Challenge

Tonight, I challenged the Jr. High kids.  I also challenged my daughters.  The challenge to my girls was a more difficult challenge then to the Jr. High kids at AWANA.

For the TREK (Jr. High) kids, I challenged them over the next two weeks to take one person that they don’t get along with, dislike, etc., to smile and say hello to them.  They don’t have to engage in a conversation, just say hello with a smile.  And yes, they were to mean it.

For my girls?  When someone is mean to them, to say thank you and walk away.  If it is their sister that is getting to them, say thank you and give them a huge hug saying that they loved the person.

Why did I offer up this challenge?  Because the Bible tells us to love all.  We are to have brotherly love for all, no matter what our differences.  This is not an easy task.  Specially when you feel that you’ve been wronged.  It is difficult when another person has done wrong and it impacts you.  It is even more difficult when that person doesn’t realize they have done wrong.  So, what do you do?  How could I possibly propose that you ‘love’ that person that was so horrible to you?  Because that is what Jesus instructed us to do.  To paraphrase, Jesus stated that if you hate a person, you have already committed murder in your heart.  So, we need to get past that hatred and love.  This is not an easy task.  I know first hand.  I went for years hating a particular person for what they did to me.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that I was wasting my energy and putting myself in a bad position with that hate.  It was so much easier to be complacent about the situation.  I no longer hate the person.  I also don’t have a need to shower this person with love.  And honestly, should I come across this person, I would fear my safety.  But I would do my best to be civil with this person.  So, yes, I know it’s a difficult thing, and one that I struggle with as well.  But I will continue to do my best.

 

Will you?

Sadness

Today the Supreme Court started hearing arguments for and against same-sex marriage.  I will not express my views, as that is irrelevant to my post.  What is relevant is what I saw being posted on Facebook all day.  Hatred on both sides of the issue.  Yes, BOTH sides.  Though, I will say that I saw less hateful posts from those against same-sex marriage than I did from those that are for it.  This saddens me.

I saw some people posting ‘verses’ of the Bible trying to prove how racist and full of hate the Bible is, thereby implying that anyone that follows must be full of hate.  Here’s the problem with that; they are not reading the entire passage, and therefore taking it completely out of context.  That is one of my pet peeves.  If you are going to criticize a book and make accusations about it, at least read the whole thing and study it.  That way you can at least know what you are talking about.  Otherwise, you are going to sound like someone full of hate and animosity because you just don’t know.

There are very few beliefs that I will counter, because I don’t know enough about them.  Besides, it is not up to me to judge those beliefs or that person.  I’m only to present the truth, according to the Bible, to strive to live as Jesus lived, and to love all.  These are not easy things to do.  I struggle with one or more of these items constantly.  I am tested consistently and there are times that I fail.  But I do try to learn from it and move on.

Those that hate, or try to incite me to anger and hate them, honestly, I feel sorry for them.  I occasionally pray for them.  I probably should pray for them daily, however, I tend to forget because in my prayer, I spend so much time thanking God for all that he provides for me.  I’ve been so blessed, and God continues to bless me, that I cannot thank him enough.  God has given me a wonderful job, a house, a wonderful family, a fantastic church family, wonderful friends, and has provided everything that I needed.  Why wouldn’t I be thankful for that?

Even hubby’s migraine for the past 19 months is a blessing.  I have no idea how, yet, but it will reveal itself at some point.  When God has deemed it time for the migraine to go away, it will.  I have complete faith in that.  And yes, I say that knowing that we are trying to get him approved for a surgery that is supposed to help him.  It is still in God’s hands.

So, sadness is my word for the day.  I am saddened by the hatred I see around me and many that don’t think it is hatred, they think they are ‘educating’ those around them.  Instead, they are trying to bully those with a different point of view.  I feel for them, and I shall pray for them.

Servant

It’s been awhile since I’ve written and I have no excuse.  I’ve been busy, tired, and just not feeling it.  So, I’m trying to get back into it.  So, why now?  Yesterday, I was reminded, via music, about God‘s faith and how he doesn’t give up on us.  I’ll go into a little of how this all happened.

Yesterday morning, while I was in the shower, a song kept going through my head.  Not a song that I listen to often, but it kept going through my head, over and over.  At the time, I couldn’t even have told you who sang it.  I then got into the car and started up the CD that was already in the CD player.  I don’t often listen to my CDs, since I have my MP3 player, so it had been awhile.  What was the first song that came on?  This one:

God so loved, that He gave His son
To lay down His life for the sake of us
He bore the weight of our sin and shame
With a cry He said, It is finished

Christ the Lord overcame the darkness
He’s alive: death has been defeated

For He made us a way
by which we have been saved
He’s the Savior of the world
So we lift up a shout for his fame and renown
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Jesus, Savior of the world

We must spread the word of His soon return
To reclaim the world for His glory
Let the church now sing of this coming King
Crowned with majesty, our Redeemer

And He reigns, ruler of the heavens
And His name is Jesus, the Messiah

Christ the Lord overcame the darkness
He’s alive: death has been defeated
And He reigns, ruler of the heavens
And His name is Jesus, the Messiah

Yes, good reminder.  But it didn’t stop there.  I then heard a song on the album, that reminded me of an absolutely fantastic young woman that I know, and admire.  That song was this one:
“All The Way”

We’re joining with You God
Everything You’re doing
Your fire is in our hearts
Burning for the broken
We open wide our arms
A refuge for the hurting
Your mercy is our song
We’re joining with You God

We’re going all the way
We’re gonna walk by faith
Giving You everything, everything, everything
We’re going all the way

Our strength, our victory
We can not be shaken
A light for all to see
Shining in the darkness
We can’t contain Your love
That purchased us our freedom
Salvation is our song
Our strength, our victory

We’re holding nothing back
Giving You everything, everything
We’re joining with You God
You can do anything, anything

So, why did this song remind me of this young woman?  This young woman graduated from high school a year ago, and God has put it on her heart to be a missionary.  She reflects the servant God wants us to be.  She has such a wonderful heart and soul, and I can only hope that my own girls grow up to be like her.  I respect all that this young lady does and goes through.  Listening to this song yesterday morning while running my errands, I started tearing up thinking about all she is doing, and will be doing.   Her heart is really full of God and his love and she lets that shine through in all she does.  I ask that you pray for her and her fellow students to follow God’s will and direction for them.
It reminds me that I don’t do nearly enough.  I’m not sure what I can do to reflect the same way she does, but I’m inspired to try.
As I need to get ready to the family BBQ for my kid’s school, I will leave it at this for now.  God bless!

Quarreling

Some would say that quarreling is human nature.  And, to an extent, I agree.  Look around you.  Look at the anger you see, the bitterness. Look at young children with their siblings.  Siblings always quarrel, at some point.  Some more than others.  Part of our path to maturity is to learn how to handle quarrels and to not quarrel.

Proverbs 20:3

3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
only fools insist on quarreling.

I think that is pretty clear, don’t you?   Just to add to it, here is the information from my devotional:

A person who is truly confident of his or her strength does not need to parade it. A truly brave person does not look for chances to prove it. A resourceful woman can find a way out of a fight. A man of endurance will avoid retaliating. Foolish people find it impossible to avoid strife. Men and women of character can. What kind of person are you?

Gets you thinking, doesn’t it?

Beatitudes

These come up often for me.  For good reason at that.  A couple years ago, our pastor did a series on the Sermon on the Mount, which contains the Beatitudes.  They are now stenciled on the walls of the sanctuary of the church.  The girls, last year I believe, were taught them in Chapel.  This month, their memory verses are The Sermon on the Mount.  And today, ok, yesterday since I’m a day behind in my daily readings, is, what else, but the Sermon on the mount.

I’m not going to analyze it tonight.  I’m too tired.  And work has fried my brain too much today to properly discuss it.  But I do want to put it out here, for the purposes of remembering it.

Matthew 5

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

 

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Honestly, if you read through it, truly read it and appreciate the beauty of the metaphors and poetry, it’s a masterpiece.  And says so much about what a true Christian should be.

God bless!!

Information dump

This is strictly for my information.

Hitting, biting, kicking, etc.

Physically harming another person is striking out at man, who is made in God’s image, just as murdering another person is striking out at man who is made in God’s image.  Gen. 9:6 says, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”  Based on this principle, we make parallels between the Bible’s insttructions for the punishment of murderers, and the discipline of our children when they strike out at another person.  The same emotions and motivations are often involved in striking other people and in murder.

General information and commandments about this sin:

Gen. 9:5-6  Shed man’s blood, by man his blood will be shed.

The parallel can be made for apanking a child after he has physically harmed another child.

Matt. 5:21-22  If angry with brother without a cause, are in danger of judgement, just as murderer is in danger of judgement.

Be consistent in firmly disciplining any physical harming of other people.

Pr. 6:17 God Hates hands that shed innocent blood.

Matt. 15:19 Evil thoughts and murders come from the heart.

Num. 35:32-33 Show no mercy. Deflies the land.

Do not show mercy to the child who harms others.  His uncontrolled anger and cruelty will “defile” the household.

Js. 4:1-3  Motivated by lust.

Deal with envy, covetousness, selfishness and pride in the heart of the cruel and striking-out child.

What happens, or should happen, to the person who harms others:

Many of the following examples of punishment are Mosaic judicial laws concerning murder.  Many of these principles, however, can be applied in the case of harming other people.

Lev. 24:20-21, Ex. 21:23-25  Murderer was punished life for life, lex talionis.

Spank the hitting, biting child.

Another principle that does not come out in these laws is the need to ask forgiveness of the victim.  obviously, in murder, this is impossible.  When a child has injured another child, though, he should go back to the person, confess his wrong, and ask forgiveness.

Ex. 21:18-19 injure. Pay for loss of time and doctor.

Do the mother’s chores that she could not do while she was attending to the harmed child.

Serve the victim of the child’s striking. Provide for their comfort.

Do the victim’s chores.

Levy a fine from spending money.

Ex. 21:16 Kidnapping punished by death

Holding a child against his will (locking him in his room, holding him under a blanket, etc) is considered kidnapping in our household.

We discipline the offender with spankings.

Ex. 21:15 hit parents, put to death.

Spank.  Also deal with the problem of defiance.

Ex. 21:12,14 Strike man so that he dies, killer should die.

This is an example of premeditated murder, and is punishable by death.

Premeditated, intentional harming of others should be disciplined with spankings.

Num. 35:16-21 Strike with iron, stone, hand weapon, hurl at him, strike with hand so tha tvictim dies, should be punished with death.

Spank for any intentional injury to another.

Num. 35:30, Deut. 17:6  Death penalty required the testimony of two or three witnesses.

This is a good policy before spanking a child for hitting, too.

Circumstantial evidence can serve as one witness.  Often, when the whole story comes out, the “victim” of the hitting has also been at fault – teasing, hitting, etc. – and should be disciplined for his wrongdoing as well.

Pr. 28:17  Man who is burdened with bloodshed will flee to the pit.

Don’t stop him.

Pray for the child’s conscience to convict him and make him miserable until he has confessed his wrong and asked forgiveness. This would be another case for establishing a room for the child to spend time in after injuring another child.  This would allow him time to think over his action.  (Use this in addition to talking with him and disciplining him.  Don’t just banish him to his room whenever he hits someone.)

_____________

Do not Encourage Excuses

Parents and grandparents who compliment and pamper little children excessively may be in danger of misleading the children to believe they can do no wrong or that the wrong they do does not matter.  Adults and children are sinners and it is natural for them to make excuses for their wrong-doings.  Often when children do something that is sinful they immediately cry, “It is not my fault.” “She hit me first.” “Everyone else was doing it.” Uncorrected children may grow into adults who continue making excuses.  Adults lose their temper because of their kids, they drink heavily because of genetic programming, or they cannot lose weight because they were abused as a child.  All people attempt to avoid responsibility for their own sin, but no one, young or old, deceives God.

The wise parent begins early to teach his child to accept personal responsibility for his behavior….

 

Again, this is just information that has been provided to me to assist me with something I’m struggling with.

Thank you, God Bless.

Hatred

Yesterday, I discussed love and how we are to love one another.  Even if we don’t agree with the person, we are to still love them.  Today, I’m going to the opposite side of it, hatred.  Believe it or not, that’s what follows the instruction to Love one another.

John 15:18-25

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

These are still the words of Jesus himself.  He’s reminding us to remember that the world hated him before they hated us.

19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

If we belonged to the world, and followed the world’s beliefs, the world would love us.  However, we, as Christians, don’t belong to the world.  Jesus, God, chose us, and removed us from the world, and therefore, the world hates us.

20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

I do feel it’s important to remember that a servant is no greater, better, than his master.  Those people that persecuted Jesus, will also persecute his followers.  If they obey Jesus’ teachings, they will also obey other Christian’s teachings.  Be wary of the teachings you follow though.  Search it out, make sure it’s accurate to the bible.  Not all are and actually leads to false teachings, and well, just not good.

21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.

Christians will be treated harshly because of Jesus, for those that treat us harshly do not know God, and in my experience, most do not care to know him.  They don’t want to have to give up their sin.

22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.

Here’s the kicker though – they KNOW that they are guilty of the sin, they don’t care.  But they have no excuse for it in God’s eyes.  They’ve been told, they are aware.

23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.

This one is fairly obvious: they hate Jesus, so they hate God.

24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.

If Jesus had not come to us, and lived among us, teaching us, then those people would not be guilty of sin.  Instead, he did come to us, he lived among us, taught us the way, was persecuted, killed, buried, and then defeated death and rose again, walked the earth again for 40 days and it was witnessed by 500 people, and then ascended to heaven.  Yet, people will not believe, and still persecute him, thereby hating Jesus, and God.

25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.

This, however, fulfills the Law, the prophecy.  Those that persecute Jesus, hate him without reason.  You see, what the final ‘judgement’ on Jesus was, to crucify him, was that he committed blasphemy.  A trumped up charge as he never actually committed that act.  And for false blasphemy, he was nailed to a cross to die.

It’s amazing what a friend will do for you, isn’t it? Due to their hatred, he was killed.  He was killed for our sins, as he was the sacrifice that God offered to us.  We really should respect that and live as we’ve been commanded.  We should be right with God, and not ourselves.