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Monday, December 9, 2013

Spiritual Boredom

Spiritual Boredom

What is spiritual boredom?  Is it a lack of motivation toward spiritual things?  Is it an insulation from any new spiritual input?

Children, often get bored during a sermon–they don’t have the attention span or the intellectual ability to absorb all that is being given them via speech.  However we are told that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Somewhere, between 12 and 18 a child has either begun to absorb or reject the spiritual input they have received whether it be merely doctrine, theology or experiences and observations of the adults they look to as spiritual guides.  (Parents, pastors and teachers).

At some point, some, have an experience that transcends what they have cognitively learned about faith and accepted and entered into a relationship with a person and or an institution (religion).  At the point that some are baptized or confirmed or whatever the “mark” of spiritual understanding is in that particular denomination, some cease to grow.  They have now decided whether to follow or not to follow.  They have identified and believed the “theology” of that particular group.  Indoctrination some may say.

Many, maybe most adults continue to follow the precepts that they have been taught in regard to morality and belief.  They know what they believe.  They may go through a time of individuation or even rebellion in their teens and twenties but then settle into what they have been taught.  It has become their default mechanism when life gets hard, doing what they know to do, were taught to do, what their parents did.  They listen to sermons each week, attend the expected services, go through the somewhat satisfying rituals, but they have ceased to grow.  And then is when the spiritual boredom sets in…they can answer all the answerable questions:  where do we go when we die?  Who was Jesus?  Why do we take communion?  What is the Sabbath?  And they keep their questions and their answers in that box.  Few seek those answers for themselves, there is no need, because they have been “accepted”.  Maybe even memorized–not that it is a bad thing to “hide God’s Word in your heart ” so that  you do not sin.  At some point, they learned NOT to ask those unanswerable questions.  (it makes pastors, teachers and parents angry, nervous, upset or irritated).

When we cease to question, we cease to grow.  When we do not continue to be truth seekers and life long learners we stagnant spiritually and the world is all too alluring in every other field of endeavor to realize that one is drifting…somewhere things moved from relationship to acquiring knowledge–and that knowledge is neatly tied to this one little box called “Baptist, Catholic, Jewish” etc.

Who hasn’t been  found with  mind drifting in many services–as  it is  re-hashed  what has been taught since childhood , as the emphasis is continually on our need for evangelism and not growth.  Questions not thought to be “acceptable” to the educated professional Christian Elder/Teacher/Pastor, have long since been abondoned.  A “what if” is met with a stern rejection or a loving patronization.

Spiritual boredom comes when we quit seeking truth for ourselves, when we hide from true community and intimacy that calls us to a higher place, when we stay locked in our comfortable boxes called “theology, denomination, constitutions” and cease to meet the world and its questions head on.  When we cease to meet with our friend and Savior in the intimate garden, when we cease  to dance in His presence and Sing in HIS sanctuary (wherever that may be).

When we entertain the “traditions of men”, we cease to be impressed by the discernment of the Holy Spirit.
When we ignore the promptings of the Spirit for the sake of sleep, or time pressures, or work pressures, or adrenalin rushes, we are no longer “fulfilled.”.  When our experiences outside the spiritual realm tickle our fleshly longings more than our spiritual longings, we put up a wall between our flesh and our spirit and guess which one wins?.

When the joy is gone and the duty remains, when liturgy replaces divine illumination and personal understanding and interpretations.  Maybe our teaching even told us that these things are too lofty for our meager laity understanding…But then, in a moment, God uses the weak to confound the mighty, He speaks to us in a powerful moment when our religious armor is down and the Spirit can leak through…and we know, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real and the Spirit is alive–even alive within me–when, like the mother with child, the child leaps within our womb and no one may see, but we know.  No one can tell us their is no life, for it is within us…we can’t see it, but we feel it…even if we have been told NOT to rely on our feelings, we know.  We know that we know.  The Spirit is alive and within ME.

We rush back to that place again and again, just to see if He will meet us there again, if that “life” within, is growing, and it will keep growing IF we let it.  And it will, it must give birth…to life, to joy, to deeper understandings and yes, hopefully more questions–Maybe will will see miraculous interventions.  Maybe we can now not just see over and beyond that wall, but the wall is gone and the freedom is emancipating.

Then, the Spirit calls us to a “new meeting place” and new time, or a new understanding.  Our spirit arises to meet The Spirit and we are ALIVE.  Life and death are in the power of the tongue.  We can eat from the tree of “knowledge” (of good and evil) or we can eat from the tree of life.  New fresh fruit every single day.  The fruit from this tree is juicy and sweet and not dried up and “ooops, boring”…

Spiritual Boredom has a cure, but you must SEEK.  Ask.  Seek. Knock. NO MAN COMES UNTO THE FATHER EXCEPT BY ME.  JESUS is The Light The Truth and The Way.  Try to enter by any other  door and you will grow discouraged or spiritually bored.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Letting Go of You Is Letting Go of Me

Possessive love.  We call it protection.  We call it “family”.  Family first you know.  But smother love is stunting love.  Smother love is trying to fill a need that no one can really fill.  My child, grandchild, niece, nephew cannot fill that spot in me that needs to be loved in ways I was not loved.  Way back before they understood love languages, love was a hot meal, a warm bed, maybe a hug and prayers at bedtime.   Over- the-top-blessings were a baseball mitt, maybe dance lessons or horse back riding lessons for the privileged.  No one questioned, “do you  love me?”–it was understood.  Mostly.

Not that abuse never happened, it did.  But that isn’t what we are talking about, we are talking about helicopter  parenting.  I have done it.  I tried not to, but we so much want to protect our children from financial disaster, broken hearts, the big things.  It starts with allowing them to scrape a knee and tell them you will be fine, not “oh you poor baby”.  That’s crippling.  I knew that.  It’s the big boy and big girl hurts that I want to protect them from.  The life threatening hurts, car accidents, bitter break ups, divorce, drugs…I mean these are legitimate concerns for a rational mother or father, right?

In a time of great angst with one of our children, God showed me how Job let things come upon him.  “The thing that I feared has come upon me” is the quote the settled in my heart.  I had let fear drive my interactions with my children.  And where there is fear, there is not faith.  Where there is fear, I cannot be planting confidence and faith.

Legitimately, I ask myself, how do I know if I am walking in true faith or just “repressing” my fear?  Good question.  I know when the fear re-surfaces that it was not handled in biblical faith.  I did not truly trust the issue, or my child to the ONLY one who knows and does what is best for him.

When I kept them from “evil” people I may have even kept them from a life lesson that would protect them later down the road in life.

I watch the grown children of what I would have called “neglectful” parents thrive in life.  They have learned skills because no one stepped in and protected them from it.

From the moment of birth I gave my children to God–and yet I have gotten in His way more than a few times.  I thought I knew best.  I was, afterall, the parent, the responsible one, the protector.

But the day comes, and hopefully before their wedding day, that I must say,” I let go of you, I entrust you to the ONE triune God.  I don’t expect anything from you.  I don’t expect you to fullfill my need to be loved or rewarded for being such a good parent.  I planted seeds, I watered, and now, like the farmer, I trust God to bring the sunshine and the rain into your life to create the perfect harvest.”

So,” I let go of you.”  But, I also let go of me, all my “hopes”, my dreams and expectations, my demands, my “at least for Christmas, father’s day, mother’s day…”  At last, as every mother painfully lets go of that umbilical cord, I release you to be the men God called you to be.  I release you…and I trust my latter years to God–I am letting go of me, too.  His will, His way.  Amen.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bullies in the Church?

For over twenty-five years, I filled the role as “Pastor’s Wife”.  Now, that means different things in different circles.  But for me, in rural congregations it meant being “mom” to everyone.  Though the highest preference is for the Pastor’s wife to play the piano, I didn’t fit that role at all. The ultimate guise of caring was praying what they thought my husband, the Pastor should do or should do differently  in my ear shot.  Who can have any retort to someone’s prayer?

The other way that we experienced “bullying in the church” was S.S. teachers who regularly would tell us everything our son did wrong…”and he was a “Pastor’s son” was said with such incredulity we couldn’t resist.  (Although looking back we sure should have).  They were normal boys.  They were not mini-Pastors reaching for perfection and mature in the faith.

We were bullied by pay checks that barely met our needs.  Often, we were slightly above the poverty line, although God was well aware and supplied for us in so many ways and through some very generous, loving and considerate people.

We were sometimes spied on–sometimes deliberately and sometimes not, but none-the-less we were in that glass house 24/7, in town, out of town, at the grocery store and even in our bed on Saturday a.m. if we weren’t up and about at the crack of dawn.  Never mind that we had been called out at 2:00 a.m. with an emergency.

There were those who competed for the attention of the Pastor’s wife, like siblings looking for Mom’s attention. There were those who worked to slither their way into our private lives to get closer to the Pastor-with a variety of motivations.

Why would I bother writing about these things?  Because they hurt.  They hurt our family.  They hurt my children.  I had such an innocent, pure love for people when we entered the ministry, but I grew cold and synnical.  And with that, I have grown wise.Thank you Lord.  I see the bullies coming, and I don’t have to give them time or attention unless the Lord himself tells me to help this person overcome by the Power of HIS Spirit.  Otherwise, they are tools to derail my calling, my time and my emotional well being.

Why would I write about such things?  Because I am warning the young, innocent Pastor’s wives, to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  Be alert.  Be on your guard, for your enemy is prowling…and YOU have the tools to overcome by the Spirit.

Bullies in the church?  Oh yes.  But God is preparing HIS church to be filled with HIS glory more and more each day.  We will come to that place through HIS Spirit, through overcoming prayer.  And the bride will meet her groom without spot or wrinkle–that includes, Pastors’ wives, Pastors, their children and every other true saint.  Amen.  Hallelujah!

Veterans Day 2013.

How my views have changed since I was a young adult.  As a child of the 60’s and 70’s I was strongly against the Viet Nam war, and I had studied WWI and WWII–I saw only unwise men causing bloodshed on others.  I saw the word of God saying “Thou Shalt Not Kill”…War was killing and killing was sin.

But, then I had children.  Now, I could not EVER see one of my sons going off to fight a foreign war, being maimed for life for the greed of men.  It was WRONG, and there was no discussion.

Now, I am a grandmother and I do not want to see war.  But, I respect the men who will defend my grandchildren, my land, my heritage.  And one of those soldiers is a son of mine.  I raised him to not even play with guns.  I envisioned him as a spiritual leader and had confidence in the “word” God had given me concerning this.  But, then God changed my thinking.  David, a mighty warrior was a man of God.  God had “called” David to be a warrior from a child.  I was standing in the way of God’s purpose for my eldest son.
Did I know God well enough to trust Him with my first born son?  Could I relinquish control?  Hadn’t I given this son to the Lord before his birth and prayed for God’s purposes for his life the moment he was born?

The “word” I had received of the Lord was that my sons were to be “leaders of men”…and I reluctantly had to admit that leading men in the military was still leading men.  And where did we need more men of strength and integrity than in a place that formed the souls, character and strength of men?  I let go.

It wasn’t long and my son became Chief, a Commander in the USCG.  And for such a time as this when the military want to leave “so help me God” out of their oath.  As has been stated before by men of great sacrifice, strength, perseverance and maybe a little rough around the edges, “there are not atheists in fox holes”…

The silly wars men fight cannot be won with our ideology, but men of strength can imbody our ideology.  They can be influencers.  They can stand strong when forces beyond us threaten–not just wars but tsunami’s and typhoons and hurricane, disasters that signal the end of this earth.  Messiah is returning and he will bring us a new heaven and a new earth–this one was never made to last.  And these end time warriors are the David’s of our generation.  I thank them.  I respect them.  I pray for them.

And, if you are smart, you will at least take a second look at your ideology and ask the God of the Universe if He needs to tweak your thinking–He did mine.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Government Shut Down

Follow the yellow brick road, oh my.  Where are we going tin man?

“Well, I think we are headed in the right direction.  The Federal Government has shut down all non-essential jobs.”

So, if they are non-essential, that means we can do without them.  Right?  If we treasure the constitution, couldn’t we just have real people meeting on a regular/ yearly basis to address “essential” needs of the government and leave the rest to local governments?  Do we want big brother feeding us, giving us medicine, deciding how much tax we owe “them”?  Do they really qualify for more than the 10% God requires?

We love our museums and parks.  But, originally, they were run by “volunteers”.  Our roads do interconnect us and are worthy of our tax dollars.  The truth of the matter is that we have not really cut down to “essential” needs yet.

On the other hand, I personally have benefitted by Social Security caring for my parents, Medicare taking care of my fatherless nephews and neice, my hippie brother and one son being paid by the military.  It has made life easier, for me.  We are no longer an agregarian society, so how do we feed and clothe extended family?  If my brother has the necessities of life unmet, would it not be my duty to try to meet that need?  Can I really pass it off to the government?

And what about the churches?  What responsibility does the church have to meet the needs of those within its congregations?  So the churched are fed and cared for and the non-working, druggies are not.  Fair?  Oh, my goodness, how immature are we when fairness comes up constantly–who ever said life is fairl.  However, these un-churched druggie types have children and as a society, we owe those children respect.  And what if the druggies is your brother, neice or parent?  Is this not an illness of our society that needs to be addressed?  And what makes us think the governent is equipped to address it just because we throw them money?  They inflate the salaries of those who care for the weak among us and the weak are not helped.

Furthermore, we pay to abort those babies that are not wanted–hoping to save ourselves a few bucks.  Is that murder or is that compassion?  Many would debate this issue, as well.We have become consumed with “me” and anything other than “me” is for someone else to take care of, so we pay the government and the job does not get done. So why do we keep on paying them?  They cry for more more more money to do the job.  The job is ours.  The missing element is God, not money.

Americans are over-compassionate. We pay for the disabled, the non-working, the mentally ill, the illegal alien, the prisoners, the largest group of blood suckers:  Full time politicians–with their jacked up expense accounts and travel reimbursements, seminars, retreats and the alcohol they seem to need.

Essential services.  What are the essential services?  Our military, our veterans, our aged, our children, our roads…Food inspectors?

More irony.  We continue to pay these politicians when the government is shut down, we continue to pay them for the rest of their lives…Service, duty, sacrifice has gone from all our vocabularies.  And “In God We Trust” has been replaced by in money we trust and it has short changed us.

Can we call for a national day of repentance?  Or, not yet?  Are we desperate enough, yet, to turn to the only one that can help us?  Or will we continue to rely on our own selfish ambitions, man-made plans and ideologies, theories and move to despotism?

Cry out people.  Repent.  It is an old message but the only hope of our salvation, individually or as  nation.

Amen.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

“Helping Others Overcome Addictions”-Book Review

“Addiction is Satan’s substitute.  It is a substitute for intimacy.  ”  Says Steve McVery and Mike Quarles in “Helping Others Overcome Addictions”.  “Lies keep people in bondage”.  We believe lies that are implanted in us in times of innocence.  What does a child say to themselves when Daddy misses one too many ball games?  (Perhaps, Daddy doesn’t care) Then later, a teacher or Pastor disappoints, a girlfriend breaks up with him and all these events get added to that “seedling” and now become “no one cares”…an innocent life event becomes the seed for hopelessness.  People fill their voids with substitute intimacies…even church addictions and performance orientations explains priests and Pastors who become alcoholic, because performance doesn’t fill that empty spot, only relationship can.  Not doctrine.

It is so important for caring, wise adults to help children process life experiences through a healthy lens or the child may let a hurtful seed root in their lives that becomes a stronghold in their lives.

Why has the church relinquished “addiction” counseling to the unbelieving world/secular world?  Because the church has become powerless, rich in theology, traditions and programs but lacking “the power” that can only be given by healthy, intimate relationships with the ONE who can lead, guide and direct.

Too many “Christians” have misunderstand the role of Messiah, the Church and Christianity in their lives and thus swallowed a “lie” that harms them.  So, this book is a call BACK to THE ONE, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE…no man comes to the Father but by Him and no one climbs out of addictions but by Him.

Secular re-hab groups succeed when they follow and implement biblical truths, but their success are few and far between, as well, because it is a 10 Step program, or a 6 month in house re-hab, it is replacing lies with the truth through THE ONE.  It is dying to self and giving ones life to The ONE who died for each of us and had victory over sin, so that, we too, might have victory.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Review: “The Great Exchange-Replacing Lies with Experiential Truth”

“The Great Exchange -Replacing Lies with Experiential Truth” by Lillian M.  Easterly-Smith is a consolodated study for individuals seeking inner healing.  All her premise is taken from Ed Smith, founder of Theophostic Prayer Ministry.

My husband and I have been doing prayer ministry for over ten years.  We  have seen God give amazing freedom to lives that were ready to accept His truth.  Some are not yet ready.  Some have been disuaded by online fear mongers and legalists saying it is not biblical. As is often the case, some even use scripture to “justify” thier stance.  Too often, I have seen Christians that misunderstand a biblical principal use it to defend their sin, explain their behavior and justify the lie that they are believing.

HOW do we renew our mind?  Romans 8-12 is the very foundation of prayer ministry and inner healing.  Past experiences CAN serve as blocks and stongholds to you and I getting free from destructive patterns that affect our lives, our jobs, our relationships, our patterns of thinking that produce bad fruit.

At least give “The Great Exchange” an honest look.  Use it for devotions, or in a small group. Ask God to open up the areas of your life you may have closed off from even Him.

Church history reveals old fashioned revivals, an old term, called praying through, altar calls, but we have grown too sophosticated for God to work in those ways.  Prayer Ministry, Inner Healing, Theophsotic prayer are tools God is using in this day and age to set people free.

“A place where we come just as we are without feeling the need to get all gussied up beforehand.” could be the theme of Lysa Terkeurst’s book for women, “Unglued”.  In an almost uncomfortable honesty, Lysa reaveals the “real” in herself in the most vulnerable vignette’s of her own personal life.  Which by the way, is strangely similar to many hard working, honest, PTO-church-pbj Moms in this era.

Applying scripture she reminds us of what can be and what could be choices toward victorious living, but NOT in the 50’s style Christian Woman’s Speaker of the “shall’s and should’s and good mothering uunbelieveablity.  Lysa’s honesty will catch you off guard and able to hear the real message that God is not asking for perfect clones, but unique transformed  women of grace, living in grace and offering that same grace to others.

In this book, you will discover how to balance the stuffing and the exploding of your life in all circumstances.  All it’s a biblical word, and it can also be real.  Enjoy!  It’s worth the read.

And yes, Lysa, I am just a tad bit jealous.  You are probably twenty years my Jr. but in my “must-be’the-perfect-mother-wife-Pastor’s wife mode, I had to wait 40 years before I pursued any dream of writing…a blog.  And I needed help to do that.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Disgraceful Words

Paula Deen’s use of the N____ word definitely was disgraceful.   To say so,  is one of the political correct stances of the era.  But what about other disgraceful words like neglect, or the abandonment of the word and meaning of neighbor?

What about the word greed?  That single attitude has brought down corporate America with its co-offenders disloyalty, disrespect, divorce, perversion…shall I go on?

So why do we single out this ONE word?  Maybe because its history of abuse has lingered in our culture for far too long and maybe because its sin is the root to alot of the others.

I introduced  my grandchildren to a history series on “America’s Godly Heritage” to which my daughter in law promptly let me know America was not a Godly nation and is not currently a Godly nation, but rather a nation of gods.  Perspective?  “The heart is desperately wicked above all things, who can tame it?”

Perhaps we used to have the illusion of Christianity and morals, and now every sin has come to the surface for this generation to deal with in truth.  Maybe God has allowed the sins to surface, come out of the closet so that they can be dealt with and healed.  To be dealt with in Judgement or Grace as the attitude and intent warrant.  He is the Almighty Judge.

I do want to make the statement that sin is sin whether overt or covert and God will deal with it.  We have spent a lot of years teaching on God’s Amazing Love and Grace and that is so true, but we have not balanced that with God’s judgement.  There must be both for balance.

So whether I think the N____word or secretly hate my neighbor, is of little import.  The God of all truth, the God who is LOVE will judge accordingly.

My suggestion is that we forgive Paula Deen and her heritage that allowed that seed to sprout in her in 2013.  She has repented in word (her intent only God can judge) she has paid her “fine” so to speak and now let’s all move forward.  Let’s work toward ONE nation under ONE God.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Called to Be An Intercessor?

Called to Be An Intercessor?
Becoming an intercessor, is not something you DO, it is something you are.– Though it does come from time spent with the Savior. Something we become through practice, relationship and diligence.
You may have been born with a bent towards caring for others, or it has been successfully modeled for you, but a “true” intercessor is called. Every believer is called to “bear one another’s burdens”. Just as every believer is interested in evangelism, but not all are evangelists. Perhaps, you were born into a family that needed you to “bear their burdens”…sometimes children bear burdens that should be reserved for adults but then it becomes a life-pattern. That is NOT of the Lord, that is flesh that hinders growth and development of YOUR individual personality.
An intercessor accepts only God-led burdens.
An intercessor is molded through deep pain, and deep intimacy with the Savior.
It “may” require a level of discipline. But it also “may” require a level of flexibility. Can you come along side those who weep? Can you hear the Savior when He awakens you in the night? Has He revealed to you secrets of His heart?
He may give you a level of discernment or a prophetic inclination. Usually, a “seasoned” prayer warrior is a bit more mature—not in chronological days but in ministry days, in spiritual days or years.
Have you ever been with a seasoned saint that seems to know what you are thinking before you say it? You feel drawn to that person—it is Christ in them the hope of Glory. It is as the “glow” that Moses had after being on the mountain with God. No amount of education, position, or man-ordained authority can replace the anointing that comes from intimacy with the Lord.
Usually, you will not find an intercessor on the platform, but in an unseen position, seeking ONLY the Savior. They do not seek the accolades of men. They have learned to meld the knowledge of His Word and the Anointing of the Holy Spirit as channeled through their emptied flesh. “Christ in me the hope of Glory”.
They practice prayer as in older days referred to as “praying through”. God will place a “burden” upon you. He reveals to you one who needs His encouragement of inner healing or possibly physical healing or direction. It is a discipline, but it is also a feeling, a heightened awareness, not just a name on a prayer list a “should pray” kind of discipline (though there is room for that too). First, the intercessor listens and waits for the Father’s heart concerning this person, concerning their real need. There may be a marriage breaking up, that is of utmost concern to God and to the Body of Christ. But, the “real” issue is a deep heart-issue that God will reveal to the intercessor to break a stronghold, or to heal a learned pattern of thinking or behavior. Some intercessors receive “pictures” from the Lord of what can be or should be or is. Some receive a“knowing”. What God reveals in secret, is to be kept in secret. It is an intimacy with the Savior alone. But it is for the benefit of another or The Body. If you only feel heaviness that does not lift in prayer, then you, personally are carrying that burden IN your flesh and have not yet released it to the Savior—which is the whole point of intercessory prayer.
Some have taught that there is no new revelation, that we were given the Word, period. They forget that we were also given the Holy Spirit to be our Guide, in unity, compatibility with HIM, The Intercessor. We become intercessors. We take the burden beyond the veil into the Holy of Holies. Not everyone knows how to go there for themselves. The burden is there, released.
Meditation is a learned practice that yields fruit in the prayer closet of the intercessor. When we meditate on the Word, when we actually PRAY God’s Word back to Him, allowing it to flow from hours of rich conversations with the Lord, it pours forth into the prayer need, into the needy one via what I will call prayer waves.
The intercessor is a channel. We must be emptied of self, and none of us do that perfectly. None of us do that consistently. That is why it is such a gift when we experience that power, whether it is momentarily or over a prolonged period of prayer and fasting—eventually, we must come off that mountain. Eventually our flesh kicks back in—but we long for, ache for, reach for that one more moment of ecstasy with our Savior. As Paul said, “whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know”…a mystery to be discovered.
And just a word on fasting. It is biblical. There are different kinds of fasting. Some fast food and pray, some fast media or pull away from the crowds. It is doing whatever YOU need to do to hear the Father’s voice, to hear HIS heart beat and understand His Word. There is effort and sacrifice involved, but it is not a practice that is out there for some more-Holy-than-the-rest-of-us-saints. He has already appropriated HIS POWER to us.
I Thes. 2:13
“ And we also [especially] thank God continually for this, that when you received the message of God [which you heard] from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the Word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its super-human power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it].”
How do we get “the power”? Remember Simeon the sorcerer offered to pay Peter for “the gift”? It is not for sale. Most gifts aren’t.
Position? I have been in places where the power of God fell upon me in a physical fashion so powerfully, I could not do anything but bend. Some lay prostrate on the floor. Some raise their hands to God in praise. Some kneel. Some pour forth tears not of themselves. We prideful American’s like to stay in our tidy pews in restrained and dignified positions. We await the Pastor to issue his decree to stand or sit…and our services never get out-of-control. That is the crux of the issue, who IS in control? Who are you willing to let be in control? It’s a good thing to follow the Pastor’s suggestions, it is good training to heed the Holy Spirit’s suggestions. The issue is are you willing, are you able to REACH for Him whatever it takes? Have you ever been desperate for God, hungering for God enough to do whatever He asks? When you are, then you can share that with others. Until then, you are just standing out in the spiritual lobby.

The Holy of Holies is a private place, where the Bridegroom meets his Bride with total abandon.

List of Presidential religious affiliations (by religion)

Baptist
Congregationalist
Disciples of Christ
Dutch Reformed
Episcopalian
Methodist
Presbyterian
Quaker
Roman Catholic
Unitarian
United Church of Christ

Note that the 1957 merger which formed the U.C.C. included the Congregational Christian Churches.

No denominational affiliation

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Check It Out: Public Homeschool and Private School Options

Public Private or Homeschool?

There are many aspects of education to consider  Children have varying needs, giftings and educational styles.  There are parental needs, including finance, time and work pressures, morality, locality and transportation issues.  There are many options.

What is good for one child might be disasterous for another.  As a young Mom I would have said the mother knows her child best.  As a Grandmother, I can see that the “grand” ( ie.  age, experience, hindsight and wisdom)  in some of us  might suggest::   “ask some elders for their opinions, too.”  Mothers, naturally want to protect, and that is more needed now than in recent American history.  But, I see many over-shielded children, I see many parents passing on their immaturity, fears and hang-ups to their children.  (Don’t we all?)

Often, I see fathers not involved enough in the decisions.  “Mom, step away from the child”.  If he is weaned, then give Dad some credibility.  Chidren need BOTH parents to be involved and co-operating with each other for the beneift of the child.

There are good  homeschool mothers as teachers  and good  public school teachers.  There are good teachers and there are not so good teachers and far too many dangerous teachers within all systems of education.

My husband was principal in a private school, taught in public schools and private college.  We have seen abuses and we have seen excellence in all varieties of education.  We had three sons.  The first son,  had public and  private-Christian education in elementary and college.  He had a verbally abusive first grade teacher, we should have pulled him immediately but we were young and endoctrinated in the public system ourselves at the time.   The second had private Christian education ( he completed 1st grade before age 5 then had to re-take Kindergarden at the public school.  We provided a  few home school classes when we did not approve of curriculum and the Superintendent of Schools in the public school approved the curriculum saying is was far superior to what they were doing.  He attended both Christian and public college.  He graduated with honors.  Our  third  son was  home schooled, attended  private school, public school and then Private Christian College.  They are all good men.  They have all struggled at times and succeeded at times.  They have all had to make adjustments that made them stronger, better men.  We kept our vow to God to give them the best opportunities of church and school that we were able.

For parents struggling and wrestling with the decisions for each of their own children currently, I just want to say to them to make their decisions prayerfully.  Consider the options that will best meet the need of the child within the parameters that God has given.  Ask for Godly, wise advise.  Do your homework. Check out all your options.  Tour the schools in your area, ask about the home school group in your community, see what materials the library and homeschool community might offer.  Visit the Christian school and the public school consider YOUR child’s needs.  Know your child’s learning style, temperment and weaknesses.  Meeting with  your own peers is a good support system, but do not JUST listen to those in your own age group, seek out wise, older people for their insight.  Ask a Sunday School teacher what they see in your child, sometimes Moms are too close to really see the big picture.  Ask Grandma, her desire is to see the children prosper, she is not attacking your parenting style ( well probably not).

Consider your goals for your child.  Consider your own world view.  Can my child learn the skills necessary to excell in the world’s system and still remain a person of strength, integrity and humanity?

What is good for one of your children, might not be the best for another of your children.  Parent confidently.  If God is for you, who can be against you?  “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  The Word is truth.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so keep first things first, personal integirty might be a higher priority than winning a spelling bee or accepting a sports trophy at any particular time.

Whatever you decide for your children, seek Godly mentors.  Make life skills a priority,   “study to show yourself approved, a workman that needs not to be ashamed.”

We are seeing all too clearly men that have ample experience, impressive credentials from prestigious universities make horryfying choices regarding person morality and integrity.  We cannot continue to  educate the mind and neglect the nuturing and guidance of the heart.  The Word of God teaches that “the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things,   who can tame it?”  As a nation, as parents we must consider this and act in accordance with Godly principles.

It is important to protect children.  But, ultimately, we need not protect them from the world as much as prepare them to STAND STRONG in it.  How do we teach a child to “Dare to be a Daniel?”  Very Carefully.
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Trust God to guide you.  Do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways and for those of your child, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Who Thinks This Way?

Who Thinks like that?

I am a liar.  I am sure I was born a liar, because when I was very small I remember thinking, I am a liar.  So, I must have been born that way, no one ever told me I was a liar.  Throughout Jr. High school I continued to investigate the lying lifestyle with mixed responses, most not so good.  I found a few other teens who were also liars, but  for the most part, I was ostracized, put down, made fun of and generally unaccepted by kids and teachers.

My parents were supportive, in fact, I think they were liars too. We changed churches because they openly berated liars from the pulpit.  They treated me with disdain.  I just wanted to be loved like anyone else wanted to be loved.  So, we joined a church where others not only supported, but applauded my lifestyle.  Our Pastor was a kind, compassionate man, and he too, was a liar, though he rarely admitted it publically.

I went to several schools, but in time, I was rejected there too.  It hurt deeply not to be accepted and loved for who I was.  I had no intention of changing, how does someone change something like that?.  I was born a liar.  In most segments of society, lying is practiced even if it is not embraced, and few people ever come out of the closet with the truth, because that would be inconsistent with who we are at our core.

Sound ridiculous?  Well, that is what the gay agenda is promoting.  Accept me, accept my sin.  I was born this way, it is part of my dna.  Yes, sin is part of all our DNA,  but Jesus came with a remedy for sin.

This thinking is right in that we are all born sinners.  We all want and need love.  But we somewhere have a disconnect with love and acceptance.  It is not a Christian cliche’ to say, “love the sinner, hate the sin”.  We all need to navigate this path.  People need love.  Liars, Murderers, cheaters, adultresses, alcoholics…NO PROBLEM.  You were created for God’s good pleasure, not your own.

In my 52 years of being a Christian I have never heard anyone say, I am a sinner, liar, gossip, murderer, manipulator and I intend to stay that way, live that way and get to heaven that way.  I have heard Christians say, I am a Christian, my sins are forgiven, yet I still struggle with alcohol, drugs, lying, but by God’s grace He is changing me every day.  He is conforming me to His likeness.  He is redeeming my soul from the grave, death, sin and every evil thing.

I have no problem loving a gay person.  I  do have a problem when someone says, I am gay and I fully expect to stay that way.  I don’t want God to change me and redeem me.  I am comfortable with my sin.I want you to be comfortable with my sin.    I also think I deserve to lead others in the path of unrighteousness.  It is no different than the Agnostic or Atheist that clings tenaciously to their misguided beliefs.  You are entitled to your beliefs, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept them and it doesn’t mean that you are right.

There’s another un-tolerated idea.  Right.  Wrong.  Who is to say what is wrong?  The Ten Commandments must only be suggestions.  I am my own God, I will decided what is truth and what is not.  Hmm.

Civilization has come to this eroded standard of ethics before, and those societies no longer exist.  Why would that be?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Review for “The Emotionally Absent Mother” by Jasmine Lee Cori, MS, LPC

Mother as the Tree of Life was my first obstacle to wading through the psycho-babble of mother issues.  Though, as a Christian, I see Jesus/Yashua as the ONLY tree of LIfe, which began before the Garden, I continued to read.
Weekly I deal with wounded women who have had mother issues, trauma in childhood which transfers to being a wounded wife or wounding mother with “fruit” that does not come from the “true” Tree of Life as God intended.  I want to know all that I can, to help bring hurting people to a place of peace and healing.  So, I read on.
As I waded in deeper and deeper I saw there was much wisdom to be gleaned.   Cori’s objectives were to help individuals assess to what extent they were undermothered.  To help people see the connection between   the mothering they experienced as children and their present difficulties in life, and to provide for how the missing elements in mothering can be made up for through therapy, close relationships and by providing them for ourselves.
Though Ms. Cori is very knowledgeable, and offers much wisdom, what is missing is the spiritual implications of “healing ourselves”…Jesus is THE Healer.  Unfortunately, the church has brought us Jesus as Scholar which often does not meet the deep down wounded child inside many of us.  But it is available.  Perhaps, I need to write a book about the healing and progress I have seen in lives when they meet THE HEALER in a personal way.
I liked Ms. Cori’s emphasis on journaling as a self help measure.  That is very biblical, we have the whole book of Psalms, where David modeled for us his journal and dialog with God–his hurts and his healings.  Ms. Cori speaks of reprogramming the brain.  Again, this is not the invention of psychology.  In Romans 12 we are told to renew our minds.–We must have the help of THE Teacher/Healer/Shepherd to do this.  Ms. Cori could not be more right on by the idea of a lack of mentoring.  Where are the mentors, church??  Jesus spent three years with 12 men, mentoring them in the skills of powered living.
So, I guardedly can recommend this book to Christian counselors and healers–keeping in mind from where our strength comes from–our ONLY Source:  Yashua, Savior and Healer.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28, 2013

We all like our “hope” all nice and beautifully gift-wrapped with a Christian bow on top.  Right?  Redeemed, happy-ever-after Christian packages-all American Hallmark style.  Right?

Sometimes, though, hope is ragged.-And that is what author Cynthia Ruchti writes about in “Ragged Hope”.    Sometimes, divorce is final, an injury is unhealed, a dream is lost, or better yet, exchanged for a new package, a ragged looking package called VICTORY.  Any competent competitor knows the victory is worth the fight.  It costs.   A little or a lot.  It cost Messiah everything, but VICTORY is possible and it can be yours.

As you read these real life stories, you will begin to see a Christian reality.  VICTORY is yours for the taking.  Your battle is yours, it may be unique and gut-wrenching but  the VICTORY is not only available, it is guaranteed as each individual story will reveal to your heart.  Open the book.  Open your heart and let the Ragged Redemption be Revealed.  Amen.

Book Review for “Ragged Hope-Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices” by Cynthia Ruchti, review by Linda Lee in Grandma Duncan’s Doodles.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Light Shines on in the Darkness

The Light Shines on in the Darkness

By  Linda Lee
John 1:5b”..for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it our or absorbed it or appropriated it…” and then verse 9 goes on to say, ” “There it was-the true Light (was then) coming into the world [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] that illumines every person.”
 
 
So, the Boston Marathon was bombed this week by an extremist MIT Student from Chechnia using pressure cookers.  Shall we know require background checks on every person buying a pressure cooker?  A fertilizer plant was bomb–or exploded they tell us.  The vile world has come to America.  From within and from without there is pressure.
Our President, chastises the House and Senate because they not not follow his edict of King Obama but leaned toward the deomcratic system of this Republic,.  His fierce anger showed his true colors.  Other presidents had enough honor and respect for our form of government to say, “the people have spoken, the problem is, the people are not speaking.  The people have their noses in their media delights.
We grieve immensely with the parents of the Sandy Hook slayings-of their young children-but we cannot control such evil acts if each person, each family, each neighborhood does not regard the sanctity of life.
Have we entered into what the Bible tells us are the end times?  Brother against brother. Signs in the sun,  moon and stars.  Evil, famine, earthquakes, destruction:  Men exchange “natural” relations for unatural?
–And the church is strangely silent-because pople will not tolerate sound doctrine.  Everyone has their own  truth-they have a “right to it”.  There is disrespect for authority because authority figures have earned no place in the eyes of our youth.
Christians are martyered every day all over the owrld.  Here in America it is now only social and financial persecution–so far.
We have been silenced by our fear of men.  We have been lulled to sleep by the melodies of materialism and tolerance.  We have accepted a “nice” gospel rather than a radical-love, dangerous and bold gospel.
Where are the Peter’s and the Paul’s and the Deborah’s?  Where the the radical lovers like John or the martyrs?  What are we willing to sacrifice for the lamb that was slain then VICTORIOUSLY overcame death for our peace, life and freedom?
Still we have patriots, American soldiers laying down their lives in countries that do not accept or appreciate them for the freedom of those who have been oppressed-and we cut their budgets, we put them at greater risk, while Congress pads their wallets.
We sensationalize criminals on t.v. each night, while valiant, humble God-representing men like George Beverly Shea are over-looked for a life time of making a difference.
This week, the commentators speaking of the young Islamist killed by police in Boston, said that people were “surprised”-he went to good schools, he was well-dressed, his brother was well liked-  Oh, my, is that how we judge goodness in the America?  Our brand names define our reputations?
LORD HAVE MERCY!
 
Will anyone in this generation listen?  Have even my own children been formed by the “patterns of this world?”  T.V.  Designer clothes, cars, popular trends, nice-ness, and forgotten that there is absolute truth?
God, give my grandchildren discernment.  Show us how to teach them.  How to look into the eyes of a person and see light or darkness-to recognize the difference between truth and error.  Give us
Light
Truth
Courage
Discernment
Power from On High
to overcome the darkness with YOU-THE LIGHT.
Give us a faith that trandlates to the generations.  May those who come behind us find us faithful.
 
I Thes.  5:11 & 14 “Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up one another, just as you are doing. …encourage the timid and fainthearted, help and give support to the weak souls, [and] be very patient with everybody [always keeping your temper]

Monday, April 1, 2013

Today, my thoughts are on children.  Jesus loved them.  Our society does not.  We kill the unborn and toss them away–or maybe market their embryonic cord, salvage the placenta for “adult” treatements.  We deny them the basic of all truth in our public schools:  The Bible.  We inject them with vaccines and steroids and aderall and fill them with empty calories of un-wholesome foods.  Even the conscientious Moms using energy drinks and health smoothies on the run are side stepping the fiber and other needed beneifts of a family meal at a family table. Jesus modeled that too.

Moms and Dads are so busy making a living, adding to or trying to recoop their portfolio that there is little time to hear what a child is thinking or feeling.  Our children learn to talk, but do they learn to think?

You don’t hear much about it these days, even in evangelical churches, but we have accepted the mark of the Beast…some think it is some 666 tatoo, and one day that may be, but really it is accepting the delusion, the spirit of this age, the deception of this world, by conforming to the standards of “the world” rather than the standards of God.

God’s dietary laws were given for our health.
His sexual laws were also given for our physical and emotional health and that of our pro-created families.
Gods laws for family, business, ethics, all are guidelines for a beneficial growth environment.

So, we accept the demonic (oh, that’s a strong word, some might say)  world system.  Remember, Jesus told his disciples, to live IN the world but not OF the world.  We don’t even comprehend what that means as we are locked into our March Madness Sports brackets, our tanning times, golf dates, school competitions, and home improvement projects.  Demonic?  Is it of God?  What does God say?  Have we chosen the “better” part?  Have we chosen the heavenly minded as opposed to the earth bound? And HOW is that affecting our children?

Do we pay attention to our daily bread?  I mean our spiritual sustenance??

Why the auto immunie diseases?  Why the autism? And ADHD?  Why disintegrating famlies?  Why the societial shift to accept homosexual lifestyles as merely an alternative?

And what about the children?  Oh, LORD God, Jehovah, Yashua, protect the children.  Bless the families of those who diligently seek you.  Amen.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Book review: “The Panoramic Seer”

“The Panoramic Seer-Bringing the Prophetic into the Healing Anointing” by James Maloney is a very balanced approach to a topic many Evangelicals have been afraid to look at honestly and biblically.

In a recent article, an African Pastor was criticizing the American Church for losing its power.  It has become a huge eunuch, large but incapable of reproducing.  Why?  Because they have lost the power.

We have let the professional churchman and the professional statesman (though I hesitate to use that term with today’s politicians) lull us into accepting an academic Christianity, or shall I, once again use the term churchianity, because the model that is followed is the model of heirarchal church of programs and traditions exempting the church model of the book of Acts.

We have been lullyabyed into accepting a “nice” Christianity, tolerant of everyone and everything, a “nice” Jesus that gets angry at no one, not even the money changers in the temple.

Jesus modeled for us where his strength came from, and ours should be, as well.  In the garden, on our knees, away from the crowds, alone.  Yes, usually alone.  Although we do have the example of the disciples in the upper room “waiting on the Lord”…waiting for the power, the anointing to come upon them.  He who would be the greatest, must serve.  He who is weakest will become strong.  Credentials?  Few disciples had them.

James Maloney give us experiences and clues to releasing the prophetic gifting: inheritance, humility, compassion, righteousness and faith, subjects rarely discussed in discipleship today.  He talks about the secret place.  Though we receive power in that secret place, we  can only go there by letting go of all that we are, or think we are. We can only go there on our knees, not in our credentialed bonnets.

Maloney helps us discern that Jesus is not in the girations of  “agitated frenzy” activity that some groups hope will manifest the Spirit…”In reality it is a catharsis that caters to the flesh.”  Because the gift of discernment has not been in operation in many evangelical circles, the operation of the Spirit was quenched in the corporate church setting in an effort to control those ‘agitated frenzies’ not of the Lord.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Prayer about Things We Cannot Change” — Daily Heartlight for 01/25/2013
Written by Rubel Shelly
Many things about your life boil down to the hand you have been dealt. You can’t change the fact that you were born in that place and
with certain givens for your appearance, IQ, or physical skills. Education and training can open some doors for you, but they cannot
change your past, make you taller and more athletic, or alter the fact that some people are unfair in the way they treat you.
In spite of the fact that most of our life circumstances are beyond our control, we are all still tempted to fret and complain about things
that cannot be changed. Of course they cause distress. They certainly put us at a disadvantage in certain contexts. They mustn’t be
allowed to define or defeat us.
The people who do best with life move beyond the temptation to whine and feel sorry for themselves. They face their disappointments
and move beyond them. They acknowledge life’s bad breaks and look for ways to turn them into growth moments. They work from a
half-full rather than half-empty glass mindset.
These people have a different attitude than the defeatist and whiner. They have found a way to make lemonade from their lemons.
There is a section in John Baillie’s “A Diary of Private Prayer” that reads…
Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather
than the fruits of sin.
Let me use disappointment as material for patience;
Let me use success as material for thankfulness;
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;
Let me use danger as material for courage;
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering;
Let me use praise as material for humility;
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance;
Let me use pains as material for endurance.
When a given day begins, countless things are headed your way over which you have no control. It may be bad weather or someone’s bad temper, a
deadline that won’t budge or a client equally resistant to change. The one factor you can control through it all is your attitude toward them.
Your attitude today will make all the difference in everything that matters.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s
right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory (Colossians 3:1-4 NLT).
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Rubel Shelly preached for the Woodmont Hills Church in Nashville for thirty years.

Near to the Heart by Linda Lee

Near to the Heart
By Linda Lee Duncan
September 21, 2011
Props: One Rocking Chair
Costumes: One white robe or white clothes
Characters:
Dad: White-Clothed Gentle Father
Little Girl: 10 year old little girl
Group: 10-15 kids 5-10 years old
Scene I
10 Kids: Loudly Thunder from stage left to stage right, pushing, yelling, shoving, teasing each other.
Little Girl: Following the crowd she sees her Daddy out of the corner of her eye—she turns back to kiss him on the cheek. Starts to run and rejoin the group, but Daddy gently holds her hand. She turns toward him.
Dad: Gently pulls his daughter toward him with both hands now.
Little Girl: She sits on Daddy’s lap a moment then starts to get down.
Dad: Gently, but insistently says: “ No, you just sit still a minute.”
Girl: Waits impatiently, then leans her head onto his chest.
Girl: “Daddy?”
Dad: “Yes, Honey?”
Girl: “Daddy, I can hear your heart.”
Dad: “Oh, what do you hear?”
Girl: “Thump Thump, Thump Thump”
Dad: Smiles.
LONG PAUSE.
Girl: “Daddy?”
Dad: “Yes, the Apple of my Eye?”
Girl: “You don’t want me to push and shove like the other kids, do you?”
Dad: Shakes his head “no”
Girl: “I’m just gonna stay here close to your heart.”
Narrator: Isn’t that what God wants for all of his children? –For us to be close enough to hear his heart, close enough to “feel” HIS Presence? It’s possible. We just have to pull away from the “others” and sit quietly with Dad until we can hear His heart beat.
Scene II:
Children: Noise of the children playing in the distance.
Dad: Rocking little girl to sleep. Both look content.
Children; Noise fades, then stops altogether.

Author Unknown

The Knots Prayer
Dear God,
Please untie the knots
that are in my mind,
my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots
that I have in my mind.
Erase the will nots,
may nots,
might nots that may find
a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots,
would nots and
should nots that obstruct my life.
And most of all,
Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life all of the ‘am nots’
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought
that I am not good enough.
Amen.

Justice by Linda Lee/Grandma Duncan’s Doodles

Justice
By Linda Lee
There’s a lot of buzz about justice on the internet, with the nations of Arabs and Jews, inner city gang lingo, on the news. All the time I hear people say, “I hope he rots in hell”, “our family needs justice to have closure”, “we seek justice for this heinous crime”, or an attorney might say, “this family deserves justice”.
It sounds very close to getting even. In fact, in some religions, justice “an eye for an eye” is their mantra. Christianity of the New Testament, the New Covenant recognized that God is the only just judge. We know that if we do not forgive others their sin (injustices) God cannot forgive us ours.
We know that if I demand that my brother gets justice, then I, too deserve justice, not just for my deeds, but as Jesus said, even he who thinks evil in his heart against his brother is a murder. Really? Do you want complete justice for every thought and deed YOU have committed?
Do we know that the day is soon coming when God, the complete Sovereign Judge will mete out justice on the world. This will not be pretty. Those of us who have been “covered” completely by the blood of the substitutionary lamb/sacrifice will be “saved”. I have heard people ask, “Saved from what?” Saved from ourselves, saved from eternal judgment, saved from the effects of our sin and the consequences of our immature, selfish actions.
Along with this time of justice, God says that He will also “pour out His Spirit on all flesh”. That is very interesting. Is this the universalism view of the Gospels? Did Christ die for all? Isn’t he unwilling that any should perish? What about the “son of perdition”–what will happen to him and all his comrades (murderers, adulterers, liars, thieves?) And who are they according to Jesus words? If we have entrusted our lives and will to the only Savior of the world, then we are “free”. If not, then the label and weight of sin is still upon us. And EVEN if we were completely innocent (who is that?) but could not forgive those who sin against us, then our Father in heaven cannot look upon us or our sin. Jesus is the ONLY way, the ONLY truth and the ONLY light. Some might say that is narrow minded. Well, yes, that is the point. –Straight is the gate and narrow is the way to life everlasting and wide is the way to destruction.
I am not saying we throw out our criminal justice system in favor of grace. But our motives need to be pure. If we lock someone up, is it to protect society at large or to “get even”? Is it for their benefit, is it for protection of innocents or is it to mete out our own justice? Do we offer opportunities for those who have grievously sinned to be redeemed? Do we recognize that no one has the ability to redeem themselves? Again, there is only ONE who can do that. But, we, can work in tandem with the Holy Spirit, giving up our “self-righteousness” and relinquishing it to the Judge, trusting in HIS divine Sovereignty, and freeing our own soul from the penalty of murderous sin. We need to recognize “but for the grace of God, go I”. My life has been “spared” by grace, and we need to readily be willing to offer that same grace to others. Can we do that when our child has been hurt, killed, raped, or evil has been deliberate? Forgiveness, then, is a process which requires much prayer, many helpers, time and grace as we pass through the grief and forgiveness process. Not on our own strength. We cannot be just, we cannot be forgiving, we cannot be Holy but for the strength afforded us by Christ on the Cross. We cannot be just without a personal indwelling of the only one who CAN judge rightly.
It’s quite alright to be angry at sin. But we are told in our anger, do not sin.
Again, who can do that? Christ in me. Only Christ in Me. I cannot be angry in complete righteousness without the power of Christ within me.
And, for those enemies of the Cross? Leave them to the Judge. That end times judgment is coming soon, and I don’t want to be caught with my bones all dried up in bitterness, but flowing freely in the oil and power of the Holy Spirit.

September 9, 2011 in Culture,Education,Human Nature with 38 Comments
fishschool What are We Socializing Them For?As a homeschooling family, my wife and I occasionally get the predictable, worn-out question, “But what about their social life?”
First of all, the question is utterly bizarre to me, given how much social interaction our kids get between several homeschool groups with tons of activities and outings, and myriad other activities, such as art classes, dance classes, cooking classes, Judo, flag football, etc., not to mention how much they play with neighborhood kids.
The idea that homeschoolers don’t get healthy social interaction is such a backwards, 20-years-ago perception.
Secondly, it makes me laugh when I think back to my public school experience.
Here’s what public school taught me about socialization:

  • It’s okay — encouraged, even — to make fun of anyone “different” than you and your core group of friends, particularly the weak, weird, mentally and physically disabled, and poor.
  • Within an “acceptable” range, everyone should dress, act, and think like everyone else, and those in any way and to the slightest degree outside of the norm should expect to be mocked mercilessly.
  • Appearances are everything.
  • You should only interact with those in your grade. Those in higher grades are cooler than you (and are therefore entitled to bully you and everyone else younger than them), and those in lower grades are less than you.
  • You should compare yourself to and militantly compete with others.
  • What your peers think of you is far more important than what you think of yourself, or what God thinks of you. Sacrifice everything for popularity.
  • Don’t question authority; teachers and other authority figures know besWhat are We Socializing Them For? t. Stay in line. There’s an established, “right” way for everything — don’t deviate.

“The idea of learning acceptable social skills in a school is as absurd to me as learning nutrition from a grocery store.” -Lisa Russell

Based on most accounts I’ve heard, this is quite typical public school “socialization,” which is interesting in and of itself.
But here’s where it gets really interesting: Nowhere outside of high school have any of these been my experience, at least not nearly to the degree felt in high school.
Sure, I’ve experienced the very typical (and relatively benign) perceptions and comments regarding our non-traditional views on things like education, homebirthing, politics, etc.
But nothing even close to the overt and extremely aggressive ostracization, mocking, competitiveness, and bullying I witnessed in high school.
Rather than attending high school my junior and senior years, I attended a community college through a program called Running Start.
Not a single person in college ever cared about what clothes I wore, who I hung out with, what my interests were, how old I was, etc.
It was a completely different world than high school.
In fact, in college diversity was appreciated and encouraged much more than conformity. Everyone I interacted with was respectful and accepting.
It was encouraged to question commonly-accepted truths, habits, societal arrangements, etc.
Since leaving high school, I’ve never had a single friend who cared one whit about my fashion sense (or lack thereof, as the case may be).
I’ve yet to interact with an adult who thinks it’s really cool to make fun of those less privileged than them.
I’m still waiting for an adult to bully me because they’re a year older than me, or an adult to fear me because they’re younger than me.
socialize kids 300x300 What are We Socializing Them For?If socialization outside of public school is nothing like, or is at least substantially different from socialization in public school, then what in the name of John Dewey are we socializing our kids for?
For those who disagree with my experience with and perception of public school socialization, who really value socialization and worry that your kids won’t get it outside of public school, I have a sincere question for you:
What do you want your kids to get from public school socialization (or socialization in general)?
I imagine your responses would include:

  • You want them to be confident, emotionally mature, well-adapted, respectful, and considerate.
  • You want them to be able to interact with, relate to, and positively influence anyone, regardless of age, race, culture, or any differences of opinions or perceptions.
  • You want them to have the courage to stand up for what’s right, even and especially when it’s not popular.
  • You want them to be a leader, not a follower.
  • You want them to learn to strive for excellence, but without feeling the need to “beat” or denigrate others in the process.
  • You want them to develop the maturity to respect authority for the right reasons without accepting it unquestioningly, and, as needed, to learn to question and change things wisely and effectively.

Right?
Well, we share those desires.
I’m not trying to convince anyone that homeschooling is better than public schooling — as a well-adjusted, socialized adult who believes in freedom, tolerance, and diversity, I wholeheartedly respect and embrace you, no matter your opinions on the subject.
But I am inviting those who advocate public school for the sake of socialization to question what your children are actually getting in the way of socialization.
As Manfred Zysk wrote in his thought-provoking article “Homeschooling and the Myth of Socialization,”

“A family member asked my wife, ‘Aren’t you concerned about his (our son’s) socialization with other kids?’. My wife gave this response: ‘Go to your local middle school, junior high, or high school, walk down the hallways, and tell me which behavior you see that you think our son should emulate.’”

And for those concerned that our homeschooled children aren’t getting enough or appropriate socialization, I’m inviting you to consider that there are other ways to achieve healthy socialization, and we’re not raising our kids to be cloistered, introverted misfits.
We’re not opting them out of society.
We’re just opting them out of the strange public school bubble that, in our experience, doesn’t even represent normal, healthy society.
In other words, we’re socializing them for what they’ll actually experience beyond high school.

Recommended Reading:

Related Articles:

Poems I love:

Dancing with God By: Elaine L. Guercio
When I meditated on the word “Guidance”,
I kept seeing “dance” at the end of the word.
I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right.
The movement doesn’t flow with the music, and everything is quite
uncomfortable and jerky.
When one person realizes that and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to
flow with the music.
One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing
lightly in one direction or another.
It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully.
The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person
and gentle guidance and skill from the other.
My eyes drew back to the word “guidance”.
When I saw “G”, I thought of God, followed by “U” and “I”.
“God”, “U” and “I” “dance”.
God, you and I dance.
As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance
about my life.
Once again, I became willing to let God lead.
My prayer for you today is that God’s Blessings and mercies be upon you on
this day and every day.
May you abide in God as God abides in you.
Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and guide you through each
season of your life.
This prayer is powerful, and there is nothing attached.
If God has done anything for you in your life, please share this message
with someone else.
For prayer is one of the best gifts we can receive.
There is no cost but a lot of rewards.
So let’s continue to pray for one another.
And I hope you DANCE!!!
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