Category Archives: Ethics

Who They Think They’d Like To Meet.

Name:  Julie
Age:  Wouldn’t you like to know?!
Status:  Married for 21 years
Education:  Still Learning
Who I’d Like to Meet I have already met:  God

In this techno-savvy age of computers, everyone has a “space”.  Both young and old seem to indulge in this form of communication, and at the height of the information board, the person’s “profile” that lists several things about them.

Name, age, location, education, favorite likes, dislikes, books, and other questions are boldly proclaimed across the world wide web.  There’s been much discussion about the safety concerns, or lack thereof in many cases, of sharing so much with the unknown.  Now, with private “friend” invitations, access can only be allowed to those we  “know”…so the communication waves continue, sharing photos, stories, lists, comments and so on.

In many cases, these web pages are much like blogging, minus the uncontrolled advertising.  However, I have to give a big sarcastic chuckle when I read a profile that says, “Who I’d Like to Meet:  God“, and yet their home page reeks of sinful indulgences.

Blaring rock music, lust-filled web design images, uncontrolled and innapropriate advertising banners, others listed as “friends” who boldly proclaim profanity, rebellion, and share stories of their latest sinful pleasures.

–And yet, they want to “meet God“?

I dare say they have not even begun to realize that the fulfillment of their wish might not be such a joyous occasion!

Why would God want to “hang” with pictures of drunken college kids who do little but lead others far from righteousness?  Why would God want to hear noise termed as “music” because that is what’s popular?  What would God say about the language that is being openly used and accepted as “cool”? Why is it that we’ve fooled ourselves into believing that it’s okay to overlook the obvious, all for the sake of fitting in? 

How would God react to these “adults”, who know better, and many of whom have professed a personal relationship with Him, when they are so weak in spirit and cannot resist the least temptation to participate with such evil?

They don’t want to meet God.  The one true God, that is. 

They meet their gods everyday, and enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin.  Their gods encourage them to stay away from what is right and good, and rejoice when another “little” step is taken further in the wrong direction.

Pretty soon, they are convinced that no harm can come from participating in unholy acts.  —Then…it becomes easier and easier and easier to ignore the wrong.  Eventually, the line is crossed, and there’s consequences too great to pay.

They don’t want to meet God. 

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Filed under Attitude, Blogging, Children, Commitment, Ethics, Faith, Family, Friends, God, Life, Mercy, Morals, Obedience, Priorities, Reputation, Trials, Wisdom

The Superintendent.

God is the Superintendent.  My husband is the Principal.  I am the teacher.  My son is beginning kindergarten!

Through God’s leading, we are beginning homeschool in two weeks.  This, a decision we don’t take lightly, has been prayed over, and held in consideration for some time now. 

Though we are going to take it year-by-year, we know that for now the decision to homeschool is the right one for us in 2007.  God has given us the opportunity, the curriculum, and a group of very supportive friends through a new new co-op in the area.  (Praise the Lord! — thank you, ladies 🙂 

Why homeschool?  Well, for several reasons…most of all because God has simply given us direction to do it.  In many instances in the bible, it states that we should “teach our children” the ways of the Lord, and though one can still accomplish that task AND send their children to public school, it seems increasingly difficult to strengthen Christian teaching at home while the child is spending 8 hours under the influence of a godless environment. 

Unfortunately, the government has seen to it that Christian viewpoints and the practicing of Christian ethics are “unacceptable” in public school.  –What a sad realization!?  Even Christian teachers and administrators have to work everyday in fear for their job if they respond to the spiritual needs of a child at school.  The very mention of God’s name can be enough to put their job in jeapordy. 

Children who do have Christian homes are taught to respect God’s name and to stand in awe of His creations.  Then, they are sent out the door to deal all day with a world that stands to destroy the very ideas their parents just taught them. 

The youngest children, especially, are at risk because they are so impressionable and need to be grounded on God’s foundation before they are ready to face such worldly suggestions. 

“Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil…”  Deuteronomy 1:39

So…we have accepted God’s directive to teach our children the ways of the Lord.  We plan to teach them how to read His word, spell His name, write His words on their heart, and add up the blessings he bestows upon their life.  We will credit God for the work of His creations, acknowledge His power to change history, and praise Him in song through music.  Our foreign language studies will concentrate on the need to share the gospel message with people around the world.  Character and good citizenship will be emphasized under the example left to us by our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. 

For many, many reasons, we choose to incorporate Christian principles in every academic subject we will study.  This is the exciting part!  –No constraints.  No subjecting our boys to educational theories that conflict with the word of God.  No study for meaningless tests that waste valuable time.  An opportunity to spend valuable time with them in their early years, building a strong God-filled life foundation.  — This is why we are homeschooling.

Will I be able to do it?  — Prayerfully!  I know it won’t be easy, and much like a first year teacher, I’m sure I will make lots of mistakes.  However, for us, it is the right thing to do.  We welcome the opportunity, and consider it an honor.

My son is excited and ready to learn.  My initial lesson plans are almost complete.  We’re about to set up the school “room”, and plan a fun-filled first day! 

In the mean time, I thought I would share this video with you.  It so perfectly exemplifies the excitement of teaching our children God’s word.

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Mathematical 2.

(faith   + v  + k  + sc  + p  + G  + bk  + l) = (F x 2)

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith…”

What is faith?  Why is faith so important?  Faith in Who?  Where is faith at work?  How and when did you come to understand the importance of faith?

The basis of our hope and security…the foundation of our future…the beginning of our spiritual walk with Christ  — it must be faith.

In order to begin answering our mathematical equation, we should first understand that you can’t add to something that’s not there.  The verse above said to “add to our faith”, which means that faith is the foundation of our inheritance.   Without it, we cannot know God, the things of God, nor the purpose of our life in God. 

I expect that many of you reading this today have already made a decision to accept the free gift of salvation offered by our Savior, Jesus Christ.  However, I don’t want to proceed any further without making sure.  If you have not done this, I implore you to take a moment to pause……….God is giving you another opportunity to hear the greatest of news!   Faith in God is where it all begins.

Faith starts small and simple…confessing our sin, and believing that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to take the punishment for our sin.  Like a newborn baby drinks milk from a bottle, salvation is easy to digest (free and available), does not need chewing (no special works required), and satisfies our hunger (is permanent, filling us with the gift of life). 

From there it takes root, and starts to grow when we apply God’s Word to our lives.  At some point, we move from “milk” to “meat”.  We begin desiring more and more of God and His Word.  We crave knowledge and wisdom as only God can provide.  We read the bible, understand our purpose and calling, and live our lives in obedience to God.   The more we persevere, the more we step out of our “box”, the more we reach out to others, exhibit the characteristics of Christ, and grow our personal relationship with the Lord, the bigger our faith grows. 

Hebrews, chapter 11, defines faith as “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”   The chapter goes on to list many people in biblical times who accomplished great things for the kingdom of God.  Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses lived on the earth long ago, yet have something very much in common with today’s people —they, too, had to believe in the “unseen”.  Verse 13 says that they “all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”  If we all could just do these three things with our faith, we could surely move mountains!

A pastor once defined faith as:     

  1. Being sure God is who He says He is, and

  2. Being certain that God will do exactly what He promised He would do.

Another definition I have heard is: “Believing — no matter what the outcome or circumstance, and acting upon it.”

Faith requires action — even when you don’t like or know the outcome.  When tested through trial and affliction, faith should strengthen and grow.  A faith that stands still becomes stagnant.

If you left the earth today, what would be said of your faith?  Imagine the inscription on your tombstone, or a line in your eulogy — how would it fill these blanks?

“By faith,      (insert your name)     , when he/she was tested,        (did what?)     .

How are you exercising your faith today?  Are you regularly reading the bible?  Are  you talking to your friends, family, and neighbors about Christ?  Are you making an effort to further your relationship with God?  Do you whine and complain when God wants you to do something?  Do you rationalize or ignore your way out of the responsibilities of the “Great Commission”? 

I ask you to examine your faith today.  Look closely to see what “cracks” are in it, and allow God to make the needed repairs.  Know that “without faith, it’s impossible to please God” Hebrews 11:6, and be diligent in faith to add the next piece of our equation…

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Holy and Wholly.

I wonder, how many of us know the difference between the two?  When I first saw the word “wholly”, I have to admit that I thought maybe it was just another way to spell “holy”.  Still…I was curious about the difference.  It seemed like there must be a reason for the “w”. 

I saw “wholly” in a song that our praise team sings at church.  The song speaks of wanting to be “wholly”.  Then, in my bible reading, I began to see “wholly” again.  Many times over the last two weeks, I have read the word “wholly”.  With my curiosity at an all-time high, I began to search out the difference between the two.

“Holy” as defined by the dictionary is:  “Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred; set apart for a religious purpose; regarded or deserving special respect or reverence.

Some biblical examples of “holy” are:

  • 1 Peter 1:15-16            “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy“.”

  • Revelation 15:4            “Who shall not fear you, O Lord, and glorify Your name?  For You alone are holy.”

“Wholly” is defined as:  “Exclusively; to the fullest extent; without exception; in its entirety; completely; purely.”

Some biblical examples of “wholly” are:

  • Numbers 32:11 & 12          “…because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.” 
  • Deuteronomy 1:36             “except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the Lord.”

So, what I have learned, and what I would like to share with you today is that God is BOTH “Holy” and “Wholly”….exclusively and entirely deserving special respect and reverence.  He wants us to consider Him as our complete, without exception, one and only God, sacred, set apart, and exclusive. 

Consider these praise song lyrics: 

“Holy is the Lord, God Almighty,

The earth is full of His Glory.

Holy is the Lord, God Almighty,

The earth is full of His Glory.

The earth is full of His Glory.”

Holy means sacred.  God is sacred, and worthy of reverence.  He, in Himself, is the definition of the word “holy” and no action of ours can or will change that.

Now…sing the same song, and add a “w” changing the word “holy” to “wholly” would make it mean something like this:

“(Exclusive) is the Lord, God Almighty,

The earth is full of His Glory.

(Exclusive) is the Lord, God Almighty,

The earth is full of His Glory.

The earth is full of His Glory.”

As we consider the state of our hearts, how many of us can sing this with conviction?  Although God is exclusive in His own being, we often fail to recognize Him as the exclusive God in our lives.  The word “wholly” requires action for us.  If we do consider God “wholly”, then we will put aside our other “gods” and follow Him.  Money, fame, fortune, popularity, habits, hobbies, family, friends, time, pride, selfishness, and many other things become our “god” so easily. 

We must remember that our God is complete — pure and exclusive, and far more valuable than any other.   

 

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In the Garden of Life.

A friend and I were discussing that he read my latest blog about the gardening experience over the weekend.  He made a comment to me that he couldn’t help but think that the blog could have related alot with our experience in “life gardening”.  He noticed that many of the same things I wrote about also apply when we sow the seeds of faith.

Immediately, I was convicted that I didn’t take more time in my writing on that subject, so I resolved to re-read the blog again, and after doing so, I realized that he was right!  It is amazing how God takes our ordinary things and uses them to show us His plan!

So….here is the “revised” version of “God Is…In the Garden.” with kudos to my friend for pointing out the higher purpose in sprouting seeds!!

…………… 

“Today, we planted a garden!  We are worn out, and reminded of all the muscles we don’t normally use(how many of us use our “sowing” muscles?  When they are used in witnessing after being “dormant” for a while, it is a good/bad reminder…good, that we know we are doing God’s will, but bad, that we are reminded how few times we keep them in shape!), but the seeds are in the ground, and we are expecting a wonderful harvest! (We should have the faith that God WILL bring a harvest of souls into the kingdom!)

I really don’t know what I’m doing…just kind of praying that God will bless it! (God doesn’t expect us to always know what to say or do, but just to be obedient in spreading the Word.) Some of my thoughts during this process:

  1. “Need to till ground….that’s what husband’s are for!   I could never work that thing.  Besides, there is something “manly” about working with a tiller!  My husband really did look like he knew what HE was doing!  (Thank you, dear!)” (Tilling the ground can relate to the preparation and responsibility that we all must do before being an effective witness.  We must be willing to read the bible, live our lives as godly as possible, recognize and turn from situations that would compromise our witness, and “..be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”  1 Peter 3:15. 
  2. “Wow…the dirt is really black!  That MUST mean that it’s fertile, right?!” (The dirt IS fertile, and the “black” is the sin that is prevalent in our land today!  Let’s get out there and kick some dirt!)
  3. “It’s going to rain in a few days, so the seeds need to go in today!” (God is already bringing rain for the harvest!  More than ever, I know many of us are feeling His presence and the touch of His hand on lives all around us!)
  4. “Got to plan this thing right….tall things in the back, short plants in the front?” (Does location matter?  Where are we planting seeds?  Where is the potential for the greatest harvest? …I will tell you….it’s right where you are!  Unless God has specifically called you elsewhere, you can most often be effective in your witness to those around you; to the people that know you and see you live your life in a godly manner.  Our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and other members of your own community who already have a relationship with you may very well be the “ripest” of the harvest!) 
  5. “Seed packet says, “Plant 2 to 3 seeds every two feet.”  Ok….if I plant 3-4 seeds every foot and half, then SURELY SOMETHING will grow?!” (I would think that in this age of rebellion, that it wouldn’t hurt for us to be a little over zealous at times about our faith.  It seems that alot of Christians have arrived at an attitude that we might be too “pushy” or “offensive” to someone if we were to speak openly about the things of God.  It is such a shame that we are more often NOT saying the name of Jesus, than saying the name of our favorite actor/actress, celebrity, tv show, etc.  The name of Jesus should be part of our everyday language; a name that we speak without hesitation regardless of who’s around.)
  6. “A few hours later…..when the back is aching…try to remember why I started this in the first place!” (God never promised that it would be easy.  Sometimes, it’s going to hurt, and most often it hurts closest to home.  My pastor recently made a statement that I wrote in my bible. Regarding satan, he said, “If you’re not meeting him head on, you’re probably headed in the same direction.”  This is so true…we can often judge our godly productivity by the trials we face, knowing that satan will not be pleased.)
  7. “Oh boy, the neighbors are watching….hopefully, something looks right!” (Again, our friends and neighbors are watching.  We should be careful to exemplify Christ in our lives.  Like it or not, we are all leaders.  We may lead on purpose, with our mouth, and toward a greater goal, or we may lead simply with our actions.  We lead to or from God.  The bible says that the blind leading the blind will cause them both to fall into a ditch.  We can go to church on Sunday, carry our bible in the car, act like we know what the real message is, but if we also go around participating in the things of the world, then we are just leading others into a ditch.  We must have the willpower and integrity (which is defined as:  what we do when no one is looking) to honor God in all that we do, always being mindful of our influence on others.  “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”  Matthew 12:30)   
  8. When the work is done, “Hmmm….looks pretty good!” (…A big pat on the back!) (The pat will come from God, Himself!  I think I’m gonna’ reach up for a big hug, too!)

Can’t wait to eat fresh tomatoes, corn, onions, radishes, cucumbers, broccoli, okra, brussel sprouts (yes, I really like them), strawberries and squash!!  If it works, you’re all invited to supper!!” (The supper of the harvest!  The great celebration!  “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!  Revelation 19:9)

……….

I pray that, together, we will sit at the table prepared for us in heaven, to eat of the sweet fruit of the harvest of souls.  I pray for you, boldness to share the Word, diligence to dig into the Word, and faithfulness to live out the Word!  May our “gardens” be the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! 

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Our Identity.

On the way home from a soccer game, our five year old decided to announce that he had a word for each of us in the family.  He so intelligently proclaimed:       

Himself – “Motorcross”

His Little Brother – “Little People” (as in the Fisher Price toys)

Sister #2 – “Ketchup”  (she eats it on everything!)

Dad – “Fishing”

Mom – “Singing at church”

Sister #1 – Water  (she always drinks it)

We laughed reflecting on his comments!  It was so funny to hear him verbalize our “identities” based upon his young perceptions!  As I thought about what he said, I realized that there was a blog in this….

God Is…Our Identity.

  • John 10:14 – “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”

There are two ways of looking at this verse…”am known by My own” could indicate that we Christians know Jesus, as He knows us — like sheep know who their shepherd is.  However, from an identity standpoint, you could also look at this phrase to mean that Jesus is known by his sheep…meaning the reputation we hold reflects on the character and reputation of Jesus. 

If our reputation is of disobedience and rebellion, then we do not reflect a very good representation of Jesus.  When we proclaim ourselves to be a “Christian”, we are saying that we are “like Christ”, and if the world sees us behaving in disobedience, we are basically saying, “Christ acts like this.”   

We must be careful to exhibit our lives in such a way as to honor our Savior.  We, further, should recognize instances where we fail to do that, and take the time to point our failures out to other people.  We should be humbled to the point of making sure the world knows that we acknowledge the things we have done were wrong. 

Our reputation as Christians becomes Christ’s reputation to the world.

Even a five-year old like my son sees the “real” us.  He knows, by our behaviors, what we play with, what we drink, what we eat, what we spend our time doing, and what really makes us happy.  We should expect the rest of the world to also be watching.  Our identity is our reputation. 

What kind of identity do you have today?  I have to say I was very relieved to hear my son point out that I like to sing in church, rather than some of the other failures I often exhibit!   

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, …made Himself of no reputationtaking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”  Philippians 2:5-8

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Old-Fashioned.

OLD-FASHIONED…That’s Me

It’s really no secret….I’m a “old-fashioned” girl.  I love “Little House on the Prairie”, the thought of quiet, country living, and as long as I could take penicillin and air conditioning, I would probably be willing to live back in time as Laura Ingalls Wilder did.  I also like my share of city lights, chain restaurants, malls, and latte’s, but when it really comes down to it, I much prefer the simpler life.  Thanks to my Dad, I learned to appreciate the great outdoors, old times, and the loooonnnnngggg Texas drawl he exhibited so well.

I guess because of my roots, I have come to appreciate the old-fashioned way, but to many in today’s world, being old-fashioned is a bad thing. 

Even in our churches, we are seeing movements where it seems that every traditional  aspect of our church heritage is being questioned, and in many cases condemned.  We sit too much, we are too complacent, we are too organized in our services, we dress too formally, we have too many services, we use music in place of the message, we “perform” instead of practice our faith, etc., etc., etc.  It seems to me that “modern” movements within the Christian realm are forgetting about the foundations that our church forefathers worked so diligently to put in place.

I agree that in many, many cases the church “sits, soaks, and sours”, and is out of the will of God because there is no evidence of real commitment to our Christian faith and duties.  Yet, it still seems beyond me to visualize all of our traditions and old-fashioned ways gone. 

Christian “buzz” words like “modern”, “contemporary”, “emergent”, and “missional” are not new to the Christian faith.  If you really look at it, they are just a new expression of what we all should be doing anyway.  Why is it that we have to re-label the values that are traditional, and then call the old-fashioned ways bad? 

Isn’t it good to meet together, pray for one another, encourage one another, respect one another, reverence God in our clothing, sing and worship to our Lord, and exhibit an organized environment focused on reaching others for Christ?  These traditions in our churches are what is being called “out-dated”, “unfruitful”, “boring”, and “outside of God’s will”.  It’s like there’s an attack, a revolution among our Christian brothers and sisters who, I believe, have good intentions, but instead are helping to create an atmosphere of controversy and condemnation with our church family.

It is sad to me to see our churches being portrayed as buildings where worldly people just attend a good “show”.  It’s no wonder why the unsaved people don’t want to hear the message!  We can’t even agree among ourselves. 

New ideas, and new movements toward furthering the gospel of Christ can be good, but only when the focus is on Christ, and not in the condemnation of others who are responding to God in another way.  God gave each of us a particular gift and purpose.  We are all different, yet part of one body.  When one part starts tearing down the other part, it only causes harm. 

I am noticing brother against brother, sister against sister, and even minister against minister and, honestly, I am embarrassed and ashamed.  Our focus needs to return to Christ, who administered the ways of “old”, and who is never changing, and who we should all be “fashioned” like.

Is there a way that we can all work together toward this effort?  I believe so.  I ask you to examine your heart and mind before you respond,

“…laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking…” 1 Peter 2:1

“…He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct..”  1 Peter 1:15

“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully…when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.  For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps, “Who commited no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”” 1 Peter 2:19-22

“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.  If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability, which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified…  1 Peter 4:9-11

As we look for new ways, new ideas, new directions, let us not forget the benefits of “old”.  There is wisdom we can gain from respecting our early churches and the traditions that come over time. 

Let’s encourage each other to respond to God’s direction, in ALL His different ways. 

The problem is NOT the traditions OR the new ideas, it’s the ATTITUDE of the people who don’t practice the Christian faith as they should.  From generation to generation I expect this will always be a problem.  Until we learn to be “…doers of the word, and not hearers only..” James 1:22, the church will experience seasons of drought. 

Let us respect the ways of old, acknowledge the fruit they have brought over time, and the wisdom we, today, can benefit from them.  On the same token, let us praise those who aren’t afraid to initiate new ideas, those who respond to the modern world and all its’ benefits in order to bring more people to Christ.  Both ways can be useful.  Both ways can be effective.  Both ways can be honorable. 

My clothes dryer is a new, advanced, modern way of doing laundry.  It can dry clothes at an unbelievable rate.  It takes static out, and leaves my clothes wrinkle free.  Yet I have to respect the aged clothesline.  Clothes that are dried outside smell so good!  You can literally smell the warmth of the sun and the natural, God-breathed air.   

Both ways achieve the same result….dry clothes.  Right now, I exclusively use the clothes dryer.  However, I think I will ask my husband to set up an outdoor line as well. 

Why?  Because I have found that it is when we take the time to reverence the things of “old” that we learn to appreciate the advancement of time and all its’ improvements

So…if, in this new age of technology, where dryers are ultra-sized, energy efficient, time saving mechanisms, you drive past my house and see “bloomers” on a line, I hope you will laugh with me, not at me.  

The Lord calls each one of us in a different way, and when we respect our differences, the whole body is complete.   Let us, as believers, remember to “…speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among (us), but that (we) be perfectly joined together in the same mind…”1 Corinthians 1:10 

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