Monday, July 29, 2013

1 Timothy 5:1

                I was recently introduced to an organization out of San Francisco called “About-Face.” It’s an internet/blogging based organization that fights the up-hill battle of damaging media images of women in our society. It’s an incredible effort and so, so important, especially for our young women.
                The message that the media promotes a FALSE self-image of women is becoming increasingly common (YAY!) in everything from grass-roots organizations like About-Face, public reactions to overwhelmingly skinny & over make-up-ed Barbie-dolls, and YouTube videos like that one by Dove that slowly shows the digital reconstruction of our models  before they are revealed to us to sell us things.
                These messages absolutely MUST be given to the female public at large.
However, I believe we are missing a BIG piece of the puzzle (catastrophe).
                Where is the message to the young MEN in these young women’s lives?
                All too often the conversation (of all ages and classes and education levels) falls somewhere between a grunting cave-man and a “boys will be boys,” high-fiving frat brothers blood oath.
                I find the conversation STILL falls on encouraging young women to refrain from feeling like they need to achieve a certain level of beauty or a certain weight, and staying away from “undesirable” and “tempting” situations.
                We tell our girls that if a guy treats you a certain way, they aren’t boyfriend material.
                Who is telling our boys that treating women in a certain way makes you un-human material?
Who is telling our future husbands to seek first (and foremost) inner beauty in a prom-date, and that godly-ness is even more attractive?
Who is telling our sons that their sexual history and choices will affect them IN THE SAME WAY that it affects our daughters? That these actions have consequences, and they (often the less of which) are not just the ones a condom can protect you from.
The sexuality of our young people lands not only on the shoulders of our daughters.
It must begin with our sons.
I, for one, am tired of the cowardly cop-out that “boys will be boys.”
I am tired of society saying that my sons can live on my couch and eat potato chips and not be employed….at 24.
Not in my house. Son, you are a man. Now, act like one.
And, being a man means treating a woman like a lady.
Being a son of God means treating each woman like the incredible treasure and carefully knitted creation that she is.
And that you are.
And if this still doesn't convince you to treat women kindly, you can wait until your father hears about this. Consider this your gentleman’s warning.

1 Timothy 5:1 “…treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Psalm 55:18

He ransoms me and keeps me from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me. Psalm 55:18

Fear: What it IS and What it IS NOT

Fear is something that everyone struggles with from time to time.

Now that I am a parent of two small (albeit amazing) children, fear in general has become a bigger mental and spiritual battle for me.

Now, I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: we as humans thirst for Truth.

What is Truth?

Truth IS reality ACCORDING TO GOD.

Not reality according to your emotions. Not reality according to your desires or dreams.

And (God forbid) not reality according to reality television.

How do we know then, what God views as “real” or “truth” or universally consistent and good and just?

Lots of people will spend their whole lives looking for this, when all they need to do is open up the Bible, or the Living and Unchanging Word to know what is REALLY going on.

The Devil has all kinds of tactics to keep us away from realizing the Truth.

My pastor breaks these tactics down into three steps:

  1. To DEFEAT you: He does this by keeping you out of Heaven’s gates, in other words, “unsaved.”
  2. To DECIEVE you: If he can’t keep you from being defeated, he will continue to distort your emotions and deceive you to BELIEVING that you are defeated … when IN REALITY, with CHRIST you are NEVER defeated…but you can sure FEEL that way.
  3. To DISTRACT you: When all else fails, this tactic is to keep you focused on everything besides the promises of God. Distractions are anything that keeps you from God’s plan for your life, from experiencing God’s immense blessing, and/or from working to further The Kingdom.
    1.  (“Fear” for me lately)  

Here’s what the world tells us about fear: “Haven’t you seen the news lately? We’re going nowhere fast and there’s nothing you can do to make anything better. Things happen to good people all the time and it’s completely unfair and random and no good ever comes of it.”

Here’s what my emotions tell me about fear: “If I just keep control over everything in my life my family and I will be safe. If I can just make sure I do this and stay away from that, I can, through my own actions, protect myself and those I love.”

Here’s what the REALITY is:

All things work together for the GLORY and HONOR of THE LORD.

Let’s break this down.

One of my worst fears is having my house burn down (with all my stuff in it).

I’m not at all fearful of losing the sheets and the television (my husband might disagree with me on that) and the dishes.

I’m fearful of losing the hundreds of organized photo albums and scrapbooks and my son’s teeny tiny hospital shirt that he wore the first two weeks of his life

But, here’s the reality:

If it will bring Glory and Honor to The Lord by my house burning down (with everything in it), I could sit in the house 24 hours a day constantly pacing between turning the knobs on the stove and unplugging the hair straightener and keep all my documents in super expensive fireproof safes … but the Lord’s will would prevail and some “final destination” stuff would go down and my house WOULD burn down (with everything in it).

And, on the other hand, if it will bring Glory and Honor to The Lord by my house NOT burning down (with everything in it), the whole city could be ablaze and my house would remain neither scathed nor scorched by a single ember. 

The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm. Proverbs 19:31

So, is the conclusion here to go get drunk and walk around Tijuana at 2:00AM female and alone because we’re “saved?”

Absolutely not. God gave us better wits than that, surely.

But rather, the decision is to remain faithful in our walk with God and to rest assured that everything, EVERYTHING, EVERY SINGLE THING, will be used for GOOD in our life.

If you know how to give good gifts to your kid, how much more will your Father give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:11

And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the GOOD of those who follow him! Romans 8:28

I’ll close with one of my favorite stories/parables.

There’s a man whose amongst a great flood and he’s standing on his roof as his city fills with water.

A boat comes by and shouts to the man on the roof, “Climb aboard! We’re headed for safety!”

The man responds, “No, I am waiting for my Lord to save me.”

A helicopter comes and the pilot hollers over the radio, “We’re sending someone to down to you!”

But again the man responds, “No thank you, I am waiting for my Lord to save me.”

So, the city fills up with water and the man on the roof drowns and goes to Heaven.

The man, annoyed, asks God, “Where were you?! I was waiting for You to save me!”

And God responds, “Who do you think sent the boat and the helicopter?”