The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the category “Religion”

Why Am I Such a Chicken????

One day last week the boys and I were sitting in the hospital waiting room while Mark was having a test done. ( For anyone who knows us, he is fine, everything is okay) The lady at the registration counter asked if we were Mark’s family. I told her yes. She told us that his test would take a while. We already knew that so we had brought books to read. She went on to remark about how well behaved the boys were and how most kids that have to come in are not very nice. (no other kids were around at this point)  Of course, my heart was beaming. Wouldn’t any mother’s?

Fast forward about an hour. Another lady who works at the hospital came in and started talking VERY loudly to a friend who had come in for something. Then a lady came in with four or five kids. All small kids. From a baby that she was carrying up to a five or six year old. I noticed them as they walked by, then not again. All of a sudden, the lady who worked at the hospital (the one who came in talking to her friend) starts yelling at the kids. She said they were NOT to climb on the chairs in the waiting room and they needed to behave if they were going to be there. She then goes back to talking to her friend, very loudly and obnoxiously again. To be fair, I was looking at my book, not the kids. I don’t know what they were doing. All I  do know is that they were not making noise. Obnoxious lady is telling her friend, “Look at that little boy. He is just daring me to say something else.”

I had still not heard a sound from them, other than the baby cooing. So I looked up from my book. The little boy (maybe 18 months or two years old) is sitting there, just smiling at the mean lady.  I watched for a few minutes and the kids were really good. They did fidget a bit, but they are all little kids. They seemed to be sweet children. I think the lady just had a problem with their race. (they were the only non-white family in the waiting room) By this point, other children had been in/ were in the waiting room. Some good, some not so good. So why did she have to embarrass these kids? Why did she continue to talk so loud to her equally loud and obnoxious friend who had a phone that kept ringing with a loud, obnoxious ring tone. She said she did not know how to silence her phone. I really wanted to say something. I wanted to tell her that they were being much more annoying to the other people in the waiting room than that group of children. I wanted to tell her to get her  butt back to her desk so she would not keep people waiting that needed her services. I wanted to say that she was presenting herself in an ugly, racist light. But I didn’t. I am a chicken. Really, what is the worst thing she would have done to me? Body slammed me in a room full of people? Not likely. Talked mean to me? She had already done that to a bunch of kids. The lived through it. I’m pretty sure I could too.

That bit of chickening made me feel bad. It still makes me feel bad almost a week later. It reminds of something that most Christians I know (myself included) are guilty of. We chicken out of sharing the gospel with others. Why do we do that? Jesus commanded us to go and teach: Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Why is it that we shy away from and chicken out of what we are commanded to do? What do we really think is going to happen if we share the gospel? Here in the US, really not much is going to happen. Sure, someone might make fun of you. You might get a reputation as being a religious nut. So, what is so bad about that? Wouldn’t we rather  please God than man? That is the way it should be anyway.  We should want to do the things that please God. We should be telling others about God’s grace and mercy.  I pray that we, the scaredy-cat Christians have the boldness we need to bring God’s message into a dying world.

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,

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.

What Can We Do???? Little Things to Make a Difference.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. Psalm 68:5-6

The Bible is very clear in giving us orders to protect certain groups- the poor, the widows, and orphans. In honor of National Adoption Awareness I am going to give some practical ideas for ways you-yes YOU- can help orphans across our world.

Obviously, the biggest impact you can have on the life of a child is to adopt. Adoption is a beautiful picture of what God does for us when He welcomes us into His family. It gives hope and love to someone who did not have an abundance of either previously.

Sometimes, even if our heart is in adoption, it is not the right time. This is where I am right now. I would be willing to open my home to more children, but it just can’t happen here and now. So what are some things I can do? Is there anything? Yes! There are many things I can do to help out children. First and foremost I can pray. I can teach my children to pray for all the children of the world who need parents. James 5:16b: The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. I truly believe that verse. When we pray, it is not just empty, meaningless words.

Find an orphan ministry near you and get connected. Perhaps there is a group home in your area where you can volunteer. Maybe you can’t find anything in your area. Maybe you have a reason that keeps you from having the time to volunteer as much as you would like. Maybe you can find another way to help. Reach Orphans With Hope is an ministry that could use your help. They have several options for you to help out. You could help right now by sending a Ukrainian orphan to camp. Or, you could send a child a Christmas present. Or, you could choose to help with medical assistance, humanitarian projects, or the orphan graduate project. Here in America, we tend to think of being a graduate as being a good thing. However, when speaking of orphan graduates, it means a child who did not get adopted and is too old (usually around 16) to stay in the orphanage any longer. Many of these kids end up going to technical schools. These technical schools are not ideal conditions. I read once about one that had four shower stalls in the whole place. There were 400 people living there at the time. Most of the kids end up in a life of crime. About 10% commit suicide by their 18th birthday. 70% of the girls will end up in prostitution. 60% of the males will end up in prison. Most will be on drugs. It is hard to type these stats. I don’t see empty numbers. I see faces of the kids I have spent time over a few summers. It breaks my heart to think of them in this type of life. They are not “bad kids”. They are hopeless kids who don’t know where else to turn.

Another way to help if you are not able to adopt, is to help out people who are adopting. Adoption is a long, hard, expensive process. There are sooo many ways to help that more smoothly. If the couple adopting already has children, offer to help out with their kids. There is a lot of paperwork involved that must be filled out. Helping take care of their children while they are working on that is not hard, but it makes life less stressful for them. You could also offer to host/organize some type of fundraiser. I have seen and heard about bake sales, yard sales, and 5K runs. The possibilities are endless. Maybe the couple is doing something themselves to raise the money. Contribute to that. If you don’t know of anyone adopting that could use your help, consider visiting the Fleur de Lee’s website. They are creating glass tile pendants and selling them to fund their adoption. They have a wide variety to choose form AND they take special orders. Their son is in Africa. They have created pendants that are maps of Africa with a heart inside. I did a special request order of a Ukrainian map with a heart. It only took two weeks to get it and I LOVE it!!

Now, on to some things you can do for a child once they have been adopted. Organize a shower for them! Everyone thinks of throwing showers for people who have babies, even adopted babies. A lady I used to go to church with told me when they adopted their son they had nothing. He is their only child, so they did not have child sized clothing, child appropriate books and movies, no toys, nothing for him. Keep in mind, even if a couple has other children it does not mean they have no needs. A person coming to live in your house is a big deal.  That person is going to have needs.

Equally important is the offer of meals. If you aren’t a good cook, perhaps a gift certificate to a restaurant would be appreciated. Here is a quote from a mother who adopted three boys from Russia when asked about ways to help newly adopted families:

Meals!  We had 3 meals brought to us and that was it.  I could have used much more.  Usually when people have a baby, our church will provide meals for at least a week.  I know that we came home just before Christmas and that had some to do with it.  But frankly, I don’t think that people realize the impact it has on a family to bring in 3 older children at once.  I have felt like we gave birth to triplets!  But our triplets couldn’t be put into a crib and everything was safe and sound.  Ours could get out of bed, get into anything that they could find, and disable or destroy things in a matter of seconds.  It was so exhausting for ever so long.  So meals would have been a great help.

Also, offer some free babysitting services. It may be a while before a couple is ready to go out without their child. Maybe they need a good bit of time for bonding. But eventually, they may want/need a little adult time. Free child care that they can trust is one less thing to worry about.

 


Don’t Forget To Change Your Clocks!!!

It’s time to faaaaalllll back!!!

Wow. Just Wow.

I just finished Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley.  It is a tremendously good book. I have learned so much from it. Something I just read in the epilogue was eye-opening, toe stomping, and disheartening all at the same time. Here it goes:

Surely one of the more remarkable aspects of Christianity today is how few of these professed believers have ever seriously studied the history of their religion. In an earlier age adherents of one faith seldom encountered adherents of another. Few were required to defend their religion against the criticisms of  a rival faith. In our day, however, when mass media make the world our neighborhood, the ignorance of Christians is hard to justify.

The movement toward separation of church and state  has all but removed religion from public education. That is true. But even “Christian education” in many denominations has done little to give members any sort of adult understanding of the faith they profess to believe. Should we really be surprised, then, when today’s Christian so frequently blends gross errors with orthodox confession or defends some pagan practice as “Christian” conduct?

Wow. All I can say is wow. It is so disheartening to see how far we (professing Christians) are from what is taught in Scriptures. We have no one to blame but ourselves if we are the ones who are blending pagan practices, Eastern religions, entertainment, and choosing to practice things that are unBiblical and calling it “church”.  We have the entire Bible at our disposal and yet, often choose to allow things in our lives that are in direct contrast to what it says. Now more than ever our churches need to focus on the Bible, what we believe, and why we believe it. We need to set aside the feel-good, the “relevant”, and the entertaining and get back to caring about the fact that people are attending our churches, enjoying every moment of it, yet spending eternity in hell when they die.

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