Monday, November 27, 2017

Sinning with Stretchy Pants

Our youth pastor once talked about how avoiding sin required some prep work. You need safe guards in place. He compared it to going over to a certain family's house, who is known for serving yummy meals, while he is on a diet. He said that it required doing some prep work which meant that he would take along his own food, to ensure he stayed on his diet.

Sitting in my pew, I felt a little ashamed. When he mentioned doing prep work before going over to that family's house for the meal, my first thought was to skip all other meals that day and wear stretchy pants so I could pig out.

So instead of sticking with what is right, I immediately went to planning a way to not do what was right.

Definitely not a Hall of Faith moment there.

I have done that in my past. I knew I wasn't doing what God wanted me to do, but I went ahead and wore the proverbial stretchy pants so I wouldn't feel confined by my convictions.

We can come up with some great justifications while doing our sin planning. Just like I thought of skipping meals so that when I indulged later, it wouldn't be as bad, we convince ourselves the sin we are planning on doing isn't as bad as another sin. The problem with that is the fact that sin is sin.

There are no big sins or little sins. We like to categorize them as such because it makes us feel better. We don't feel we are as bad as we could be if we were doing such and such. Or we aren't as bad as that other sinner over there. But Jesus only died on one cross. He didn't die on a big cross to pay for the big sins and then go die on a small cross for the little sins.

One size cross fits ALL our sins.

Back to the stretchy pants.

Instead of thinking of ways to plan how we can sin and get away with it (yeah, there's no getting away with sinning), we should spend our energy and time thinking of ways to plan how to avoid sin.

So no more stretchy pants for me!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Faking Obedience

Sassy faked going to the bathroom outside so she could go ahead and get her treat. She had no clue I was watching her through the window. I could clearly see that she had gone outside and then turned right back around to the door.


She was focused on the treat, the reward, the prize. She didn't have a desire to obey for obedience's sake.



Do I fake obedience to God outwardly so I can be blessed? Or do I try to obey Him just because I want to obey Him?

To obey Him is to love Him.

By that measure, how much do I love Him?

I will strive to obey Him in all things. He is watching me like I watched Sassy through the window.

My treat, however, will be to hear the words, "Well done" from God Himself.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Beware of Wonder Woman

No, I don't mean that Lynda Carter is out to get you. I am speaking more of an expectation we women put on ourselves. We think we have to be Wonder Woman.  I have been there. And it is exhausting. Not to mention that after having five kids, the costume is kind of uncomfortable.

How do we measure if we are a good mom for our kids? Simple, we ask God to examine our hearts and show us where we need to improve as mothers.

Simple...but I confess it isn't/wasn't usually the first thing I do. What's the first thing we usually do? We compare ourselves to other women.

  • She always has it so together.
  • Her house is always spotless.
  • Her kids are so smart.

So what's wrong with comparing ourselves to others? Because that is not how God works. He doesn't compare us to others. He holds us accountable for only how each one of us is obedient to Him. 

However, there seems to be this trend in our culture that our worth is measured by how much we can handle or endure. So if I have more stress in my life that must mean I am doing more important things than others are. And because I can handle all this stress, bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan...I am Wonder Woman. But...that makes it all about me.

There is now a t-shirt that men can get that says their wife is Wonder Woman. While I truly appreciate these men supporting their wives and being proud of them, I think we better be careful.  That's more pressure to be this perfect woman who can handle any challenge in her own strength.

And I say this because I used to have the Wonder Woman syndrome. I wanted to people to admire just how much I could handle. Why? Oh, because that determined my worth as a mother and wife.


I recently watched the movie Mom's Night Out which was very entertaining and I enjoyed it.  But it started me to think about why this woman would feel so stressed. And what does "stressed" really mean? We use it fairly often and casually in our culture.

Here is what a dictionary said the word means:
a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances
Ew. That is not what I want for my life. I hope it isn't what you want for yours. If we examine our lives, we will find a lot of the "stress" in our lives are of our own making. For example, in that movie, many of the things that were stressing her out were only there because she wasn't discipling her kids. Granted, the behavior shown was over-the-top for comedic effect, but I know I have created stress by not being a consistent parent with my kids. Surely God doesn't want our lives to be consumed by stress.

Here is what God says He wants for us:
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
          John 14:27 

Much better, right?

Of course, we do have demanding circumstances in our lives. We are in a sin-cursed world. God does allow us to experience hard times. Contrary to a popular saying that God doesn't give us more than we can handle, He actually does. Because He wants you to come to Him and let Him handle it for you. For Him to be glorified from the experience.

         "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." 

           1 Peter 5:7

If I have this goal to be a Wonder Woman wife and mom, where does God fit in? When does He get the credit He deserves for giving me the ability to be the wife/mom that I am? Or for the fact that He carried me through the challenges I have faced?

My life should be pointing people to Him. Trying to be Wonder Woman only points back at me.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Why is There Chocolate?

While talking with one of my language learners online, I was presented with an interesting question. I decided it was a question that forced me to examine why I do things as a Christian. Just because? Or because I truly love the Lord?

Here's the story: I was meeting with a South Korean who lives in Canada.

Inserting prayer request here: Pray for South Korea! They have a presidential election May 9th that has a lot weighing on it. One of the leading candidates has sympathetic meanings toward North Korea.

We will call her Sally. Sally and I were discussing holidays and religion. She told me she had not been really involved with any religion, but that her parents became Catholics in recent years. Sally told me she knew some about Easter, but asked if I would explain the holiday to her more in detail.

Talk about Easter? Sure! I love Resurrection Sunday! So I began. I told her about why Christ died for our sins and about how He victoriously rose from the death, which cancelled the power sin & death has over us.

She listened intently and understood the language I was using. She understood the vocabulary I was using. She understood what the holiday was truly all about. But she was genuinely confused about one thing and she asked me about it.

"Why is there chocolate?"
What Sally struggled to understand was if our culture truly was excited about Christ's resurrection, then why did we add other things like bunnies, chocolate, and eggs?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Life With Boys...September 12

While waiting for breakfast to finish baking, I heard this between two sons:

"I'm here to exterminate you!"

(sound of toy automatic gunfire)

"And I'm here to insult you! You're weird!"

And the day has barely started...

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Find Us Faithful

Our church has been learning new songs and some of them really minister to me. However, I'm not one to toss out our old songs. Since I'm a girl from the 80's, I still have several favorites from that era. One of them is the Steve Green song, Find Us Faithful.

I have sung this song before in church services. I have always loved the words. The chorus has wonderful words:
O, may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
 I dusted off this song the other day and these words hit me in a new way, especially toward the end:
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
become the light that leads them to the road we each must find
Now that my mom has passed away, these words have a more powerful and personal meaning to me. My sisters and I have sifted through what Mom left behind. Although we all already have a personal relationship with Jesus, the clues Mom left behind would have led us to Him.

Only Daughter received one of Mom's Bibles. There are a multitude of hand-written notes in the covers and margins.

This is a note where she had written my name and a date. The ink has blurred over the years, but I think it says "July 77".  The verse is Psalm 48:14 which says, "For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death."  I think she wrote that as a verse she was claiming for me while we were on furlough back here in the states.

These notes here are some of my favorite. These are verses she claimed for our family's ride home in the summer of 1977. My parents were serving on the mission field in Okinawa. We had flown back to the states on furlough. However, we had a little trouble getting back to Okinawa. We were using the Space Available service with military flights. At this point of time, my dad was retired, so we were hardly the first on the list to get seats. And trying to get six seats altogether...almost an impossible task. Almost, that is. But God did have a flight for us. However, we spent twenty-one days living in the terminal at Travis Air Force Base in California before that flight. We got to know people while there. I was very young at the time, so my memories are quite clouded and limited. However, knowing my parents, they were probably ministering to those around them. I love how Mom claimed a verse for each of us during that wait.

That is one of the memories I have sifted through. And yes, I have found Mom to be faithful. Now the task at hand is to leave the same for my children.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Random Question From Youngest Son

Here's a random question Youngest Son asked me:

"Do we know any one who is a police officer that was shot by a bullet on New Year's Day?"

 He said the question came to mind because he saw a broken beer bottle on the ground while we were taking a walk.