The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the month “July, 2011”

Just How Depraved Are We, Anyway?

Yesterday I heard a sermon that was really good.  It was from New Covenant Baptist Church in Albertville. During the sermon, the pastor made the following statement: “You ought not to have to tell a person,’Don’t cheat with someone else’s wife. Don’t take what is not yours.’ The fact that God had to tell us this an indication that something is wrong.”

Often I have thought that some of the more “out there” laws are proof of humankind’s depravity. I always thought that God should not have to tell us not to touch dead bodies. That is gross. God should not have to tell us NOT to sacrifice our children to idols. That is heinous. There are many sickeningdemented, perverted and just plain WRONG things listed in the Old Testament Law. I think is is easy to get bogged down in some of these and wonder how people could be so evil.

When you really start to think about it, though, why is it just the big things we get amazed about being told not to do. (Or do as in washing ourselves after touching something unclean.) God has poured out countless blessings to us, and yet we repay Him with telling lies,  coveting, and hating people of different cultures. We justify ourselves with thinking that our coveting is ambition, our dislike of foreigners is somehow their fault (they need to act more American or go home) or thinking we only tell “little white lies“. We commit adultery because our spouse “isn’t treating me like he/she should”. We take advantage of those who are weaker than ourselves because it is a dog eat dog world.

How far we fall from what God deserves!! We fall short of what He requires. We are totally, completely, and wholly depraved. From our earliest days, we want what is wrong. We do what is wrong. I have never had to teach my children to lie. I have never taught them to hurt one another, steal, or hate. I clearly remember the first time Benjamin really shocked me with his behavior. He was the most beautiful blue-eyed angel of a baby. His temperament matched his look.  He was calm, sweet, and precious. Then, one day, Nathaniel was playing cars in the living room floor. Benjamin was walking by. He toddled right up to Nathaniel… and kicked him right in the head!!!!! After which he took off running. It was such a surprise to me because he had never done anything like that. He had not been taught: Kick someone when they are lying down. He just did it.

We are like that, too. We do what is wrong, the opposite of good. God gave His very detailed law, to show us that very fact. He is showing us how depraved we are. We would be in such a desperate state if He left it there. Fortunately for us, He made a way for us to be justified.  He sent Jesus to pay for our sinfulness. Without our Savior, we would be doomed. Titus 2: 11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

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On Dreams, Denim Skirts, and Fitting In

I had a strange dream a few nights ago.  I dreamed that Mark had been somewhere and when he got home he told me he had a surprise for me. He very excitedly reached into a bag and pulled out… a denim skirt. With a HUGE grin on his face he proclaimed, “So you can fit in with all the other homeschool moms!”

       ******** DISCLAIMER: In case you are not  familiar, someone, somewhere, decided that homeschooling and denim skirts go hand in hand. It’s almost like it is a uniform of sorts. Personally, I feel if we were to have a uniform it would need to consist of a T-shirt that I have. It is red with a big white outline of a stop sign on the front that says “Please STOP talking” But I don’t make the rules. ************

Even in my dream I remember looking at him and thinking, “Excuse me? Has fitting in EVER been high on my priority list?” I woke up right after that. It made me start thinking about some of the things throughout my life that go against the flow. I can remember in elementary school missing two words on spelling tests. They were on different tests, but both in first grade. Color and airplane were the words. I spelled them: colour and aeroplane. Some of my favorite childhood books, such as Paddington and Winnie the Pooh, were British. Personally I think I should have gotten bonus points for being able to spell them in a different language (English, as opposed to American, ha-ha) but alas, I do not make the rules. Once in high school a friend asked me what I watched the night before on TV. It was not the day after The Wonder Years or Quantum Leap so I said I didn’t watch TV the night before, which is what I normally answered when she asked.  She said, “Gah! You never watch anything! You are so weird!” Same girl asked me another time who was my favorite singer. I said Michael Crawford. She said she had never heard of him. She then asked me if he was related to Cindy. I asked  her Cindy who. Friend looked at me as if I had worms crawling out of my head. (Keep in mind I was a teen in the ’90s. Cindy Crawford was only the biggest supermodel the world had ever seen.) My senior year, another friend and I started bringing our lunches in plastic cartoon character lunchboxes. People made fun of us. Still, she kept bring Herself the Elf and I kept bring Beauty and the Beast. You know what happened? Other people eventually started bringing kiddie lunchboxes, too. Not the whole school, mind you, but some people.

I think my whole life God has shaped me into a non-conformist. As Christians, we are not supposed to follow along with the world. We are to be different. (Romans 12: 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.) Going along with the world and worldly things is not our calling. Sometimes what may be popular could also be the very things that God wants us to avoid. Look at the world of entertainment. Some of the most popular video games, songs, books, movies, TV shows, magazines, videos, etc, are very ungodly. They glorify things such as fornication, demon activity, sorcery, witchcraft, drug usage, foul language, cross dressing and so forth. Add disobedience to parents and you have the plot to most of what is considered “Young adult” or “Teen” entertainment. When we are entertaining ourselves with things that we know are are ungodly we are like the people in Romans 1:32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Wow. That is some strong language to think about. There are songs I used to like. But after listening to them through a filter of being God-approved, I can not seem to enjoy them anymore, such as the Pina Colada Song.  The tune may be catchy, but the lyrics are about two married people who are tired of each other. They each decide to meet someone through an ad in the paper.  In the end, they wind up meeting their new lovers in a bar, only to discover each other. Granted, compared to a lot of music, that may be very tame. It is still not something that I would grow closer to God by listening to, so it is out of my song world.

Another way we are to be different is in how we talk. Ephesians 5:4Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. We need to watch what we say. Our words have immense power.  This verse is not something we should only practice in church, although more and more churches need to be reminded of it. We should remember not to have filthiness, foolishness, or crude joking in our mouths at any time. This includes the internet. I am shocked by some of the things that people will put as a facebook status. I have a friend on there who is an atheist. He is not the one who puts things that make me wish I had bleach for my brain. As a matter of fact, I recently “unfriended” a popular preacher because he has been putting some  comments that were just a little too far “out there”  to be in good taste. Christian friends, we need to watch what we say. You never know who might  be looking, but we do know who IS  looking. God. Psalm 139 7Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

I could go on about other ways we might lower our standards to fit in. But in the end, do we really want just fit in? Do we really want to be like other people? I don’t. I want to be special. I want to be the me that God made me to be. I do not want to concern myself with worldly preoccupations. The kinds of things I want to be thinking about are listed in Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Let me leave you with what could be an anthem for all of us non-conformists.

How John MacArthur Ruined Hoarders For Me

Have you ever watched the TV show Hoarders?

It chronicles the struggles that people who hoard undergo as they are faced with the prospect of cleaning up their house and getting rid of things.  That show is somewhat of a train-wreck to me. It is depressing, gross, and sometimes just plain weird. Yet I seem to be drawn to it. Netflix has the whole series on instant watch. I have been watching the early episodes that I missed when they first aired. My family chooses to find other things to do. 😉

You may be wondering what John MacArthur has to do with anything hoarding related. I have recently been reading his book The Vanishing Conscience. It is not a new book, but it is a very good read. If you do not have it, you can probably get it fairly cheap somewhere. The whole point of the book is sin and more specifically, our reaction to our own sinfulness. The fist chapter, entitled Whatever Happened to Sin? takes a good hard look at psychology and the damage done to our society by making everyone out to be victims of something rather than sinners.

Perhaps the most prevalent means of  of escaping blame is by classifying every human failing as some kind of disease. Drunkards and drug addicts can check into clinics for treatment of their “chemical dependencies” . Children who habitually defy authority can escape condemnation by being labeled “hyperactive” or having ADD (attention deficiency disorder) Gluttons are no longer blameworthy; they suffer from an “eating disorder”. Even the man who throws away his family’s livelihood to pay for prostitutes is supposed to be an object of compassionate understanding; he is “addicted to sex”.

We as a society seem to blame everything on anything but our own sinfulness. It isn’t MY fault. I can’t help it. On Hoarders, many of the people are labled as OCD. I always thought of OCD as leaning more to the direction of perfectionism, but hey, what do I know? They are told by counselors, “It’s not your fault. Something made you this way. Don’t feel bad.” The something that made them this way could be anything: an unhappy childhood, a happy childhood that ended with the death of a parent, being poor, my kids all grew up and moved away so now I have stuff everywhere to take their place. The list goes on and on. They never man up (or woman up) and say, “I buy too much. I never get rid of the stuff I don’t need/use/want. I leave garbage lying around. I do not like to clean my bathrooms. I have no reason to keep going on this way” Of course they don’t say something like that! That would mean they have to take responsibility for their own actions. Nobody wants to that.

But what about us? The non-hoarders. Do we confess our sinfulness as sin? If we are prone to “road rage” do we blame it on ourselves? Of course not. We blame our furiousness and rudeness on other cars. They are to blame for the obscenities/lewd gestures/horn-honkings thrown at them. ( Ephesians 4:26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.) I have to confess about loss of patience… frequently. Perhaps I lost patience with my precious children or husband, or maybe it was some stranger in Wal-Mart. (Going to Wal-Mart is probably not a good thing for trying to uh, avoid thoughts that I might feel sorry about later. ) The bad thing about having to face a lack of patience is when you really look at it in depth. See, 1 Corinthians 13:4  says: Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant. If you stop right there it is bad enough. Do I not LOVE my family? Of course I do!! According to that verse I should be patient if I love them.  When you look at 1 John 4 we can see 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love it becomes  clear that love is pretty high on God’s priority list. See, love is not just mushy-gushy romantical feelings. It’s not just that affection we feel toward our children. It is so much more. If you read that verse from 1 Corinthians in its context you will discover:

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Wow. See number six? Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. That verse has taken away many a TV show, movie, book, and song from my liking. Now, as I try to watch Hoarders  I don’t think about the people as being idiots. I think of them as being unrepentant sinners. I can’t watch that. So, Pastor MacArthur, my husband probably likes you even more now. He always hated that show, anyway.

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