Archive for April, 2009



crossesIt is Easter. This is the day that our Lord and Savior rose from the dead, as prophesied. He died so that we could live, for the wages of sin are death. This was always a stumbling block for me. I wondered why an all-powerful God couldn’t just change that part of it and make it easier on all of us. But I’m older now and I am seeing my peers (and myself) suffer the consequences of all of this destructive behavior. To live in sin is fatal. This is not ordained by a vengeful God, it is a warning that we cannot sustain the consequence of sinful behavior. To accept Christ into our lives does not make us perfect, but it is an acknowledgement that we cannot continue the way we are going. It means that we will try to change, rather than live in a pattern of sin and destruction.

The willingness to turn from our old lives is the key. This is exactly why we, ourselves, out of free will need to make the decision to follow Christ. It takes a decision. It takes a prayer. It will take you in a new direction.


Chinese for Easter

It’s Easter. Rather than the brunch I have planned, my husband suggested we go out for Chinese food. I shot him down quickly, saying that people should not have to work on Easter and I won’t support an establishment that makes them. I then turned up my nose, spun on my heel, and went back to my melon-balling.

“They worship Budda. They don’t care.”

I looked up from my cantaloupe and narrowed my eyes. “They are here now. They shouldn’t be working on Easter.” Before my melon-baller hit its target, I regretted my comment. I was kidding, but it was a comment that didn’t even deserve to be uttered. To nurse my guilty conscience, I pondered on the influence our Christian faith has on our culture. I think it is more profound than we realize.

Even today, as our nation strains against the faith that founded it, it molds our core values. It has permeated our ideology, whether we are subscribers to Christianity or not.

Obviously, our major holidays derived from Christianity, but so is the everyday. Our moral standards, even as we protest, are Christian. It is a Christian priniple that puts beef on our tables at night. Christianity keeps us from having slaves. It ensures that women are not oppressed. It offers charity to those who are desperate. It gives us a cohesive family unit, sanctioned in love, yet separate from generations before it.

Of course, we can look at that list and say it has nothing to do with Chrisitianity, it is just how we are raised, but I submit that we were raised on Christian ideals. If the above list were compared with other cultures based on other religions, it would look different. We take our way of life for granted and say that we are doing the right thing, but really we are all colored by the faith of our fathers, grandfathers, or great-grandfathers.

Without understanding where our ideals come from, we cannot recognize the differences between us and the others. Without taknig time to learn about their cultures, we will never fully understand the minds of those around us. We can never afford to make the statement I made earlier. It is open mindedness that teaches us and allows us to grow. It takes a developed mind to be open.

Pen, of Pen and Teller fame, blogged about a man who gave him a Bible. Pen is a staunch atheist, but he still had great respect for this man. To paraphrase, Pen said that he appreciated the sincerity of this man who seemed to honestly want to save him from a fate worse than death. Pen suggested that for a Christian to not tell those around him about the Lord simply to avoid discomfort, is the greatest hypocrisy. He asks the question, how much would one have to hate a person to let him go to Hell rather than step in and try to stop it?

Profound statement, but my favorite part is that is comes from the heart of an atheist. He has obviously considered the other side. He opened his mind enough to appreciate the sincerity of this man’s heart and whether or not he believes in God, he is better for the time he took. This is a lesson for all of us, Christian or not. When we cry foul because of the Nativity scene in the city park, or we fuss about a Menorah in the town square or split hairs over whether the traditional music at a school program might be religious, we need to let our guard down.

It is a time to learn and to understand. There is no implied conversion in a restaurant’s decision to be open on a holiday. There is a difference, deep-seated and more sacred than we know. We would do well to understand this sanctity.


Trusting God’s Eyes

This is new. I am actually writing from church. My husband gave me this fabulous little gadget – a computer the size and strength of my Bible. Interesting. My husband. He has made but a few appearances on these pages. Right now, I am dealing with some frustration over him. Same argument, same results, same period of silence. In these times, I like to sit alone and wonder why in the world I married such a jerk. Unfortunately, that’s really what I do. It’s self-defeating, but here I am.

So I ask God. What do you see in this man? He responds. I love a God that responds. He reminds me of the many strengths this man has. God gave me a man uniquely suited to my needs. The issue is whether or not I can trust Him.

So often we fail to see our own needs and even more often, we fail to see those needs fulfilled. It is when we question that fulfillment that we contemplate needs. Those are dangerous moments where we become self-centered and lose the perspective necessary to our happiness and, I guess, productivity. Really, when we are unhappy, it is all to easy to give in to a night on the couch in front of the History Channel. Or a full bottle of wine. Or a day at the mall. We all know where we go when we’re unhappy and it is not a place of growth or productivity.

We have to trust. Trust is an extreme concept, really. To fully trust allows focus on things other than ourselves. When we place trust in the Lord, we understand that even though it makes NO SENSE, it is good. Then we don’t have to be angry or harbor resentment, or look out for our own interests. All that is covered.

This week I had to discipline my daughter. She is very very grounded. Her first response was, “it isn’t even a big deal, I don’t see why you are so upset.” I surprised myself by asking her if she understands that I see where she is right now and I want the very best for her. Nothing else, just the best, and that is where my motivation comes from.

That is our relationship with God. He wants what is best for us. To walk in trust means acheiving exactly that. In this case, we are looking at my recurring fight with my husband. It is a fight that makes me doubt his character and my judgement, which is why I have to bring it to God. The alternative, of course, would be divorce. Single parenting. Poverty. Daily struggles. I would be forced to focus on my immediate needs, and therefor would slowly, slightly, pull from the Lord. My marriage, provided by God, offers comfort and provision so I may look outside to the needs of others. I can spend time looking inside to my own motivations and be certain that I live from a pure heart. Regardless of the world’s vision of purity, it is truly the giver of freedom.

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