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Friday, June 26, 2015

The Supreme Court Decision & Us As Believers

Everybody's seen the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. And I'm pretty sure most Christians are disappointed. Disappointed is the word I use, because for some odd reason if you don't agree with gay marriage you're considered a prejudiced bigot who hates gays, because you don't tolerate sin. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I don't hate gay people, I just disagree with their lifestyle. The same could be said of parents with teenage children who are off living lifestyles filled with drugs and alcohol. You wouldn't approve of their choices that are harming themselves, but at the same time you don't hate them. That's the same way I feel about this. But I'm not here to address the non-believers though, because they don't conform to Biblical standards, and it makes sense that they would affirm gay marriage. I'm here to address the believers in Christ, or those who call themselves believers, because  we are the ones who should be ashamed that this ruling occurred. The ruling announced today was exactly what we deserved. I know we're told to speak the truth in love, but sometimes the truth hurts. And so today, I'm not going to sugar-coat anything, because it's a shameful day when we as Christians have failed God and our country, for allowing the acceptance of gay marriage. It's the fault of the believers. How is it our fault? We weren't for gay marriage you say?

Think about this- how many times did you pray to God about the gay marriage decision? Did you pray for 10 seconds every day maybe? Or a minute? Did you spend the rest of your prayers on yourself and Johnny who has a broken arm and Susie who has a cold? Or maybe you remembered to pray for others, but forgot about praying for your country. Because I know I  did, and I know most people pray like I do for our country, and in that sense we got what we deserved. Why would God answer us when we can't even take the time to get on our knees in earnest prayer, pleading with God to change the hearts of our Supreme Court Justices? We can't take things seriously. We're so focused on ourselves and our needs that we completely forgot about our country as whole.

Not only that, it's the whole redefinition of Christianity; "I can do whatever I want, because I have liberty." It's disgusting. We went from saying "No" to alcohol to now having Bible studies in bars. To saying, "Hey, it's okay to drink as long as I don't get drunk. I want to be like the world and do what they do, without crossing the line." You forgot about how your actions can cause a former alcoholic to stumble (Romans 14:13-23). You forgot that God says he hates anything that alters the mind. And how will you know your limit until you've tried some? Speaking of altering minds, when did doing drugs become acceptable? Now medicinal marijuana is okay, but you would've never have said so decades ago. But of course, we want anything to ease our pain in life, so we will compromise. And we want to fit in, so we accept things little by little. We are even okay with tattoos now, because hey, they look cool, why not? But why did God say no to them in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:28)? Have you thought about that? What about the way we dress? Somehow it's only provocative and inappropriate for young women who call themselves Christians to show cleavage, but short shorts and dresses with open backs and lots of skin are acceptable. So now we all look like the world, except we don't show that one bit of skin we shouldn't. If it's okay to show all that skin, how come the priests had to cover up their thighs in Exodus 28:42? And they were men! Not only do we look and act like the world, we accept all the Hollywood movies they embrace.

So we've come to accept all these things that God is not for, and we've gotten what we deserved. You want to act like the world, you'll get the world. If you want to act like a non-Christian then just stop playing the game and pretending and trying to get other Christians to tolerate sin. Just put on the real self and go off and do whatever you want, because you cannot serve God and Satan at the same time. Choose one or the other and act accordingly. You can't drink, smoke, do drugs and then go to church on Sunday really believing you're pleasing to God. Because you're not. God spoke of you in Malachi, when He said that these people do everything they're supposed to concerning sacrifices but then they go off and commit unspeakable sins. They were disgusting to Him, and so is Christianity today.

Let's get serious. This is why the non-believers tolerate gay marriage and embrace it, because we haven't even stood for anything to make them think differently. We don't stand out anymore. We look like them, but just have a few wacky morals like purity, and then throw out all the rest of the things God says we shouldn't do. Maybe if Christians didn't look so much like the world, we wouldn't have this problem. Maybe if Christians would've stood up, would've prayed, would've been in God's Word more, we wouldn't have this problem. So don't go blaming it on the gay rights advocates. It's just as much the Christian's fault as it is the unbelievers. We've only got ourselves to blame. We're in deep trouble. Oh yes, non-believers are in fear of God's wrath, but we should be in fear too, because we know better, and yet we look no different.

1 Peter 4:17- For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the Gospel of God.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

What a Difference!

Photo by Bev Lloyd-Roberts LRPS



I've been thinking a lot about the difference salvation can make in the life of a person; in particular, about the difference it had on me as a child. I was saved at the age of 11. I had an understanding of the Gospel when I started attending church a year before then, but I didn't really care about it. I wasn't interested in that. It wasn't until Easter day as an 11 yr. old that I realized where I was headed, and because I knew it wasn't Heaven, I was ready to repent. It's funny to think of an 11 yr. old repenting. What do they have to repent of? They're probably not alcoholics or rebellious like teens just yet. Probably not into drugs either. But we're all sinners and in need of change within our life regardless of what sins we struggle with. I remember a total change in my thought process taking place within my life afterwards. All of a sudden, I remember the age of 11 as being the year I started actually thinking about God constantly. I became concerned. I became aware that I needed to read and pray everyday, and I did so very faithfully. Not only that, I enjoyed those things as never before. I enjoyed listening to the sermons at church and was convicted by them constantly, whereas before I tuned them out and felt nothing. All of a sudden things began to change.

One change I vividly remember was that of my clothing. I mean, for a 10-11 yr. old, it's probably not going to be bad, but still, I remember church skirts being short and wearing short shorts year round as kid. Yeah, I was't quite yet a teen or a woman, so it wasn't that big of a deal to anyone else, but it became a big deal to me eventually. I remember one day looking down and seeing all the leg I was showing and thinking, "This is not what I should be wearing as a Christian." Nobody told me it was bad to wear shorts or anything mini. I don't even know where I got the idea from- I assume the Holy Spirit, because mom tells me now that back then I started telling her how to dress too. Even though nobody else thought the way I dressed mattered, at the time, I decided to quit wearing shorts. I like to say I haven't worn shorts since I was 11, because except for a few times when I bought board shorts and wore them, I've really never gone back to wearing shorts. It was a conviction brought up at just the right time, before the teen years began. Don't get me wrong, shorts can be worn by women as long as they're long enough to be appropriate, but I just stay away from them since it's hard to find long shorts anyway.

I also remember that around the same time of dealing with the previous conviction, a bunch of the youth group at church, of which I was not a part of at the time, got to speak at the service to tell the adults and little kids (like me) about what God had shown them through going to summer camp. At that time musicians such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, N'SYNC, Backstreet Boys, etc., were very popular, and I listened to them all. I had never thought twice about what I listened to, even though some of the lyrics were inappropriate. It just never phased me, until one of the teens who was a year older than me mentioned that she broke all of her non-Christian cds and decided to never again listen to non-Christian music. I was so moved and convicted that well . . . I didn't break my cds, but I got rid of them. I stopped listening to secular artists and moved on to contemporary Christian music. I won't say it's sinful to listen to secular music, since I might occasionally listen to secular artists once in a blue moon, but I don't recommend doing so just because you can get used to secular music and then let it seep into the rest of your life where you constantly listen to it. And as we know, most of the time secular artists are not people we want to look up to as they normally spout off vulgar language or have godless lifestyles that we don't want to mirror. As Christians we really should be directing our thoughts towards God constantly, and I have found that it's better to get a song about God stuck in your head than a secular song that can't glorify God. You're forming God-centered habits and making God the center of your life through Christian music. With that being said, I'm not saying all Christian music glorifies God, because I don't agree with certain Christian artists and their music. I just feel that you're more likely to glorify God by listening to music focused on Him.

With that being said, kids can repent and have convictions outside of their parents and other's opinions. I like to look back and think about all the changes God has made in my life and where I'd be now if it hadn't been for Him. It's really wonderful just reflect back on God's goodness then and now. What a difference a day made!




Thursday, May 28, 2015

Friends & Change

I've never really experienced any big changes in my life or around it. Recently, a long-time and close friend of mine moved out of state. I'd never have thought that my friend would ever leave. It was the furthest thing from my mind. We also had busy lives, so we didn't see each other too often, but I knew she'd always be there if I needed to see her. At least, I thought so. But those were all misconceptions that I had believed that I now regret believing. Now that she's gone and I won't be able to see her whenever I please, I'm left regretting the way I treated our friendship. I'm left full of sadness, like there's an empty part of my life I won't ever get back. And it can all be traced back to the way I thought about and treated my friendship.

So here are some practical ways to treat your friendship, so in the end you can react better to any situation that arises in the form of change:

1.) Don't take your friendship for granted- This was a big mistake I made. I assumed that my friend would always live 10 minutes away from me, no matter what. It seems silly. but when you've known someone for a long time and both lives seem settled in the same area, you don't think twice about it. Sometimes God has a different plan though and things can change very quickly. I assumed she'd always be around, so I didn't worry about whether I saw her often. Don't assume anything.

2.) Don't let your "busyness" get in the way of checking up on each other often- Because I assumed my friend would always be around, I didn't get together often with her. I thought it was also okay to work my friends around my busy schedule, not into it. In reality, in order to make a friendship work, you can't just say "Sorry, I'm busy. Come back when I'm not." You have to make the effort to fit in time with your closest friends even when you are busy, otherwise you're acting completely selfish, expecting your friend to work around your schedule. Because I didn't find out about my friend's move until just a couple of months ago, I realized the importance of making time to visit her every week until she left. And you know what? I don't think I'd ever had so much fun and made so many good memories with her and her family. The last time we got together before she left, I realized how sorry I was that I hadn't done this sooner. So go out and get together with that good friend of yours on a regular basis, beginning now! Make this a "no regrets" friendship.


Now of course, those feelings of sadness aren't going to disappear just because you make the best of your friendship. But you don't have to feel regretful about what you didn't do with your friend when you make the most of a friendship. And you'll always have plenty of fond memories to ponder when you're missing a friend.

I'm pretty sure it will be a while before emptiness closes, but I know that changes are ordained by God for the individual and that there are so many good things in store for them that we cannot see ourselves. I can at least have a peace of mind knowing that the best is yet to come for my friend, and as a friend, shouldn't I rejoice in that instead of selfishly wishing to keep a friend from God's best?