Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Hard Thing

I notice that my blogs don't get many comments lately.  Of course, I have that happen every summer.

But my insecurity says people don't like what I'm saying.

I need people to like me.  Maybe you don't, but I do.  If I know someone doesn't like me, I immediately wonder why, and what did I do, and what is WRONG with them?  Seriously.  What's not to like?

Okay, that last part is a joke.

Sort of.

Yesterday a facebook friend posted this link:

And I reposted it.  My sister was helpful enough to give me a link to all brands they own.

That list seems to make it impossible.  As I perused it, I began to have some trepidation about my follow through.  After all I'm the same girl who banned high fructose corn syrup in our house except ketchup (before there was hfc free) and a weekly soda.  Because while I wanted to limit the junk my kids were eating, there is no need go psycho!  You know they get plenty of junk everywhere else, so why not make home a place of nutritious food?

Anyway, about two years ago I flaked on the HFC thing.  The timing just happened to coincide with the beginning  of my couponing and my attempting to stay at home, so budget budget budget. We all know healthy food is NOT the cheapest way to go.  If it was, raman noodles would not be the food of choice for college kids across America.

However, as I've gone about my day the utter impossibility of boycotting these products keeps coming back to me.  It would be very hard.  Kind of like when we made a pact as a family to limit Apple, Levis, Nike, and Home Depot purchases.  The Home depot was no sweat.  Even Levis and Nike.  However, my kids each own Apple products.  We have stood firm at buying music from iTunes.

So, as I looked at this overwhelming list (Yoplait?  Really?  Their Greek yogurt is my lunch when there is no time for real lunch at work!) I kept thinking, "Wow.  I don't think I can do this."  After all it requires diligence and long term commitment.  All things I really don't seek out.  Then today as I was driving home from running the girls around I remembered a blog I heard about on our local Christian radio.  The blog is directed at teenagers and encourages them to "do the hard thing."  I was so impressed.  It is a group of teenagers uniting in "rebellion against low expectations."  They strive to do what is right in God's eyes, not what is right in the eyes of the world.

And as I remembered that, I thought, if I am applauding a teenager for doing the hard thing, why won't I do it?  And if I don't want to do the hard thing, then how can I expect my kids to do it?

So, I'm giving it a shot.  I'm going to take my list of products owned by General Mills and try to avoid purchasing them, when possible.  If I fail, I'm not going to simply throw up my hands and say "This will never work!"  I'm going to start over and try to do this thing.

As a consumer I have a voice.  It's called my wallet.  If I don't financially support a group, then that group will listen to me.  Of course, if I'm going this alone, they will not care about my one little act of defiance.  However, if Christians as a whole stand up and say they will not support corporations who support the homosexual agenda, or abortion, or whatever cause God is burdening you with, then our voice will be heard!

And even if nobody else stands up, then I will still stand.  And I will not be quiet (like anyone expected THAT anyway.)  I will strive to not throw my convictions in others faces, but I will state what God is telling me to say.  I hope you will pray that the words I use will be His words, not self righteous rambling.

Strangely, I think that my recent study of Joshua helped me prepare for this very thing.  Because as I contemplated how little difference my refusal to support certain institutions can make, in the big picture, God reminded me of Joshua standing before the Israelites after they had conquered the Promised Land:

"Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness.  Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.  But as for my and my household we will serve the LORD."
Joshua 24:14-15

God is telling me that the world will NOT serve Him.  But that does not give me permission to serve Him in a half hearted manner, simply because it's a better effort than most are doing.  He is calling me to serve Him when it's hard.  And choosing to fight this battle will not be easy, but I feel that it will be worth it if my kids grow up knowing that their parents knew who they served, and they did it as faithfully as they could.


How about you?  Is God calling you into battle?  What will your answer be?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Not About Hating, or What I Feel. It's What GOD Says.

One of my facebook friends posted this link, along with the quote "Thanks Chick-Fil-A for standing up for what you believe in."

Can you say "big ole can of worms?"  I immediately wanted to repost it.  But I chickened out.  I didn't want to be attacked for hating on the entire homosexual society in America.  Because of course I don't hate them.  That would just be stupid.  And ignorant.  And against everything the Bible teaches...

But not hating them does not mean that it doesn't break my heart to see the television flooded with messages that homosexuality is okay, and it really doesn't hurt anyone.

I fear that we as Christians have been too silent on this issue for fear that we are not demonstrating love.  If someone was disrespecting their parents would I call them on it?  Yes I would.  If my brother is doing drugs and I tell him that he is defiling his body, the living temple of the Lord Jesus Christ by putting those chemicals into it, am I hating him?  No.  I'm not.  That would be an example of speaking truth over him. 

While on the surface those seem like two drastically different examples, they both have core biblical values.  Respect your parents.  Remember that your body (if you're a Christian) is not your own, but the temple of the Living God.

Then there is the very basic biblical view of marriage.  Adam +Eve=Children.  Never in scripture do you find two men raising children.  Or do you find two lesbian women who are following Jesus with all of their heart, and he is giving them accolades for their faithfulness to him.  The Bible is my source of truth.  If the body of Christ is unwilling to stand up and say that homosexuality is NOT natural, and it is NOT acceptable to a holy God, then we've failed the entire scripture.  Because if God's changed His mind on homosexuality, what about the rest of the Bible?  Are multiple gods acceptable?  Stealing?  Coveting?  Murder?

We can't just take what we like about the Bible and accept that as truth, then toss the rest out the window with a "Oh, I don't really know anything about that" mentality.  That is where Satan will really get his claws into the church.  Because if this part isn't true, other parts could be wrong too. Maybe there IS more than one way to heaven!  And if there's more than one way to heaven, then Jesus death on the cross was completely pointless.  If His death on the cross was meaningless, then why would God come to earth as a simple MAN, then suffer and die for sins he did NOT commit?  That would just make no sense!

The Bible is God's holy, inspired infallible word.  We as Christians need to stop hiding what we believe for fear of offending some people, or our nation is going to be abandoned by the Lord.  And if we think times are tough now, I shudder to think of Him removing His hand of protection from us.

I listen to Hank Hannegraf on my way home from work and he recently had a caller confront his stance on gay marriage.   He pointed out to say that you are "born gay" is like saying God played some giant cosmic joke on you.  You are not designed to be gay.  It is against the very nature of our human form.  You can not reproduce, so therefore you cannot have children.  So, if you are just "born that way" was God just deciding to throw you a giant curve ball and sit back to watch how you will deal with this unnatural state?  Of course, I've totally butchered what he had to say, but the gist is there.  You can go to his website, here, to read some articles about defending the faith and gay marriage.

Here's a quote from Hank's website:

The problem today is a lot of people want to be God. They want to be the final court of arbitration. They want to decide what sin is and what sin is not. They want to decide which behaviors are ok and which behaviors are not ok, but we have a Creator and an owner’s manual, and we say He, not I, is the final court of arbitration.

Even if I don’t agree, I bow the knee, I submit to the one who spoke and the limitless galaxies leapt into existence because He is a far more brilliant intellect than I. We don’t want to do that. We want to say, “Has God said?” and then make the rules of the game ourselves and determine right or wrong not based on a final court of arbitration but on the size and scope and strength of the latest lobby group.
So, my first response to my facebook friend's status was: RIGHT ON!!  Then, I had a shudder and an "I don't want to touch that topic with a ten foot pole" moment. 

Yet, here I am.

Homosexuality will be the defining topic of this generation, much like free love was the topic of the 1960s.  Christians sat quietly by while this era passed.  And now we sit quietly by while a new topic of even greater destructive forces wreaks havoc on the very fabric of family.

What will your response be?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Giants

Wow!  Has it been THAT long since I posted?  Well, that also represents how long since I've sat at my computer.  Oh, don't go too crazy.  I do check my email.  On my phone.  But I've just been too distracted to sit down and write a blog.

But in a good way.

On the fourth anniversary in this town, I've come to a startling realization.  I am actually starting to put down roots.  Studmuffin is a little freaked by this revelation.  "We don't put down roots.  We move on."  Sure, he was joking.  But there was a small grain of truth in his statement.  Move away from home to college.  I actually changed colleges three times (long story).  Move to Arlington.  Move to San Antonio.  Move BACK to Oklahoma, yet go on various job interviews disguised as vacations...

And I think that's been my problem here.  Studmuffin has been unhappy in his job, and I've felt that at any moment he could find a better job, and off we'd be.  So, I've kept my emotional distance.  I'm done with that now.

I think...

I've been trying to be purposeful about alone time with God.  Each morning as my water runs in my various flower beds, I sit on my newly painted chair with it's bright red cushion, cup of coffee near at hand, dogs at my feet and cats clamoring up the side of the lattice, and open my Bible.

Right now I'm in the book of Joshua.  I can't say as I've ever sat and studied Joshua.  Sure, I've read the common stories, and I knew the gist, but there are big things that God is telling me in the little passages.  Not that I think any passages are "little."  But they can slip by you if your heart is not listening...

Want to hear something crazy?  I've been burdened by a new movie release.  It's titled "Magic Mike."  When I first saw the previews I thought, "Yuck.  Who would go see that?"  And I've been appalled at just who WILL go  see it.  And it is saddening.

It is not okay.  It is not "just a movie" and it is a saddening reflection of our society as a whole.  I once heard a preacher (I think it was John Macarthur) say that when women have given into sexual depravity as a thing of normalcy, the society has reached rock bottom.  If it wasn't him, I apologize, but he has plenty to say on what GOD says about sexual immorality and here's a quick link to a list of sermons if you want to peruse the site:

Anyway, I have been saddened by the depravity I see in our nation.  Yet I have felt a strange joy in spite of the things I see around me.  I know it's because of the time I've been spending with Him.  And I've been listening to what He has to say to me...

Right now he's hammering home the importance of seeking out and eradicating sin.  All sin.

WHAT?  ALL of it?  Surely not.  I mean, my sins arent' that big of deal.


In Joshua 11 & 12 I read of Joshua's leadership of the Israelites into battle.  It took me a few minutes to read it.  But this total eradication of the enemy through these territories took Joshua seven years.  Seven long years of brutally stamping out God's enemies.  Seven years following forty years of wandering in a desert...

Zoiks.  That is some serious obedience.  My Bible annotates:  Obedience is one aspect of life that each individual can control.

Okay.  I can't argue with that.  I may have no control over any other circumstance in my life.  But I CAN control my obedience to God.

As I read a few days later in Joshua 13:13 I saw that the Israelites failed to eradicate all of the people as God had instructed them to do...And again I was pricked by my own stubborn refusal to remove some sins because I view them as "no big deal."  And the rest of the world doesn't even see what I mean if I were to call these areas "sin."

In Joshua 14:6-15 I find the refreshing voice of Caleb, boldly stating that while is well into his 80s he is EAGER to take the land God has promised him and to face the giants he has already seen with his own eyes as a young man.  He knew God was bigger than any foe he would face.  Lord, help me have the strength of Caleb.

I will finish with these three verses Joshua 15:63, 16:10 and 17:12.  Each of these contain a glaring failure on the part of the Israelites.  They failed to remove all of the people of the land, as God had instructed them.  As I reflected on this truth, I was struck by one fact.  This small remnant of people that the Israelites considered not worth the hassle of removing from their land would be the source of suffering for generations to come...

On Saturday morning, I went to weeding my flower beds.  I actually enjoy weeding.  It is very rewarding and it gets me outside which is always a bonus.  However, in my newest flower bed that curves around the southwest side of my house there is a slow insidious takeover happening.  Not in the form of weeds, but in the form of grass.  Of course, I want the grass all over my yard.  Just not in my flower beds.  And it is a royal pain to remove.  That stuff creeps under and over things and those darn roots run deep.  I pulled up every twig that I saw.  And it will still come back.  And I will have to be diligent or before I know it, the darn stuff will have taken over the whole flower bed and choke out the plants I'm wanting to grow.

Sin is the same way.  I can yank it out by the roots.  I can weed it and hoe it, and in extreme cases I can spray it to kill the whole dang plant.  And yet it will come back.

Just like the sin in my life.  It may seem small and insignificant.  But if it interferes with my obedience to God and therefore my fulfillment of God's purpose for my life it is a giant in the making.  As I sat on my knees in my yard Saturday I was overwhelmed with the thought that the small sins of today could be the giants in my future...

Or worse-the giants my children must face.

Lord help me live a life of full obedience.