Archive | April, 2013
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Trial-by-Facebook

30 Apr

Trial-by-Facebook

It happened again yesterday. The president of a fundamentalist college, Northland International University, announced his resignation at the end of the academic year. A feeding frenzy ensued, especially on Facebook.

It didn’t matter that his resignation was being handled in an orderly manner, looking from the outside like a Paul and Barnabas type of separation in which both sides will go forward to achieve great things for the sake of the gospel.

People had to post their speculations about the situation anyway. This is the way of the world, and of Christian fundamentalism. We eat our young.

The attached post has two posts attached to it. One of them is a 21 page document on what may eventually cause the death of fundamental Christianity.

As a lady fundamentalist, I read all 21 pages and consider it a valuable read–one I will go back to again and again. For one thing, it gives a historical perspective on how fundamentalism developed and how it has defined itself within various decades.

Oh, it points out our flaws. And it is even written by someone who has stayed outside of fundamentalism due to those very flaws.

I expect there will be lots of ad hominem attacks on the writer. Probably already have been, as the article has been around a while.

But it should make us think. If we love Christian fundamentalism, we should read it with a prayerful heart, asking whether any or all of it could be true.

The part I wish to focus on here is the tendency we have, just like much of the world has, to try a person via social media, rather than engaging face-to-face.

The article legitimately points out that Christ gave us a process for dealing with sins that affect the church. It is called church discipline. It is detailed in Matthew 18, mostly.

Many will say, “Well, the differences are between people in two different churches.” Or, “This issue involves a parachurch ministry, not an actual church.”

Their point is that fundamentalism does not have one common person in authority over such individuals, someone who could lead a church discipline process.

I say, “Pah!” to that. The Apostle Paul himself marvelled at how quickly people took each other before the civil authorities rather than using the church discipline process to right things that were wrong between them.

I have to stand with Paul here. Surely there has to be a better way to work things out in a parachurch ministry (a Christian university) than resorting to a civil trial-by-Facebook.

And there is a better way. Northland University has handled their issues, and righteously it seems.

It is the rest of us who need to get on board, close our gaping mouths that feel they need to comment as experts on everything that happens, and just pray for Northland.

Really!

My Random Brain!

29 Apr

I have long said that I am so random that, if I were in school today, they would not let me through the door without slapping me on Ritalin!!!  LOL!

As it was, back in the 1970’s, I was the class daydreamer but I managed to pull off straight A’s and be our valedictorian, so it was all good.  No one worried about a diagnosis for someone like me back then.

Today proved to me, once again, how selective my attention can be.

Our group of contractors at a military base is going to work for a new command.  Due to sequestration and other forces, our old command is going away.  So we have a new boss as of today . . .

He gave us a briefing in our conference room.  I have only been in this room once before, just for a meeting that time.

About 3/4 of the way through our meeting today, I noticed my contractor boss, to my left, looking straight ahead of us at a video display on the wall.  

Since we were all at a long table, with our new boss at the head, I had been turning my head to view the video display in front of him.  Turns out there was one right in front of my eyes all along!!!  And one behind me for the people sitting across from us.  

My contractor boss is also very random but he is hyperactive and never misses anything.  So I figured he had noticed me looking at the display off to our far left.  I figured I was going to be teased (a lot) when I got back to our office for not looking at the one right in front of me! That is one of his favorite things to do–catch me missing the obvious and make fun of me for it! Preferably right in front of everyone else. LOL!

I started to alternate my views between the two screens.  And I watched my workmates.  I was relieved to see that some of them were looking at the same display I was, the one our new boss was using as he briefed us.  

It occurred to me that it was an “old dogs, new tricks” kind of scenario.  Most of us came up through the ranks without video screens.  We would show slideshows on an actual screen in front of the senior person in the room.  

We had been conditioned to look where the senior person in the room was looking!!!

On the other hand, our younger coworkers have been raised with everyone having their own, accessible screen.  They expect to see a display in front of them–to not have to turn to view a presentation.    

I suppose it is just another generational anomaly.  

I am just glad I did not get teased for it today. Believe me, there will be something else to tease me about before long. LOL! 

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The Before and After Poster

29 Apr

Pants

Everyone who loses 110 pounds needs a before and after poster, so I have finally made mine.

The pants I wear today are a loose size 10. I have never been a size 8, even in my 20’s at Officer Candidate School, when I was working out three hours a day including circuit training.

I may yet be a size 8, but that is not a goal.

Meanwhile, the pants I wore in January 2012, which I am holding up in the photo, were a tight size 3X.

Glory to God! He enabled this, and continues to enable it.

And one additional part of this, for which I am very grateful to God right now, is that my skin didn’t need to be corrected after the weight loss. Many women need surgery to remove excess skin after an extreme loss like this. My skin is (genetically) very supple and has grown and shrunk right along with me.

The worst I might develop is a few extra wrinkles.

Again, praise God!

Why I Think the Devil is Premillennial . . .

28 Apr

This will be esoterica to many of you, but not to all of us . . .

We often have theological discussions, for those who study this issue, about whether the Lord will come before a millennium (premillennial viewpoint), after a millennium (postmillennial viewpoint), or instead of a millennium (amillennial viewpoint).  

I am premillennial, but have to hold the viewpoint loosely, as it is not directly related to my salvation, nor anyone else’s and . . . we premillennialists could someday find we are wrong.

At the same time, I believe the devil is premillennial.  He could be wrong, too, but I believe he is premillennial.  Here is why . . .

Tonight we attended a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” and I was reminded again of how persecution against the Jews has been engineered so many times across the centuries that it can only be a coordinated plot, masterminded by the devil himself.

I am watching “The Winds of War” right now on Netflix and have the same observation.  

Whether it was pogroms in Russia or the Final Solution of the Nazis, whether it was the aggression that led to the Six Day War back in 1967 or is violence against European synagogues today, there is a special evil that still directs itself against the Jews, even though the Jewish race has birthed the Messiah and He has been back in heaven for almost 2000 years.

Why won’t the devil leave the Jews alone?  If they had fulfilled their mission when the Messiah was brought into the human race, Satan should have stopped torturing them centuries ago.  

So . . . it must be that he still believes the Jews are the apple of God’s eye and that he still uses them to lash out in anger against God Himself.   

And . . . he must believe, literally, in a Tribulation in which all born again Christians are taken off the earth in a rapture, so that it is left to 144,000 Jewish witnesses to start publishing the news of the gospel all over again.  

He could be wrong, just as we human premillennialists could be wrong.  

But the way the devil beats up on the children of Israel, even today, shows that he believes they still have a part to play in history.  And he is still trying to thwart them so they can’t play that part.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem everyone. 

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Very Cute–Twitter Feed on Things God Didn’t Say!!!

25 Apr

Very Cute–Twitter Feed on Things God Didn’t Say!!!

Making up Support for our Pet Doctrines . . .

23 Apr

Ever notice how many times we get a personal preference in mind and try to turn it into a Biblical doctrine? 

I think we all do it.  But it is a very dangerous thing to do.  God told us not to alter His Word.  He gets to make the rulebook, not us.

One example (of thousands I could give) is the idea that husbands and wives should do everything together, 24/7.

Some couples actually work together, and additionally have the personalities to prefer to spend all of their free time with each other, too.  That is wonderful, for them!

However, it can happen that they start overlaying that preference on the Word of God, where it is not expressed (God does not tell us how much time to spend together as a couple, possibly because couples can differ greatly from each other in this area without any of them sinning!).  

One place where people can attempt to build doctrine from God’s silence on an issue is in Genesis 3, where it has been said that Adam must have left his wife alone with the serpent.  People will say if he had not done that, she would not have sinned.  As though original sin would never have happened if Adam had just remained with his wife 24/7 for the rest of history!

Except . . . if that is truly the case, then it looks like Adam committed the first sin before Eve ever was tempted by the fruit.  Ya know???

I am thinking that God doesn’t want us to overanalyze where Adam was while Eve was tempted.  If Adam had sinned by leaving his wife alone, I am pretty sure God would have made that apparent to us, for that would have been when mankind fell (and all the verses that say that woman sinned before man would be inaccurate, too . . .).  

Couples can work out for themselves, with freedom and grace, how much time they spend together as a couple.  

Couples can also refrain from commenting on other families who don’t do things exactly the way they do.  

There is great value in giving each other grace in areas of personal preference!!!

Part III, Vanity Series: Using Superspiritual Language for Everything!

20 Apr

Psalm 39:5, “Behold, thou hast made my days [as] an handbreadth; and mine age [is] as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state [is] altogether vanity. Selah.”

I have changed my mind on something as I have aged.

God’s reputation is paramount; mine, as long as it does not discredit His, is not very important.

Therefore, when I meet someone and sense that I am being scrutinized to see how “spiritual” I might be, I no longer play the game that I used to play.  

You may have played it, too, if you call yourself a born again, fundamentalist, or evangelical Christian.  

It consists of two people circling each other, like dogs sniffing each other.  As they circle, the two people throw out spiritual terms that are in vogue right then.  Lots of them.

It is like a secret handshake.

It is also a competition most of the time, I am convinced.  

I try to “outspiritual” you while you try to “outspiritual” me.

I am not a player in that game anymore.  Two reasons:  1) God knows my heart and that I belong to Him and long to serve Him and 2) if someone is my friend long enough, they will know my heart, too.  If they don’t stick around to become an actual friend, what do I accomplish by winning the competition of the spiritual vocabulary?  Not much.

I don’t need to feed my ego by way of using more spiritual language than the next person.

A recent example is when we got our two “adopt-a-missionaries” at church.  People we correspond with all year long, praying for them and uplifting them in any way we can.  

I know one of them from Facebook; I know the other because his mother attends our church.  I zapped both a note, telling them to send up prayer requests and we would be happy to pray.  I did not include a spiritual bio of myself, nor anything to make myself seem special as their “adopted prayer partner” this year.  I didn’t even realize that till later.  

And I smiled when I realized that.

They don’t need to think of me as anyone special.  I will pray.  That is all they need to know.

Now Jesus is special!  If I can uphold His glorious Name that others may see it, life is worthwhile!!!

Part II, Vanity Series: Christian Hedonists vs. the Morale Suppression Squad!

20 Apr

When I was in the Navy, we often joked about the Morale Suppression Squad!  We would make statements like:  “Leave is cancelled until morale improves” or “Beatings will continue until morale improves.”  The point was ironic, but pretty obvious to everyone who heard it.

In the last several years, I have become aware of the phrase “Christian hedonist,” authored presumably by John Piper, who wrote a book with that title.  I have also seen a torrent of vitriol be poured out on John Piper by our own fundamentalist Morale Suppression Squad about his use of that term.  

I thought of that yesterday as I wrote about Ecclesiastes–about how Solomon thought there was no higher call than to be rightly related to God, then to enjoy our work and play while on this planet.  

While I am not a theologian, I very much can see what Solomon (and John Piper) are getting at.  There is the idea that when God says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4), He does that by way of changing us into His image, bit by bit, so that one day we look up and see that we have actually incorporated His desires so deeply into our being that His desires are our desires.  Then, when God gives us the desires of our hearts, He is actually giving us what He willed all along!!!

I understand that to be the idea behind Christian hedonists.  In fact, they say, “God is most glorified in us when we are most delighted in Him.”  Being delighted in God is no small thing!

Meanwhile, there are truly those who are very suspicious of any display of delight, even delight in God.  “Surely that person must be up to something and surely it must be no good,” these folks sniff.

I hold that idea up when I talk about being absolutely delighted by the place we are in life right now.  Noel and I are 61 and 54, respectively, and we have worked long and hard in our professions.  We now are reaping some rewards of that and are enjoying that reaping process.  We are also enjoying sharing those rewards with others, like the less fortunate and the people who minister in the church (because, face it, they are never paid enough for the hard work they do!!!).   

We will be taking some vacations as a couple once our son goes off to college.  We have updated our wardrobes (well, I have; Noel has always been somewhat of a “clothes horse,” LOL!).  We have done some necessary upgrades to our home within the past five years.  

I think the youth call that “living large.”  Not in the sense of “rich people large” but in the sense of “comfortable people large.”  

A wonderful time of life, and I thoroughly thank God for it.  I delight in Him, first and foremost.  If everything material vanished tomorrow, He is the One to Whom I would still cling.  In fact, the One who clings to me.  

Far as I understand it from Solomon, and from Jesus, that is the basis for delight in this life.  It is not our job to go looking for trouble.  It will find us eventually, as it does everyone <smile>.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to ask me, or you, to wipe that silly grin of delight off our faces, I am going to tell them “no.”  

You should consider doing the same.  It is not a definition of spirituality to go around looking as though we have been sucking on sour lemons.  What about that would attract someone to Christ?

Think about it.  Know where you stand, and why.  

 

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Part I, Vanity Series: All is Vanity!

19 Apr

All is Vanity!

Last night at Bible study, we finished our study of the book of Ecclesiastes.

I have enjoyed the study, much more than I have enjoyed Ecclesiastes in the past. I always thought it was a kind of depressing book. I see a lot of optimism this time around.

“Vanity” in Ecclesiastes is related to a vain or puffed up person, but more deeply related to “emptiness.”

And to soap bubbles. A pastor once defined that Ecclesiastes sort of emptiness as analogous to soap bubbles, fleeting and easily burst. Which I guess can relate to that puffed up person, too.

Last night we were asked to pick a verse for the week, from chapters 9-12, that especially appealed to us.

I chose 9:7, which says, “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.”

I like that. Simplicity itself. Enjoy your life because you are rightly related to God.

Sometimes we make that too complicated. There is a whole segment of Christianity that wants to say if something is not specifically mentioned in Scripture, we should not do it. And they say we especially should not enjoy doing things that God did not specifically tell us to do.

Like twirling around in a field of spring flowers, joyous at the sunshine pouring down on you. Or rejoicing in hot, aromatic coffee being poured for you from a white china pot into a fine china cup in a hotel dining room. Or glowing at the joy of being able to afford a new dress that is just right on you!

We talked a lot about the next two verses in chapter 9, which are related: “Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that [is] thy portion in [this] life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.”

That certainly makes a case for enjoying marital bliss, doesn’t it?

More subtle is the part about the white clothing and the oil. There is the spiritual application–the Holy Spirit washes us white at salvation (clothes us in white clothing, in the symbolism of the Scriptures) and He anoints our heads with oil, His very presence (oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit throughout the Scriptures).

But I don’t think it is a stretch to see more in that passage. White clothing would be appropriate, beautiful attire (there were not many dyes back then, so white or natural-colored clothing was a lot more common). Oil was the perfume of that day.

I think it is showing it is okay to rejoice in that new dress, as I did the other day. And in the new bottle of perfume to go with it.

As I said to my core leader on the way out of class, I am kind of in a “”soap bubble” season of life right now, one that is very real but very fleeting, too (because more serious seasons always come along eventually!).

I am thrilled about my weight loss. I am thrilled about buying new clothes, cosmetics, and jewelry, because for the first time in my life I can both afford to give to charity and have nice things for myself and my family. It is a lovely season.

I won’t always feel so mountaintop high about a new dress.

But, in the meantime, I believe God loves my smile of joy when I find one that pleases me (and my husband!) well.

Remember, we can’t take our possessions to heaven, but God does give them to us on earth for a season. I believe if we are grateful for His gifts to us and responsible stewards of them (not selfish), He is glad when we rejoice in His generosity.

He is the giver of all good things.

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Why I Speak out Against Conspiracy Theories (and both the right and the left have ’em)

16 Apr

Why I Speak out Against Conspiracy Theories (and both the right and the left have ’em)

G.K. Chesterton said that there is no more logical world than the world of the person who is insane.

It is logical, nothing contradicts anything else, but it is very, very small and drawn in on itself.

It is as though a normal human can look out at the horizon and see a world full of promise (and some inherent contradictions) while an insane person looks outward and sees a horizon four feet away from him, defining a circle four feet around him which is his world. It is all logical; it all makes sense. But it is small, tedious, and boring. Oh so small.

I believe that maybe the root of insanity is substituting oneself and one’s own beliefs, perceptions, and values for God. And, if I were insane and made myself god of my own world, it would be a small, trivial, mundane world indeed!

Center on myself: get a small, insane world that all relates in consistent logical sense.

Center on God: get a wide, thrilling world with lots of contradictions and unexpected twists.

Life is like that.

And so it is with conspiracy theories, which usually border on the paranoid and the insane, if they are not over the actual line.

In fact, I have seen it said that every time a tragedy happens, people should look for the hidden story behind the story. That the tragedy is just the part designed to engage our interest while the magician does his trick behind the curtain in the other direction from where we are looking.

Oh, small, sad, insane world.

To make a statement like that is to state categorically that you know there is no such thing as an actual natural disaster. And there is no such thing as a senseless act conducted by a petty criminal or small group of criminals.

No, for the conspiracy theorist, everything involves a nearly global network of people, all in on the deception.

Kind of like this global network has become god, in the absence of an actual being called God.

Since I believe in God, I believe there is a metanarrative, not only tying together everyone on earth right now, but also tying together everyone who will ever live on this earth.

But humans cannot avail ourselves of this metanarrative, since it is in God’s mind. And those who know Him well, do not try to play God and tease the metanarrative out of Him. It belongs to Him.

Things are random and full of contradictions and twists in this world because we can’t see the great intelligence underlying all people and all events. We are not meant, right now, to see how God ties them all together.

Not until later, at the Great Unveiling, when we will see that there was, indeed, logic to everything.

But God’s logic, not man’s puny logic.

Thoughts on our Society and the Boston Massacre Today: Live by the Sword, Die By the Sword

15 Apr

We are at a point in history where we have a choice . . .

“Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!

See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,

That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!

And I, for winking at your discords too,

Have lost a brace of kinsmen.

All are punish’d.”  Prince, Scene III, Romeo and Juliet

“How many bullets are left, Chino? Enough for you? [Pointing at another.] And you? [At Action.] All of you? WE ALL KILLED HIM; and my brother and Riff. I, too. I CAN KILL NOW BECAUSE I HATE NOW. [She has been pointing the gun wildly, and they have all been drawing back.  Now, again, she holds it straight out at Action.] How many can I
kill, Chino? How many-and still have one bullet left for me?”
Anita, in the final scene of West Side Story

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” Jesus Christ in John 10:10

When we openly demonize humans who bear God’s image because we differ with them politically, we open a Pandora’s box of hatred that will not subsequently shut. Words matter and our hateful rhetoric towards others in our country and abroad stirs some blood feuds that have already gone on for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

I am blaming no one for the slaughter in Boston except for those who plotted it. However, if we hope to present Christ to a dying world, we need to show His love. Nobody gets saved while being demonized and hated. Ya know!?

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Grace vs. the Law in Weight Loss

15 Apr

Grace vs. the Law in Weight Loss

When I was taking seminary classes a few years ago, I wrote my first term paper, in a counseling class, about how weight loss, the maintenance of a slender body, and avoiding gluttony were a normal, expected part of the average Christian life. I wrote how I had had my weight creep up several times in my lifetime and how I had, by God’s grace, lost weight on those occasions. I wrote it during one of those weightloss occasions, as a matter of fact.

I would not write that paper again today!

In fact, that paper proves the adage that, unless bloggers regularly delete some of their old blogs, they will be able to look back at their viewpoints from years past and disagree with themselves on occasion!!!

You see, the principle in the Word is that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. God indwells us when we believe. We honor Him by remembering that in the decisions we make every day . . .

The Bible does not teach about gluttony as one of the Seven Deadly Sins. The Roman Catholic faith authored the Seven Deadly Sins. There are a lot of sins that are deadly. Far more than seven.

Gluttony is harmful to our bodies–it can destroy them far earlier than would otherwise be the case in this fallen world where everything deteriorates, even bodies.

However, ugly, self-righteous attitudes toward each other, especially when we see that someone has an issue with weight, can be pretty harmful, too.

Weight loss is one of those areas where I can refer to God’s grace, because He helps me in everything I do, from taking my first breath onward.

However, weight loss is also under the law because it happens to our bodies and our bodies are bound by natural law.

We can’t just pray weight loss into existence. Believe me, I tried that every day for two years before I went on Weight Watchers and lost 110 pounds. I pleaded with God, telling Him my life would be perfect if only I were not topping the weight charts at 250 pounds.

As it turns out, I had to hit rock bottom (top?) at 262 pounds before God and I made a plan and I rejoined Weight Watchers, which had helped me in the past.

I did not tape a before picture to my refrigerator because it would have been unethical to take that picture. My before picture would have been of the older folks at Walmart who are up above 300 pounds and ride a little scooter up and down the aisles because they cannot walk them. My heart was gripped with fear that I would someday be that older person!!!

You see, that is law, too. Knees and hips wear out faster when there is more weight pushing/pulling down on them. In fact, only by God’s grace do I not face knee and hip issues right now, due to the four years I carried more than 240 pounds on my 5’9″ frame, following the prescribed use of steroids during my treatment with chemotherapy for breast cancer in 2008.

God is good! His grace is what has saved me and what sustains me every day.

But life is full of pesky laws. Especially laws of nature.

So to my friends who struggle mightily with weight issues, I offer a listening ear and the idea that we are all different, so the weight loss journey is different for each of us, too.

Some may never lose the weight about which they agonize. Sometimes people just struggle. I don’t know why. It is a fallen world.

If I were to go on steroids again, I would regain some weight. Probably not all of it, as I have learned to eat more naturally now, but never say never . . .

And some of our need for various medications can be totally beyond our control.

Some medications, like steroids, can turn us into ravenous eating machines, as I found out in 2008.

It is a fallen world. Stuff like that happens.

In the midst of so much that we don’t understand, I do know I will never stand idly by and listen as someone makes ugly remarks about people who are overweight. The ugliness of a soul that thinks like that is, to me, far worse than the lack of health of any body around, even one of those folks over 800 pounds!

There are some beautiful souls enclosed in big, big bodies. If those big, big bodies never shed weight, I will be the first to volunteer to push them around Walmart in a wheelchair, considering it a privilege, just to spend time with a person with such a big heart and beautiful soul!!!

For, in the end, our journey is all about grace. The law parts are just little detours we get now and again, meant to be there, but not the main course . . .

Waiting for God to Grow us a Heart!

15 Apr

I ran into a friend at Farm Fresh the other night–came out of the checkout aisle and saw my son over talking to him at the grocery’s Starbucks.

Our friend is in seminary and made the statement to me that he is seeking to successfully merge  his studies with his outreach to a dying world.  He is thinking a lot about how to do that and is not yet convinced that he knows the answers.

He especially emphasized, “How do I get motivated to get up and go out to a world that is dying right outside my door?”

Good question, and one, if we are honest, that we all face, at least some of the time. 

We know what Jesus called us to do.  The Great Commission says that explicitly in three of the four gospels, and in the book of Acts.  Go reach people with the gospel (for you social action types, He also taught that people probably are not going to be able to hear your gospel presentation if they are starving at the moment . . . so there is that, too). 

So my friend and I asked each other, “Why don’t we do that?”

We know Jesus loves lost people.  We know we are called to love them, too.

Why don’t we do what He asked us to do?  

There are many sanctimonious answers to that (I love the one where the person gets all drawn up to his full height and says, “God called me to equip the saints so they can go reach the lost . . .”  Yeah, right!).  

We can omit outreach due to pride or fear or a number of emotions . . .

But the bottom line is what the Holy Spirit inspired in 1 John.  If we love Him, we will keep His commandments.  If we love Him, we will love our brothers and sisters also.  Both the ones already in the church and the ones who could be in the church once they hear the gospel . . .

If we say we love God and show by our actions that we don’t really love people out there in a dying world . . . well, we just showed that our love for God is pretty suspect (1 John would say “nonexistent”).  

And, if we are genuinely born again, that does not annull our salvation, nor make God love us any less, for He still remains the Great Initiator of all Love.  

It just shows that we need to be honest with ourselves about our total need of Him, even to instill in us His own heart so we would love the lost and grieve over them as He does.

If I look on young girls broken by sin’s effects–pregnant at 12, aborting babies at 15, holding no higher aspiration in life than to get their identity from a man (or from a serial progression of many men), and my heart is not moved . . . I need to move closer to my Saviour, putting my head right up against Him and hearing the beating pulse of His heart, as He grieves for what sin has done to people precious to Him!!!

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Going Hogwild with Cologne . . .

13 Apr

Going Hogwild with Cologne . . .

Okay, not quite, but I got your attention, didn’t I?

I worked on an exercise this week at a military base. Outside. In tents.

I am the only female member of a team of evaluators. Until last year, I was also the heaviest member of that team, by quite a bit.

Now, having lost 110 pounds, I finally have allowed myself to attend our exercises in jeans and tunics, instead of in long jumpers as I previously did (I do prefer dresses, so that was never intended as a punishment for my weight issues, but was just a modest way of moving around quickly at that size).

So, imagine my surprise today when I showed up in a new shirt and a new (to me) pair of jeans, passed up from a young friend at church and was called outside immediately by my boss, who said he had had one of our exercise audience (read: clients) speak to him about me wearing too much cologne in the tents the day before.

Whoa! Urge to go on the defensive. Have they just found a factor for singling me out as a female and embarrassing me? After how hard I worked on the weight loss and all???

I decided to forego the defensive reaction, especially as my boss was confessing he had forgotten to mention the issue until I walked in and he smelled my cologne.

Oops! It seems the tents, being low and enclosed, are perfect places for scents to collect and not dissipate as they do inside buildings.

And also, I may have to remember that, just as chemotherapy killed some of my taste buds, and just as the sense of smell is related to the sense of taste, so I may not always smell my own cologne at the level others can smell it.

Why not be humble about that and just say I will watch it from now on?

After all, who buys Ralph Lauren’s Romance at $60 a pop with the intent of using it to give people headaches??? That would be silly!

So I just nodded and said I would pay attention to that.

As I walked away, I remembered the days when my first response would have been defensiveness. And I would think by being defensive that I saved face.

I did not. I have seen others go all defensive in order to save face and . . . they only look silly in the end.

I don’t care how senior the officer, if he comes across as impeccable, blaming everything that goes wrong on someone else, he comes across as silly and out-of-touch.

May I never again be that silly, out-of-touch person, God helping me.

Have We No Mercy?

12 Apr

Dr. Kermit Gosnell stands accused of running a nightmare of an abortion clinic in Philadelphia.  The kind of clinic even prochoice people should condemn (and some have).

The accusations are bad enough.  But there is a whole backstory being told by his staff (and former staff), too.

Callousness of the highest degree.  Letting unlicensed people administer anesthesia to his largely African-American and Asian-American population.  Yet tending to the white women who came to his clinic personally (and putting them in a nicer room reserved just for them).  Dr. Gosnell, an African-American himself, supposedly explained that as “just the way of the world.”

He injured mothers, killing at least two of them.  

He did late-term abortions, much later than Pennsylvania law allows, ensuring that no baby was born alive by putting a two-inch scissors notch across their neck and spinal cord, severing the cord.  

I could go on but others have detailed these abuses much more categorically than I ever could.  

My question is:  Have we no mercy for Dr. Gosnell’s victims?  For the babies who died?  Precious babies made in God’s image and for whom His Son went to the cross.  Ripped apart with scissors for the sin of not being wanted.

Have we no mercy for the women who died?  For the women who were mutilated?  Some of them were not yet adults and some of them were adults who thought abortion was their only option.

 There are lots of women who feel all alone in the world and turn to abortion as a solution, not knowing that that particular solution can be much worse than a problem pregnancy.  

Where is our mercy?  Where is our hope in Christ?  Can we hold our hope in Christ out to these victims and pray they will see it?  Can we pray for them, wholeheartedly?  

Christ is our only hope, lost in sin as we all are before we meet Him.  

Can we remember that about ourselves?  Can we hold out hope to those who don’t know Him yet, that He can change their lives, both now and eternally?  Can we?

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