Tag Archives: Christian love

Heartaches

I missed writing last week. I had so much on my mind. So much, that I never found enough clarity to voice what I was feeling. Ever been there? Well…it’s no fun, especially when you have had to watch something happen from the sidelines, with no ability to alter what was happening. When it’s simply a movie, you have the comfort of knowing that it was not real life. It didn’t happen. You can shake it off, decide whether or not the suspense was worth the ticket price, and move on.

Not so when watching real life. I remember when I was young that my parents said it was not always “fun” to be right. I thought “Are you kidding? Uh huh!” I believe that all Christians are given one or more spiritual gifts. It’s biblical. Both of my parents had the gift of discernment, as well as some other gifts. It used to bug me to no end, when my mom said I needed to stop hanging around someone, because mom could see mannerisms and changes that meant that friend was headed into things that would not be good for me. Every time, yes, EVERY time, Mom was correct. I will be forever grateful for Mom’s discernment that kept me out of harm’s way.

As an adult, I’m finding I have my Mom’s discernment. Seeing what is about to happen if someone doesn’t change their path is always heartbreaking, especially when it proves true. This is the second time in 4 years that I was right about a situation, when I really wanted to be wrong. I now totally understand what my parents meant by “it’s not always fun to be right”. No, in fact, it can bring you to tears.

I am convinced that everyone on this planet needs to read 2 books by authors Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. One book is called “Boundaries”. The other book is called “Safe People”. We need to learn how to properly set our own healthy boundaries, and then teach our children to do the same. We also need to know how to discern who is safe, who is not, and why. Yes, the “why” is important. Some people will never be safe. Others can fall into situations that mean they are not safe for a moment. Kids need to understand the definition of a “safe person”. It goes far, far further than not trusting strangers. Friends, even family can be unsafe. A parent can even be unsafe. It is so much easier to learn about boundaries, how to deal with unsafe people, and how to cultivate safe relationships before there is a problem, than to try to put a shattered life back together.

God cautioned us about pride. When someone has so much pride that they refuse to seek help from others, then they are destined to fall. When they don’t learn from their mistakes, they will continue to fall, and fall again. The problem is that many times, innocent children are taken with them. Our bad behaviors ALWAYS affect someone else. We may not notice, but it does. Always!!!

I encourage you to pray for today’s youth. They are being told that being moral is old fashioned, and pressured into sex, alcohol, and drugs. When I was in school, smoking was the big problem. Yes, the other stuff existed, but not like today. The drugs today are much more lethal, also. Whether or not you are a parent, I ask you to get on your knees for the kids of today. If you are a parent, communication is key to their protection. Many kids live in horrid home environments, also. Their stress levels are astronomically high. Many of these kids try to rise above their home life, but especially if they don’t have a support system, or if it’s not local to them, they don’t have the emotional maturity to deal with many things thrown their direction. Again…please pray for the kids of our country.

I personally know some of these kids for whom I’m asking you to pray. My heart is breaking. Thank you.

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Prayer Requests

This week has been busy. Sunday was Easter, Monday was my husband’s birthday, Wednesday, a young person close to my heart was hospitalized for Depression, and Thursday, 2 family members had surgeries…if my facts are correct. I have also been Spring Cleaning. Yep! busy week. In my book, all of these are reasons for prayer. We pray thankfulness for Easter, birthdays, and successful surgeries. We pray for God’s guidance to  repair health, both physical and mental, and to guide hands during surgeries. Not a week goes by, that someone I know is not in need of prayers. In my opinion, the strongest people are the ones who KNOW this power, and ask for those prayers.

Are you someone who believes in the power of prayer? Do you ask for others to intercede for you or your loved ones? Do you offer up prayers for others when asked? Whether or not you like them, do you pray for our Nation’s leaders? I was taught that a family that prays together, stays together. Well…that includes more than the members living under your roof. No matter how old I get, my siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, their families, as well as my friends are ALL family in my eyes.

I have also been taught to pray for my enemies, as it frustrates them, and God can use it for His glory. Are you praying for your enemies? I have to admit, that I’m guilty of not always doing this. I most certainly don’t WANT to pray for someone, when they strike out against me. I’m human. I don’t always want to put on a “nice” face. What if Jesus only prayed for, and helped people he “liked”? We would be in big trouble!!!

There was a time in my life that I actually made and kept updated a daily/weekly prayer list. Some items I would pray for daily, and others on a weekly basis. That way, each day, I had an organized prayer time. Items and people rolled on and off those lists, based on the known needs and concerns of my friends and family. Whenever I knew of an answered prayer, I would notate that on my list, and give thanks for the answered prayer for a few days, before removing the item from my lists. I have to admit that’s it’s been a while since I made those lists. At first, I just became really good at remembering everyone and everything…it became routine. Later, again, I have to admit, that “life” started getting in the way, making it easier to forget. I challenge anyone reading this to make those lists. Make a weekly list of things that ALWAYS need to be on your prayer list. Divide it up into 6 Days. Why 6 days instead of 7? I think Sundays should be totally about praising God, worship, and repentance, not about everyday life. That’s just me. Monday through Saturday for my weekly, ongoing prayers. The exception to that, of course, are the prayers, lifting up others and their needs. Pray for a portion of those items each day…For example…Mondays you pray for your Nation, Tuesdays for your State, etc. Also make a list of any known prayer request from family and friends. Pray for those as needed, making sure to pray a few days for thanks after those needs are answered. Don’t forget to add family to those lists, daily or weekly, as well as a list for things of which you are thankful. I challenge you, as I challenge myself to get back into this.

Don’t mis-understand. I DO pray. When I tell someone I’m praying for them, I DO. I just haven’t kept up with the lists in a while, which means more often than not, I’m not thanking God for His provisions and answers to those prayers. While I’m trying to organize my house, I decided it’s time to get my prayer life “organized” again. Spring cleaning takes time…in our houses, as well as in our spiritual lives, so TAKE the time that’s needed. Baby steps.  ANY improvement is forward motion, and good. We all need some “sprucing up” from time to time. I believe God appreciates it, also. Why not celebrate the gift of Eternal life God gave us through the events of Easter by cleaning our lives up, even if just a bit, for Him?  It’s a great way to thank Him for His gift to us, and we will feel better in the process.

What Are You Doing With YOUR Light?

The Bible tells us we are to be light unto the world. We are also told to not hide our light under a bushel. Therefore, I’m always surprised when Christians choose to huddle together, run, or point accusing fingers,  instead of choosing to disperse to spread light into the darkness of this world. Yesterday, I saw another example of this, which prompted me to ask the question, above.

Here was the situation…I’m not certain who started the idea, or if it was a few locations, or designed to happen throughout the country, but on April 11th, 2014, there was a “Homosexual Day of Silence” scheduled within some schools, and a resulting proposed “walk out” protest by Christian organizations. What was the problem, you ask? Well, here is the quote from the poster I saw on facebook.

“Keep your kids home, or walk out on April 11 – Homosexual Day of Silence. Radical propaganda push on kids. during this all-day event, school officials encourage students to be silent for the entire day as a sign of solidarity with the homosexual activist movement. Students are encouraged to wear special homosexual badges, stickers, and bracelets, which are often handed out at the school entrances that day. There are also pro-homosexual posters and handouts, and even workshops.” The poster goes on to state other activities.

Now, I will go on record to say that yes, as a Christian, I agree the Bible is very black and white, specific, concerning homosexuality. Therefore, I am totally against any school participating in this day, or it’s activities. I will also say , however, that I would be equally against a day where a specific Religion or political view was paraded around campus for a day, with the expectation that anyone with an opposing view was to remain silent for that day. I would also be against a day of any “anti-group” push, as those days only serve to divide everyone, show hate, and create bullies. School is not the place for any of these agendas…period!

However, I don’t think the correct response from the Christian community was to walk out. To me, that’s running from the issue. It’s teaching our kids to run from the issue. Instead of acting in a way that causes dissension, what about choosing actions for that day that show Christ’s love for all humans? What about arming your kids with kind words and deeds to show how much God cares for them? Send them to school equipped with the love of Christ. Why not first, teach your kids how to be strong in their beliefs, whatever those may be, teach them to love others, and teach them that sometimes, you must “agree to disagree” with your fellow man. I got news for everyone. Our differences in the world are far greater than if someone is gay or straight, black or white, Christian or not, male or female, conservative or liberal, etc.

I will also say that this is not an invitation for any readers to get into a discussion or fight over WHAT the Bible says about homosexuality. I know what the Bible says, I know what I believe. You, the reader, know what YOU believe. If you and I have differing views on the issue, we need to “agree to disagree”. I’m not entertaining a discussion, here on homosexuality. My post is about Christian responses to ALL controversial situations where we are required to make a choice to stand, run, or stick our heads in the sand and try to pretend the issue doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, more often than not, Christians are choosing to run, but calling their flight a silent voice of discontent. We are not called to be silent, run, or huddle together.

IF as Christians, we really want to turn this world to Christ, we MUST let our light shine in the darkness, instead of fleeing to “safe areas”. God didn’t tell us to huddle into a tight mass with our candles, but to GO tell the world! Go CHANGE the world. We are to dispel the darkness, not try to figure out how to live in a small dot of light in the corner. What do you do when the world around you is extremely dark? You have 2 choices. I would recommend doing both. 1. Gather together with 3 to 5 friends who also carry the light of Christ, before going into the darkness. There is always safety in numbers. 2. Instead of a candle, get torches, or flashlights…LED preferred. Times have changed since Biblical days. We are not required to take simple candles into the darkness! In short, have each person carry the brightest light possible. Arm yourselves! How do you grab the brightest light in these situations? That’s easy. It’s the same way you arm yourself! Immerse yourself daily in God’s Word, and in the things that are pleasing to God. This is more than reading a chapter of your Bible daily. Read several chapters, meditate over them, memorize scripture, listen to Christian music that uplifts your soul, pray several times, daily, SING to God. Read great devotionals, like those presented by Beth Moore. Yes, treat any chance during your day that you can as worship time. That’s how you make your individual light as bright as possible. Also…be REAL, not some plastic version of a Christian.

God didn’t call us to tear down others, to point fingers, name each others sins and faults, and act like the Pharisees. Trust me…I know my faults and my sins. I have them. So does everyone else on this planet. We are to spend our days trying to reach others for Heaven. We are not called to pick each other apart. Let the Holy Spirit show others what they need to change in their lives, and just love them! We are called to change this world for the better. We are not doing that, as long as we are shutting ourselves off from the world. We are also not doing that as long as we are standing over on the sidelines, judging each other. Get into the game! Get into the fight!

I applaud my teacher friends who have chosen to teach in public schools, as they are in the trenches of the fight, in my opinion. I also applaud all my Mom friends, who are raising Godly children and grandchildren. Thank you for teaching them to stand strong in their faith. I applaud anyone who stands up for their faith, and who tries to shine a light for others. Christian/Inspirational authors also are to be applauded! We need clean, moral books that inspire and encourage, whether they are devotionals, histories, mysteries, or romances. Yes, you can find Christian, Inspirational versions of romances!

For everyone…I ask…What are you doing with your light? Are you trying to help light the darkness so others can find their way, or are you huddled “safely” with others who would rather avoid the darkness? The more we spread out, and shine our light, the less darkness there is in the world, the tighter we huddle, the bigger the darkness. Personally, I would rather have tons of dimly lit areas, so I can see to make my way through this world, than one bright spot, surrounded by pitch black.

Please…use your light wisely! OK…I’m stepping off my soapbox, now.

 

Single? Focus on developing quality friendships, first.

I recently posted this, as a response to a topic on how to deal with chemical romance. So  many times, we get all caught up in the physical emotions of dating, and our brains go haywire. Endorphins, Oxytocin, and Dopamine all kick in to give us this chemical rush, and we are hooked. We lose all hope of any rationality, and fall head over heels in gushy, gooey love with someone. Here’s the problem. IF we have progressed to this point in our dating lives too quickly, we might not truly know the other person, and wind up getting hurt. Below is my dating story, and my advice to readers.

My husband knew my older sister for a year, before he met me. My sister considered him to be a good friend, but knew nothing would materialize for them, because she was 7 years older than John. She always said whenever anyone asked (and they did) that it would be like dating her little brother. What she didn’t tell them was that by the time she had known John for 6 months, she was pretty certain she had met her future brother in law. My sister knew me well enough to know that John and I would be good for each other. When we met, we quickly became close friends. So close, John was very hesitant to ask me out on a date. He told me, later, that as much as he wanted to date me to SEE if there was more to our relationship than friendship, the thought of losing me as a friend, if something went wrong was too excruciating a thought to bear, until he was pretty certain I was the one. Therefore, once we finally started dating, we knew each other so well, it only took 2 months for him to propose.

My advice to singles is don’t rush things, stop LOOKING, and let God bring the two of you together, focus on building quality friendships with both sexes, be an observer, go on tons of group activities, ask people you trust how well THEY know any person you wish to date, and simply play it smart.

John and I met through church…choir and Sunday School. We both went to the weekly Sunday evening singles “let’s go eat after church”, as well as a Friday night singles meal gathering for anyone not on a date that night. Once John and I started dating, we dated on Thursday nights, then John picked me up, and took me to the Friday night dinner with the singles department. I learned a bunch about John, as well as about the other guys in the singles group through those group activities. I also went to any singles game night or other activity.

I was always very cautious about dating, because I saw two women who I considered very smart, marry the wrong guy, and end up divorced. I saw another, who broke off her engagement only 2 weeks before her wedding. Neither of these women were flighty girls who were too giddy about marriage in general to lose their brains. When I realized that strong Christian women could get it wrong, It shook me to the core. I remember asking my Dad to promise me he would tell me to NOT marry the guy, if he saw red flags. To my surprise, my Dad said “No” He told me he would pray for me, voice his concerns to God, and to me, if he felt God was prompting, but that he knew me well enough to know I would use my head, not just the emotional feelings. Well, Dad passed away before I got engaged, but he was correct about me. In fact, I had prayed for God to keep the “goo” as I called it, at bay, until I knew I had found the correct guy. From the day I said “yes” until the day I said “I do”, I was a gooey mess. LOL

I’m still very much in love with my best friend.