Monday, April 28, 2008

Avoiding All Appearances of Evil......

We all know this scripture. every time we do something some one disagrees with someone pulls it out. Yet, it is a reality in our walk that we are responsible for how we represent Christ to the world and to those weaker in the faith but, what WE as modern english beleivers think ti says and what was being said are two entirely different things

Recently I was involved in an online discussion as to whether something was permissable or not as a Christian. Now Paul tells us ALL things are permissable but not all things are beneficial. yet, that is another discussion in itself because it seems contradictory to the other scripture and we know God has given us clear guidelines in some areas of our life.

However, I digress, the point is this was one of the best explanations of that scripture avoiding all appearances of evil I had ever read and I am sharing it with permission from the author.

1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil


RESPONSE: May I ask you to take a second look at the Scripture you quoted above. (Boy, I sure hope I am not being offensive. Sometimes, I am not sure if I should say anything, but I am trusting that you will understand that I do not intend to be ugly about this.) Try reading it in other versions. The KJV does not express the intent of the verse as well as some others. The original idea, when it was written in Greek, was to advise that we stay away from things that appear to us to be evil or sinful or ungodly, not that we avoid things that appear evil to others, nor that we judge others regarding what appears to us to be evil.For example, these are the days of unleavened bread. My boss took me out for lunch today for Administrative Assistants Day. I made sure that there was nothing on my plate that even looked like it could have leaven in it, and I ate foods that are biblically kosher, because I will not eat leaven this week. However, my boss sat right across from me and ate salad with croutons as well as clam chowder -- leaven and non-kosher sea food. He looked at his food and saw is as fine food; I looked at it and saw food I would not eat. Yet he, a pastor, is a believer. I did not tell him not to eat his choices, even though to put the same foos in front of me would have appeared to me to be evil. You wrote that "I do believe it is a dangerous situation, but I would never judge anyone who has sought the Lord and came to a decision. Gotcha!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What is truth???

I'm no scholar but the age old question has been nagging me: what is truth? I find myself often discussing with women what is right and wrong, what is true and false so to speak.

As a Christian I find many people (and mayI empahsize women are very formidable in this) are very set in what they perceive as the right way way to live, worship read their Bible, do their devotions, teach their children etc etc etc

To each of , usthe way we do this goes beyond lifestyle, denomination or anything else it is TRUTH for us. It is absolute, no give, no change, no options, foundational truth. When somone sees things differently and say it they not only threaten "truth" but become a problem, a difficulty, a trial (in christian-ese a 'thorn in the flesh"). Why are we so threatened by different if the goal is the same. Now I am not talking all paths lead to god and look toward the light stuff....I am talking christians, working on walking out their salvation.

As my children have grown and I have dealt with each of their personalities, and have moved around and we have dealt with major changes in our lives, I have learned there is a HUGE difference between truth and preference. My preferences in how my family operates in no way defines right or wrong, truth or deviance from but simply that.... my preference.

Truth, as a believer in Christ is rather simple, it is that we have all sinned and fallen short, we all need a savior to atone for us and he was Jesus who died on the cross and rose again from the grave. That the God of creation loves all of mankind and desires to see us reconciled to Him through Christs atonement and to maintain a lifelong relationship with Him. To go into the world and make disciples and preach the good news.

HOW we do that though, aside from some pretty basic standards of morality is left up to us to walk out using Biblical guidelines that are determined as differently as can be from person to person.

So someone tell me....WHAT is truth apart from that? Am I missing something here? I see a God who met each of the people in His word differently and worked through them and in them differently and did very unique things with very unique people. So is it wrong to say then that He is still the same today?

We are ALL one body, joined together by the blood of Christ and to try to tear one another down is to in fact destroy a part of ourselves. In the end I believe such things grieve the Lord.

OK enough rambling for tonight.....
What’s in a Name?

I’m going to delve a little into my past on this one, and it may be a bit long but stick with me here, I think it may be worth reading.

I often tell people either Jesus is real or I am not. See I am from a family who I suppose meant well but by most people’s standards I was a doomed child. Alcoholic parents, from alcoholic parents, my father quit school in 9th grade and never made a lot of money (even though he was a chef) and my mother left when the 4 kids were entering their teen years. Shortly after my sister died and from there it just goes on and on and on……

Sounds like a really bad Lifetime movie or something doesn’t it? Truthfully, it was worse being one of it’s stars, trust me on this. Our family was not exactly the best in the neighborhood. We moved a lot and my older brother was always in trouble. I started drinking with him by the age of 12 and the world had a lot of names for a kid like me from a family like mine who lived a life like I did. Trash? No good? Worthless?

When I ended up pregnant at 17 and married I am sure it just cemented that opinion in the eyes of the world. A statistic waiting to happen? Teen Mom? Slut? Tramp? You get the picture; harsh yes but lets be real here, there is a reason these things are said, because statistically they do happen to lump together for the most part and I was doing a bang up job of living up to the these expectations.

When my husband moved me to our first duty station in Kansas, I was completely unaware it would be to find my salvation. It was while he was away for the Gulf War I was saved watching the 700 Club in the middle of the night.

It took some time, but eventually I did develop a walk and a relationship with the Lord and it made such a difference. I began through the reading of scriptures to understand I was a NEW creation, no longer those old things.

However, it was not until the late 90’s when a song written by Dennis Jernigan touched my heart and really opened my eyes to what a name means. I went to the Night of Praise in Edmond OK with PWOC and he sang This is My Destiny (I really encourage you to find this if you can) and I actually bought the CD as soon as it was released.

In the song Dennis Jernigan sings the names the Lord speaks over us all through out His word. He calls us warrior, new creation, trophy of His grace, righteous, beloved, tells me he delights in me, and so on. I began to truly understand what was in the things we named upon our children.

Now, because of my past, I have never been harsh in how I spoke over my children or others for that matter but after listening to this song and yes, allowing it to bring healing to a wounded child who still lived in me, I began to truly understand those hard things we as parents speak to our children can bring harm to a childs spirit in so many ways.

It is so important that we not only speak the love of the Lord over our children but also, stop other people from speaking horrible things as well. Do I believe what we speak happens? To a degree yes. Because we plant a seed in a child’s mind that grows and allows them to believe that is what they are. When they hear they are no good, they believe it. When they hear they are difficult, then they act it because they believe they are.

So today I encourage you, speak truth, love and mercy over your children daily. Never allow another parent to speak things which will wound your child either. I am not saying have a brawl but stop it the conversation, walk away, do what it takes. Know their weaknesses and grow them but don’t allow their destiny to be what I thought mine was or what you may have thought yours was because of the careless and hurtful words planted by someone.