Saturday, January 4, 2014

Love and Hate

Romans 12:9-11
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

I am a firm believer that love and hate are both capable of being infinite except for when they oppose each other.  The more hate a person harbors for others, the less capacity for love he has.  But the opposite is also true; the more love a person shows to others the less hate they harbor.  

We are commanded to hate 'what' is evil, not 'who.'  We are to hate their sins, but to show the person himself love.  If we hate the people we are supposed to help, we are only going through the motions, but that help will likely not be received as being in love.  Besides, God knows your heart.

1 John 2:9-10
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.

God bless.

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Beginnings

2 Corinthians 5:16-18
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation

Over the next several days, or even weeks, people everywhere will be making New Year's Resolutions.  Things like get fit, lose weight, save money, and spend more time with the family.  I read one blog where the writer gave suggestions on how to have more sex with one's spouse.  The sermon at church this week was to complain less during the new year.  Even I will be making, and hopefully keeping, some resolutions.  

But one thing I believe we need to reflect on, before singing Auld Lang Syne and kissing our sweethearts at the stroke of midnight, is that followers of Jesus Christ are already new creations.  In the eyes of the very God who created us, because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we accepted, we are no longer sinners, but saints.  That is awesome news!

Now the trick is for us to remember that we can choose oatmeal for breakfast instead of the chocolate creme doughnut that is calling our names a bit too loudly, because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Philippians 4:12-13
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

God bless

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I'm His Wife, Not His Mother

I sometimes hear divorced men talk about how mean or manipulative their ex-wife was whenever he did something for which she didn't approve.  My husband has said it about his ex-wife and a friend has said it about his.  I can't help but wonder if women like these think their husbands are children who need to be disciplined.  It most definitely shows a complete lack of respect for her husband.

There are a number of traffic lights in the city in which we live that have cameras set up to catch people who run red lights.  We have one right near our home.  In the mail today we received a notification with photos of our truck caught on camera.  We are currently a one vehicle home and my husband has it most of the time, so we are fairly certain he was the one driving.  (Trust me, I checked.)

I could have been hopping mad, berating him like a small child because this violation takes money away that we can't afford to part with.  But instead I chose to partner with him to determine if it would be better to dispute or pay this violation.  No conflicts, arguments, hissy-fits or temper tantrums.  He is a grown man and I am his wife, therefore I am his partner and suitable help meet and must conduct myself accordingly.

Are you trying to mother your husband or partner with him?  How successful is your approach?

Ephesians 5:32-33
32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Can Formality be a Form of Respect?

“‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.

When I was growing up my mom insisted I call some adults Mr. or Mrs. with their family name.  Mr. Geek grew up calling nearly all adults outside his family Mr. or Miss with their first name.  He also was taught to say Sir or Ma'am, where I was not.  Even the family titles of Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa also carry an element of formality important to teaching respect.

I believe this was a good thing.  When children learn to address their elders formally it becomes easier for them to learn to show respect.  I believe the two go hand in hand.  I say this with the assumption that the parents are already demonstrating respect in their home.

There is a woman in my church who teaches middle school science.  During Sunday School today she was talking about how disrespectful her students are with her.  If they're disrespectful with her then they are also disrespectful with other teachers, and authority figures in general.  

When I was in high school one of my classmates insisted on calling the teacher by her first name instead of her formal name.  He rarely did as she asked and showed her little respect in her own classroom.

On the flip side, I was in the grocery store a few months ago and got to witness an exchange between the young man bagging my groceries and the cashier.  He called her Miss <name> and said 'yes ma'am' and 'no ma'am'.  I couldn't help but be impressed with how well his parents taught him to show respect.

Mr. Geek and I are trying to teach our son to show respect through elements of formality.  I hope we do as well teaching Monster as the young man above.

1 Peter 2:16-17

16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Homeschooling Conversations

I know this picture doesn't completely match the post, but I thought a picture of my son and husband doing their father & son date at Lowe's Build and Grow was too cute to pass up.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

My husband and I have an ongoing conversation about how to best school our son when he is ready to start kindergarten next year.  It's not a conversation we've had with too many people in our extended family, yet.  In some cases, it's not a conversation I particularly look forward to.  In a post from So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler she talks about being prepared to explain to our friends and families about our homeschooling decision.  So, in light of that I am going to practice what I would like to say.

Many of the public schools in the city we live has police officers walking the halls.  Mr. Geek and I agree that we don't want our son in that type of environment.  And our finances don't allow for private school, so that leaves homeschooling.  My reasons go deeper than that.  I want my son to do better than I have in a hundred different ways.  

I want him to have a close walk with the Lord from a very young age all the way through his life.  It's not to say that he can't have that same walk if he were in public schools, it's just that it would be harder.  Sometime down the road someone will fill his ears with the lies of this world.  It just should not be while he is a young, impressionable child.  My hope is that when that time does come he will have knowledge of the Bible to back up any lies he may be told.

No, I don't have a degree or teaching credentials.  But according to research homeschooled kids score at least 30% better on standardized tests than their public schooled counterparts.  I find that very reassuring considering I have a high school diploma, but no more.

My Monster is very smart.  He may not be a genius or a gifted learner, but is intelligent for his age.  I want him to not only know what is being taught in the public school systems, but my hope is for him to far surpass it.  I want him to have a love for learning to carry him throughout his whole life.  And I want him to understand what he learns.  This 8th grade exam from a century ago required the students to answer the questions in sentence form.  This ensured the students understood what they were taught.  I remember very few tests from school that weren't true/false or multiple choice.  I knew the material well enough to pass the tests but understanding the material may have been a different story.  That was evident when I took Economics in high school.  I failed all my tests that required long answers, but the tests that were multiple choice I passed.  

I have great respect for public school teachers.  I really do.  They have to teach a classroom full of children, usually around 25 to 30, while maintaining discipline.  But one teacher, or one teacher and an aide, teaching that many children gives little or no room for going back over material that the students may not understand, deviating very much from standard teaching practices, or individual attention to students who may need it.  Add to that the additional requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Common Core standards, while both noble in their intent, make the teachers' job seem impossible and, sadly, the students would be the ones to suffer.   

And, of course, the dreaded question that every homeschool parent gets; socialization.  Which would be better: a child who learns to run with the pack and does whatever he can to fit in? or one who learns to show respect and courtesy to everyone he meets?  Yes, I know this trait can be taught to a child who is public schooled, but I see it more evident in kids who have been homeschooled.  The Homeschool Scientist has a great post on this.

Do you homeschool?  How do you handle inquiring minds?
Deuteronomy 6:6-8
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Taboo Topic

Matthew 19:1-6

King James Version (KJV)
19 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;
And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

The Lord has been prodding me to write about something that I've been avoiding.  Homosexuality.  I have been avoiding this because it is such a hot topic and because I have little or no expertise.

Many people who support gay marriages try to claim that Jesus never said homosexuality is a sin.  I will concede that most people who say this don't understand that Jesus and God the Father are one in the same, or that God wrote the Bible using the hands of willing men and women.  Although Jesus was directly addressing divorce (another sin, by the way) he also covered homosexuality by quoting Genesis 2:24.

In my post We Can Choose to Love? I said if love were not a choice then same-sex relationships would be a myth.  Let me explain this.  If love were not a choice we would always be doing love God's way and God doesn't recognize same-sex marriage.  But since it is a choice we choose who we love and how we love them.

Now I am not saying that we will not find homosexuals in heaven when we get there.  I absolutely do believe there will be some there.  Some people will overcome these temptations but most will struggle their entire lives and never fully overcome.  If a person, regardless of his or her sin, truly and sincerely accepts God's free gift of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and repents of his or her sins that person will be found in heaven.

And to the people who believe God hates gays; you're very, very wrong.  God love all of us.  It is our sins that He hates.  It is because of our sins that the sinless Son of God chose to die for us.  Everyone is capable of repentance, but everyone must choose it for him or herself.

John 3:16
King James Version (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We Can Choose to Love?

Matthew 22:35-40

King James Version (KJV)
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Not long after my husband and I got married I told him that I choose to love him.  I know, that's not very romantic.  But I had allowed myself to be led astray too many times by the feelings that come with new relationships.  By the feelings of excitement and wonder of a new romance.  I had learned not to trust those feelings so I decided that I needed to be much more analytically in choosing my mate.

My husband and I dated in high school for about a year, so I already knew his character when we finally reunited nearly 20 years later.  No, I did not have the fireworks and the swooning and all that other happy horse manure that comes with a new relationship.  I chose to love him.

Love is a verb.  It's a 'doing' word.  Love is less about what you feel and what you get out of it and more about what you do for another.  And love is a choice.  All types of love, not just romantic.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

If love weren't a choice, mothers wouldn't be able to abort their unborn babies.  If love weren't a choice, divorce rates would be almost unheard of.  If love weren't a choice, all types of violent crimes, including domestic abuse, would be nonexistent.  If love were not a choice, same-sex relationships would be a myth.  But love is a choice.

I don't claim to have this all figured out.  I am not always very loving toward my family.  I am often selfish and look out for myself.  I sometimes neglect to show love to my family.  I have been known to walk past someone homeless on the street without choosing to show love.  I'm not writing this just for the reader, but also to remind myself, that I need to choose to do love every day.

God chose to do love for us.  We need to choose to do love for others.

Matthew 25:35-40

King James Version (KJV)
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.