Apr 27

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Jul 07

Wildflowers

It only takes a few minutes of watching the news or checking your Facebook page to get stressed out about the “state our world is in.”  There is war and turmoil in every corner of the world, they are rioting in the streets of all of our major cities, poverty and lack of education are getting worse in this nation and all over the world.  The political scene is a mess, laws are being passed that we don’t agree with,  churches are riddled with scandal and the loss of membership,  the traditional family structure is crumbling in all parts of society and on and on and on.   It seems that everywhere in the world and in our private lives there are unanswered questions, what will I do without health care?  how will I be able to feed my kids? retire? pay the bills? find a job? find a place to live?  What am I supposed to do?

This last weekend we were camping with the family and as we were hiking I was admiring the beautiful wild flowers on the mountain.  Today I was reviewing the pictures I had taken and attempting to identify the names of the different flowers.  As I was studying the flowers their variations and colors I was reminded of the scripture from Matthew about the flowers in the fields and how they are clothed in glory more beautiful than Solomon.

DSC_4784

And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. Matthew 6: 28 -29

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I began to meditate on that verse and the others surrounding it and was reminded of the Lord’s Promises to us.   We have no need to worry because the Lord has promised to take care of us, he will provide all of our needs according to his riches in Glory.

 

 

 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the [air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:25 – 34

DSC_4840Just as the Lord takes care of the birds and flowers He also takes care of us.  Amidst all of the turmoil around us we need to remember that He will sustain us.  There is much talk about how much sin and corruption has crept into our society and our Nation and if we don’t repent we will be judged and punished.  But recall that at the exact time Jesus was saying these words the Roman empire and all of its sinful corrupt lifestyle ruled the world.  During Jesus day abortions, homosexuality, pedophilia, slavery, adultery, idolatry and every evil you can imagine was rampant.  Did Jesus tell his followers to protest against the evil or to worry about it, get it under control or the Judgment of God will fall.  NO He told them not to worry.  He told them to seek the Kingdom and don’t worry about the rest.

Yes, there is evil and turmoil, but do you think the Lord’s promises to take care of you will end if the person you want elected as president doesn’t win?  Do you think the Lord will quit taking care of you if you don’t have just the right amount of money in your retirement account.  Do you think the Lord will quit taking care of you if we have war, or earthquakes or pestilence.  DSC_4767

 

The Lord’s promises are sure and true.  He will not forsake us, he will not break His promises.  So relax, “stop and smell the roses,” enjoy the beauty of his creation and remember you are much more to Him than the flowers that he continues to cloth in magnificent glory.  Be encouraged with His promises!

Grace and Peace

Anita

Apr 18

Looking for What I’ve Lost – My Mother and Alzheimer’s Disease

Mom in College Circa 1950

Mom in College Circa 1950

The first distinct memory I have of my mom is from when I was four years old. We lived in Sheridan, Wyoming, my parents were recently out of Bible College and had just finished up with, what shall I say, a less than happy ministry experience. We were living in an old farm house in a rural addition called Donner Addition. My folks were attempting some agricultural projects to supplement their income. Dad was raising huge rabbits called Flemish Giants to sell to the grocery stores; mom was attempting to raise chickens. She had just purchased a brand new batch of a couple dozen chicks to raise. There was a hawk that decided mom’s chickens were easy pickens and began to swoop down and cart them away one by one. After a few days of being terrorized by the predator mother decided to take matters into her own hands, she decided to shoot the hawk. My dad had an antique 22 pistol that his dad had made by cutting off a single shot 22 rifle. Mother pulled the gun out of the drawer and was able to find one bullet. Being the conscientious person that she was she didn’t load the gun until she got out in the yard where the hawk was in the process of stealing yet another chick. She attempted to load the gun and dropped the bullet in the gravel driveway.

My memory is of my mom on her hands and knees in the gravel, looking for that bullet and crying.

 

I don’t remember the end of the story if the hawk got all of the chicks, or what happened to the hawk. But I do remember my mom crying over those baby chickens and that lost bullet. That was my mom, caring about little things that she had very little power to do anything about.

Mom and Dad and the oldest four kids. Donner Addition, Sheridan, Wyoming 1959

Mom and Dad and the oldest four kids. Donner Addition, Sheridan, Wyoming 1959

My mom today is in a very similar situation, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/dementia, in a place that is not home, looking for her lost life, not able to find it or do anything about it. I see her now just like she was that day on her hands and knees looking for that lost bullet. But now she is confused, afraid and trying to make sense of a situation that there is no sense or justice to at all.

Not only is my mother crying, upset, confused, afraid and angry, but so am I. I feel like I am grieving for the loss of her on a daily basis. When my dad died, it was final, done, over with and the grieving could start and then recede as time goes on. With mom its always there, it never really starts or stops it’s just always a thought away.   As a child I didn’t know what to do when I saw my mother crying and now it’s not much different. What do you do for the person in your life that bore you, nurtured you, saw to your needs, taught you about life and was always there for you? How can I always be there for her when she’s afraid I’m going to hurt her or even kill her? She blames me for locking her up when all I’m trying to do is keep her from running away and freezing to death down an alley behind a dumpster

They always say that babies don’t come with instructions well neither do parents who have Alzheimer’s disease.

Mom on Valentines Day 2012 - Love You Mom!

Mom on Valentines Day 2012 – Love You Mom!

Grace and Peace

Anita

Apr 08

I’m Sad – Thoughts on Depression

Thoughts on Depression

“Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick.” Matthew 14:14

One of the wealthiest most well-known men in our community took his own life recently, due to overwhelming depression. He was a gentle soul, a philanthropist who along with his wife had taken charitable giving to a new level in the community. I don’t know what started the depression, some say it was pain from a surgery that didn’t resolve, maybe it was there hidden for a long time. Many times we see people who have taken their own lives and we wonder how could they ever get to the point where there was really nothing to live for? I am not a mental health professional so my thoughts are not from a clinical or medical perspective but just from my own experiences and observations.

A lot of people are judgmental of others who suffer with depression, saying to the depressed person, “why don’t you justdepressed get over it?” or, “just choose to be happy, what have you got to be so upset about your life is good?” or “just pull yourself up by your boot straps and move on.” Your Christian friends will tell you to pray more, read the Bible more, get into worship, “The Joy of the Lord is your strength,” “Choose life and live,” or even tell you that you’re going through a spiritual battle and you need to the “bind the devil.” Depression and mental illness in general have been misunderstood down through the years to the point that it’s very existence is denied it has become a stigma of some kind of evil and even demon possession. Therefore, most people don’t want to admit it’s a problem for them or talk about it.   But depression is an illness just like any other, just because it’s not like cancer or a broken bone that you can x-ray and treat doesn’t mean it’s not real. Depression is not a “mind over matter” issue or a spiritual battle any more than any other illness. It is a silent destroyer of your well being and at some levels nearly impossible to overcome.

I’m not talking about self-pity or mood swings that come and go for all of us, or about someone who is shy or introverted; I’m taking about an actual physical/mental illness that affects every aspect of your life. It displays itself in small or large ways, from tears to lethargy to thoughts of suicide. Some people suffer with severe depression that affects them for their entire lives, others with smaller bouts at different times.

I am currently dealing with my 84 year old mother who has Alzheimer’s/dementia and is in an assisted living facility. In all of the medical evaluations I have had to have done for her one of the questions on the health history form is always, “has she ever suffered from depression?” I have thought about that a lot and I do think I should be answering yes. I remember when I was in grade school watching my mom spend days on end in bed in her room with the curtains pulled and the lights out. I recall the pastor’s wife coming over and praying for her that she would cheer up and get over it. So mom would get out of bed for a while but before the end of the day she’d be crying again and back in bed. There are several other incidents in her life that looking back now I do believe she has suffered quite a lot from depression.

depression-01I’ve had a personal experience this last year with depression. I came down with a case of shingles and was very ill with excruciating pain across my forehead and in my eye. I was on several different medications which of course wreaked havoc with my body. It has been a year-long struggle which I am still not completely over. Somewhere in the midst of it all I got really down, I was struggling to get over being sick and get back to my active self and just couldn’t do it. One day as I was talking to my doctor, I just broke down and started crying she of course probed further and diagnosed me with depression. I have been on medication since then and life is much brighter. One day I decided I was well and didn’t need to be on those “crazy pills” anymore. I weaned myself off of them and in about three days after not taking any I was crying again. I had to admit that this wasn’t just a mood I was going through but an actual illness, so I went back on the medication and will continue to follow my doctor’s advice.

I guess the point of this blog is twofold. First, if you suffer from depression, get treatment, it is wonderful to be prayed for and I hope you have a prayer support group, but just like any other illness you need to get treated. If you are diabetic you take your medication, it’s the same with depression. I believe that the Lord can heal any illness and if he chooses to do so then Hallelujah! But in the meantime find a qualified counselor you can talk to, find a doctor who will determine if you need some medication and get you the help you need. Secondly, and probably as important, DON’T JUDGE those who are suffering. If you know someone who is suffering from depression show compassion just as you would if they were suffering from any other illness. Telling someone who is suffering from depression to “cheer up” is about as helpful as telling someone who cut themselves to “stop bleeding.”sad smile

The ministry of Jesus was marked by compassion. In several places in the gospels compassion was noted as the motivation for Jesus’ actions. Matthew 14:14, says that, “Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick.”

Just as Jesus actions were motivated by compassion so should our actions have the same motivation.

Grace and Peace

Anita

Feb 15

Shades of Love

There has been so much written and blogged about the 50 Shades of Grey books and movie that I really see no need to go into an in-depth review and add to that dialog except this,

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,  does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; ]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;…

I Corinthians 13: 4 – 8a

I have not read the books or seen the movie I have no interest, however I have read several blogs, reviews, quotes from the books and movies so I think I have a pretty good idea of what the movie is about.  Also, several of the bloggers and reviewers have described this movie as an adult version of Twilight, which I have read and seen the movies.  So with that disclaimer, here goes!Love

A relationship between two people that involves dominance, manipulation and hurt of one person over another is in no way shape or form what healthy happy relationships are supposed to be.  Relationships are about love, companionship, respect, mutual support and yes equality of power.   As in the Twilight movies 50 Shades is about a young innocent girl who is manipulated into an unhealthy relationship by a monster. The love that this innocent child has for the monster cures him and he is no longer the monster.  That is the stuff of fairy tales and really not a new theme.  The problem with these movies is that they take it a step further and feed into what is already a huge problem in our society; Low self esteem among young women and a “rape culture” that tells men and women both that its ok to abuse, be abused and dominated.  In real life these stories don’t end with the monster being cured they end with the woman dead or in a shelter for abused women.  If the monster escapes jail he just goes on to his next victim.

And then we have the whole “christian” aspect of this and the fundamental movement that tells men that they are supposed to be the authority (code for dominant) in the home and the wife and children are supposed to submit (code for submissive).  I imagine that there are some out there in the  “Complementarian”culture who probably don’t have much of a problem with the relationship depicted in 50 Shades.

Popular controversial Preacher Mark Driscoll says “A wife should keep herself “sexually available” to her husband and, if she believes the Bible, better be giving him frequent blowjobs.”   Driscoll and his wife wrote a sex manual for Christians with chapters like “The Respectful Wife,” and another titled “Can We _____?” that gives qualified approval to oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, and other common evangelical taboos, as long as they’re in the context of heterosexual marriage.

Defenders of the “Complememtarian” culture are quick to say that Driscoll is on the extreme end of the spectrum but I know for a fact that this movement takes their “submission of women” ideology to the extreme.  I have personally spoken to women who’s good christian husbands have locked them up and restrained them, refused to allow them to have contact with their friends and family, controlled what they wore, where they went, who they saw and required sex on demand.   Whether its from Hollywood (who we all know can be trusted to tell us the truth) or from the Church it does not matter.  Its a lie that relationships are supposed to be dominant/submissive in nature.

The most often read scripture at Weddings, what is referred to as the “Love Chapter,” I Corinthians 13 tells us pretty much all we need to know about what relationships are supposed to be.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,  does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; ]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;…

I see no dominance, abuse or control in being patient, in not being jealous, in not bragging or being arrogant.  How can someone say they are not seeking their own when they are demanding of or dominating their partner?  Dominance is not love.

Old_Lovers_by_Clemetine

Happily Ever After

If you have been given strength it is not so you can manipulate, bully, hurt or dominate. Strength is a gift given so you can nurture, love and protect those around you.  Once again it all comes down to being selfless and showing God’s love and grace to others in all aspects of all of our relationships.

If you are in a hurtful abusive relationship I implore you, get out and get help, it will not end well, life is not a fairy tale. If  you want to live happily ever after you have to make right choices.

Grace and Peace

Anita

 

Dec 06

Walking in the Words of the Master – Whoever Wishes to be First

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,  and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:25 – 28

I was involved in a situation with a friend this week in which I have once again witnessed first hand the abuse that comes from Church leadership with a lordship attitude.  There is this idea in many fundamental, independent and pentecostal  so-called “Bible Teaching” churches that because leadership carries the anointing and authority of God they are on a higher plane than the congregation and have “Authority” over them.

This type of toxic leadership style has led to a tremendous amount of abuse in the church.  We have to look no further than to the Mark Driscoll fiasco that is taking place in Seattle for a perfect example.  Many of these abusive charismatic leaders have come and gone over the years and thankfully most of them self destruct but not until they do a huge amount of damage to the people they are supposed to be serving.Jesus washing feet

Jesus clearly tells his disciples that leaders in the kingdom are not to lord it over one another but are to serve each other.  Jesus so beautifully showed us the example of this not only in his death but also in his life.  At the last passover dinner he ate with his disciples, when the time came in the ceremony for the leader of the dinner to symbolically wash his own hands Jesus washed the disciples feet.

Peter explained that leaders are to lead by example not by lording it over the people

“The elders who are among you I exhort… Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion… nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:1-3

The entire idea of some kind of “Spiritual Authority” is a totally carnal idea which is bred of arrogance, greed and conceit.  Any church leader who thinks that he/she is better than, more spiritual or has more “authority” than the regular folks in the congregation is a truly deluded individual.  These type of leaders will go to any end to satisfy their own desire for power and as we have seen repeatedly justify their own sins.

The leader I met with this week was so steeped in his own pride and deceit that when he made reference to church finances, he referred to them as “MY money”  He refused to acknowledge that my friend had the right to have a representative with him at the meeting.  He belittled, maligned, and bullied my friend in an attempt to get him to take responsibility for a situation that was not his responsibility.  He attempted to lay the blame for his own actions on my friend.  When caught in blatant lies he became extremely angry and reacted and spoke in an arrogant manner even threatening criminal or civil legal proceedings against my friend.  This is not the way Jesus expects church leaders to conduct themselves.

Authority

When Mark Driscoll talks about a good leader the first thing he talks about is “Authority”

These authoritarian leader types take their supposed authority so far as to believe they can act as the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people. They think the Lord covers their mistakes and gives them insight into the hearts of the people. They believe that it is their responsibility to convict the congregation of sin. Their favorite sin to preach against is usually criticism of their leadership “Touch not mine anointed and do my prophet no harm.” They also love to preach about the sins of not paying your tithe or not attending church, not being involved and committed.

Behind each of these leaders is a string of fallen elders, deacons and other church leaders and members who have recognized the fallacy of their methods and have criticized them. Whenever anyone questions their authority it’s not enough to part ways the offender has to be discredited and destroyed in the eyes of the other people. Lies are told by the leader to malign and discredit the offender and of course the congregation believes the leader because the leader can cry and act so broken over the fall of the offender.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” British historian Lord Acton

preacherThese leaders are very charismatic  they can preach wonderful sermons and sway people into believing that they are truly anointed ministers of the gospel. But they leave hurt and destruction in their wake.  There’s not much we can do about these kinds of leaders because they of course do not recognize themselves for what they are. They will argue till the cows come home that they are called of God and only doing what He has called them to do.  And after all if there isn’t some authority in the church it would just be” free for all.”  Its the same carnal thinking that leads politicians to believe that we are not smart enough as individuals to make right choices for ourselves.

We have to guard against being deceived by this type of leadership, our walk with the Lord is personal and we each need to take responsibility for our own spirituality.  Don’t let anyone malign you or act  like they are better suited to make your decisions for you than you are yourself.  Study the scriptures for yourselves and take responsibility for what you believe and how you allow yourself to be led.  We are called to serve not be served.

 

Grace and Peace

Anita

Nov 23

The Sin of Sodom

In my last blog I asked the question “Why does homosexuality, then, bother the church so much more than any of this list of sins or any other number of sins that are not specifically enumerated herein? (I Corinthians 6:9 – 11) I think that another answer to that question is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis which has been the poster child story, so to speak, that proves that God hates Homosexuals.

Was Sodom and Gomorrah punished because they were homosexuals?

“But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. Genesis 13:13

The word “wicked” here is the Hebrew word “ra`” it means bad or evil. It occurs 663 times in the old testament as is translated in those verses as follows; evil (442x), wickedness (59x), wicked (25x), mischief (21x), hurt (20x), bad (13x), trouble (10x), sore (9x), affliction (6x), ill (5x), adversity (4x), favoured (3x), harm (3x), naught (3x), noisome (2x), grievous (2x), sad (2x), misc (34x).

None of these places uses the word “ra`” to make reference to or have the connotation of homosexuality. Of course you could argue that homosexuality is evil or bad but the reference is not specifically there. Another thing to point out in the verse above the word “men” in this verse is the Hebrew word ‘enowsh which is the word used for human kind, the human race as a collective, not just persons of the male gender. So in this verse it is not just the males of Sodom who were wicked but the entire population.

300px-John_Martin_-_Sodom_and_Gomor

In the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis chapters 18 – 19) we see the Lord having a conversation with Abraham in which He says, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave”. Abraham then begins a negotiation with the Lord, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city?” The Lord tells Abraham that he won’t destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if there are fifty righteous people in the city. Abraham continues to negotiate with the Lord for the lives of the people in Sodom and Gomorrah until the Lord agrees that if there are ten righteous people in the two cities God would not destroy them.

The Lord sends the two angels that were with Him down into Sodom to rescue Lot and his family prior to the pending destruction. When the two angels entered Sodom Lot met them and escorted them to his home, telling them that it was not safe to spend the night in the square. After dinner all the people, both men and women, from every part of town came to get the angels. The entire population was so totally evil that they were all in on the effort to molest the angels. The angels struck the population with blindness to keep them from accomplishing their evil mission. Even blind the people wore themselves out trying to get into the house. The next morning the angels led Lot, his wife and two daughters out of the town before the destruction came.Don't Look Back

The wickedness of Sodom was so great and so pervasive that even Lot’s daughters, though virgins, were so infested with the evil that they tricked their father and had incestuous sexual relations with him following the destruction of Sodom. Peter described the effect of the wickedness on Lot as follows “for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds” 2 Peter 2:8

There are some other hints in scripture that tell us the whole story of Sodom and Gomorrah and why they were destroyed.

For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their actions are against the Lord, to rebel against His glorious presence. (emphasis added) The expression of their faces bears witness against them, And they display their sin like Sodom; They do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. Isaiah 3:8

From this verse in Isaiah we have the example of the sin of Sodom being that they first rebelled against His glorious presence and second openly displayed their sin. There was no remorse for their wickedness; they flaunted the wickedness and their actions against the Lord. But there was never a mention of homosexuality.

“Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; and they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.” Jeremiah 23:14

The prophets of Jerusalem were so wicked committing adultery and walking in falsehood that the Lord said they had become to Him like Sodom.

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Ezekiel 16:49-50

THIS WAS the guilt of Sodom, she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease but did not help the poor and needy they were haughty and committed abominations. The abominations listed in the Mosaic Law included homosexuality, bestiality, offering your children as a human sacrifice to Molech and incest to name a few. (Leviticus 18:19 – 27) This verse for me really brings the matter into focus. Sodom’s sin was pure unbridled, selfishness. They did what they felt like doing with no regard for God or their fellow man. They were selfish, totally depraved and just pure evil.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into Tartarus and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;…and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, reviling where they have no knowledge … They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; II Peter 2:4 – 14 (*portions)  

In this passage in 2 Peter, the same words are used to describe the wicked angels and the people destroyed in Noah’s flood as are used to describe Sodom and Gomorrah.

Dead Sea Area where Sodom and Gomorrah are believed to have been located

Dead Sea Area where Sodom and Gomorrah are believed to have been located

 

God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because they, like the people of Noah’s time, were totally debased in sin. They were utterly selfish and self-consumed. They did what they wanted when they wanted with no regard for God or man. They did not recognize any authority or moral code either human or divine. There was no end to the evil in their midst homosexuality was just one of their many sins. The comparison is here and could even be made that Sodom’s sin had as much to do with cavorting with fallen angels as it did with homosexuality. In fact, the visitors that the people of Sodom wanted to have sexual relations with were angels. (Also referred to in Jude 1:6 – 7).

 

If a society steeped in homosexuality is the ultimate evil that brings the judgment of God why wasn’t ancient Sparta destroyed? Why wasn’t Rome in Jesus Day destroyed? I believe that the judgment fell on Sodom and Gomorrah because of just what the Lord told Abraham. There were not even ten righteous people there. Yes there was homosexuality there but there was also adultery, selfishness, greed, murder, incest, and unnumbered abominations, possible interactions with fallen angels, pure evil in every shape and form, and an absolute disregard for God.

If God chooses to rain down fire and brimstone on the Untied State of America I believe it will have as much to do with heterosexuals who live their lives in disregard for the presence of God as it has to do with 3% of the population being LGBT.

Something to think about

Grace and Peace

Anita

 

*I do not believe that the extracted portions of these scriptures do any harm to the meaning of the text, but are done merely to shorten the passage. Please read the entire passage for yourselves.

Nov 16

Thoughts on Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court of the United States just ruled making Gay Marriage legal in this county. Many church leaders and Christians are very up-set about what they consider another nail in the coffin for this nation. They believe that since gay marriage is now legal we are one step closer to the judgment of God falling.

I am conflicted on this matter because I think it really is a separation of church and state issue. What I believe the scripture says about homosexuality and what I believe regarding the rights of individuals are in a bit of conflict. I believe that people should be free to exercise their own personal beliefs. I think Christians should be the first to stand up for the rights of the individual. If Christians want freedom from persecution we should be willing to grant it to others.

Let’s look at what the scripture says about homosexuality.Gay scripture

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. I Corinthians 6:9 – 11

From this we see that homosexuality is classified as unrighteousness (sin). The scripture not only lists homosexuals but also fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers. If we take this list and identify each of these named sins as being just as worthy as not inheriting the kingdom of God as homosexuality I think that most of us should probably not cast any stones, let alone the first.

  • Fornicators – how many people in this country have an active, un-married sex life?
  • Idolaters – Idolatry is putting anything in your life as more important than God. Really most of us have a lot of idolatry in our lives;
  • Adulterers –how many people including Christians are having or have had an extra-marital affair. In addition strict interpretation of the scriptures on marriage and divorce, if you have ever been divorced, for reasons other than adultery, and then re-marry you are committing adultery with the new partner. (Mark 10:12, Luke 16:18);
  • Effeminate– “not simply of a male who practices forms of lewdness, but persons in general, who are guilty of addiction to sins of the flesh, voluptuous”. Vines Expository Dictionary – This can be another form of heterosexual sexual sin, including pornography;
  • Thieves – someone who takes something that doesn’t belong to them. Are you honest in all of your dealings or are there little cheats and thefts here and there along the way?
  • Covetous – desiring what your neighbor has;
  • Drunkards – living a life style of drunkenness – many consider alcoholism an illness and not sin, maybe homosexuality is also an illness;
  • Revilers – to assail with contemptuous or opprobrious (abusive, derogatory, disparaging, pejorative, deprecatory, insulting, offensive, defamatory, vitriolic, libelous, venomous) language; address or speak of abusively. I think we’ve all seen a lot of reviling going on lately, again a lot of it by Christians who have no problem speaking, not just their opinion of our elected officials, but out right slander of them.
  • Swindlers – swindlers come in all shapes and sizes, they are all over the business world and even in the pulpit.

The “sin” of homosexuality is just one in this list and of no greater emphasis than any of these others.

Why then does homosexuality bother the church so much more than any of the other sins? Is it because that the LGBT population which is a small minority (about 3%) have become vocal in wanting the same social status and rights as straight couples. If they would have just stayed in the closet and continued to keep their secret would the church care? The church doesn’t preach much about the problem of pornography addiction among Christians. It seem that as long as you keep your sin a secret they don’t care. But since homosexual individuals seem to think they should have equal rights in the United States of America, the church thinks it’s the end of the world.

Jim Daly, whose daily Focus on the Family radio broadcast reach more than 2.9 million listeners weekly, is nowhere close to endorsing same-sex unions and insists that the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. isn’t a “fait accompli.” But his vision for the evangelical movement is focused on reaching out to, rather than attacking or rejecting, other segments of society—what he calls taking a “gracious attitude.”

Evangelicals step back from gay marriage fight

updated 11:15 AM EST, Sun November 16, 2014

Some of you are arguing that allowing gay marriage is a slippery slope that if we change the law there, then what is next? Legalized pedophilia marriage? Will any perversion be allowed to be legal? Anything goes? I really don’t believe so because we have come a long way in that regard already, giving women the right to decide who they marry, raising the age of consent for marriage from 10 years old, at the turn of the 19th century, to 18 years old now. No I don’t see us going backwards in those areas just because a few gay couples want to have the same rights as others.

My conclusion, as I understand the scriptures, is that homosexuality is a sin; however I don’t believe the scripture teaches categories of sin, and homosexuality is not any worse than any other. We are all guilty of sin and need the Lord to forgive us our sin. But the Constitution of the United States does not grant rights to people based on their religious beliefs. Quite the opposite, every religion, race, and gender are given the same rights. Therefore, the government cannot discriminate against anyone based on religious belief. If the government bans gay marriage, based on the sin argument, then they also need to start arresting people who live together who are not married and people who commit adultery. We would have to start denying marriage licenses to people who have been previously married and divorced.

constitution_1_of_4_630

 

This is what separation of church and state is all about. The church cannot run the country. Every nation that has ever been run by a religion ends up in big trouble. People came to this country fleeing the tyranny that comes from a church run state. That is why our Constitution was written the way it was so that we won’t have a church run government that tramples the rights of those who don’t belong to that church. If we don’t want the country to be run by Sharia Law then we also better not insist that it be run by Puritan Law or Catholic Law or Baptist Law or any other religious dogma.

As Christians we need to live our daily lives in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord and take care of the sin in our own lives. As American Citizens we need to celebrate freedom and continue to fight for equal rights for all of our citizens.

 

 

Something to think about and visit again I think.

Grace and Peace

Anita

Oct 26

Truth or Lie – Do you care?

“If the only reason you believe something is because your favorite talk show host or preacher said it, you will eventually believe a lie.”

What is the Truth and how do we find it? In our world today we are bombarded with information from every side. From the news media,TV, Movies, the internet, church, preachers, bible studies, everywhere someone wants our attention and wants us to believe what they are saying. Sometimes its so we’ll be a member of their church and pay our tithe, sometimes its to get our vote, sometimes its to buy a product, sometimes its a more sinister agenda which is just to control the situation.

Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of passing along a bit of information, an e-mail or a “facebook” post just to find out later that it was a hoax or an untruth. I know I have and it really made me feel stupid and used, in a way, because I believed the information and I believed that the source was reputable. truthorlie

The problem with being flooded with so much information is that it takes work to find the truth. Our news media has turned into a “for-profit” business. With the 24 hour news cycle and competing networks and media outlets there is huge competition for viewers which leads to sensationalized high-tech presentation of the news. Let’s face it the news is now just another form of entertainment. I don’t care which news network or source of information you prefer they are all biased and are presenting the “facts” from that bias. Whoever is funding the media outlet is setting the bias and tone of the programing.

We have the same problem in our churches. Even the  most God fearing pastor in the land can’t help but count the attendance and the offering. Churches are competing for viewership the same as network television. Especially with the dwindling church attendance most churches are experiencing. All you have to do is flip channels on a Sunday Morning to watch the competition being played out for the world to see. It takes an exceptional individual to resist the temptation of bowing to the pressure of scratching itching ears.

truth-3The other phenomenon with this overload of information is the demand for loyalty. Whether it be from news media, politicians, talk show hosts or bible teachers, the push is that we believe them and only them. There is “this if you’re not with me you’re against me mentality”. Every voice demands that believe every word out of their mouth and reject everyone else. To the point that we are expected to take sides and not listen to or accept anything that comes from the competition. To prove this point have a conversation with a conservative media fan and mention that you heard something on liberal media (or vice-verse) and the information you are sharing is immediately discounted because of the source, not because of the value or truth of the information.

So in the middle of all of this overload of information and competition for loyalty, minds and our money how can we go about sorting it all out? How can we tell the truth from a lie?

There is a clue for us in the scriptures to answer this question. It is from the book of Acts and the missionary journeys of Paul.

The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.   Acts 17:10 12

The Bereans are commended in the text, saying they were more noble-minded because they received the word with eagerness, not because they believed what Paul said, but because they examined the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

The only way we can know if the information we are believing is the truth is to study it for ourselves. We cannot rely on the source of the information to give the information its validity we have to get to the facts. It doesn’t matter if the facts you are researching come from the Sunday Morning sermon or the the 5:00 o’clock news, the personal responsibility to find the truth is the same.

Like I said earlier finding the truth takes time but the good side of having so much information available is that there is so much information available. There are many on-line easy to use study tools that you can quickly look up scriptures and the meaning of Greek and Hebrew words. You can be like the Bereans  and “examine the Scriptures daily to see whether these things are so”

When it comes to news, politics, local or world events, I have found that the best way to get to the bottom of things is to listen to more than one source. Maybe you like one news outlet more than the others, so what, tune into the others for a few minutes and see how they’re reporting the incident. There was one particular incident that was a hot topic in the media a few months ago and everyone was really taking sides. I got on the internet and read every news story and commentary from every source I could find. I highlighted the facts that were common in each of the stories and rejected the obviously biased or sensationalized editorials until I felt that I had an understanding of the facts. Then I could base my own opinion on the story instead of just taking a specific new media’s perspective and adopting it as my own.

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Or we can  let others digest the information for us, read the headline, believe it and move on.

And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free John 8:32

The only way to know the truth is to seek the truth.
Grace and Peace
Anita

Aug 24

Am I a Friend?

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…’”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friend. John 15:13

I’ve been thinking about friends. Best-Friends-Ever-In-TvNo not those friends……  Maybe it’s a result of getting older but it just seems like the importance of friends has been on my mind. I think we go through different phases in our lives where we feel stronger or more independent and think we can handle everything on our own and then at other times need to depend on others. Basically though we are social creatures and learn to develop relationships very early on. I was watching my 16 month old grandson interacting with a baby about his age at the rodeo this summer. It was fun to watch them kind of checking each other out.

Friends

Most people have several circles of friends, work friends, or hobby friends, friends who are also family or just acquaintances. But very few of our acquaintances or friends are the kind of friend who we consider a “true friend.” How many people in your circle of friends do you consider the kind of friend that you have total faith in? A person that you can tell anything to, a person that knows all about you, the good the bad and the ugly and is still your friend? A person that will always defend you and will have your back no matter what happens? I know in my life that number is pretty small. But maybe it’s bigger than I realize.

I went to my 40th high school class reunion last summer and it was a wonderful, fun-filled weekend of reconnecting with friends from high school most of whom I had not seen for years. I was amazed and how so many of us who had been friends in school just kind of picked up where we left off years earlier and I also made new friends with others that I hadn’t been that close to in school. There was an ease in communication and a comfort level that I don’t often feel with other friends who I see much more often. In contrast I had a friend I had known for years, socialized with, confided in, and trusted who all of a sudden turned on me, started talking about me behind my back and just didn’t want to be friends anymore. What is it that makes one person a friend and others not so much? What is it that makes someone truly a friend versus just an acquaintance? What is it that causes that wall of fear or distrust to come down so that you can  be real friends? Have you had an acquaintance that you might even spend a lot of time with but never get to that place of trust? I have had a friend who I was never able to really be comfortable with because it seemed that everything was always a competition, if I got something nice she would find something wrong with it, if I told a story she would have to find an error in it, we never got to a comfort level of true friendship.

FriendsMy mother used to always quote a proverb to us as kids, “for a man to have friends, he must show himself friendly.” I wonder then, can the solution to having friends be as simple as to be a friend. How good a friend am I?

Am I the kind of friend who sticks closer than a brother, I am the kind of friend who would lay down my life for my friends? Laying down your life for your friends is more that literally dying for your friends, it is also giving of yourself, your time, your desires, and your own way to make room in your life and in your soul for your friends. I think of how many friends I have but what is more important is how many people call me their friend? How many people am I loyal to? How many people do I have that can trust me not to tell their secrets, to be there with an encouraging word, to love, and care, and really listen when they talk? Or am I more concerned with how I look, what I think, my point of view or my needs to pay attention to what my friend thinks, feels or needs. In discussions am I more concerned with being right than I am with being a friend?

 

 

What kind of friend am I?

Grace and Peace

Anita

 

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