No, you’re not seeing double, there are 2 pictures of me in Kate’s link up this week. I couldn’t let y’all believe that we’re sinking in the sand. Yes, there are difficult moments, but in the middle of the pain that 3 whammies of rejection bring, Shane, our children and I have had some crazy, goofy, laugh your pants off until you snort moments too. I live with 2 comedians, and God allows moments where the rest of us can hold our own against their craziness.
I’m not setting a timer because it’s an ungodly hour of the morning and I don’t want to disturb the rest of my house. So, once again, I’ll wing it.
Last Sunday night we turned the T.V. on expecting to watch Steve Harvey’s new smash success, “Little Big Shots” instead we found a rerun, so we jumped into the middle of the T.V version of Will Smith’s “The Pursuit of Happyness,” After it was over, we left the muted T.V. on while we chatted about the movie.
A few minutes later I look up and see John Travolta. I hit the mute button and hear the well known intro and the words
“You can tell by the way I use my walk I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk”
An evening of DISCO!
Okay, not just Disco, but you know. The music of my growing up years and more!. It was a star studded tribute to the brothers Gibb and my family and I had a front row seat. The endured while I belted out the songs with Barry and most of the audience while the stars sang behind the mic. Not only that, they got to count 2 hours of school, because we are a homeschool family–it’s the way we roll. Even on a Sunday evening. And what better way to learn music history than through a Grammy tribute to DISCO! This is how bad it was, at one point I looked at Shane and asked, is this an hour show? This question came about halfway through the SECOND hour. Yep! I was that far gone!
A few weeks ago, Shane received his last Box of Awesome from 31 deals. It’s a once a month mystery box. In it were some crazy photo cut outs. Yesterday, Tabby decided she wanted to play, so we opened the box and she came out modeling the various prints.
She came out wearing the last cut out singing “I, I, I, I’m Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive” And then she made “the” pose.
A proud moment for this 1970’s Momma. (Apparently, they don’t make many cut out for little brown girls. Just ignore the white hands haha).
You can watch the entire two hour event here if you desire. If not, here’s a little music. Feel free to sing along. I will.
We will survive! And in case you’re too young, that’s another great disco hit of the 1970’s by Gloria Gaynor.
BTW, thank you my friends for the prayers and encouraging comments. I appreciate every single one of you!
Remember as a child when someone said something you didn’t want to hear and you plugged your ears singing La La La La La. Or maybe as a mom when you didn’t want your child to hear what you were saying and you covered their ears and sang La La La La La.
I’m ready to stick my fingers in my ears sing La La La La La and forget. I told Shane yesterday that I was ready to pack bags and run away to Alaska. For those of you who know anything about me, you KNOW cold weather, snow and darkness are not my friends. I’d rather be in sunshine on the beach with the mountains in view, so you KNOW things must of been bad.
I know God’s timing is perfect but dad gum it. We’ve gotten a triple whammy in the last 6 months. And there is absolutely NOTHING that we can do about any of them.
Unfortunately, I’m not a kid anymore. I cannot stick my fingers in my ears and sing La La La La La to ignore the things I wish not to hear. I cannot stick my fingers in my kids ears either. Even though I want to run away I must face grown up things like a grown up regardless of the drama and craziness going on around me. I must stand firm in my relationship with Jesus Christ.
Just as the other two situations, Shane and I will deal with this situation together.
Linking up with Kate and the gang at Five Minute Friday this week. The word this week is SING. Lest you think we’re sinking in the sand, as this post is kind of depressing, click over to read my second FMF entry this week. DISCO. Need I say more?
No matter who says it isn’t. His grace is sufficient for a wretch like me.
Jesus suffered more.
Jesus endured the pain and agony of the cross so I could be forgiven. He was despised and rejected. He was tortured for my sin. He took the punishment for me!
I am forgiven.
My sin will not be held against me by King Jesus!
God alone is worthy to pronounce that judgement–not a man. Not any man!
His judgement is FORGIVEN!
His judgement is CLEANSED from ALL unrighteousness.
His judgement is CERTAIN!
Men may attack and accuse. Men may harbor bitterness and unforgiveness in their hearts. Men may sit on their high holy hill making pronouncements that only Jesus Christ is qualified to make.
But Jesus. Oh Jesus! Thanks be to God he does not judge as the world judges. Thanks be to God he does not reject when the world rejects. Thanks be to God for His salvation on the Cross!
This I must remember. This is what I must focus on.
This is enough!
But in the depths of my soul I cry out in agony!
Nothing is acceptable to the party that accuses. They lash out in their own anger. They speak ugly, unkind works and take none of the responsibility for the parting of ways.
Three situations in our life. Similar yet different. And when I think I have come to grips with 2 of them the 3rd comes in roaring like a lion. And strangely enough even with similar situations, I find peace with the first two. The scab has not been torn off. The blood isn’t dribbling out. Praise God! The scar is fresh, but the wounds appear to be healing.
The blood from the wound of the most recent injury is gushing out. The wound is fresh. Rejected by those who should be close to us. Those living outside our home have lashed out and have blamed me for every problem in the relationship between our families. How that can be, I can’t even fathom. For even secularists know that nothing is 100% one persons fault. Unfortunately, I’m not alone. These people have chosen to sever relationships with many others before me and sadly, unless the Holy Spirit prompts, I’m certain they will severe relationships with many others after me.
Oddly comforting in a weird way. I’m not alone. Our family is not alone. I am not the first, nor will I be the last. The pain is deep. It will take time but the wound will heal.
Lord Jesus protect those relationships in our home from the attacks from the Evil One. Use these attacks to strengthen the bond between us. To grow us closer together as a family. To learn of your grace and mercy even more. Lord I pray this wound will lead us to trust you more. Lord, I pray that our family will move forward. That our children will remain strong in you. I pray that we will ever cling to you. Broken? Yes, but stronger.
With God’s mercy and grace, we will shine forth as gold.
I’m linking up at the writing workshop with MamaKat today. Every Tuesday she offers several writing prompts in preparation for Thursday’s link up. This week’s prompts are below. I chose to write on what new career I would chose if I had to chose one.
1. Write a list of your top Spring must-haves.
2. Something your kids said that made you laugh.
3. If you had to choose a new career for yourself, what would you choose?
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: incomplete.
5. Tell the story of a mistake made in the kitchen.
6. Write about your favorite childhood pet.
I have actually thought about what different careers I would enjoy for a long time. It amuses me.
Every time I go to the cosmetology school for a hair cut I think it would be a fun career. Except for the chemicals. As sick as I was for as long as I was and as hard as I’ve tried to get healthy and as much money as we’ve spent, I don’t think I could bring myself to pursue this career choice unless I could find a school that taught natural alternative to perming and coloring.
Real estate? Yes! I think showing people homes would be a blast! I’m not sure I would like the tedious paperwork part of the job but helping people find a home would make it worthwhile.
Working as a barista at a coffee shop? Yep! Coffee and people is there anything else to say?
And since we’re talking about careers, I’ll share a couple of my child hood far fetched dreams because what child ever hasn’t dreamed so big and crazy about a future that is so unattainable for most?
One was an ice skater. Every 4 years when we’d watch the Olympics and I’d be mesmerized by skaters like Dorothy Hamill and Scott Hamilton. This dream wasn’t even on the radar. I have to date only been on ice a dozen ish times. Alas, I never lived the life of an all star ice skater, but I did get a taste of that dream on the dance floor. In my early adult life, I taught ballroom dancing at the Fred Astaire studio where telemarketers in the back room offered their unsuspecting callers 3 lessons and a dance party if they could answer 3 trivia questions correctly. That job was probably my most favorite job ever; except for the selling aspect. I was pretty terrible. Eventually I became the receptionist where I could still dance but didn’t have to sell lessons. This was before the days of camcorders, Facebook and Instagram. The trophies went to the thrift store many years ago and the few photos I had are long gone. So there are no pictures to share.
Someday you may see my name on Realtor.com or find me behind a counter serving up Almond Joy Latte’s and banana bread but for now, I’ll continue being a loving wife and mother.
What about you? If you could chose a new career what would it be?
The tomb is empty. Christ is risen from the dead. Hallelujah! He is risen indeed!
Jesus atoning sacrifice once for all because the blood of bulls and goats was not sufficient to save. Before the beginning of the world the plan was laid because God in his infinite wisdom knew. He knew we could not live perfect lives apart from Jesus Christ. He knew that we, when given the choice, would rebel against all things righteous and holy apart from the Holy Spirit at work in us. Praise God Jesus Christ on the cross gives us hope of eternal security. Hope of eternity in Paradise with our Heavenly Father!
Praise be to Jesus Christ who took my sin! Praise be to God the Father for establishing this plan for without it none could be saved.
Jesus has declared our sins as far as the east from the west so is our sin from the Fathers eyes.
Isn’t that an amazing thought? How can it be? It’s almost beyond comprehension.
One complete man. Yet completely God. The God willingly came to walk among sinners, the man lived homeless and poor in man’s eyes. The God took our sin. The man suffered. Suffered torture and death. The God suffered separation from the Father. For you. And for me. For each one willing to trust King Jesus for eternity.
And yet there are those that believe this isn’t enough. Those that say we must work, or maybe that there is a sin or many sins (other than blasphemy) that will bring eternal damnation.
That’s not how my Bible reads, but there are many who read more into their Bible than what is written, aren’t’ there?
We are home alone on this resurrection Sunday partly because of this very belief. Ironic isn’t it? This day that we celebrate the atoning sacrifice of Christ who took the sins of the world on himself. The day that the grave was empty for my sin. We sit alone because past sin has not been forgiven. For true forgiveness holds no record of wrongs.
I said we’re alone, but we’re not. We are here together. 6 of us. Living imperfect lives. Living forgiven lives because of the blood of Jesus. Loving each other even though we’ve sinned against each more times than we’ve ever desired. That dear friends is the Gospel! That is the Good News! Perfect forgiveness from a perfect sacrifice that bled and died to save us from our dreadful sin. Christ’s blood. Enough. Completely and totally. Nothing to be done on our part but being drawn into obedience and works as a reaction to the saving grace!
Today I am thankful. Thankful for that blood! Thankful that many years ago in front a draft beer at Applebee’s He called me. Thankful that I now realize that Easter is more than a basket filled with candy and a chocolate bunny rabbit. Thankful that I now realize that Easter is more than showing up a church once or twice a year because it’s the “right” thing to do.
I’m so thankful for Shane and for our children, Thankful that we gathered together with other believers to worship the perfect Lamb of God. Thankful that in a short time we will gather around the table to share our traditional Easter meal. Thankful that my children are following Jesus and living to His glory!
I pray that one day in the future our children will join us with families of their own. That we will all celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ together! That that we’ll have grandchildren to wander our yard with baskets to find colored eggs. That we will gather around our table and celebrate the awesome gift of Jesus’ resurrection and the forgiveness of our sins as we feast together!
Praise God! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
His grace is sufficient to forgive!
And because it just isn’t Resurrection day without it, a little classic hymn for you:
My boy had a track meet Tuesday night. Afterwards, we decided to stop at a local fast food restaurant. We chose this one because Shane had an offer for a $2.99 taco platter and there were 5 of us, because we had one of Malachi’s friends and Tabs with us. And Shane’s cheap. And anytime we can eat for less than 20 bucks we’ll take it. And Pico on the side? Uh Um Yes please.
We walked in to be greeted by a gregarious young man that looked more like my kids than like me. He wasn’t in uniformed but told us his name and loudly informed us that he worked there “sometimes.” He also announced that they had the “best food in the whole world.” It didn’t take long to realize that this boy had been smokin’ somethin. We continued to be polite, but we were all watching to see where this guy was and what he was doing. And let me add here that my husband a pretty big guy so when he begins to get nervous it puts us all on alert.
Thankfully, we walked away without incident. But as I’ve considered the plight of this young man, I’ve found more compassion for him than anything.
This young man is like so many today.
At one point in my life, many years ago, I was empty too. But God called me and claimed me as his own.
Yes, there are difficult days. Days where my joy seems a distant memory among the purging of gold. Because refinement and growth is not fun or easy. But, thanks be to God! I am no longer empty!
I pray somehow, some day Antonio discovers more than a meth pipe. I pray that one day he will have a testimony to declare that “Jesus is the best thing in the whole world. (Although I admit, this restaurant is one of my favorite cheap eats for Mexican).
I pray that as this Easter weekend approaches, we are all filled with the love of Jesus. That we all glory in His saving grace of the Cross. That we realize that apart from our sin, there is nothing that we can offer. That we can only rejoice in the sacrifice made on our behalf.
Once for all. Jesus. On the cross.
That in our messes of “trying better” we fail. Always. We fail. This doesn’t mean we don’t try. As believers with the Holy Spirit living in us, we can do nothing less. Yet, it’s complicated to understand how only Christ’s atoning work on saves. His grace; completely sufficient to save us wretches from an empty life. Praise God!
He IS Risen!
BTW, It’s good to be linking up with Kate and the gang at Five Minute Friday again this week. The past two weekends were super busy. A track meet for my two youngest and a homeschool conference kept me away from the computer.. This week’s word was “empty”.
Many folks today might say that the Bible isn’t relevant to life today. After all it is at it’s most recent writings about 2000 years removed from our space and time. It would seem easy to dismiss. And yet, for those who believe and are willing, those words penned so long ago can be great encouragement, great comfort in the midst of daily living.
Over the course of my married life with Shane, we have faced many struggles. I won’t recount them here as it isn’t necessary to rehash those things that are behind us. I will say that except for God we wouldn’t have survived as well as we have. In recent months we have faced more than one trial. I won’t say it’s been easy to lose so many we thought were our Christian family and also our friends. I won’t say it’s been easy to be accused of wrongdoing and ugly things when we’ve attempted to live our best lives to God’s glory. And I won’t say it’s easy to be told that your sins will never be forgiven or forgotten when God’s word says the blood of Christ is enough. But! You know what? God has shown up in the midst of the storm. While we’ve faced these trials, He’s been there carrying us, encouraging us and lifting us up.
For about the last year I have been writing Scripture longhand in spiral notebook most days as a part of my devotional time. I found this website from one of the groups I used to be a part of on Facebook. I don’t know much about the rest of her website, but Shannon’s Scripture Writing Plans have been an awesome addition to my devotionals each day.
April’s reading plan is on grief. Grief. It comes in many forms and doesn’t take a death to experience. It seems many others I know have also faced recent losses, so Shannon’s writing plan this month seems especially timely.
Yesterday, I turned to 1 Peter 1:3-9. It was especially comforting so I thought I’d share it with you. I do my writing out of the New Living Translation. I don’t particularly like it for every day Bible study, but it is a fantastic option for a little different perspective. If you’re facing tough times, I encourage you to read this and let the words of Peter wash over you. Let his words renew and refresh your spirit as you heal. Let his words be a balm for your soul.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
If you are in the midst of trials, I pray that He uses these words to comfort you and bless you!
It’s late (or early) and I’m awake. I tossed and turned for as long as possible. I thought it was close to waking up time, but it wasn’t. And so for the first time in many months I sit here in the stillness of night and I think about Kate’s word this week.
The word “embrace.” I’ll admit it. I’ve often struggled to embrace the trials that God has allowed in our lives. Recent struggles and struggles in our past. I have to remind myself often hat it is not for me to make someone do what I think they should. It’s for me to love them, to pray for them and even to embrace them (if they’ll let me) and for God’s will to be done in their life and mine.
I have to remember that God could make do them do the right thing but he won’t because he IS.
The sin of others has caused great pain in our life recently. But I know under the facade their pain is greater. They hold too tightly to their law. Unfortunately, they won’t let go much like a child holding their little critter. If they squeeze too tightly for too long the little critter suffocates and the child doesn’t understand why it died. The law is much like this. When we use it to control us and others it suffocates but breathe brings freedom.
I don’t want to embrace the struggle. Really I don’t. I could whine and cry and kick and scream but I won’t because I want to grow! I want to be more like Jesus every day. Even if it takes the struggle to do it because I’d rather live my life through the struggles and live for Jesus than to live my life for myself and live in the world. BTDT, no thanks!
As I heal, I find a different pain. Not my own pain but pain for the others. Pain because they have blind eyes and cannot see. Pain because their fruit is bearing and it’s not pretty. Pain because I fear they’ve walked to the mirror, turned away and forgotten what they look like.
I’m healing but they’re still wounded. Instead of growing, these kind of people stand on their holy hill pronouncing judgement where God gives no judgment. They condemn others so they can puff themselves up. They blame shift so they can feel better about themselves but most often they are only more miserable and their desire to look perfect keeps them from admitting their pain. It keeps them from falling on their face in humility. It keeps them from falling on their face in worship to their Creator. It keeps them locked in a prison of their own making when they could be free!
The pain of consequence is real. The threat of bitterness is real. I’ve seen first hand what the fruit of bitterness can reap and I want no part of it! I’ve been asking God to help me to forgive. To help me love when I want to hate and to see these people through his eyes.
We’re all unacceptable. There is nothing good within us without Jesus Christ and yet we often make our own rules. We often attempt to define what is and what isn’t acceptable. We make judgements and we become the jury. We pronounce the sentence when it isn’t our job. Or we embrace universalism where God’s love is defined by the absence of consequences. The absence of eternal damnation and all are acceptable to Him; but my friends that is a false and dangerous theology.
We cannot live for Jesus and determine to make Scripture fit our belief system. Christ in us compels us to desire that our lifestyle fit the Word of God. We cannot claim to live for him when we only look for proof texts to justify our choices. We must let the Holy Spirit work in our lives to conform us to the image of Jesus!
Lord Jesus help us to lovingly confronting those living in opposition to the Word. Holy Spirit prick our hearts and show us our failures so we can humble ourselves and repent. Lord Jesus you showed us how to forgive when you walked this earth. I pray that we will follow your example when people hurt us. I pray that we will show them your love in spite of their actions. I pray that you’ll keep us humble before your throne. I pray that we’ll stand firm for your truth but that we will also show grace to those around you that are blind. Open eyes to see Lord Jesus! Draw us closer to you in the pain. Heal us Father. Love us Father with your perfect love. Forgive us Father for our sin. Thank you Jesus! Thank you for suffering in our place. Thank you for being the perfect spotless lamb and the only acceptable sacrifice once for all. Thank you for embracing us in our sin so we too can be spotless before our Father. In Jesus name. Amen!
I’m linking up with Kate at the gang at Five Minute Friday today. Where most of us break the rules, but realize that the writing is more important than the rules. I did set my timer today, but what I wrote about wouldn’t fit into 5 minutes. I did edit, but I just can’t ignore blatant misspelled words, especially when that squiggly red line is glaring from the computer screen. Today’s word: Friend
A while back I attempted to enter another community to improve my writing skills. When I began writing there, I really had no idea, but I quickly found that I was definitely in the minority. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote that brought a friendly letter from one of the moderators telling me that they had removed my post because it didn’t fit the guidelines. We chatted back and forth by email and I thought we had come to an understanding. In an effort to show the community that I was in fact not a hater, and could love a person even if I did not agree with their lifestyle I wrote a factual story about my first ballroom dance partner. He was my friend who died of complications from AIDS in 1985. It went over like a lead balloon. The next letter I received was not so nice. It was then that I realized that there was nothing, could have been nothing that I could write to convince him, and the community, that I was not the enemy.
A few months later, I was at a salon in Knoxville. It’s an upper end cosmetology school that I love to visit when I’m home.
Forgive me for daring to stereotype,
but in order to tell the story, I must. This young man was extravagant. In some ways, he was more feminine than me. But you know what? I didn’t think about it, and I’m sure he didn’t either. We talked, we laughed and we had FUN! Bonus? I got a great cut from an up and coming stylist.
When he walked me to the desk to settle the bill, he hugged me. I mean a full on body slamming hug. I admit I stepped back a bit. But it wasn’t what you might be thinking. I was a bit startled because I’d never had a stylist hug me before. I wasn’t expecting it. He explained that he loved hugs, I agreed because I think hugs are better than melted butter on warm toast.
We didn’t discuss his sexual orientation, or mine. If we had, it wouldn’t have changed anything.
Sadly, that’s what the guy in the other writing community didn’t understand. And even sadder, nothing I could have said (and I tried) could have convinced him otherwise.
His mind was made up. He had concluded I was one of “those” evil haters.
Yet, who was really the hater?
He stereotyped me based on his fear not on facts. The fact is, I never gave him, or anyone in that community, a reason to believe I hated homosexuals. It’s not the first time I’ve been stereotyped and sadly I’m sure it won’t be the last.
It is sad really. So many people walk around paralyzed by fear. They’re on the defense looking for those they falsely think wish them harm.
I wish I could convince those that walk in that kind of fear that most of us don’t walk around looking for someone to hate. We are not that consumed with their lifestyle choice. We’re too busy taking care of our own life. Yes, of course there will be exceptions. But there are enough haters in this world without stereotyping an entire people group based on their religious conviction without even attempting to understand that standing in opposition because of conviction doesn’t equal hate.
Because of the actions of few, many problems are created where there aren’t any.
What happened to niceties? What happened to “live and let live?” What happened to “coexist?’ Why can’t we think the best of people instead of the worst? Why can’t we agree to disagree and move on and enjoy each other? And yes, I know why…sin entered the world through one man. But still, it seems like we should be to live at peace together.
Somehow, I wish that I could have met this man before finding the online community he helps moderate. I wish we could have had a pleasant friendly interaction. I wish we would have enjoyed each other’s company so much that we hugged. I wish we could have found common ground and even been friends.
Unfortunately, I doubt that would have convinced him that I wasn’t a hater. In fact, somehow I fear it would have made things worse. In these kind of situations there isn’t a way to win. My words, my actions, my friendship would have been twisted, and fear would have won instead of friendship.
Sad really isn’t it? Friendships lost before they’ve begun. Walls built because of stereotypes.
And in the style of our friend Andrew, I’ll leave you with a music video today. Come on people now, smile on your brother…
There’s a scene in Star Wars Episode IV where Luke, Leia Chewbacca and Hans have been forced into the trash compactor to avoid the storm troopers. Ewwww…
And some strange things begin to happen. Some sort of garbage creature grabs Luke, and then the walls start pushing in. Will they escape? Will they survive? They panic and we panic right along with them.
Several things have been pressing in lately. Although I’m not at liberty to discuss the details, I can say the similarities are almost scary.
Arrogant people. Deceived really. Twisting the truth, manipulating and blame shifting each situation for their own purpose. And these situations are so absurd I’m not sure you’d believe me if I told you.
And because of our relationship with each situation, we are caught in the middle.
And the consequences of each of these situations is great.But it doesn’t seem to matter. It seems they’d rather have their way than repent for their part in the wrong. The damage left behind looks much like the muck in the Star Wars scene.
And many relationships damaged beyond repair.
And we are left to explain to our children what we do not know or understand ourselves. And that is the hardest part. How do you explain what you yourself don’t understand? How do you explain what you yourself cannot imagine yourself doing?
Then there is social media. Where you learn all that you didn’t want to know about people. And your perception of them changes. I’m not ignorant. I know it goes both ways, I’m certain people have learned things about me through my Facebook that they didn’t want to know either.
Images of people that used to be in our life with sagging pants, and lonely eyes. Looking for love in all the wrong places because they didn’t get what they needed earlier in life. Yes, this I can speak to, because I lived that life. I can tell them that living for themselves won’t fix their problems. Living for themselves, giving their bodies for worldly pleasure won’t fill the empty places. It will only drive them to darker despair. I can tell them that we still love them and desire healing for them.
Legalism doesn’t fulfill. A list of rules added to God’s word only makes it impossible to please Him. Salvation isn’t something you have one minute and whoops! You sin, and lose the next. It isn’t something that blows about with the wind. It is sure. Certain. If you are His child. Legalism pushes people to rebellion. Or to arrogance. If you can’t keep the rules, you decide to break the rules. And if you keep most of the “important” rules you convince yourself that you’re better than most and look down your nose at those that can’t. Then you begin to judge them.
Permissive religion doesn’t fulfill either. Universalism where everyone goes to Heaven makes religion worthless. It belittles the Cross. Why would the world need a Savior to take sin if there is no sin?
And the consequences are great. Locally and globally.
Our family is having to face some tough choices because of the sin of others.
We’ve lost friends. (or maybe better to say, many we thought were friends).
We’ve lost family.
I personally, know I’m in danger of following in the footsteps of those before me in becoming bitter, and yet I am determined to cling to Jesus. I am determined to cling to the Author and Sustainer of life. For I am reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood. I will put on God’s armor and trust him to protect me.
I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:
1Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”a made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”b Since we have that same spirit ofc faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
I’ll admit it. There are days I feel like Paul. Overwhelmed and befuddled with grief. Watching those around me make poor choices. And not just poor choices, but life altering choices. Some of those choices have affected me, like the ones I mentioned above. Others, don’t directly affect me, but grief me nonetheless. And I have to admit that there are days being in the trenches is hard. Standing for truth is hard. I find myself questioning myself. Am I being legalistic, or judgmental, or arrogant? Am I guilty of what I see in others?
And if I am to answer truthfully, I’d have to say yes. I’m certain there is some legalism, judgemental attitudes and arrogance within myself. But, I can also say that I pray fervently that God will give me (and Shane + 4) balance. That God will reveal our arrogance, or legalistic attitude.
I admit it. There are days that make it extremely difficult to fix my eyes on the unseen. But with God nothing is impossible.