Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Disappointed in Idaho

For four years I've waited for Marco Rubio to run for President.  I wanted him to run against Obama last time, but understand he was still fairly new to things, so I waited.  

I can't even express how excited I was to see he was running for President this time around.  There was no question whom I would be supporting.  

Then two weeks ago happened.  I am so saddened that he allowed Trump's behavior to dictate his own. Maybe it was bad advising from others, or maybe it was his own decision.  But unfortunately lowering himself to this level ruined his opportunity to win this election.  

Today was the Republican primary in Idaho.  It was to be the day I had been waiting for for years, the day to vote for Marco Rubio to represent the Republican Party in the Presidential election.  Instead, it was the day I voted for Ted Cruz because though I'm not really interested in Cruz for President,  I'm even less interested in Donald Trump for President, and I won't waste my vote. Marco Rubio sabotaged his own bid for President by allowing another to dictate his own behavior, so the only option I had left was to vote for Ted Cruz.

I am Disappointed in Idaho

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why Is Forgiving so Hard?

I posted awhile back on how our forgiveness from God is conditional on our forgiving others.  So forgiveness is really, really important if we want to receive God's forgiveness.

So why is forgiving others sometimes so hard?

Especially when the consequences of the offense are still present.  

Especially when the one who was hurt is one I love deeply.

Especially when the one I love is still hurting.

Especially when the one I love is falling into the sin of anger & bitterness & unkindness as a result of the offense.

Especially when the offender is indifferent to the hurt caused.

How can I teach the one I love how to forgive and overcome bitterness when I am having such a hard time with forgiveness, too? 

I want the offender to have to hurt for hurting the one I love.  I want the offender to not just say sorry, but be sorry, act sorry and try to make up for the offense. I want the offender to receive consequences to the offense instead of the one I love getting all the consequences.

And yet I know God calls me to forgive, truly forgive, fully forgive, regardless of the offender's lack of remorse or empathy or repentance.  

I think this needs to be a matter of lots & lots & lots of prayer on my part. Prayer that God would enable me to forgive and keep that forgiveness in place instead of taking it back when I see more consequences in the one I love. Prayer for the one I love to be healed of the pain caused and healed from the tendency to sin against the offender. Prayer for the offender to truly feel remorse, truly feel empathy, truly repent.  


I'm becoming so disillusioned by the Christianity that I am seeing anymore. I see now what my kids have been saying all these years about hypocrisy in the church. It has really turned off a couple of my kids in particular, which really saddens & frustrates me.  

How can Christians reach out to others and draw them to Christ if we don't live it in our day to day lives? Who would want to come to church and to Christ to join a bunch of hypocritical people who are quick to say the right things in the right settings, but when it comes to living it out, not so much. . . 

Thankfully there are some true Christians out there who do live out their faith in their daily lives, but there are not enough of them. But there are a lot fewer of them out there than would claim to be that kind of Christian. It's pretty pathetic, actually, how many of us show one side to "churchy" people and a completely different side to the rest of the world.  

We have so many churches filled with so many people who profess Christianity who live like the world.  So many people who check the correct boxes of all the things that all good Christians should do (go to church, take communion, worship God, give, etc.), but are so quick to fit in with the world after they have checked their boxes.  But it's all ok, because they checked their boxes; they have fulfilled their "Christian requirements," so what they do afterwards is just fine, as long as it's not TOO bad.  Apparently it's ok to kinda, sorta not obey God in the "small" things.  After all, God only cares about the BIG stuff, right?  

I honestly don't get it. I'm not all righteous and perfect, but I love God so much and am so thankful for what He has done for me that I WANT to do what is right; I want to obey Him in ALL things (though I fail often; oh, so often!!). I promise you that I am FAR from the best Christian out there; in fact, I really suck at being a Christian, but I at least WANT to try to do what is right. Some people just don't even give it a second thought when they aren't at church or with their "churchy" people.  

There is such an attitude of permissiveness in Christian churches anymore. Even when people do "come to Christ," too often one would never realize it as nothing really changes except perhaps getting a bit wet and changing the schedule to include a trip or two or three to church each week.  

I firmly believe that when our hearts are right with God, there will be evidence in our daily lives. We won't want to do the things that displease God. We won't want to watch inappropriate things, read inappropriate things, say inappropriate things, do inappropriate things. We won't want to see what we can get away with that isn't too bad. We won't want to see how close to the edge of sin we can get before the sin is TOO big.  

We should be striving to "avoid even the appearance of evil." We should be a light. We should be salt.  

If my husband wanted to just flirt with another woman, nothing too bad, not even touch her, but just flirt, I would so NOT be ok with that!!! But we are flirting with evil when we decide to sin "just a little bit" or just get really close to sinning to see how much fun we can have without doing anything really bad. God is NOT ok with that!!!  

Ok, I'm done. Hope y'all take some slivers out of your eyes if you find any (and I'm sure you have them if you are willing to honestly look at yourselves - we all do!). I'll go take out my log now, as I know I have at least one in there.  

Disclaimer: This post is not targeted at anyone in particular or any church in particular.  This is just a general assessment of what I'm seeing in churches these days.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Powerful Preconceptions Prevent Perceptivity

It would be interesting to see what an intelligent person with no previous knowledge of religion or the Bible would come up with reading the Bible from cover to cover.  What doctrines would he come away with?  What church would he go to?  Would that person say baptism is necessary and the point of salvation? (Absolutely) Would that person say instruments in worship are wrong? (Highly doubtful) Would that person say dating or marrying an unbeliever is acceptable?  (Definitely) Would he believe tongues and other gifts of the Spirit are or are not for today?  (I'm not sure.)  Would he really believe the bread and wine of communion became the literal body and blood of Jesus?  (Seriously?)  I could go on & on. . .

If only we could all approach the Word of God with minds willing to learn truth.  But we usually come to the Word with so many of our own preconceived ideas, looking for ways to prove our own beliefs and disprove others' beliefs.  We read with our own beliefs safely cemented in our heads, not allowing the Lord to speak HIS TRUTH to us.  Not willing to consider someone else might be right.   

Where does that leave us?  Right exactly where we started, unwilling to even consider that we might not know absolutely everything that the Bible teaches.  Unwilling to study to see if what we think we know is really truth.  Pretty pathetic, huh?

Perhaps one should approach the Bible a bit differently. Perhaps one should ask God to show HIS TRUTH to us.  

What are the chances that that will ever actually happen? 

Not very good.  

So sad. . . . . . 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."

A couple years ago my daughter walked into her bedroom to find balloons & confetti everywhere – all over her bed, all over the floor, all over the dresser.  And there on her bed was a sign asking her to prom.  She looked around, then read the sign, and then quietly sat on her bed. 

Taking it all in, she smiled and treasured the scene up in her heart and thought about her response.

Hours earlier, before she had come home, her sister had peeked into that same room, and seeing what had been done, she screamed in excitement for her sister.

A couple months later the kids and I flew back from visiting my brother.  We arrived at the airport around 2 in the morning on a school night.  My daughters’ boyfriends had decided to surprise them by meeting them at the airport.  

One daughter, as soon as she saw her boyfriend, screamed and ran to him to give him a big hug, nearly knocking him down.  The other daughter calmly smiled, walked to her boyfriend, said “hi,” and hugged him.  

Two people. .. two very different responses in both scenes.

I was reminded of these two scenes this week, and while talking about them with my girls, it brought to mind another scene – in Luke.

You know the story well.  An angel came to some shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth.  Then the shepherds decide to go find the baby Jesus.
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:16-19)

What the shepherds did was great!  They hurried off to find baby Jesus, they spread the word concerning Him, they glorified and praised God. 
But Mary treasured up these things in her heart.
I LOVE THAT!!  She didn't FEEL any less than the shepherds just because she quietly took in what she saw and heard, storing it up in her heart – all the amazing acts of God, the words spoken to her by angels and prophets, the reactions of those who heard and those who came to see & worship Jesus. 
And we can learn from that. 
Yes, there are times for praising & glorifying God and telling others of His great works, and ideally that would be often.  But we also need to take time to just quietly fill up our hearts with the Words and acts of God. 
Because what’s in our hearts matters! Proverbs tells us that EVERYTHING we do flows from it.
And Luke 6:45 says: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
We all store things in our hearts – memories, feelings, words read or spoken.   We store negative things in our hearts as well as positive things. 
It’s important to be careful what we store in our hearts.
Proverbs instructs us to overlook an offense or insult; that is, refuse to store it up in our hearts.  Care in what we read or listen to also protect the storage rooms of our hearts.  We can choose not to store up negative things in our hearts, but it has to be a deliberate choice.
We should also make a deliberate choice to store up God’s Word in our hearts.
Psalm 119:11 says: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” 
If our hearts are so full of God’s Words, there will be less room for anything negative.  Then good things will flow from us to others.
But Mary also pondered what she had stored in her heart. 
To ponder means to weigh in the mind; to view with deliberation; to examine carefully; to consider attentively, to meditate on.
It’s not enough just to have the Word in our hearts. 
We need to meditate on it,
Examine it carefully to understand it,
Consider it attentively to apply it to our lives.
A couple scriptures to remember:
2 Timothy 3:16 “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”  

Philippians 4:8  "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." 

“I think it matters what we choose to treasure up and ponder in our hearts: treasuring problems leads to anxiety, treasuring hope yields joy.” –John Richmond

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Socialization and the Thief on the Cross

Those of you who have homeschooled have probably heard it time and time again.
Those of you who are against homeschooling have probably said it time and time again.

"What about socialization?"

It is the most common argument against homeschooling.  Because obviously homeschooled children have no social opportunities whatsoever and must grow up to be totally socially inept.  And just as obvious, a child can only learn how to act properly in social situations if with children within 12 months of his age.


Those of you who believe that baptism is a necessary part of salvation have probably heard it time and time again.
Those of you who don't believe that baptism is a part of salvation and one is saved by faith alone have probably said it time and time again.

"What about the thief on the cross?"

The narrative of the thief on the cross can be found in Luke 23:39-43.  I'm sure you remember it well. Two criminals were crucified with Jesus, one on each side.  One was mocking Jesus, saying, "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 

But the other rebuked the first, saying, "Don't you fear God since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."  Then he asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom.

Jesus response was, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."  

So obviously this thief on the cross was saved. And obviously he didn't need to be baptized to be saved.  TADA!!!  Baptism is not a necessary part of salvation.  


So, what about socialization?  I find it hard to believe that anyone actually would say that a child can only be properly socialized if in a classroom of people within a year of the child's age day after day. 
My children were socialized in a variety of situations:  dance class, church, youth group, family, swim team, swim lessons, homeschool coops, grocery stores, Costco, nursing homes, work, service projects, etc.  My children were actually socialized around young children, children their age, children older than they, adults, and the elderly.  Doesn't that seem like socialization to you?  

I have seen the same examples you have in the news of the homeschooling parents who hide their kids away, use homeschooling as a cover for their educational and oftentimes emotional and physical abuse.  But that should be used as the rule for judging homeschooling about as much as the high school drop out or the school shooter should be used to judge public schooling.  

And now, what about the thief on the cross.  He was with Jesus in paradise on the day he died, without baptism, so. . . .baptism isn't necessary for salvation, right?

But let's look at what baptism is a bit more closely before we jump to that conclusion, shall we?

Romans 6:3-5 reads, "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection."

Colossians 2:12 speaks of baptism as being buried with Jesus and being raised with Him through faith in the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead.

So Christian baptism is dying, being buried in a watery grave, and being resurrected into new life in Christ.  

To put it plainly, the thief on the cross didn't need to be baptized into Christ's death because Jesus hadn't died yet!  Doesn't get much easier than that, huh?

Jesus hadn't commanded baptism yet, either.  He did so AFTER His resurrection (Matthew 26, Mark 16).

But wait, there's more!!  

That Christian baptism hadn't been instituted yet is enough of a reason to say that the thief on the cross didn't need to be baptized to be saved and to lay to rest the argument "what about the thief on the cross?" as an argument against the necessity of baptism.  

But there is another very good reason that using the "what about the thief on the cross?" argument is not a reasonable or valid argument.  

Jesus is GOD!  He can do whatever He wants. 

The thief on the cross was not the first person Jesus gave salvation to during His time on earth before His death and resurrection (for salvation is the forgiveness of sins which lead to death, right?).  

You can read in Luke 5 about a paralytic whose sins Jesus forgave.  And in Luke 7: 48 and 50 Jesus tells a sinful woman, "Your sins are forgiven." and "Your faith has saved you."

Jesus has the power to forgive sins and extend salvation whenever and to whomever He wants.  He has always had that power.  And He has the right to decide how one receives salvation and told us in His Word.  


These two common arguments are both so easily disproved, and yet are still almost always the first arguments posed against homeschooling and against baptism's necessity in salvation.  

In fact, my first response to the "ludicrous" idea that baptism was necessary in salvation was: "What about the thief on the cross?"  And the answer was so obvious once explained to me.  It makes me wonder why I would have ever used the thief on the cross as my proof against the necessity of baptism.  It also makes me wonder what other "standard answers" to other questions I have about the Bible & theology I have accepted without thinking it through.  

And I still hear "What about socialization?" 14 years of homeschooling three well-socialized children.  

People are so quick to judge what they don't understand, what goes against what is the norm.  And people are so quick to defend their own understandings lest they have to admit they have been misguided.  But one should never just accept the party line without comparing how it measures up to the truth.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Church Membership

So, recently I took the leap.  I (along with my children) made a decision to become a member of a church, to try to belong someplace.  Before last year all the churches I went to didn't do membership, so I was quite hesitant.  But the desire to be part of a loving church family was overwhelming.

This decision gave me such joy!  To be a part of a church family is the most amazing feeling.  It gave me a feeling of love and safety and belonging.  How could I have been in the Church, been a believer, for 30 years and never had experienced what a loving church family was like?  Shouldn't that be the way every Christian church is?  And yet it isn't.  I am sure God would always have His Church be a family that draws people in with their love and acceptance, and yet this seems to be the exception anymore.  Sure so many churches try to draw them in with loud music, with coffee bars, with concerts, with drama - but what about drawing them in with love and acceptance?  Not so much.

I've been so happy being a part of this family!  I've been so thankful to have been so welcomed.

But then it happened. . . .more different-ness.  More feelings of not belonging.  Of being just outside the circle. Why must it be so difficult to belong?

There are days, like today, when I just want to quit.  Just go back to the way it was before last May and be content in my ignorance.

But more than that, I want to honor God. So I can't go back to ignorance.  I have to hold on and try to figure out a way to belong without compromising truth.