Wednesday, July 31, 2013

For the Glory of God

I have/had, (one is already home with the Lord,) three brothers who have all wanted to go to Mars.  (My husband says at least one or two of them IS from Mars.) I've never had a desire to go to Mars, so when my sister died, and left me here with three brothers who wanted to go to Mars, I was upset.  I have adjusted over the years and now I think maybe it is OK to be here with them.  

Proverbs 25:2 says, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings."

In other words someone who searches out God's truth will get glory.  Well, God concealed many secrets in the universe so it is good for man to search them out.  Here is a You Tube of an interview of Chris Lewicki who is doing that:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Guilt--True or False?

My mom, as she got older, would often remark that she felt guilty for taking my older brother, Jay, out of preschool when he was 4.  My dad was in the military, and even though my dad was a Captain, he could not take us with him when he was stationed in Alaska.  So she decided to go home to her parents, and thus had to take my brother out of preschool.  I, on the other hand, had been attacked by the neighbor dog, and bitten on both legs, and one arm, when I was 5.  I still have the scars.  She never mentioned that she felt guilty about that.  (My oldest granddaughter is somewhat afraid of dogs.  Could this have been passed down genetically because of my experience?) Maybe my mom felt guilty because, as my brother got older, he had difficulties getting along socially, while I didn’t have as much trouble.  But what she did was not a sin. 

Recently another blogger, Megan Hill, pointed out that many Christian moms were writing about what messy jobs they were doing as moms.  She thought their confessions of failures, which were very humorous, (it’s better to laugh than cry), were not what we should be doing as moms.  There is a difference between “Keeping it real” and being honest.  If we were negligent in teaching our children, that would be wrong.   The link is here:

         One humorous piece that had an unbelievable number of readers was by Jen Hatmaker.  I enjoyed her take on the worst end of the school year mom ever.  It's here:  I thought the costume she made was awesome.    Apparently she felt guilty.  But I didn’t see any sin in what she did.

Some people have another view.  I read a blog written by a mom who felt guilty for the way she was parenting.  She felt lower than a cockroach.  Maybe she has made some mistakes as a mom, but I encouraged her to ask God to help her.  He will send help if we ask.  It doesn’t do any good to dwell on all the missteps in the past.  If we ask God for wisdom we must trust that He gives us wisdom.  Why not trust? 

I have heard of Catholic guilt.  I don’t know what causes this except maybe the Catholics think they have to work their way to heaven.  Protestants believe that Jesus did all the work necessary on the cross.  We are to love Jesus so much for His work, that we want to work to build His kingdom. 

  Maybe some people are harder on themselves and others than God is, because of their perfectionism.  If we are a child of God and striving to please Him, He will forgive our missteps and foibles like we do our own children, if we confess, and ask for forgiveness.  

Sometimes I feel guilty for NOT feeling guilty.  But I admit that when I read an article like the one by Jen Hatmaker or watch a silly TV show like “My Name is Earl,” I’m tempted to become sillier than I already am.  (Just ask my husband about the radio interview I blew. I do feel guilty about that, and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. I think my attitude was sinful.)

But I believe that---  “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

So I don’t look back, (Philippians 3:14), and I don’t feel guilty.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Talk about Patience

In this riding competition the rider is disqualified if his feet touch the ground.  I was impressed by this horse's patience.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Problem With Profiling

During the 1960s racial relationships were beginning to reach a peak especially in the south.  I was in high school in Alexandria, Virginia.  We had one black student in the entire school at that time. His name was Rayfield Barber.

Fast forward to the 90's. We had an all years  reunion, for Groveton graduates.  At that reunion many of the alums were interviewed and asked about their years at Groveton.  In the above link to a You Tube video, Rayfield relates how he had to go to court to come to Groveton, but once there he was treated very well.  (The video is 9 minutes long and includes Mr. Hiller, a Groveton history teacher.  The link below it is 5 minutes long.) If you talk to many American black people they will tell what good lives they had either separate from other races or integrated in the northern and western states. (Check out Condi Rice, Dr. Ben Carson, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, and Clarence Thomas.)

Now looking at today-- I’m sorry that Trayvon Martin had such a short life but I don’t think he was killed because of profiling.  It was determined by a jury that Zimmerman protected himself.  Obviously, both men made mistakes and it is a tragedy.

So let me ask this question: How would you react to a group of black men carrying Bibles?  Now compare this with your possible reaction to a group of white men carrying weapons.  I would trust the guys with the Bibles.  Wouldn't you?

Over the years, many people have been profiled for various reasons.  I’ve personally been profiled.  The one and only time I was stopped by a policeman it was because I was a young woman, I think.  I don’t have proof, except to say that this particular policeman also stopped several friends of mine.  Maybe he was just looking for a date or he thought all women were very bad drivers.

Then in 2004, when I arrived at the airport, I was suddenly surprised that I found myself to be on the “No Fly” list.  This is my only claim to fame.  And even today, I never know if I will be detained. It’s so annoying.

Profiling even happened to my elderly parents.  One time the two of them were driving south and were stopped for looking like hippies.  (This was my mom's theory.) My dad had neglected to get a haircut and they were driving a very old car. 

Have you been profiled as well?  You very well may have been.  It is possible that everyone has been profiled at one time.  Maybe it is for the color of your skin, your age, or your sex, or even the car you drive. 

Where are we today?   I do admit that until the Civil Rights laws were passed in the 1960’s people of color had been treated unfairly, especially in the south.  Some are still treated unfairly even today. You may have watched the movie or read the book, “The Help.”  I was shocked at how the black maids were treated by some.

I don’t know why God allows such hard times, but everybody will eventually suffer in one way or another.  (My Aunt Evelyn said that she had never suffered until she hit her 90’s.  Then she suffered terrible pain.) We here in the United States, I believe, are better off than most people in other parts of the world.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

I Used to have Flying Dreams

When I was a kid I had dreams that I could fly.  In my dreams I would leap straight up and then start pumping my legs like you would on a swing.  I would soar away out of reach of any wild animal or bogyman trying to get me.  In my dreams I felt very competent and self-sufficient.  Maybe that was why I enjoyed dancing and leaping so much.  It is like flying!

But those dreams silently tiptoed away as life overwhelmed me. I realized I wasn’t all that competent or self sufficient after all. 

When I started teaching I began to pray more.  When my daughter was born she demanded extreme patience.  Then I turned fully to God.  I attended Bible studies and Moms of Pre Schooler’s groups.  God was there in the women who encouraged me. 

One time a young neighbor friend of our daughter’s was upset because her cat had run away.  Somehow our cat got out and she brought the neighbor’s cat into our house.  Was God at work again?  I think so.

Another time our daughter lost a necklace she had received for being a junior bridesmaid in a wedding.  It was found miraculously.

Tragedy struck when my younger sister passed away when she was forty-nine.  My youngest brother, Wayne, cheered me with the dream he had.  He dreamed that Evy was wearing a jogging suit and running on a track.  She was happy and healthy.  She looked great.  I believe that was another thing God used to comfort me.

Sometimes it is a flower or a bird that brings comfort and hope.  Other times it is people or a movie.   I was persecuted for my faith by a relative for years. I believed I couldn’t bear it anymore.  I then watched the movie “Jaws.”  In it the men didn’t give up fighting that shark.  I kept yelling at them to give up but they didn’t. They overcame the shark.  I then believed that God wanted me to keep going and not give up no matter how painful the persecution was.  The relative accepted the Lord six weeks before she died.

God didn’t promise us a rose garden but He did promise that He would be with us and never leave us and that He would prepare a place for us.  Life is short in light of eternity.  I’m looking forward to that special place and the banquet Jesus is preparing for me.

Below is a video of a song about hope.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Evangelism--What is a Christian to do?

Each person who comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus comes in a way designed by God.  Some have picked up a Gideon Bible in a hotel room, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, their eyes are opened to the truth.  Someone else may hear an evangelist preach and his or her heart is strangely warmed like John Wesley’s.  Someone else may be reading a book and suddenly realize the truth.  Here is a blog about another way to look at receiving salvation:

In my case as a young child I believed John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

My parents took me to church and Sunday school, which I always enjoyed.  As a teen I loved attending the youth group.   When I was in high school my dad would take my older brother and me to Youth for Christ meetings.  I was critical of the way they had alter calls and teens would go forward to receive Jesus.  It was all too emotional for me.  At our Presbyterian church we didn’t have alter calls.

Enter Billy Graham—he had alter calls at his rallies.  I thought that is fine for others if they want to go forward, but the most important thing to consider is, if it was just for show, or was there some change in the person’s heart?  Later research showed that of the people who go up for an alter call, many will drift away if they are not followed up by a local church. 

When Billy Graham came to Spokane, Washington in the 70’s our church went door to door handing out “I found it” booklets.  These gave the 4 spiritual laws—

1.God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

2. All people are sinful and separated from God.

3.  Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay for your sins.

4.  To be saved from sin you need to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior.

So even though I didn’t like the emotionalism of Billy Graham rallies I went door to door, and if the people were open, asked if they would like to pray to receive Jesus, then invited them to church.

Next came seeker sensitive churches in the 80’s and 90’s.  They didn’t want to scare people away so they watered down the salvation message.  Mega churches were born but then later it was shown that there was no spiritual growth unless the people were plugged into a small group Bible study. 

All this is to say that the main thing Christians are to do is to love God,  love our neighbor,  to spread the Gospel, and make disciples.  How each Christian does this depends on how God has designed us.  In the Evangelical Covenant church many prefer to do one on one ministry.  Some teens have gone to beaches and pursued the crowd in search of those who would like to talk about spiritual things.  Of course we hold Vacation Bible Schools and some organize Good News Clubs.  Others will invite friends to special events the church may hold.  Some may hand out tracks or leave a few in public places.  Still others become missionaries or go on short-term missions.  Now open air preaching is being revived.  Street preachers are popping up here and there.

So which is the correct way to spread the Gospel?  I would say each person must consult God about it.  Pray and believe that God will bring the last little sheep into His fold in His timing.