Tag Archives: convictions

SShhhh… I’d rather keep that a secret.

27 Jan

Do you know what I’ve noticed lately?  I don’t want to tell you.  It doesn’t make me look very good.  In fact, it makes me look like the work-in-progress sinner that I really am, and frankly — what qualifies me to lead or teach anyone if I still struggle with such ugly sins?

That’s a lovely opening paragraph isn’t it?  Now I have divided my readers into two groups — 1.) Those who are dying to know my dirt.  2.) Those who are saying, thank God she hasn’t mastered everything, I feel a whole lot better about myself.

Either way – keep reading because guess what – I fall into both groups.  So I don’t judge either of you — I’m happy to welcome you all.

Here’s the dirt, er… topic for today.

I struggle big time with what I allow to be public knowledge about myself depending on who the groups of people are that I’m socializing with at the time.

Like, do I deny Christ? No. Not even a little.  I’m not saying I struggle with my identity in Christ.

I’m talking about what I pin on my public Pinterest boards.

And what I talk about on my blog.

And what I post on my Facebook wall.

And what I talk openly about in public conversation.

On topics like, alcohol, entertainment and finances.

Why?  I can answer that with bold clarity.  Because I have no idea how my honest answers will change my image, making me either seem less Christian, or unapproachable to my non-Christian friends.

I’m not a prude.  And I don’t lay awake at night planning how to portray a fake image.  If you’ve been reading along for ANY amount of time — my bigger flaw would be that I’m TOO real and honest, verses fake and put on.

However, I just know what topics to avoid.

And there is a very good reason for this.  Because I notice myself judging the image of others when I see them post updates, pin pins, and talk openly about these topic in a way that I disagree with and I have to battle not allowing it settle in my mind as something I am righteous enough to condemn.  Because I am not. I have no business casting stones, and I certainly don’t want to be the judge of anyone.

So because I know I have a bent toward forming opinions of others, I naturally assume they are going to do the same for me.

And the people-pleaser in me doesn’t want to be thought of negatively.  I know I am not liked by everyone, and that’s OK with me.  But, that doesn’t mean I ever enjoy being misunderstand or not liked.

Do you want to know where I stand on those issues?

Ok, you twisted my arm.

Alcohol — I don’t think drinking alcohol is a sin.  I believe I can prove from scripture that Jesus drank and that enjoying alcohol in moderation is not unacceptable.  I DO BELIEVE the abuse of alcohol and getting drunk is a sin.  Can I be the judge of how much is too much for anyone? No I can’t.  Do I believe everyone who drinks alcohol knows the difference between having a small acceptable amount and drinking in excess? Yes I do.

Entertainment — I have a very strict personal belief on entertainment.  I believe whenever we use anything to escape life and responsibility that we are sinning.  I also think that it’s hard to find appropriate entertainment most of the time, though not impossible.  When we watch things that have sinful behavior in it, we are desensitizing ourselves to the importance of sinful choices, and even laughing at the disrespect of God and His design of morality. Do I believe all television shows and movies are evil and Christians should never watch? No.  Do I think most Christians watch things they shouldn’t and think they can minimize it with things like “I can handle it”, “it doesn’t bother me”, “I still think sin is sin”, “I just need to relax” …. Yes I do.

Finances —  I think God should get the first 10% of ALL our income, as a minimum.  I think the world has become dependent on loans as a means to do things in our timing and to meet our desires, and I don’t think that is the way God intended us to use finances.  Scripture says that the borrower is a slave to the lender… and I don’t think “slave” is a word to represent something pleasant or desirable.  And I think we watch what people make, and what they spend, and often judge their choices.

Yes, there are a lot of other hot button topics that divide the church. And those topics make people seem “less Christian” or “too religious to be approachable” to non-believers.  And yes, I have a belief or personal opinion about all of them.

Practical Application –

Am I going to start speaking my mind publicly on every topic starting today?  No.  I still think using discernment is wise. And having a gentle and quiet spirit is desirable. And, speaking EVERYTHING in love is essential.

But I am going to start taking that primary instinct to judge others for being real about their daily activities and respecting their position while I pray for myself.

The truth is — If I’m struggling with what they are posting in a “condemning” sort of attitude (regardless of if what they say, pin, post, or write is sinful or not sinful) I can’t change them, but I can ask God to change my heart for them.  And if it truly is sinful, pray for them in a loving way that God would open their eyes, instead of secretly thinking they are crazy for putting that out there.

 

 

 

The challenge to refrain from judgment.

11 Jan

No matter who you are, I am 100% confident you’ve run into this issue in your life.  And not only run into it, I am going to take a bold stance here and say that you’ve been on the giving and receiving end of this issue.  Which puts us all in the same boat.  If I’m wrong on this, and this post offends you, please accept my apology before hand — but I have never met anyone yet who has informed me this wasn’t true for them.

I’m going to talk about the reality of having and/or running into someone who has a very strong opinion or conviction about something in their life – and how we handle it and how they handle it.

Incase you’re having a hard time pulling together what I’m talking about, I’m going to give you the top issues where I believe this happens most frequently in the lives of Christians – Immunizations, Education Options, Modest dress, Alcohol consumption, Entertainment choices, Homosexual Lifestyle, and Worship Style.

I’m going to guess as you read through those, you have a preference, opinion, or conviction on them AND you can also think of someone or something that angers you on that topic because of their dogmatic approach or view.

It’s really hard to feel such a strong conviction either supported firmly in Scripture, or just by personal opinion after prayer and study and not feel like anyone who disagrees is simply dead wrong.

It’s also VERY hard not to want to help educate everyone we come in contact with about why we feel the way we feel, and hopefully “win them over” by expressing our point of view.  After all, we feel intensely passionate about our decisions, especially if we reached them after prayer.  How could they not possibly be the right answer for everyone?

If we’re honest – what is more confusing and upsetting than for two Christians to sit across the table from each other and say, “after counsel, prayer and searching Scripture, we are positive this is the direction the Lord is calling us” and they both announce opposite answers.

How can this be?

Yet, often times,  we neglect to see our own dogmatic stances and can become quickly judgmental of other “lesser Christians” for making spiritually immature choices.

But — we never miss the dogmatic stances of others.  And we take such rapid fire offense when we’re:

– Presented another option. (You know, the “I’m coming to you in love” conversation where they simply just want to tell you all the “positive” things about their choice and give you something to consider.)

– Challenged in our beliefs. (When someone comes right out and says – you’re wrong.)

Why is it that we feel such a deep need for everyone to “choose what we choose” in life?   Honestly, lets cut the fluffy ways to say it… that’s what we’re doing.

We don’t share what works for us WITHOUT being asked because we’re just sharing our success. (There is a BIG difference between being asked about a choice you’re making and finding ways to put your opinion on people when not asked.) We’re sharing because we think we’re doing something right and we want others to get it right too.

Is it a desperate attempt to confirm that we really are hearing from God?  Are we not confident enough in our own calling that we attempt to get as many other people on board as we possibly can because it only serves to confirm our choice?

We’re guilty friends.  We’re guilty of searching and seeking for like-mindedness to appease our own beliefs.  We write and read articles that appeal to our pallet of preference.  We seek counsel from those who make the same life style choices.  And we find peace in agreeing with others.

I’m not trying to say “we’re guilty” in a way that brings condemnation.  I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to seek the counsel of those who believe what you believe.  It is actually wise if you’re seeking the counsel of other Bible believing Christians.

However, I just want to give us some food for thought on how we advertise our lives.

I have a friend and I admire her deeply.  She doesn’t even know how much I admire her. But, I watch her approach to life and her spirit blesses and challenges me.

She never gives her opinion unless she’s asked.  And she always does so in a VERY loving and non-judgmental way.  She and I do not agree on everything and it has never once been an issue of contention between us.  She doesn’t lessen her friendship or love for those who do things differently than she does… and IF she struggles with judging others for making choices against her own convictions, I’ve never once see an ounce of that from her.  She has a very peaceful, gentle and quiet spirit about her that trusts deeply that God leads and convicts His children without her “vocal” assistance being forced in any way.  That doesn’t mean she believes God will not use her to speak to others in a way that may convict them, but she never feels the need to take that into her own hands.  She has total faith that the decisions they make in their family through prayer and scripture are right without seeking to prove it from thrusting them on everyone else.  Her love and friendship is not conditional.  Her convictions do not need approval from others.  And she doesn’t pick up offense when others do things differently.

She is a true Proverbs 31 woman in my book, and I hope to keep refining my character to resemble hers.

Practical Application:

Do some reflecting on how you present your convictions and accept the convictions of others.

1.) Do you offer your opinion even when you’re not asked?

2.) Do you seek to get people to agree with your choices?

3.) Do you feel like people are less Christian when they make choices that are different from choices you make?

4.) Are you offended easily when people push their convictions on you?

((To my friends who are doing the 21 day fast with me…. how are you doing?  You can email if you’d like too – gulickfamily@hotmail.com))

 

 

Square One.

19 Nov

At the very end of February 2012, my husband and I left felt the strong push to uproot our family from our church home of ten years (he had actually been there for thirteen years) and find a new place to worship.

For so many reasons it was a good experience.  It’s unbelievable what you learn being a new face in the crowd at multiple different places of worship. We had a multitude of opportunities to take notes on how to treat guests, what to say and what not to say, what to provide and what not to overwhelm them with, how safe an environment feels, how inviting or ignored you can be by the other attenders, what kinds of worship music are out there, the variety of ways people worship, good preaching and dreadful preaching, scripture being broadcasted or really good stories that have little or nothing to do with the Bible, sections of scripture being broken down or verses pulled out of context all over the place, men leading the church or women leading the church.

We visited A LOT of churches in six months time.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hated it though.  Even when I saw good lessons, it was such a painful time.  Not having a place to call “home”, encouraging the kids to go into some classroom with a brand new face by saying, “it’s OK, go ahead with (what’s your name ma’am?) Suzie, you’ll be just fine.”  All the while wondering in my own head if they’d be just fine.  Everyone was a stranger not just to them, but to us too. Feeling like every time you went somewhere and got in the car from a bad experience that you wasted another week not finding a church home.

I will never forget when I ate, not just a piece, but a HUGE helping of humble pie.  I remember waking up one Sunday morning and saying “I can’t do it today.” We decided to have church at home.  We read scripture, we sang, we prayed and it was a good experience with the kids.  But that afternoon as I was digesting everything that happened — it hit me.  For the first time, I completely understood why “those people” who call themselves Christians don’t go to church anywhere.

It is REALLY hard to find a church, and after so many bad experiences, it is so discouraging and tiring on your mind, body and spirit.

In October 2012, we found a church that wasn’t awful. We saw immediate problems, but the church was only one month old, so we agreed to give it some time.  After one year and one month, we’re back at square one.

I’m devastated.

If we aren’t going to find a Biblical Church, at the very least, we’ll go to one that isn’t a 35 minute drive every week and save the money and time for other things we need. It was very hard to be plugged in when you’re not in the community regularly in which you worship.

I have no idea where else to try.  There aren’t any churches around here doing it God’s way.  I’m not saying a church doesn’t exist in America, but it sure seems like they are so watered down by American ideals, concepts and mindsets that we say we want God 100% but our actions show that we want God 50%.

We also want women to lead in the church, scripture to be taught with one verse and 30 minutes of relatable stories, louder – brighter – more entertaining and talented performers on stage instead of genuine worship leaders, entire sections of scripture to be completely ignored, continued ignorance for spiritual gifts (what they are, why they are crucial, and how to implement every believer together to make a church function as a complete body having everyone plugged in and in the proper places) to allow every willing hand to be a small group leader, teacher, and committee member instead of having any spiritual accountability or evidence of maturity, surface level relationships, guilt-ridden requests to serve in the nursery because you have nursery age children, comfortable situations where you can come be fed and then leave without serving or being involved at all, LOTS and LOTS of salvations from emotionally driven messages without any immediate actions to mentor to maturity new believers (unless like I already mentioned, it’s by someone who raised a willing hand to lead a class or group and has had no accountability for their own maturity) churches filled to the brim with believers and yet only 10% of them actually read their Bibles daily or have any idea what is really in it.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not looking for the Perfect Church. I know the saying “If there was a perfect church, it was stop being perfect the minute I entered it because I’m not perfect.”  And I completely agree.

But I’m yet to find a church where they even have 80% of it right, and struggle in one or two areas.  Most churches struggle with at least half of the things I mentioned above – and a whole list of things I didn’t even include there.

We’re studying Acts right now, and every time I read that book I think, “God forgive us.  We have strayed SO FAR from your original plan for the church and the way you designed it to function.”  I can’t even image what Paul and Peter would say if they attended a church today.  No doubt we’d get one of their “in your face lectures” for sure! And maybe, we need to hear it.

Practical Application:

I’m not sure what to write here today other than to think about some questions.

How healthy is your church?

When you read through Acts, does your church model what is taught?

Does your church help believers understand spiritual gifts and get them plugged in where they need to be have a healthy and complete body of Christ?

If not – can you be a part of the solution?

His favorite thing is torture.

14 Sep

The post I wrote yesterday caused someone to comment the phrase “I, like most women, have watched one too many romantic comedies”  and this spurred something in me instantaneously that I don’t think I’ve ever fully tackled here before — so buckle up, this one’s intense.

I’m absolutely confident that I’ve talked a few different times about how over the last 12 years, we’ve had countless talks, arguments, and even hurtful fights over the television in our home.  Both of us heavily had an opinion and even though we were listening to what each other was saying, we almost grew MORE angry because we felt so polar opposite that it didn’t feel like the truth to hear a different dissection of the situation.  For me – and hang with me women because I believe this ONE statement destroys us over and over again in so many areas –

I was incredibly angry about the issue at hand, but I was enraged that he didn’t feel the same as me. And because my feelings were so on target, he couldn’t just have a different opinion, he was DEAD WRONG.

It took me until roughly a year ago to come to grips that he wasn’t wrong.  If he was telling me his “side” of things, I had to believe him instead of hating him.  I saw how I was taking my convictions, struggles, temptations and truths and demanding that he had all the same and was constantly pointing them out to try to break him down into just admitting it.

It never worked.  It pushed us apart.

My husband absolutely loves the television.  This magic black box allows him to escape to thinking nothing, being responsible for nothing, finding rest, enjoyment, contentedness, relaxation, and entertainment.  And practically anything can be on to fulfill these feelings.  With the exception of a few annoying cartoons, reality shows, and intensely derogatory shows, he’ll gladly watch anything.

I’m the opposite.  And the only way I know how to explain this well is to give a few examples.

First and foremost, when the television goes on, I battle jealousy.  Why can’t I be that love in his life?  (Which I addressed in another post about having him as an idol in my life.) How come he isn’t running in the door to be with me? Why isn’t hanging out with me enough, but rather the television has to be on all the time?

Then comes the show options:

Scary/Horror shows or films – If I’m not scared out of my mind watching them (which I always am) I am plagued with intense nightmares for weeks.  Even that have nothing to do with the exact story line, once I’m frightened – Satan has a hay day with my paralyzing fears.  I’ll lie awake at 2:00 in the morning in tears battling thoughts about my kids being kidnapped and sold into the sex trade and I can’t find them and they’re suffering.

Romantic shows/comedies – These are the worst.  You know how most women absolutely LOVE a good chick flick?  NOT ME.  I hate them!! Of course there is the obvious problem that it paints this picture that men are capable of swooning over the love in their life in romantic and creative ways.  It causes anger and jealousy toward my own husband because I have always wanted that kind of romantic marriage.  And when it looks so attainable, ESPECIALLY When he’s watching it too and doesn’t pick up any pointers, I’m furious with him.

But so much worse than that is the women in the film. They have flawless bodies, and flawless skin.  I can get on board that models are airbrushed.  Actress can’t be airbrushed and filmed at the same time.  They’re gorgeous.  And the movies make them appear that they are naturally gorgeous.  Like first thing in the morning with messy hair and seemingly no makeup – that kind of beauty is SO out of reach for me.  And then they always end up naked (or mostly) at some point in the movie.  And I’m staring at the screen thinking “you’re hot.  holy crap, there is no possible way my husband isn’t turned on right now — I mean, I’m even a little turned on for crying out loud.  he’s gonna think about this scene later.  and if he initiates anything with me tonight, it’s not gonna be because of me, it’s gonna be because he’s turned on by this incredibly gorgeous woman.”

Action shows/movies – I don’t find them entertaining at all.  The whole time I’m struggling to understand how destruction, evil forces, death, or make-believe is captivating and enjoyable.  I’m so uncomfortable and often fighting back tears because I can’t take the display of innocent lives being slayed.  I also sit there dumbfounded at the screen wondering how when I ask my husband a question about something that hasn’t happened but I want to know what he’d think/do/feel if we were in that situation, he can’t answer and seems annoyed.  Yet here he is completely engaged and desperately hanging on his seat for the next super-hero movie to come out and I’m like, what in the heck?  It’s seriously make-believe.  It can NEVER happen.  This is so stupid.  Why the double-standard???

I could go on because this type of thing happens with almost every type of entertainment.  But I think this paints a good enough picture to make the point.

I have to stay away from the television because other wise I grow jealous, angry, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, accusatory, bitter, and most of all unsatisfied with my own looks, skills and abilities.

And when my husband’s favorite activity in the whole world in watching television/movies and he loves for me to sit in the chair or on the couch with him and *enjoy* this too and it’s literally one of the most painful activities in the world for me…. it stinks, bad.

I try to do it every so often.  I want to love him in the ways he feels it most.  I want to spend quality time with him doing things HE likes too.  I want him to feel like he married someone who accepts him and appreciates his recreational desires.

But it’s tough.

Practical Application –

I don’t know that I have any real good advice to put in here.  If you don’t struggle in this way, it’s easy to be judgmental (just like I was of him for so many years for NOT struggling in the same ways I do.)  I just pray a lot that God allows this to be something that doesn’t tear us apart.  That we can accept these truths about each other and exercise love for each other to protect each others hearts.

I (choose to) love you.

12 Sep

This is going to be one of those painful posts to write and read because it’s going to be brutally honest, raw and real. Why do I bare enough of myself to write these posts?  Because we’re all a lot better off knowing what life really looks like, instead of constantly viewing a bunch of people wearing masks and performing plays for the public eye.

Ready for the truth?

I didn’t love my husband when we got married.

I loved the idea of being someone’s world, being the princess in the story, feeling like someone was going to romantically spoil me for the rest of my life, feeling safe, feeling fulfilled, feeling accomplished, feeling – well – gushy, mushy, adoring feelings from the exciting process of dating and planning a wedding.

That’s not to say I didn’t care for him, and have intimate feelings toward him.  Of course I did.  But love?  I was so clueless and didn’t even know it.  By the world’s definition, I would have SWORE I was MADLY in love with him.  And if love really means, “Finding someone who makes you feel like a million dollars” then well, I guess I did love him.

But once you say “I do” and REAL LIFE happens – you don’t always feel like a million bucks.  In fact, you start to figure out that this incredible, handsome, funny and romantic person can really be a shallow, mean, and selfish man.  And if you think this is some sort of husband bashing session – think again.  If I could describe for you what he’s went through to live with me… I’d be forced to use profanity because “safe words for children’s eyes” can’t even do it justice.  He’s been to Hell and back living with me.

I know it sounds drastically wrong to say what I’m about to say… but it IS the truth.  I didn’t fall in love with my husband over the last 12 years because of all the good, fun and romantic things we’ve done.  I fell in love with my husband by living out our vows…. all the negative sounding ones.

Hanging together when you’re tapping into the bottom of the financial barrel is what love looks like.

Being forgiven when you’ve been the world’s biggest jerk and you know you totally don’t deserve a second chance (or 100th) is what love looks like.

Forgiving someone who has crushed you in a way you didn’t know anyone ever could, is what love looks like.

Sitting on the side of a bed instead of being at work when the doctor says, “normally it would be too risky to perform surgery but we have no choice… if we don’t, your gall bladder will burst and we’ll lose you and the baby” is what love looks like.

Being so exhausted with a newborn in the house that you can’t even work up enough strength to speak nicely to each other, but going to bed together every night anyway is what love looks like.

Picking up clothes off the floor for 12 years that for some reason, can’t be put into a laundry basket is what love looks like.

Going to work at a job you hate to provide for your family is what love looks like.

Driving a piece of junk vehicle so your spouse can have the better one is what love looks like.

Packing his lunch every day is what love looks like.

((Take time to stop right here – grab a piece of paper, and keep going.  What does REAL love look like in your marriage?))

I’m not saying that coming home with flowers, cuddling on the couch watching movies, attending a sporting event together, and holding hands on a walk isn’t love.  It absolutely can be.

However, and this is the part that the world misses, it can’t JUST be that – or it’s not love…. it’s lust.

It’s easy to “love” someone who is lusting over you.

It’s hard to love someone who is living every day life, values sleep because of the job they must keep to provide for the family, and doesn’t have the time or energy to stay up on the phone all night long saying “no, you hang up first.”

And let’s be honest.  We all secretly wish we could have that life long experience of being lusted over.

I still find myself broken over not being loved in the romantic ways of my dreams.  Just two weekends ago I spent an hour crying my eyes out because what I think would be so simple to speak love to me, my husband is oblivious to – EVEN THOUGH I’ve spelled it out in about one thousand and fifteen conversations over the years.

It would sure be easy in those moments to say – “I want out. You don’t love me.  You are so selfish.  You don’t listen to me.  You don’t even try.  You don’t care.  I’m trapped.  You’re a dead beat of a husband.”

But that’s not true.  My husband doesn’t show his love for me in just the ways I desire to be swooned over.  He shows love to me every day living life with me, putting me first, providing for us, fathering our children, coming home right after work, listening to me talk, and a million other choices he makes every single day.

You don’t have to be married long to face this truth – either it’s time to give up on love and assume “you fell out of it” or realize that REAL love is hardly attainable before you live your life together and you’re going to choose to keep working at it.

Love is a verb.  It’s a choice.  It’s an action.

If we desire to be choosy — we should be a WHOLE lot more choosy BEFORE marriage instead of after.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say – but hear the truth in this statement.

I could have been a lot more choosy in finding a husband.  I could see differences, but I threw that to the side assuming he’d change because I was smitten over his lustful eyes for me.  (And I don’t just mean sexual advances.) When I say lustful eyes, I mean – his longing for a serious relationship, his excited attitude about spending time with me, his willingness to talk all night long, his constant compliments and long glances, the whole “I’m totally attracted to you” shebang.

I was smitten – hook, line and sinker.  I don’t regret it.  He’s a good man.

But – I hardly have room to complain that he’s not as outgoing as I am.  I knew that.

Or that he doesn’t have a close relationship with his family.  I knew that too.

Or that he didn’t shower me with gifts, love notes, and special events because I also knew that.

Or the secret hidden list that I rarely ever talk about with anyone but God of all the things I wish he did, said or cared about to fulfill all my dreams.

He’s a male, and he’s a type C personality — so he probably doesn’t have an organized list, nor could he sit and randomly rattle off a bunch of things he wishes I would or wouldn’t do — but those things show up too in different moments on his face.

I hurt him.  I disrespect him sometimes.  I fail to fulfill him in all the ways that would make his dreams come true.

But he chooses every day to love me.

And I love him right back.

Because we both know, love is about giving – not about getting.

And because we are making that choice, we actually will live happily ever after.

Practical Application –

Admit the false lies the world has spent millions of dollars plastering everywhere that love is a romantic feeling and if it’s missing, your spouse (fiancé, boyfriend) is a dead beat.

Make a list of what real love looks like in your marriage.

Talk it out.  Thank each other for making the choice to love daily and for never giving up…. even when it feels like there’s move giving than getting in rough seasons.

 

A letter to my boys….

15 Aug

Dear Boys,

I never felt the need to write you a letter at the start of any previous school year before this year, I suppose that could be taken as naïve –  but then again, I never thought this day would come, and it feels like a bigger year than all the others.

School is not going to be the same this year.  I know you’re use to memorizing a Bible verse every week, learning Bible stories, and going to chapel every Wednesday.  As well as praying at the start and end of every day and counting on your teachers to give you godly advise whenever you need it.

The normal routine will not be like this in Public school. It’s going to be a lot different.

For starters, there are going to be a lot of kids.  And by a lot, I mean A LOT.  You’re use to fifty in your entire school, and you’re going to have about seventy-five in just each of your grades alone.  The first day walking in will be scary.  But Dad and I will both be there to go in with you.  And that brings me to my first point.  Daddy and I are ALWAYS here for you whenever you’re scared.  If anything happens this year that makes you nervous, feel unsafe, frightened, or sad – I want you to come to us right away.  We’re on your side, always.  That doesn’t mean you will get away with things because we’re on your side, but it does mean that you belong to us and we’ll protect you no matter who, what, when, where, why or how you got into any given situation.  We will do whatever it takes to keep you safe.

The next thing you need to know is that with so many more kids, you’re going to be exposed to things you’ve never seen or heard before.  Not everyone is a Christian. And because of this truth, that means not everyone will live their lives to honor Christ and follow Scripture.  This is where wisdom and discernment will come in handy.  Whenever you feel in your gut that something is wrong, or remember what you’ve learned at home, school or church is different from what is happening – you’re going to have to be brave and courageous and do the right thing.  God always rewards obedience, even if you don’t see that immediately – you will see God’s blessings for doing the right thing.  And rebellion always has negative consequences.  Even if you don’t see those right away – you will have to answer for your bad decisions and it will cost you something. As you grow, we’ll share more of these realities from our lives with you, so never think this is just a warning, it is a reality.  Obedience is always worth it.

You’re going to hear naughty words; don’t repeat them.  Ignore them and continue to use appropriate words. You can be a trend setter if you stick to your guns and don’t be wishy-washy acting one way at certain times and another way at other times.  Our tongues have the power to speak life and death — you cannot praise God and also curse other people, so use your tongue to speak life and build others up.

You’re going to see people getting picked on.  No matter what you do, don’t join in. Ever.  Scripture tells us that some will entertain the “least of these” and in doing so have entertained angels.  Every person was created by God and for God – we’re all equal – by picking on others, it’s like saying you think you’re better than them and can treat them poorly.  You’re not better than anyone.  You might make better choices than some, but you’re not superior to anyone. Be humble, don’t think more of yourself than you should. Be a friend to everyone.  You never know when your friendship will show someone Christ through you and you’ll have the chance to share Jesus and they’ll accept Christ as their Savior and go to Heaven.  Our goal is always to share Christ.  And the best way to share Christ is through friendship. So be friends with everyone!!

You’re going to experience more intense peer pressure.  Basically that means, when a large group of people is doing something, and you’re the only one who isn’t – it creates a BIG temptation to join in just because you don’t want to be the odd man out.  Adults experience this too.  And it’s tough to make the right choice, but not impossible.  Scripture promises that no temptation is too big for you to escape and God will provide a way out if you call on Him.  Stop and pray whenever you feel that pull to just join the crowd even though you know it’s the wrong choice.

You might have teachers who don’t believe in God.  This is going to be different.  But listen up, you can still respect their authority as your teacher, even if they have different spiritual beliefs than we do.  I’ll let you in on a little secret — kids teach adult things all the time!  And your actions will show what you believe.  If you make good choices, you’ll stand out from the other kids and even an adult will admire what is different about you and want what you have that they don’t – which is Jesus.  So be respectful, submissive, and make good choices and you’ll witness to your teachers this year too.

You’re not going to pray as a class at school.  But that does not mean you can’t pray silently in your mind whenever you need to talk to God.  Part of following Christ is talking to Him all day long every day about all situations.  No one can keep you from praying – so always talk to God first about your day and then to us when you come home.

And lastly, sometimes we don’t understand what God is doing, or why things are happening the way they are – but God promises to work all things together for the good of those who love Him.  The Bible is full of men and women who were asked to walk a road that didn’t make any sense to them, but ended up being good for them, for others, and brought God glory and honor.  This year may not have looked like we thought it would, but God has a plan and will use this year to grow you in your characters, faith, obedience, and courage.

Daddy and I are praying for you every day.  You’re going to be awesome.  We’re so proud of you.  And we love you so much!

Love, Mommy

 

 

 

When marriage REALLY changed.

2 Jun

There is a lot of talk about “If homosexuals are allowed to marry, it’ll change the institution of marriage forever.”

I don’t disagree, however… I’d challenge us consider the fact that marriage is already changed from the institution God created.

I don’t say that tongue in cheek as if we should just keep changing it then, I say that to put a few things back into perspective for some of us “angry Christians” and just the general public as well.

The institution of marriage was changed dramatically three times already.

1.) No Fault Divorce.

We don’t even have to have a reason anymore to leave.  Which is when the phrases “We just grew apart” and “I just don’t love you anymore” started being good enough reasons to change the institution of marriage.  It’s no longer one man and one woman …. it’s as many one man /woman marriages to as many one man/woman as they so choose.

2.) Birth Control.

How does how many children we want to bring into the world have anything to do with marriage?  Because once birth control was invented, infidelity SKY ROCKETED! It was no longer “risky” to have an affair for fear that the woman would get pregnant.

15% of married men reportedly admit to having sex outside of marriage.  That’s just men brave enough to admit it – and a controlled poll. Let alone, women who aren’t in that poll.  And that 15% is startling enough isn’t it?

3.) The Internet.

I’m not blaming the Internet.  After all, without it, you wouldn’t be reading this blog.  So I’m obviously not sold that the Internet is the Devil.  However, the Internet has made it possible for us to have instant and private access to pornography, secret relationships, and an explosion of exposure to things that we did not have in our homes 30 years ago.

After all, I can have an affair with my husband sitting in the same room as me, if he’s watching TV and I’m playing on the computer right?

Why does this matter?

Because we haven’t maintained the standard of the institution of marriage, long before any gay couples were even out of the closet – yet now we’re up in arms and blaming them?

It leads me to ask a few questions.

If we didn’t tolerate and participate in sex before marriage – would men and women participate in cohabitation before marriage or even in replace of marriage today?

If we didn’t divorce, would people go into marriage signing a prenuptial?

If we weren’t able to access pornography at the touch of our fingers or have private email addresses – would nearly as many people be having affairs today?

If we couldn’t jump online and find a slew of other “Christians” who are divorced, in favor of gay marriage, and participating in cohabitation, would we be questioning what Scripture says now and asking if “those rules” were for “that culture” and it’s time for change?

 

I guess what I’m really saying is that, I’m not for children out-of-wedlock, cohabitation, divorce, swinging marriages, or gay marriage.  In my opinion, IT ALL changes the institution of marriage from God’s original standard and covenant.

Do I hate anyone who participates in any of the above?  Of course not.  Is there grace and mercy for everyone? Absolutely.  Would I treat every single person participating in the above as a neighbor I am called to love and cherish. Yes.

But I won’t stand back and say that gay couples have destroyed the institution of marriage any less than straight couples.

I’m not against gay marriage.

I’m against ANY and ALL alterations to the purpose and intent of marriage given to us by a Holy God who created us and died to redeem us.

Personal Application:

What has changed marriage?

What have I supported that has changed marriage?

What have I participated in that has changed marriage?

How can I better set a standard for ALL, not some?