My Fitness

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

jehovah-jireh

When putting my kids to bed we often turn on Jesus Storybook Bible DVD. Last night the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac caught my attention. So I jotted some thoughts down.

This is the first time the name Jehovah-Jireh was used. Jehovah-Jireh translates to either "The Lord will see to it" or "The Lord provides". You can see it as either God made a promise to Abraham and the Lord saw the promise through or God provided a solution to his promise.

A page from the book.
We Christians often think of God as out Provider. And he is. And it is good to think of him that way.

Thinking about this first time the name was used it seems to carry much more weight than "God will supply all my needs according to his riches and glory." Yes, that, but more too. Abraham just had his faith tested in a rather intense way. God had promised this old man of 99 years old that his wife at 90 years old would give birth and be the father of many (And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”-Genesis 17:15-16). But then he's asked to sacrifice that boy that was miraculously conceived.

God made a promise. God gave a command. Abraham had great faith. Abraham was obedient to sacrifice. Abraham believed that God would still keep his promise despite offering his son as a sacrifice.

In Hebrews recall that Abraham thought that after killing Isaac God would raise him back to life. (By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.-Hebrews 11:17-19)

But the only way Abraham could possibly test this power was to have faith and obey. God does provide our daily needs, but also he requires great devotion and provides miraculous intervention when we obey. If we don't have great obedience possibly we won't see miraculous provision. Felipe and I have seen this stand true in our own lives.

What is standing between you and God's promises to you? Would you consider a deeper commitment with greater obedience? A sacrificial obedience? Would you consider taking up your cross daily to follow him - taking up what feels like a death of you and your dreams to follow him every day?

daily audio bible

I like to start my day with reading the Bible. With three small children, being pregnant, having a job, homeschooling, plus the additional housework that everyone has, I needed help to fulfill this desire. Luckily, back in December I discovered Daily Audio Bible. I think it was a suggestion for me from iTunes because I can't remember why or how I found it.

Brian Hardin is the funny looking guy who reads through different translations and then sometimes he shares his thoughts followed by prayer requests. Sometimes I listen to his thoughts, sometimes I don't. There's really no reason one way or the other.

You don't have to feel bad about "only" listening to the Bible as that was the way the Lord established  his word to his people for about 6 thousand years and it was only thanks to Martin Luther (1522AD) that lay people even started to have access to the Bible in their own language and eventually have copies in their own homes.

So it is good and right to read the Bible with your eyes, but there's nothing wrong with "only" listening. Hardin reads through the entire Bible in one year.



Most recently Hardin (and his gang? I don't know about the inner workings.) started a beta test of a project that sounds interesting. He's trying to get the entire Bible read verse by verse by individuals across the globe. At first I thought, "oh that sounds nice." And I thought they'd be done rather quickly with their beta test of the book of John since there are so many followers.

After a few days, he still needed volunteers, so I submitted a verse. You can too.
http://beta.globalbibleread.com


Then a few days later, I saw the results of the first 3 chapters. And WOW! Don't be judgmental over audio and video quality. Watch these videos and realize with me, I'm not alone. I'm not the only Christian left on the planet. I was rather emotional watching the video and seeing the names and locations from across the planet all speaking the words of my God. It was very encouraging.

Actually, I started getting nervous watching how well everyone else looked and sounded and am curious how my clip will stand up to their excellent examples. I'm sure it's fine, but I did have the thought. It's ok to not think of myself as the best. And it's ok if you submit a verse that isn't perfect, too. Please consider submitting a verse.

So, listen to Daily Audio Bible, consider submitting your own verse, and even watch what has been submitted so far.

Monday, July 27, 2015

why we are starting to homeschool

I feel like I need to start with a disclaimer because of how easily offended people can be.

First, I want to make sure we're on the same page. I am not the boss of you. I do not recall you asking my permission or even my opinion on how you should educate your children. And even if you did, the best I would have been able to do is give you statistics and Bible verses. I don't know your child the way you do. I can't make this decision for you. So I beg you to please please please please please don't think I'm bossing your around. I am not the boss of you. I'm only writing this because I've had several people be surprised or angered over the decision.

My choices do not reflect anything about your choices or anything about you. What I do has nothing to do with you. My different opinion and actions should not threaten your choices and viewpoint. (Being a freedom-enjoying American, it always shocks me to hear about Friends and Brothers and Sisters being tried for the faith in the Middle East and Africa. Like really? Thought police? Does worshipping a different God threaten your tiny, insignificant allah so much that you have to kill people over it? He must not be too powerful. Similarly, anything coming out of North Korea and their tiny boy-man leader. If your position is so weak that you are offended by someone doing something different, it reflects more on you than the other person. Weak people threaten and harass; not strong people. Weak people are threatened by other's opinions; so be strong and read an opposing view and become educated not offended.) Also, if you homeschool, I still don't want you to think that this has anything to do with you. It does not.

[The only acceptable reason I can think to object to anyone else's choice is because they are going to harm another individual. It's your choice to leave your kid in the car on a hot day, but people will object and save the kid's life, for example. Most people who get offended that am homeschooling my kids are not thinking the kids are in danger but more like how dare I say that their way of doing things isn't good enough for us or some other silly accusation, which I never said and am likely to never say in the future.]

Why we have chosen to homeschool.

1. We love our kids. Loving our children is the basis of this decision. We're looking for their own best interest and if a public or private school was best, that's what we would do. We made this decision before we even had kids. Whatever is best for each kid at the time of the decision is what we would do. Even if that means changing their school at some point.

I want that.
2. We love God. In Deuteronomy God says, "You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Since we wish to follow this command, keeping the kids at home is the easiest way to ensure that this principle is followed. We desire to "pour Christ into" our children. We want God to be incorporated into all aspects of learning. We want to let our children come to Christ and we feel that public schools will hinder that due to the nature of not allowing religion in school.

3. I am more libertarian leaning. I specify here that this is just me and not necessarily a position shared by my husband. I've said many, many times and you've probably heard or read it: If you hand your children over to the government to educate, don't be so surprised if they educated them in a way that suits them best. That means, American history will be painted in a light that makes America look best. That means, they will be taught based on what some school board thinks kids should know - namely, to sit there and take commands. It means that if your kid is being bullied and defends himself, either the bully will get off or both kids will get in trouble. It means that your kid will have to read questionable materials and write reports on them. It means pledging allegiance to things, symbols, ideas, people, and countries that are not God or His Kingdom.

4. I used to teach in the public schools. I was a high school algebra teacher for a public school in east Texas. Here's what I learned from the principal: Our primary goal is to keep kids off the street because petty crime increases when kids are allowed to roam free. Our secondary goal was to never mark anyone absent because we wanted the money that came with having a certain head count. Thirdly, we needed to be fun because no one likes a mean teacher. Fourth, we had to be sure to pass the TAKS test. From my "supervisor" who mostly ignored me even when I asked for help (being a first time teacher): I was not allowed to reward good behavior or correct answers. I was not to go back and fill in major gaps instead "just give them a calculator". When it came to giving grades, "just give them a 70." Teachers didn't care about teaching. They cared about their paycheck. No Child Left Behind greatly affected everyone in education and ensured that MOST kids would be far behind where they needed to be. AND we had weeks where we did no learning because some test was being administered. And don't get me started on the special education aspects. Needless to say, they are severely lacking in the schools where I taught.

5. Because of how dumb most teachers in public schools are. Many teachers will be familiar with Twinkl, an online resource website. After having had many experiences myself when I was a teacher with my colleagues thinking it was funny how they didn't know basic high school material, not to mention the COLLEGE level material they had allegedly passed to get their teaching certificate, Twinkl's Facebook page thought it was funny to post sayings from teachers bragging about how dumb they were. It's not funny. It's true. I do not want an idiot teaching my child. It's fine to not know everything. I have no problem with an Engineer not knowing history facts. I have no problem with a sailor not knowing chemistry. I do have a problem with a math teacher not knowing math. I have an even bigger problem with a math teacher thinking it's funny that s/he doesn't know math.
Everything wrong with public school teachers right here.
(I have several good friends that are fighting to combat these poor standards in public schools. And that's great. My friends are good teachers too. I don't hate all teachers but I am very displeased with how easy it is to become a teacher and stay a teacher.) 

6. Because I am really smart. All the way through college, that I started at the age of 14, there was rarely a class, or even an assignment, that I didn't get an A on. But I'm also well rounded. I was a math major who took a break to pursue my ballet career. I got a biology degree and was enrolled in seminary. I was on swim team and had professors beg me to be an engineering major. I paid very little for my education. My IQ is close to 150, unofficially. I'm an avid reader and formerly on student government. My first job outside of child care was a math tutor at the local community college when I was 15. I love baking and can change the oil in my car. I'm a fitness enthusiast who loves geeky and nerdy TV programming like Dr. Who and Planet Earth. I can play a variety of musical instruments, and have starred in church plays. I can sew, embroider, knit, and crochet and enjoy painting and sketching as well. And I can change a spare tire and troubleshoot my computer as well as type code although I dislike it. I am very knowledgable in all subject areas even though I'm not an expert. This might seem like bragging, but if you think that then my point is made: these are valuable traits. So Dean Lists and honor societies are great and quite easily attained, but more than that, a desire to share that knowledge is crucial to teaching. Teaching is more than a pay check to me.

7. Homeschooling is more efficient. Because my kids won't be wasting time EVERY DAY waiting on little Johnny to finally pay attention or little Suzy to stop spinning or bratty Brian to stop throwing blocks at everyone, my kids will be able to learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it and with much time left over each day to pursue interests and fun. What is especially important is that my kids will be able to see their parents every day as long as we live. I get to watch them learn and participate in the process. I've seen terrible examples of homeschooling and instead of saying, "oh NO! I will never homeschool!" I've decided to simply just do a better job at it. I've seen socially awkward people in public schools, so that stereotype doesn't hold water. Also, I get to teach my kids critical thinking and independent thinking and problem solving, whereas I've witnessed that these processes are simply not taught in public schools. Just fill in the scantron and hand it to your teacher. Just repeat what your teacher said. Do not think. Just do. Be a good submissive little student who will turn into a good submissive little tax payer (is my libertarian showing?). If your school is the exception to this, good for you. You're lucky! (I've noticed that many private schools and charter schools are very much the exception.) 

8. We can cater to our own tastes. Right now, I have a kindergartener and a pre-kindergartener and we take about 30 minutes to finish all subjects. Meanwhile, the public school want me to send my son to them for EIGHT hours. The school year hasn't even started yet, and I've taught my kindergartener to read and he is reading at almost an entire year ahead of where he should be. Luckily for me, he's really smart so that makes me job easier. Plus, baby Holly is watching all this learning happening and is actually learning stuff that no one has formally taught her, like her colors. She knows them all at 18 months. We read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and so we got caterpillars and watched them turn into butterflies. We read Green Eggs and Ham and used food dye to eat green eggs and ham. And my three year old is learning to make scrambled eggs now. So independent at such a young age. We even get to incorporate their previous week's Sunday School lesson into each day's lesson. How cool is that?

9. I WANT to teach my kids. And this is really the most crucial point. If you want to home school, you should be allowed to homeschool. In this country, it's legal. I'm more than qualified...certainly more than most teachers I've met. And I'm able to homeschool. So, I do. 

10. MOST IMPORTANTLY...we get to go to Disney World while all the other kids are stuck in class! Okay, that might not be the most important point. But we are free to do whatever we want whenever we want and can just bring school with us. However, we could just go a week without doing any work and still be ahead when we returned. It also helps that we don't do summer breaks. Should we want to go to the ocean, we'll do a unit on ocean life. I get to interlace all the subjects so that they support each other. I don't have anyone to answer to in my state, but that seems to work out fine since apparently my standards are higher than the public school's standards anyway.

11. It's fun. Have you seen my school room? You don't need all this to homeschool. But I get everything from garage sales and craigslist and I have so much fun doing it! [8/8/15- I now have more fun stuff on the wall in the reading circle!]

12. The statistics show homeschoolers are in the lead. Enjoy this infographic (right click to enlarge):


And, no, it is not my kids job to go evangelize to the lost public school kids. My children are here on earth for their own purposes. Should any of my children express a sound decision that they feel a type of calling to go evangelize their peers in a public school setting, then I'll reconsider. But that's between them and God and I'm certainly not going to throw them in a viper nest and say "witness for God". That's mean. The principal where I taught even tried to get me to agree that the "good" kids should be left in the mix with the "bad" kids because otherwise it'll look like the school is failing...well, if the school looks like it's failing it probably is failing and I, for one, am not going to sacrifice my children for "bad" kids or risk my kids becoming one of the bad ones. RC agrees with me. Read this.

So, in summary, while I dislike public school and have decided that it just isn't worth it, perhaps it is worth it to you. You have to make that decision for yourself. I don't know you and I don't know your kids, and I don't know what kind of relationship or support system you have. Would anyone really try to guilt a single mother over her choices of schooling? I hope not. There are far more important things to do than to try to make people feel bad about themselves about how they choose to educate. Also, I want to point out the very important fact that education is highly dependent on the individual and mostly THE PARENTS. I've seen parents just hand their kids a book and say "go read this" attempting to "homeschool" and I've seen very involved parents in public schools. There's good and bad in both. So if you're a good one, choose well. If you're a bad one, then it doesn't really matter what you choose. 



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

exit interview

I recently recalled my horrible experience as a public school teacher. When I left they conducted a written "exit interview". Being an avid day dreamer, I thought what my exit interview might look like as I left this life and entered the eternal. Certainly it would be quite different than a real one where the purpose is to try to evaluate work conditions etc. Maybe life exit interviews would be more like an "entering interview" as in entering heaven/hell. (It wouldn't be like a job interview because your placement has already been decided.) In any case, this is fictional and we can call it whatever we want.

First, what would be the purpose of such an interview? Why am I entertaining this philosophical thought experiment? I want to challenge you to ask yourself these questions and I'm curious what my own answers will be. I don't have a premeditated point to any of this. I think we will learn a bit about ourselves as we search for answers. I don't know if there will be one right answer or not. But I'm certain there will be wrong answers. Right and wrong answers alike will reflect where your treasure is and where your heart lies.


If you could return and tell the living one thing, who would you tell and what would you say? I'm not sure how to answer this question. The Bible tells a story (Luke 16:19-30) of a rich man who died and wanted Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers of what waits on the other side of an unrighteous life. But the response was that if the living do not hear Moses and the Prophets neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead. But pretending that someone might listen to me, my desire would be the same: to warn others that unrighteous lifestyle results in damnation and encourage as many as would listen to turn to Jesus and live wholeheartedly for him.

What is one thing you regret in your life that you wish you could change? This question has actually been asked many times by many people to me personally. It's a popular question. I've heard people foolishly say that they regret nothing because even their mistakes made them who they are today...as if they are such great people and that the hurt they imposed on others was no big deal. Rather, I regret many things. I regret the times I hurt people by what I did and what I failed to do. I regret not living wholeheartedly for Christ. I regret that my life priorities were not always completely aligned with what God wanted for me. However, I understand that I live in grace. I do not need to continuously beat myself over things in the past. Instead, I can learn from my pass failures and try to do better through the strength that Christ gives me through his shed blood. He died to give me peace. But I wish I hadn't taken advantage of that grace so many times.

If you had a final saying, motto, or tombstone what would you write? A life wasted on Christ is the only life worth living. Or some other quippy saying that emphasized that Jesus is the way to happiness, peace, contentment, and serenity. Deny yourself daily and follow Christ to death so that you might know what true life is.

How do you hope people will remember you and how do you think that compares to how they will actually remember you? This is a scary question and I don't want to answer it. Ideally, I'd like people to remember me as either "that Bible girl who always talked about God" or "that gal who truly loved the Lord and wanted to draw others to him too" maybe even "that one gal who helped me understand God's love more". I'm fearful that I will be remembered as "that arrogant blabber-mouth who'd never shut-up about her antiquated views" or "that gal who was introverted to a fault and never willing to help me out."

How can you change so those two views are more aligned? Well, unfortunately for whoever holds that last view, I'm not going to change anything. I believe that the choices I've made and continue to make are completely in-line with God's desire for me. My primary goal in life is to serve God, then my husband, then my children, and then possibly others. Unfortunately for those naysayers, my goal is to please God, not man. So while people may or may not think well of me, it doesn't matter. I live my life for God not men. And with the goals he's laid out before me, I aim to be a good disciple by learning, praying, reading, listening, and serving. I serve my husband; I work, I clean, I tend his children. I serve my children; this is the most difficult. I pour myself out for them. I seek ways to serve them. I believe I was created to serve my children and raise them in the admonition of God; this is very contrary to older generations who have been known to say that they had kids to ease their chore load. My children are my biggest mission field. Unfortunately for those who think I should be serving them instead of my children, or perhaps in addition to my children, I'm sorry that they feel that way, but I'm not going to change. My children are my primary priority after my husband. The best way I can serve my children is by making sure I'm not stretched too thin. That means I'm not going to be hosting dinners like I used to do, nor am I going to be joining the soup kitchen like I used to do,  nor am I going to lead a small group like I used to do. It's always shocking to see who thinks I should be doing more, and yet at the same time it is not shocking. Selfish people will always expect me to cater to them and I simply cannot. I'm sorry that people feel that I somehow owe them something, but God has not called me to be a doormat for anyone. If I tried to please these people in the ways they desire, I would be disobedient to God and his charge on my life.

How did your lifestyle reflect your dependence on God? Although I tend to be extremely frugal, to the point that others have called me "cheap", I never felt that we had enough money. God graciously provided me with a job that I could do from home with my children nearby. My husband was given multiple jobs that we can also see only as divinely provided. But we never stopped tithing, we never stopped helping others, we never tried to stop God from giving us children because we knew that we weren't the ones providing for them anyway. It is just as easy for God to provide for us at $0/hr as it is at $5m/hr. We didn't have to worry about sickness because God would never allow us to get sick if it wasn't for his ultimate glory - whether to live through that sickness or to take us to his side. When we got married, it was for the sole purpose of glorifying God. We knew we wouldn't always be blissfully happy with each other. We knew our circumstances wouldn't always be delightful. We knew that we are fickle people. So we knew we needed a reason to get married that was bigger than us. God is our rock and foundation and our very marriage is dependent on him not moving. We are dependent on him and will gladly die to honor him. Our comfort level is unimportant compared to the glory of the next life; and our life here on earth is just the first phase of our existence and not worth getting caught up in. (That isn't to say that things on earth don't matter or that the pain and sufferings are somehow insignificant by themselves. I seek to ease the discomfort and sadness in others. I only mean to point out that in comparison to eternity, this life is nothing. A mere spec.) So Felipe and I got married because we felt that we served God better together than we did separately. 
Did your coworkers know that you were a Christian? Your neighbors? Your relatives? Your friends? I work remotely and have no contact with my coworkers. My boss knows that I am a Christian but we also have no daily interaction. My neighbors know but I have very few relationships with them. They do know that we are helpful and generous people, but they probably do not know me as separate from my household. My relatives definitely know and have varying degrees of annoyance with me. My husband's side is outright hostile whereas my side is passive and just ignores me. There's an old proverb that says, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household." I don't fancy myself as a prophet but the idea holds true here. 

All life is going to end in exactly 30 days, or maybe it won't, how will you now live? I guess this means how will I change things if I strongly suspect that life is about to end on earth but perhaps am not completely convinced. Part of me would want to quit my job and go to Disney World but if I'm wrong about the world ending, then I'm in a lot of debt with no income to pay it back. That means hedonism is out. That really puts into perspective what's important. Is my temporary enjoyment of vacations, the beach, boating, Disney, Broadway shows, ballets, concerts, TV, video games, etc anything in comparison to the ultimate glory I approach on the other side of the grave? If I die without experiencing those things just once or one more time, will I regret it? Um, no. If I could reach out to my lost relatives and neighbors just once or one more time before they died tomorrow, would I try? I try. I am not a great evangelist. I am very bad at it. I don't know how to engage people for the gospel nor any subject that is important to me. I could go on and on about the importance of exercise and nutrition, for example, but I don't think I'd even pique anyone's interest. But when I just keep to myself and my little blog, people come and ask questions and I can point them to the Bible where they can find their answers. In summary, I will now live with the urgency to share with anyone willing to listen to who God is and what the love of Christ has accomplished for them. 

Now that death is upon you and you're about to enter eternity, do you desire heaven or hell? Why? Why should you be allowed to enter heaven? I worded this question to allow for people to respond with "wherever my spouse is" or "wherever my kids are" or "wherever my parents are" etc. I think it's obvious and that I shouldn't have to point it out, but just in case I'm wrong about that - if you desire to be any place other than where God is, you reveal that God is not Lord of your life. If you desire to be with your parents, spouse, or children more than you desire to be with God, those people have become idols in your life. Instead, hope that God is just and merciful. He is and he won't make a mistake. Have faith that God is who he says he is. He is and an existence apart from him is no existence at all. I desire to go to heaven. Even if my husband and children are there and I never get to see them again for all eternity somehow, even if they aren't there, my desire is to be with my Lord and Savior and to bring him glory. I wish for my family to come with me, but that's between them and God. I trust that God knows what he's doing. I have faith that he will not accidentally or purposefully hurt me. The latter part of this question is why should I be allowed into heaven and in all honesty there is no good reason for God to allow me to be by his side. If you recall what the tabernacle looks like, (recall also that in Hebrews 8 the earthly tabernacle is a shadow of the heavenly one) I don't mind sitting at the entrance curtain in heaven just standing outside worshipping God. As long as I'm near him, I will be quite happy glorifying him for eternity. I desire to enter fully into his presence, but I trust God to do what is right. Better a servant in heaven than a master in hell. The only possible way I would be permitted into heaven would to fall 
tabernacle outline
prostrate calling for my lawyer to argue my case on my behalf. Luckily, my lawyer is the Son of the judge. And the judge always listens to his Son. My lawyer loves me so much that he saw my case and saw that it was hopeless. So he decided to take my guilt and punishment upon himself. The only way I'm getting into heaven is if God is who he says he is as written in the Bible. My assurance of salvation is more thoroughly divulged in another post. 

What are some other good questions to ask?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

happy AND short

So this happened today-

I was upstairs in a room that gets HOT. I was vacuuming. That made it even hotter in there. And my daughter was just being in there. There weren't any toys in there. There wasn't anything for her to do. 

I thought, "Why is she in here? Every room I go into, she follows me. She can't possibly be having fun."

She just wanted to be near me. 

She loved me so much that she would rather be in an uncomfortably hot room just standing or lying around than to be outside of my presence. 

It made me smile so big.

It convicted me to tears.

First, my daughter must love me an awful lot. She'd rather be uncomfortable with me than to be anything else without me.

Second, Jesus calls me to love him that way. Do I? I've tested myself and I believe that I do. I've had some miserable situations that I would gladly re-live than to go through a comfortable life without Him. What would be the point of earthly happiness without the joy of the Lord? It actually scares me to think about. Perhaps this is the fear of God?

It is such a wonderful thing to have my children constantly pointing me toward Christ. They complain. I complain. But we still love. Our family was founded on Christ. He is our solid rock. 

My daughter makes me happy because she points me toward the love of God. 



this is happy - thoughts on grace

I'll get to the happy part in a bit. First, I want to address those people we all know who makes us feel plain bad even when their criticisms are unfounded.

Maybe this describes you or someone you know. She's a person who just can't help seeing where people have gone wrong. He's just so in tune with the Holy Spirit that he immediately sees where they've allowed compromise and idols. These guys and gals are offended by things that no one else even sees. She doesn't understand why ANYONE would be impatient with their child, while she is childless. He thinks everyone should have as many Bible verses memorized as he does. She will only dress a certain way, any less clothing is of Satan and any more is a form of legalism. She thinks it's loving to constantly correct people. He thinks it's loving to always point out where people fall short of his God's standards. To them it seems as if they are just that godly and close to the Spirit and the rest of us should be seeking their opinions and guidance. They wonder why we don't.

And we don't.

And we shouldn't.

It really is true though.
It's an ecard so it must be true. 
These arrogant attitudes are not of Christ and not of his Spirit. They seem super spiritual, don't they? But they aren't. Usually these people have an arsenal of Bible verses at their disposal ready to rebuke and correct. Why can't people see them for the great teachers that they are?

While their hypocritical self-righteousness is obvious to everyone else, if you try to point it out to them, they will not hear you. They wish everyone would hear them and their bad advice but refuse to listen to sound teaching. The book of Proverbs was written especially for them to be educated but instead they twist it to try to educate others. Like the blind teaching the seeing to read. Like someone selling Brita water purifiers and then bathing in the Ganges.

One such Proverb is in chapter 19:
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11 ESV)
Admit you're hypocrite and work on it. So simple!
It's actually okay to not be okay, but it's not okay to stay that way.
They might even try to get you to look over their offenses. They are very good at judging everyone else on their actions and themselves on their motives. This narcissistic hypocrisy is blinding them from sound judgment. They might even be thinking right now, "Lauren, doesn't this describe you RIGHT NOW???" But I've been around narcissists long enough to recognize this deflective question that makes them resists acknowledging any fault in themselves. "Lauren, WHAT ABOUT THAT LOG IN YOUR EYE???" Again, with the deflection. We can address any issue you see with me and I'll take it to people I respect and who have evidence of the Spirit after we finish this discussion. (Or if I respect you, write a blog post about it and I'll read it. If I don't respect you, I'll not read it anyway.)

These people will quote 1 Corinthians, "the spiritual person judges everything." (I mean, really they aren't spiritual. Just mean and proud. Or just foolish.) They somehow think that by judging mercilessly that they are becoming more spiritual. The hypocrisy is astonishing and has often left me speechless when dealing with such individuals. [Just by the way, these people are not in my circle of influence but these conversations happen from time to time with people who are quite young in their faith. You can be "young in faith" even while being a Christian for decades.] These people see a situation and immediately come to the worst conclusion about why someone else would be doing something: She must be sleeping with him. They should be above reproach. That person just did such-and-such sin. You meant a bad thing and are trying to tell me you hate me by the way you walked past me. The only reason he did that was because he has bad motives.

Their immediate response is that everyone else is attacking them and their morals. On PURPOSE. With MALICE.

That guy in this Pirates of the Caribbean just said, "my first love" and means that he's in love with Capt Jack Sparrow. They're gay. They are actively trying to get kids to be okay with homosexuality.

Almost there...
This is an actual conversation I've had with someone. What do you do with that? I even explained that they were trying to portray a cussing sailor without using cuss words and what he actually said was "Mother's love" for an obvious substitute for a certain f-word.

Absurd.

How about giving grace? What if instead of just assuming people are out to insult you or purposefully being incendiary, these people thought, "No. There's another explanation. I'll choose to believe the nicer thing." What if these hypocrites who claim to be after God's heart, were loving? What if they hoped all things, believed all things, bore all things, and endured all things?

What if they overlooked an offense?

Well, then they wouldn't be using God's gifting. They'd be burying their talent in the sand instead of rebuking, reproving, and exhorting!!! (please read my sarcasm)

Most of us can see their foolishness. That's why people rarely ask for their "wisdom". There's no wisdom there, only twisted understanding used to puff themselves up. Their knowledge puffs them up, and they neglect love. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. (1 Corinthians 8:2 ESV)

If you ever receive a random email from me, or a hate-filled text that seems like maybe I sent it to the wrong number, and especially if we do not have a relationship where we trust each other, then you can be guaranteed that I suffer from the above narcissism. I can be certain that I have NEVER had someone approach me with "God told me to say such and such to you" and them be right. It's gotten to the point that with these two individuals that I just stop listening, delete their emails unread, block their texts because of how wrong they are. If we were in Old Testament times, they'd be stoned to death because God does not enjoy people claiming to speak for him falsely. Neither do I. Neither does anyone.


Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.
finally!
Here's the happy part. These people are not of God. How does God handle people's sins and mistakes? He looks at them with compassion!
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36 ESV)
Jesus loves you. He wants you and will take you as you are. He knows what is true and good. And the closer you get to him the more like him you will look. You don't need those goons. You need Jesus. That is much better. That is happy.

What if we became so much like Christ that instead of consciously having to give grace and the benefit of the doubt, it was first nature? What if instead of having to think, "he didn't mean that rudely." it just didn't even occur to us that that might be a possibility? What if we were just so overcome with love for these same people that Christ has compassion for, that we saw them through the lens of love instead of how they aren't measuring up? What if we were like Christ?

Jesus never called anyone "disgusting."
This is happy - Christ has borne your sins and so you don't have to bear them. No matter what these accusers throw at you. Your judge sits in heaven. Your law book is available to you. Council is good, but make sure that there's more than just twisted verses. If you are a Christian, the Spirit will convict you to goodness, not condemn you to shame. If someone is constantly trying to tear you down (even to "build you up later") they are not of Christ; or at least, they are confused. Christ wants you to come as you are. Let him clean you.

My pastor, a very wise man, once told a story about how he was sitting around a camp circle decades ago and a man spoke up. This man said how he had just became a Christian the previous week and already he felt the Spirit at work and he started listing off things that had changed. As he's telling his story of conversion, he pulls out his pack of cigarettes and lights one up. My pastor said he thought, "Oh man, should I tell him? [that he shouldn't smoke] Maybe the Spirit will tell him. Maybe the Spirit won't tell him! Well if the Spirit isn't going to tell him, I'm not going to tell him." This man is a pastor and still recognized that it wasn't his duty to go around pointing out everyone's short-comings. This new believer will probably stop smoking on his own as he grows less and less dependent on earthly things. And if he doesn't, so what? Is smoking some sort of 11th Commandment that Moses or God accidentally left off the list?

Jesus is a friend of sinners. My pastor is a friend of sinners. I hope you will realize how happy this is. Be encouraged that the crazies I wrote about are not the ones you need to please. There are only two rules you ever need to remember in this life:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37 ESV)
and the second:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39 ESV)

Good News! Jesus gives GRACE to sinners!
He actually rebukes the religious abusers.
Trust the Bible. Question authority. Pray. Be willing to change. Be wary of anyone claiming to speak for God if they do not have a proven record. There is wisdom in the counsel of many. Just be sure they are biblical and not just feel-gooders. Advice is good when it's good; when it's backed with Scripture that edifies and encourages. My personal litmus test is if someone offers advice or correction when I haven't asked for any, I don't listen; like, I don't even hear their words. It takes great arrogance to think that others should listen to your unwanted advice or that you're trustworthy for correcting. Since arrogance is not of God, then I'll preemptively dismiss what has usually been false accusations (I say "usually" because I've stopped listening and therefore don't know what the rest of what they've said.). If by chance they have something true to say, then I trust God enough to know that He will put those words in the mouth of someone I trust and who I know loves me. [One girl made it easy for me after giving bad advice after bad advice and me not listening to her, she finally said, "If you're not going to take my advice then stop talking to me." Done. I was trying to reach out and share details of my day. I was trying to be friends with this difficult gal. I wasn't looking to change my situation. I was trying to share my life with her. But with such an ultimatum, how could I refuse? I happily stopped trying to reach out to her and build a relationship. She has tried several times through emails and texts to give me EVEN MORE advice about completely random things. Luckily nowadays I have a husband that I hand my device over to and ask him to screen her comments. He usually comes back with, "I deleted it for you." Thanks hubby!]





Lyrics:
"Jesus, Friend Of Sinners"

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

Yeah...

Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
Yeah...
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

respect authority

It has always annoyed me when people say we should "respect authority" in a blanket response to any fraction of dissension. It annoys me because people are flawed. People are wrong. People need to be questioned and subjected to scrutiny. Without it you get names like Doug Phillips and Monsignor Lynn popping up in your newsfeed as well as Judge Yaffe and McKinney cop Cpl. Casebolt being topics of debate.

Ancient Bible with drawing of St. JohnIn my life there are two authorities that I respect. Neither are people. Of course, the Bible is the first and ultimate authority in my life. And maybe less obvious, the Constitution of the USA is the other. Anytime someone is granted a voice to speak on behalf of one of these I put them to the test. If the person says he* speaks for God, then everything he says better be verified in the Bible. -Pope, pastor, priest, cardinal, deacon, lay teacher; it doesn't matter. If you are in a position of authority and you want my respect, you need to deserve that respect. Just because a group of people make the mistake of following Bill Gothard, who has never been married nor has children, on principles of marriage and raising children does not mean he is or should be considered an authority on such matters. I have no respect for the man. Nor do I respect those who blindly follow another infamous pedophile, Doug Philips. Just because these men claim to be Christ-following leaders and just because others are dumb enough to follow their extra-biblical teachings without thinking for themselves, does not mean they deserve respect. Should anyone respect the monsignor Lynn who raped several little boys just because he has the title of "monsignor"? No. Because obviously this man is a bad person. He snuck into the church for the purpose of harassing people not shepherding them.

So why do all these dumb people follow all these horrible men?

I tried reading what the Bible says about respecting authority. Here's one verse that seemed relevant.
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 1 Thessalonians 5:12 
[I once had a girl tell me I had to do what she said even though she was full of crap too because the Bible says to respect your elders. She was not quite three years older than me and just being bossy and wrong. Anyone can twist Scripture. The simple-minded are prey. The bullies of the world see a ripe harvest.]

So this verse. Obviously it contradicts everything I wrote above about respecting Monsignor Lynn, Phillips, and Gothard, right? To which I say a resounding NO! Are these men truly laboring among us? No. These men are looking to further their own agenda; namely sex. Are they over anyone in the Lord just because they claim to be? Absolutely not! These men are of the devil and vehemently opposed to all things God-centered. Now you may be thinking, "But Lauren, I heard a good thing from one of them at one point." Surely. I don't doubt it. Even a stuck clock is right twice a day, right? Every tyrant and quick speaking charlatan speaks mostly true things. Even Satan when he tempted Jesus in the desert spoke straight from Scripture. Does that make this most famous fallen angel godly? Really? Even demons believe in God and shudder.

[One time a person thought she was in authority over me and told me to go apologize for making someone angry. She didn't know the circumstances. She didn't know that I was completely in the right. She didn't know that the other girl was completely in the wrong - both morally and because she was butting into a conversation that wasn't hers which made her mad. (I had told a guy that he should stick with his conviction and this gal got angry with me because she overheard me say that and somehow claimed that I was speaking down to her. It was ridiculous. I wasn't even talking to her. She wasn't even in the conversation circle.) So my authority figure tells me to go apologize because she wanted to be seen in a certain light. It infuriated me. And rightly so. My authority figure decided to abuse her god-given position to make herself look like a peace-keeper. Needless to say, I don't respect anything that person says any more. I did not apologize and now also that abusive authority has lost her authority over me.]

What do you do with verses like the following for these miscreants?
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Hebrews 13:17
I mean, really? Do these self-appointed men really sound like they are keeping watch over your souls? Obviously their selfish ambition is waaaaaay more important to them than keeping watch over anyone's souls. Even their own souls. Once you find someone who is actually concerned for your soul, and not just saying they are, then sure, obey him. Just because some other lame-brain decided to make him a leader, doesn't mean he is or should be. You won't be able to tell if he's legit without questioning him. A leader who is afraid of being questioned, is juvenile, foolish, and insecure. These are not the traits of a good leader. A leader who can't handle a differing opinion, or one who handles disputes by yelling over all the other voices, or claiming "dissenter" or "demoniac" is simply ridiculous and should not be taken seriously.

[This reminds me of a big difference between the God of the Bible and the Allah of Islam. Look at Christians - extremist are those who don't want to bake a cake and lose their businesses because of it. Muslim extremists go around beheading children and killing anyone who dares question their almighty who apparently can't even handle women learning to read. Perhaps it's because if their women were able to read and be educated they'd overthrow the ridiculous men who are falsely in authority over them right now. But I digress...]


I think most people are with me on this up to this point.

But then something magical happens when I dare put the men of the law under the scrutiny.

I don't "back the blue" because sometimes blue is wrong. Dead wrong. And let me preface this with the fact that I've never had a poor experience with a cop. My husband even remarked once when I got pulled over that the cop apologized to me. I didn't realize that this wasn't normal. I recognize that I am America's most precious and protected class - suburban, white, female. I'm a "soccer mom" and therefore not a threat to anyone. And it's true. The absolute worst thing I've ever done is gone over the speed limit. I say all this so you know I don't have a personal vendetta against cops. I love cops.

I had a grown woman tell me how tired she was of people speaking against cops. I won't make a blanket statement against cops, just as I won't about pastors. There's good ones and there's bad ones. They all need more scrutiny. Because they want our respect, they need to show that they deserve it. Pastors need to have an open check book and open meetings; cops need body cameras. If that kid in McKinney hadn't recorded the swim party incident, no one would have believed the girl who claimed the cop was outrageous. Even Casebolt admits he was outrageous and he resigned. Someone actually tried to tell me that it was okay for him to shove her into the grass and sit on her because someone else had cussing music on earlier. The stupidity renders me speechless. This specific person was just exposing her underlying racist heart.
 

Judges, senators, congressmen, cops, councilmen, and anyone in any type of lawful authority in the USA needs to be subjected to higher scrutiny than those they are allegedly serving and protecting. I take my cue from Romans 13 that says we should be subject to the governing authorities. Apparently to many this means letting governing officials rape and pillage and abuse their authority. But the great thing about America is that we have the constitution: our ultimate national authority. Any cop or judge failing to subject himself to the authority of the constitution, is not really in authority. And we can't know what they do unless we question them. When we do that, cops resign, judges resign, scandals are unearthed and their lack of authority is revealed. Their arrests are questioned. Innocent men go free.

In Acts 17 Paul and Silas were welcomed as authority. You know what the Bereans did? The Bereans verified everything Paul and Silas said. They dared to question these authorities. Since Paul and Silas were legit, they were found legit. They encouraged this behavior. That's true leadership and authority: authority that says, "Go ahead and question everything I say. And if I ever say something wrong, call me out. I am imperfect but try my best." Any other attitude toward authority is not biblical and is just plain stupid.

Don't subject yourself to any man who is not willing to be questioned. Do not hesitate to vote for pro-scrutiny measures of cops and officials. By the way, can you believe lobbying is legal? It's legalized bribery and I am constantly shocked that we allow it in our nation. And I'm SO glad I live in a nation that allows me to say so. I'm allowed to question this authoritative decision. I can even appeal to a higher authority to get lobbying criminalized. Can you imagine if I spoke so candidly in closed nations like China or North Korea? Those places are ridiculous. You aren't allowed to speak against their authority because they know they aren't legitimate authorities. They know that the only reason people are under them is that they are abused. No one would willingly subject themselves to their tyranny. Well, actually, a few people have and most look at them as crazy; and we're talking about like 3 or 4 out of billions. 3:1,000,000,000+ That's pretty pathetic. If their authority wasn't so fragile, they'd be willing for more freedom and more questions.

I've already cleansed myself from the dummies that believe a lot of the nonsense of "backing the blue" and "don't tattle on daddy because you'll break up the family" and "if you just let the cops beat you to death then they wouldn't have shot you" so I'm not concerned about losing friends over this. Who wants to be friends with such stupid people, anyway?

Alright, I think I'm done being angry and will get back to being "the happy wife" now.
PS- I use this mode of respect for my own children too. They are absolutely allowed to question me. I hope to always teach them appropriate questioning. They're allowed their opinions. They can tell me "no". They're human beings in a free country under a loving God. Why would I demand their "respect"? The other day I was wrong about something and my oldest was allowed to point it out. And I corrected the situation. I don't need to shove my weight around with my kids. I don't need to beat them into submission. If I deserve their respect, they'll give it out of love and not fear of a whipping. They don't need empty words of "yes ma'am" and "no sir" because their respect is evident by what their heart says, not their tongue. My kids love and respect me and I love and respect them.


*throughout I use a universal "he" and "man" and do not mean only males but females too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

gospel in genesis

This is not something that I discovered on my own. I heard a sermon about this a couple of decades ago and it just stuck with me. Not that I memorized the sermon, just the central idea. That idea is that the genealogy of Noah shares the entire Gospel message.

Why even have those long boring genealogies? It shares the history, but is that the primary reason? Specifically for Noah, I don't think so. I don't have a reliable Bible dictionary at my disposal and because of that I will be making this short with only a point or two.
http://www.complete-bible-genealogy.com

Following along in Genesis 5, this is the genealogy from Adam to Noah:
Adam = man
Seth = appointed
Enosh = mortal
Kenan = possessor/sorrow
Mahalalel = blessed or praise of God
Jared = descended/came down
Enoch, who never died = dedicated/teaching
Methuselah = death shall bring (I've also heard man of God)
Lamech = powerful/despairing (as in those who are despaired)
Noah = rest

This is the Christian gospel as shown through a Hebrew text: Man has been appointed a possessor of mortality or a sorrowful mortality. The Blessed will descend or bring down teaching. And death will then instead bring the despairing rest or the Man of God will bring the despairing rest. 

Those familiar with the gospel will readily recognize this pattern: Adam brought in sin and death that separated us all from God causing great sorrow. God has sent his word both through his prophets and his Son, Jesus. Jesus now brings those who were despairing hope of eternal rest for all those who believe in him. 

My couple points:
  • Who went into Noah's boat? Who went into Rest's protection? Those righteous few who believed.
  • Enoch never died but was instead brought to God and was no longer on Earth. It is interesting that of all the people mentioned, only the one with the name meaning "dedicated/teaching" never died. It's as if the Narrator is saying that his teachings will never die; that the word of the Lord will stand forever. Or that the dedicated of God, those who believe in Jesus, will live forever.
Well that's it. This is just something I was thinking about before bed tonight. I'm wanting to get a real dictionary so I don't have to rely on questionable sources for the English translations of these Hebrews names. If that happens, then I'll update anything significant I read.