Monday, April 15, 2019

What the Heck?!

(This is a 5 minute blog)

    I normally try not to use this space to rant. I kind of feel like that is not beneficial to anyone who might read my blog, nor is it uplifting to me. However, I hope that this post will come across as more thought-provoking than angry, because this is a topic of great interest to me. I'd love to start a discussion if anyone is so inclined!

   So here's the deal: what is up with "Christians" swearing? I feel like this really violates many Scriptural principles, not the least of which is Proverbs 15:26

"The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,    but gracious words are pure in His sight."
  I do understand that language is fluid, constantly changing and growing with culture and age. However, some words are quite obviously offensive. Therefore, why would someone who professes to be a believer, whose first (and only) goal should be the glory of the Lord, feel that it is acceptable to use words that are known and interpreted by the vast majority of the population as swearing? I saw a post on Instagram today, in reference to *donuts*! that used a curse word. WHHHHHYYY? (This particular shop, to my knowledge is owned by people who profess Christianity, even so much as specifically mentioning Beth Moore and inviting her to their store.)

  Is is to be cool? Because here's the thing: I've never met anyone who was offended by the fact that I don't swear. But the use of swearing makes me very uncomfortable. It, to me, violates the principles of Philippians 4:8, as in it is not something I want to think on. It isn't lovely, it isn't praiseworthy or excellent. Often it seems to demonstrate a lack of command of English, as in, you have a limited number of adjectives to choose from in your stock vocabulary, and perhaps need to visit a thesaurus. It isn't that it is about my personal comfort, though, it is that I don't believe swearing points others to Christ or shows the world His truth.

   Please note that I am not inquiring about the world at large. Those who are not in Christ will speak and act in ways both objectionable and immoral. I am not looking to make them change their ways in order to suit my beliefs. I am speaking to the Christian community, to those who say that they have been transformed, that they are not of this world.

    We have the opportunity to demonstrate how Christ has changed us by allowing our words to reflect Him. If we say that we love Him it should be exemplified by both our deeds *and* our words. Therefore our language, no matter how "informal" should always be Christ-worthy, not cringe-worthy. What do you think?


Friday, April 12, 2019

Five Minutes

     Five minutes. It isn't very long, but it can be productive. I haven't blogged in far too long, and I keep thinking about it. Obviously, that isn't translating to action, but over all these months I have appeared quiet my mind has never stopped thinking about posting.

   I think we were made to be productive. We were created in the image of God, and He made all things. He shows us in so many ways through creation that producing, creating, is part of His plan. Yes, there are other places and ways that I "produce" or "create", but none has ever felt so much "me" as pecking away on this little corner of the internet.

   I think my demands for myself are always greater than the ones that anyone else has for me. Heck, half the time I don't think anyone is even reading what I write so why do I insist that it be perfect? It never has been anyway. I want to have a great title, wonderful photos, graphics I designed myself. And I am sure there is a time and place for those things, people who are called to do that. But right here, right now, that isn't me.

   I tried keeping a journal, but it isn't the same. So here I am. I am committing to sit down and write. Even if it is only for five minutes. I won't say that I will do it every day, but my goal is more than once a week. If I get started and want to keep going after five minutes, fine. If not, I am holding myself accountable to this: I will press "publish" before I close my laptop. Even if it is a mess. Even if there are typos. Even without photos. Even if no one reads it. Because I feel like this is something I need to do. I was made to create.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

To Carson, On Your 11th Birthday

Dear Carson,
            I am so excited that you are 11. I particularly remember 11 as being a very good year. I have every reason to believe the same will be true for you. You are really finding your groove in so many ways, and it is giving you confidence to try new things and mature in a wonderful way.

     I feel like I always say the same things about you in your birthday letter, but that is because you have stayed true to the character God created you with. You are kind, thoughtful and have a true servant's heart. You have really started to use your gifts in regards to glorifying the Lord, and it is so beautiful. You have such sensitivity towards people's feelings, and you combine that with your gift of leadership in a really wonderful way.

   You are learning to persevere when something is difficult. No one likes to do that, but it is a skill that will benefit you your whole life. Often learning new things is tough, but it is beneficial to keep going, even when it seems like a waste of time. Your dad and I are tasked with teaching you a lot of things that you may not deem important, but we are simply trying to equip you to serve the Lord to the best of your ability. We are not trying to frustrate you or embarrass you, we just want to see you grow!

   It is always hard for me to not want to shelter you from anything that makes you anxious. I have fought with anxiety and fear my whole life, and when I see you struggle I just want to rescue you, and keep you away from anything that makes you afraid. But if I do that you will never be who God wants you to be: someone who depends fully on Him. I am doing my best to walk beside you in those tough times, and remind you that the Lord is always with you, that He will guide you, and that you don't need to fear. I am always praying for you, and I am always here to listen.

    And every time I see you face your fears it makes me brave. It reminds me that if you can do it, I have no excuse. You are always helping me to be better, reminding me what friendship and thoughtfulness looks like, that serving others is really service to God. And you make me so proud, because you do it without an expectation of recognition.

    This is going to be a good year. God has great plans in store, just as He has every year of your life. Seeing you gain an ever-deepening appreciation for that is one of my favorite things about seeing you grow. You are amazing, smart, caring and kind. Your dad and I take such pleasure in you. You are growing in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord and it is exciting. I'm glad I get to be a part of it. I love you.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Rescue Begins


     Drowning. Engulfed in flames. Enemies rapidly overtaking. In this type of situation you are consumed by one thought: rescue. And the sooner the better. Dramatic events like these demand a swift, certain, absolute rescue. A hero, a savior, brave, bold, a true knight in shining armor is the only one who will do.

   Flooded by doubt. Burning with guilt. Continual attacks by the enemy. Do these demand a rescue, too? Even more so.
"“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him."" Luke 12:4-5 NIV
Tales of climatic escapes thrill us. But the greatest one ever began on Christmas night. Every good rescue needs a hero, and the greatest One ever to grace the printed page had a very humble beginning.

 We don't like to admit that we need rescuing at times. We want to prove our self-sufficiency. Earn our way to salvation. But we need a hero. No, we need a Savior.

  And on Christmas we got a brave, bold, humble, honorable, King. No mere knight would do-not even one from the mythical Round Table. No, this one came straight from heaven.

  His mission: to save us. He never wavered from the goal-to give His very life to rescue mine. A fate far worse than a burning building threatened, the very fires of hell cast shadows on my soul. And if that doesn't seem very Christmas-y to you, then you don't really understand what Christmas means.

"Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." Romans 5:17 CSB

    Death was winning. Sin was overcoming. Hell was literally about to break loose.

But Jesus.


  Christmas is so much more than we have allowed it to be. Christmas is the beginning of the most dramatic rescue ever told-yours! Through the gift of Christ we are SAVED.

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15 CSB 

  Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Are you biting your nails? Is your heart beating out of your chest? Are there tears in your eyes? This is the time-you have heard this story before, but this time do you see it? There He is-center stage, everything is falling in to place.

"Rise up and help us;    rescue us because of your unfailing love." Psalm 44:25 NIV

He came to save...

 "He sent out His [W]ord and healed them; He rescued them from the grave." Psalm 107:20 NIV
Salvation is near...

"...[G]iving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.
 For He has rescued us
 from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:12-14 NIV 
This Christmas don't be distracted. Don't look away. Don't miss it. It's the most important opening to any story, ever.

The Rescue Begins...

for you.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

To Jocelyn, On Your 13th Birthday

Dear Jocelyn,
                  I think you pretty much know my viewpoint on the "teenage years". They aren't magical or exceptional, other than in the sense that they are a continuation on growing and maturing that you've been doing all along. Each year is a milestone, with it's own highlights and challenges. Adding "teen" to your age doesn't change that.

    And it doesn't have to turn you into someone you don't recognize. More than ever the world will demand that you turn your back on what you know is true. It will lie and tell you this is the time to "try new things", code for rebel against, mock and twist the truth. It will tell you that you need to "find yourself". Don't listen, you know the Truth. His name is Jesus. You are *so* faithful to Him, and focusing on Him will never be a bad choice. It will always lead to real, abundant, life. These things have been true all your life and they won't change now. We have always encouraged you to learn all you can about Him, to listen to His leading, to believe that the Holy Spirit teaches you and guides you. Don't follow your heart, or your dreams! Those selfish desires will only lead you astray. Follow Him, follow His vision for you. Follow His heart. 

    You have amazed me your whole life with your passion for Christ. As you become more and more autonomous, gaining new abilities and responsibilities you will be able to do a wider variety of things for the Kingdom. You are already gearing up for some big opportunities, deciding to do hard things, trusting that He will go before and behind you. Keep saying "yes!" to Him.

    Your challenge is the same as it has always been: fighting the fear that everyone seems to think is necessary. That is the biggest lie you will hear. Fear is absolutely in contradiction to everything the Word teaches. Over and over we are told, "DO NOT BE AFRAID!" You do NOT have to fear-He is with you. I am learning this, too, but I am here to encourage you. I am here to remind you. I am here to stand beside you. I can't do if for you, but if I can, I'll go with you. If I can't, I will be waiting to hear your stories of victory through Christ, to cheer you on, and to bring the ice cream. 

    And never, ever forget how much your Dad and I love you. The hard things we make you do are to help you to continue to mature in who Christ wants you to be. Our chief desire for you is to grow in the love of the Lord and walk in His ways. Your education, your extracurricular activities, your free time, those are all tools to reach the goal: loving the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. I have no expectations for you other than to follow His leading. 

   Make the most of Jesus. Leave the things of the world behind. I've said these things to you since you were born. These years ahead, they are just about continuing that journey. My fervent prayer for you is that in every way you will far surpass the faith that I have. I am always here to encourage you in that. I love you, my sweet, bright, lovable, Christ-like girl. That is never going to change.



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