opposite as well.... when you drift from God - you automatically drift from your spouse.

If there's one thing I pray most for.. it's just for God to please continue to bless me with passion and desire for Him, for me to somehow understand as much as is possible and never doubt His love for me and for the discipline to continue to pursue Him like He has pursued me. Despite all my failings as wife, mom, friend, sister, daughter.... I know that everything will be okay if I just continue to come toward Him even if it's just dragging my feet, screaming, crying, whining, barely walking, whatever - if I just move TOWARD Him in some way - it will be okay.

I want my heart to be so closely aligned with His that to get closer to me - my boys just have to pull closer to God.

And I know that everything will be okay for my boys, if they just walk toward God.... whenever I fail as wife & mom.... whenever I hurt or disappoint my boys and they do NOT want to pull closer to me --- I just pray that no matter what they will always love and pursue God - because no matter how bad we mess up or no matter how hard the devil tries to get a wedge in our sacred beautiful challenging relationships, if we all move toward God, we will automatically draw closer together!!!!

I pray that if there's anything I teach others - it's to just run toward Him when you don't feel you can, when you're embarrassed too, when you're doubtful - just do whatever you can to move closer to Him. And if you can't move at all -- just cling tight and don't let go and scream God I'm here - He'll come to you when you can't move.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Psalm 139:13-16 - Children are a Blessing

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13 - 16

I am SO thankful for my life right now. Some days I wake up and say this is too good to be true! Is this REALLY my life!? Is this really my full time job!? There is no way that God loved and trusted me enough to take care of and be responsible for this most important treasure!!

Children are not burdens, God - they are blessings, they are gifts! Just like your son Jesus, the world is rejecting them, God. Why don't we value life anymore God? We must not understand our own value and where it comes from, right? Because if we did - we would value all life, right?

Yes Raymond has tantrums, yes we battle with our strong wills, yes I thoroughly enjoy when he's napping --- but I wouldn't trade him or his strong personality for anything! I will always be thankful for him! I will always wake up thanking you for him. I will always thank you for him in the moments when I think - I just can't take anymore. I will sing out thanksgiving when I want to scream out something else.

I will pray for him to be able to conquer the flesh of his temper like I have had to do -- but when God helps him overcome that and he tunnels that same passion for good things - he will be unstoppable!

GOD THANK YOU SO MUCH for entrusting him to me! I will always do whatever I can to make him feel wanted, loved, accepted and cared for and show him that that unconditional love and acceptance is from you alone!!

My heart breaks for babies who don't have that..... God please protect these babies, please comfort them, please wrap them up in your arms when the world tells them they aren't wanted. Don't you do that right away, God? My only comfort is that you are right there when the world tosses them aside. I know that YOU want them and I know that you always protect, always love, and always care for them. My heart is aching God for these babies - will it get worse - will this continue to happen to more and more babies? 95% of the time the babies are healthy God - they are just not wanted. I feel like I almost can't bear to see it...come soon please God. I know my sins are just as ugly and just as destructive - but these poor babies...

Forgiveness - Dobson excerpt

Psychologists and ministers now agree that there is only one cure for the cancer of bitterness. It is to forgive, which Dr. Archibald Hart defines as “giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.”4 Only when we find the emotional maturity to release those who have wronged us, whether they have repented or not, will the wounds finally start to heal.

Jesus said it like this, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25, NIV). Note that Jesus said nothing about who was right and who was wrong. Forgiveness, like love, must be unmerited and unconditional. Forgiveness begins the healing process.

I thought this was so powerful. Ultimately - it's not our job to protect and care for US. It's our job to trust and care for God (and have faith He will take care of us) AND to take care of others. Being God-focused and others-focused makes forgiveness possible.

The world tells us to protect ourselves, to look at for # 1 (self).... the WORD tells us to forgive without a number cap on it. God WILL heal you like new and fill us back up with love to give out - an abundant, radical, overflowing, non-sensical love to give out again.... Yes there is risk in leaving your heart open again to that person that hurt you... but that's what God is all about. Risky obedience is what He asks for - He won't let you down.

I'll go ahead and break the anticipation now and tell you, you WILL get hurt again.... but He'll be there when you are cut open again and protect you when others don't.

Temper Tantrums - Dobson Excerpt

Well I know that this week is different because Raymond is sick still and so that is why his normally EXTREMELY strong will and temper is at an exceptional high (which I didn't think it was possible to get higher).... but I feel I'm at my end with what to do to handle them. I am losing the battles, frequently and quite exhausted... so here's my next course of action when the next tazmanian devil temper tantrum comes:

Everyone who has raised a toddler has probably been confronted at some point by a full-blown temper tantrum. Its fury is something to behold coming from a kid who only weighs 25 pounds. Usually a firm hand will discourage such violent behavior—but sometimes not. Some children throw tantrums specifically for the purpose of stirring up and manipulating the big powerful adults who claim to be in charge.

I knew one family, for example, that had a three-year-old boy who was still throwing the most terrible fits when he didn't get his way. He would fall on the floor—kick, scream, spit and cry. His parents had done everything they knew to stop the tantrums, with no success. One night, they were reading the paper when the kid wanted them to do something. They didn't move quickly enough, so he went into his violent contortions. Out of exasperation, since the parents didn't know what else to do, they didn't do anything. They just went on reading. The child was shocked by their unresponsiveness. He got up, went over to his mother, shook her arm, and again fell screaming to the floor. Still neither parent reacted. He then approached his father and hit the newspaper before going into another tirade. By this point, Mom and Dad were secretly watching to see what would happen, but they remained passive. This kid felt so foolish and stupid throwing temper tantrums with no audience—that I never threw another one.

The next time your toddler goes a little crazy—you might try doing nothing. It worked in at least one case with which I am quite familiar.

So I'll try more deliberately to ignore the next episode. Keep you posted...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More on Guilt

For some reason, guilt seems to be one of the topics God is laying on my heart in the past few weeks.

This post was from a few days ago.... then Without Wax started a great discussion on guilt and I want to put some of my many responses on here:

  • 1. Yes I believe there is a good guilt. Good guilt is a great tool used by the spirit to point out areas that we need to work on…even though guilt is painful - God is way more concerned with our transformation than our comfort.
  • 2. However, when we ALLOW good guilt to turn into discouragement and are afraid of the pain/guilt and so never fully confront that issue - then it turns into bad guilt. Guilt is only as good as the action it causes.
  • 3. There also is a bad guilt. Guilt planted to us by our peers, by the world, by satan quite frankly… Guilt that comes AFTER we’ve asked for forgiveness and repented is bad bad bad guilt. The spirit does NOT make us feel guilty once we have confronted the issue. Jesus gave us that opportunity… our sins/failures/guilts are wiped away and we start fresh daily. He allows us to have guilt but then have it TOTALLY gone. If we are living our lives feeling guilty about something all the time… we are leaving the devil an inch somewhere. Something isn’t right.
  • Guilt was one of my biggest issues for SOO long, something I still battle so I’ve had a lot of healing in this area. I’ve learned that everything is going to be okay. Really, everything is going to be okay. That *I* am not in control, I am not perfect - my job is not to be everything to everybody - my job is to abide in Him and allow Him to be everything to everybody.
Maybe the word I should be using is "conviction" for this 'good guilt'.

And as far as God being manipulative in 'using' this conviction/guilt feeling to 'make' us do good actions.... no I don't see it as manipulative... I see this conviction as a gift from the Spirit. Jesus didn't need to feel convicted because He was perfect. We need the Spirit and the conviction to keep us in line, right? To point out areas we need to be careful of, weaknesses. God is concerned with our eternal character... even if means giving us temporary pain/guilt/conviction, right? Then the discussion got into people using guilt as a manipulator and some more of my thoughts:
  • I don’t think my parents used guilt or fear to manipulate me to good action…. BUT I believe they did put the fear of God into me (fear of God meaning reverance, awe, some sort of human understanding of His power and holiness) and I believe that it has been part of the reason why I want so badly for Him to delight in me and why I desire to please Him.
    It wasn’t guilt they taught me about — it was just how incredibly awesome He was and how deserving He was of my best effort to be the best me I could be…. worthy of my focus and attention basically. I never felt ’scared’ like He was going to punish me though, I wasn’t made to feel guilty when I did mess up because they also taught me about Jesus and that it would be okay when I messed up… but having that ‘fear’/'awe’ is what makes me take the step forward to get back up when I mess up instead of moping around feeling guilt and feeling discouraged. I don’t know how they did it… but I sure am really thankful they instilled that in me… Proverbs 31:30

And THEN right in the middle of this discussion - I got an email from God's Daily Promises - and guess what it was about... guilt! Here is the quote from C.S. Lewis:

(1.) Remember what St. John says: "If our heart condemn us, God is stronger than our heart." The feeling of being, or not being, forgiven and loved is not what matters. One must come down to brass tacks. If there is a particular sin on your conscience, repent and confess it. If there isn't, tell the despondent devil not to be silly. You can't help hearing his voice (the odious inner radio), but you must treat it merely like a buzzing in your ears or any other irrational nuisance. (2.) Remember the story in the Imitation, how the Christ on the crucifix suddenly spoke to the monk who was so anxious about his salvation and said, "If you knew that all was well, what would you, today, do or stop doing?" When you have found the answer, do it or stop doing it. You see, one must always get back to the practical and definite. What the devil loves is that vague cloud of unspecified guilt feeling or unspecified virtue by which he lures us into despair or presumption. "Details, please?" is the answer. (3.) The sense of dereliction cannot be a bad symptom, for Our Lord Himself experienced it in its depth—"Why has thou forsaken me?"

C. S. Lewis in Letters to an American Lady

I just wanted to post this all here because I really don't know the answers to these questions and I want to ask God for more guidance/revelation in this area. It was nice to be able to throw out so many ideas and get some feedback though.

The Message - Matthew Introduction

The story of Jesus doesn't begin with Jesus. God had been at work for a long time......

Matthew makes sure that as we read the account of Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we see the connections with everything that has gone before. "Fulfilled" is one of Matthew's characteristics verbs.....

Matthew tells the story in such a way that not only is everything previous complete in Jesus, WE are completed in Jesus. Every day we wake up in the middle of something that is already going on, that has been going on for a long time....... We are neither accidental nor incidental to the story...

all parts of our lives - work family friends memories dreams - also completed in Jesus.

Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in the newspapers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I liked this intro a lot. In our Ransomed Heart devotional we've been reading about how life is a story. What we've been reading goes right along (as usual) with what I'm reading in the Bible. I will write more on the Ransomed Heart later.

I wanted to share this intro because a lot of people in this world believe in the Old Testament but don't know the connection of the Old & New Testament and therefore don't recognize Jesus as the Messiah the Old Testament prophesied about. The New Testament's account of Jesus written by so many different people that perfectly orchestrates Jesus' life and ministry (and points out all prophesies He fulfilled) is a continuation of the story God is the author of. The story is not over. I love and am amazed that *I* am part of that story.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bloggers thoughts on worship

These are 2 of my favorite blog entries on worship. It really is all about what's on the inside, like everything. The world always focuses on the outside and always seems to 'major in the minors'.... we as Jesus-followers, spirit dwellings are no supposed to be like the world.

I remember doing a research project in my junior year (or maybe sophomore year) in my sports & religion elective (very cool class, huh?) and my end of the semester project was on Yankees fans and the Yankee religion. In that paper, I discussed how being a yankee fan IS a religion to some. They have extreme rituals, they have social customs and and behaviors. There are guidelines followed by players, by fans. They are a TON of superstitions.

The reason I bring this all up is because part of the religion of being a Yankees fan is the worship involved. The fans worship their favorite players. Fans worship the team/enterprise itself. Players worship all-time best players of the game. It's scary, unhealthy, it is a perfect example of turning to worldly things meant to be filled by God & spiritual things alone.

I am a Yankees fan, a BIG Yankees fan and I love sports a lot... but you won't find me idolizing players, or worshiping legends of the game.

So that's where a lot of this post came from:

I was accused on this entry for 'stealing' others ideas about worship...but clearly God has been trying to teach me this since that sophomore year in college when I took that class....and I want to voice it here - that these ideas of worship and idolization and how people will make religion out of anything to fill that void are not new, when a truth is revealed to you, do you claim it to be yours alone?

God himself is the creator of all the truths that are being revealed to us and Jesus lived it out.... so let's not let our spiritual pride get in the way of encouraging each other when we come to one of these truths - that others might have already learned sooner than we did. Ya know?

Lyrics - Changing The World

Changing The World
Steven Curtis Chapman

You're up all night with a screaming baby
You run all day at the speed of life
And every day you feel a little bit less
Like the beautiful woman you are

So you fall into bed when you run out of hours
And you wonder if anything worth doing got done
Oh, maybe you just don't know
Or maybe you've forgotten

You, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time

With every "I know you can do it"
Every tear that you kiss away
So many little things that seem to go unnoticed
They're just like the drops of rain over time
They become a river

And you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time

You're beautiful
You're beautiful
How you're changing the world
You're changing the world

You, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
Oh, I believe that you
You are changing the world
One little heartbeat
At a time

And you're changing the world

Articles/Thoughts on Wealth

My opinion on christians & wealth is that just like everything else it's between us and God. We can't judge others and say things like, they shouldn't be living in that big of a house or have that type of watch or have that type of tv.... because that is just based on what *we* feel is flashy --- but it's all proportionate and we all spend our money differently. How do you know that that person isn't actually just really really wealthy and donates 90% of their money to orphans in Africa? All of us in North America are WAY WAY more rich than the rest of the world so really the rest of the world could look at us and tell us how materialistic we are for having lots of electronics, houses with our own bedrooms, even running water much less all the other STUFF we have....... so that's why it hurts when I heard some Christians putting a cap on how we should live. It's okay to be 'above' the middle class. We can't judge others and say what's too much to have or not --- it's all relative and it's all about the heart. I believe God wants us to live abundantly --- but the 'stuff' doesn't make any difference to us. It's just stuff --- it has no inherent evil and no inherent good - it's only as good or useful as who has it. Do you use your stuff to bless others? Do you invite others to share in what you've been given? It's not about the stuff...the problem is when it takes over too much room in our heart and we seek after it....

From this blog, I read:
As Christians, there is a constant push and pull here. I'm certainly not saying I have figured it all out, but I do know this much. God cares more about how I live my life than what kind of purse I carry. It isn't that God doesn't want us to have nice things, He just doesn't want us to hold them too tightly. I pray everyday that God will make my life a beautiful offering, in whatever way He sees fit. A few days ago, that included giving up something material that I really like (and it goes with every outfit a girl could own, isn't she precious?!?!?!) because I felt He was telling me to do it. That's the bottom line...give to God generously, above and beyond what you are called to give, and do it with joy. Live your life directed toward His voice, knowing that one day, He may ask you to give it all away. It may be as insignificant as a silly purse (nothing personal, Coco), or as meaningful as someone you love. None of it is ours, not one bit.

And gotquestions had a very interesting answer to this question as well:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Do you put names on your to-do list?

I read this paragraph on this blog and had to put it here. I think about this same thing a lot. I am sure I have battled this I am sure that I REALLY do not want to ever be like this.....

I always knew this idea, but never was able to put it into words like she writes here. What a beautiful heart she has...

I don't say that because I see you as a "project," or because I want to add you to my list of people I can brag about "converting." Before I was a believer, I had experiences with a few Christians who made me feel like I was on their "to-do" list, and I was irritating to them because they wanted to just cross me off and move on. I promised myself that I would never make anyone feel like they were valuable to me because I had a goal with them. I truly, truly, love people, and I truly, truly, love Jesus. It's actually pretty simple

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Prayer for my children from Dobson Article

Taken from the article, "How To Shape Your Child's Will"
Dr James Dobson

“Lord, You know my inadequacies. You know my weaknesses, not only in parenting, but in every area of my life. I’m doing the best I can to raise my kids properly, but it may not be good enough. As You provided the fish and the loaves to feed the five thousand hungry people, now take my meager effort and use it to bless my family. Make up for the things I do wrong. Satisfy the needs that I have not met. Compensate for my blunders and mistakes. Wrap Your great arms around my children, and draw them close to You. And be there when they stand at the great crossroads between right and wrong. All I can give them is my best, and I will continue to do that. I submit them to You now and rededicate myself to the task You have placed before me. The outcome rests securely in Your hands.”

I’ve found that God is faithful, as a loving Father, to hear and answer that cry of the heart. Turn to Him for solace when you’ve reached the end of your rope. He will be there to comfort you and work within the soul of your beloved child.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dear John - Nicholas Sparks (Fiction)

This blog will mostly be devoted to the Bible & other religious writings.... BUT I read Dear John by Nicholas Sparks and actually it did touch me and I wanted to share passages of it. God can speak to us through anything :)

I really related to the character Savannah. She loved people. She says, I've always loved people who have this... passion for life...... Passion is passion. It's the excitement between the tedious spaces, and it doesn't matter where it's directed. Well, most of the time, anyway. I'm not talking vices here... It can be coins, sports, politics, horses, music....the saddest people I've ever met in life are the ones who don't care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand and withotu them any happiness is only temporary, because there's nothign to make it last.... I love hearing people talk about their passion. That's when you see a person at his best, and I've found that someone else's happiness is usually infectious. page 71

I agree with most of this. I love hearing talk about their passion. and I just love learning about new things.

I guess I just am so against being luke-warm about things so even if a person is passionate about something I don't agree with - I'd rather a person be like that then luke warm.

I believe that God will eventually steer passionate people in the right direction. At least they are moving. God can't steer a parked car.


The other passage I wanted to share was a bit of the end narrative. You have to read the book to really 'get' this.... but:

Tim had told me - and shown me - that love meant that you care for another person's happiness more than your own, no matter how painful the choices you face might be. Doing the right thing isn't always easy (the majority of the time, the right thing isn't easy).