Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Church and Homosexuality

We are doing it all wrong.   We as in the church.   We are drawing this line in the sand where there shouldn't be one.  We have backed ourselves into the proverbial corner and painted ourselves the bad guy when we are the ones who have the hope and help.   Of course, you would never know that by the way we are acting.   Maybe the problem is that so many of "us" have lost sight of that ourselves. 

I'm sorry.  Let me back up because I know I am rambling. 

This big topic right now is homosexuality.   It is everywhere.   In schools, television, churches, neighborhoods, politics... everywhere.    It is divisive.   Us vs. them.   The "church" vs the world or so it seems.   People who are for it are loud.  People who are against it are loud.    

However, when I pick up my Bible that isn't how Jesus did things.  He wasn't loud in his approach.   He wasn't "in your face" in his approach.   He didn't dig in his heels and take a my way or die approach either.   When I look at how the church is responding that is what I see.  

Over the past few years I have had the unique privilege of having several people trust me enough to confide in me their struggles with homosexuality.   Some were inside the church and some were not.   Some have since decided to tell others, but some still hide their struggle.   Some fully believe what they are doing is a sin while some do not.  

My role in their life?  Basically it is Mark 12:31, "... To love my neighbor as myself."   To see them as Jesus see them as the person He created instead of being defined by their sin.  Love them as He loves them.  To pray for them.   To plant seeds of God's love and truth in their life so that GOD can change their life.  

I can't change anyone's heart.  That is God's job alone.   However, God does call me to love others.   All "others" regardless of what their life choices are.  

Jesus was pretty outspoken about one sin in the Bible.  He really hated religious leaders who used God's Word as a weapon instead of mercy.   You see this in the instance of the woman caught in adultery.   They wanted her stoned, but Jesus said, "whoever is without sin cast the first stone".  No one could do that.   Jesus was without sin, but he didn't cast a stone.   He showed mercy.    Jesus thought adultery was wrong, but yet he defended her.  

Like I said in the opening of this post, the church has drawn a line in the sand where there shouldn't be one.    Church is not a building we go to each week.  It is those of us who fill that building.   Church, we need to do a better job at loving our neighbors.   We need to start imitating Jesus and instead of those "religious leaders". 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Favorite Books of 2014

I read a lot.  I have books every.  On my nightstand.  In my car.  In my purse.  In the kitchen.  In the living room.   My philosophy is if there is spare time then pick up a book.    I will not read just anything.   I believe that anything I read leaves an imprint of some kind.   So I am very choosy about what I read.  Fortunately, even though I am choosy (some say picky) there are so many wonderful things to read.

My favorites books in 2014 were:

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

One night in our Life Group one of our friends mentioned this book.   I had heard of it and even read excerpts from it, but had never made the commitment to read it.  After he brought it up in our discussion, I finally sat down to read the entire thing.   It made such a huge impression on me.   Maybe it is because Muslims are so prevalent in the news or maybe it is because one of my sons was assigned to go to a Muslim mosque for school, but my heart very much open to know more.  I feel so much better equipped to pray and witness to this group of people.  My heart was definitely softened in a way I didn't now it needed to be.

The Best Yes by Lisa Tyrkerst

"Not every assignment is God's assignment for you."   I cannot tell you how life changing this sentence and so many others from this book were for me.   I did this book as a Bible study.   My book is marked up and written in because it came as just the right time for me.   I am still learning to say God's best yes for my life every single day.

Sheet Music by Kevin Leman

My sweet husband and I will celebrate 25 years this year.   Do you know what we gave each other for Christmas?  Date nights.   We love spending time together.   We have developed an intimacy over the years.   I loved reading this book again and being reminded of some of his date night "recipes". 

Praying God's Will For My Son by Lee Roberts

 I love this little book.   Anything that helps me pray more specifically for  my boys makes me happy.

Keepers of the Covenant (The Restoration Chronicles Book #2) by Lynn Austin

When Lynn Austin announces she is releases a book I go straight to Amazon and pre-order it.  Does that tell you how much I love her books?   Keepers of the Covenant is about the Old Testament story of Ezra.   One of my favorite parts was seeing the culture of this time.   It makes the Bible come alive for me like never before.   I cannot emphasize enough how good all of Lynn's books are. 

In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

It was a win/win to have not only Lynn Austin, but Tessa Afshar put out a book in 2014.  Both Christian historical authors.    The only problem with reading these authors is that I read they too quickly.   In the Field of Grace is the story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz.   I have read this three times because it has given me a new appreciation for Jesus as my kinsmen redeemer.   Read it.... you will understand!

Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig

My husband and I both love books with story lines involving special forces/FBI/law enforcement.   We have read several series by Kendig including her recent Operation Zulu series (so good!).  I received Raptor 6 for review and now we can't wait to read the next two.   Raptor 6 involved national security and hackers.   I had a hard time putting it down to go to bed.

Poison Town and Sky Zone (Crittendon Files Book #2 and #3) by Creston Mapes

I finished the Crittendon Files series.   These books are edge of your seat, gripping, and never know what is going to happen next kind.   They are not predictable which I love.   He addresses issues which you would easily recognize with the help of Jack Crittendon, a journalist.  Never a boring moment! 

Firewall by Diann Mills

Like I said, I like FBI fiction.  This involves a bomb attack in an airport.   I really should not have read this right before my boys got on a plane heading to Belize, but other than that I loved this book!! 

I am always on the search for new books to read.  What are you reading?  What were your favorite books for 2014?

I Hope God Has Photo Albums

I have been trying to finish our family album for 2014.    I love looking through our family albums and seeing how the boys have grown and all the things we have done.  It is easy to forget all the amazing things we have done together as a family.

As I have been working, I have been thinking that I would really love it if there were photo albums in heaven.   Today is Epiphany.  The day we celebrate the wise men finding Jesus.   I would love to see pictures of Jesus then.   The Bible say the wise men were filled with great joy.   That makes sense to me.   Being in the presence of Jesus fills me with great joy too!  

Wouldn't it be awesome to see Jesus as a newborn when the shepherds came to see him?  When the wise men came to deliver their gifts?   When he was learning to walk?  Eating his first solid food?  

Every Mom thinks her baby is precious when he/she does new and amazing things.  How overwhelming must it have been for Mary?  When she told her family and friends that Jesus was incredible, smart, amazing, wonderful... she wasn't even bragging!   There really aren't words to describe Jesus.   I guess that is why I would love to see pictures.  

I get teary eyed finishing up one year of pictures of my boys.   I am pretty sure I would be overwhelmed at seeing amazing pictures of Jesus.   Jesus who was completely God, but willingly took on the form of a baby so that he could grow into the man who would save us from our sins.   If there are photo albums in heaven, maybe someone else should hold them because I may smudge the pages with my tears. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Emotional Eating

The smell of our supper cooking is wafting through the house.  We are not having a complex supper.  I threw together a sausage and cheese quiche.   Somehow the smells give me such a feeling of comfort.    In a lot of ways I hope that they do the same for my boys.  Or do I?  

I have known for a long time that I am an emotional eater.  When I was little my favorite time of day was when my Daddy arrived home in the afternoon to eat supper.   He worked two jobs for most of my childhood.  However, everyday at 4:30 he would arrive home and we would eat supper as a family before he would leave for his second job.   I loved that time.    Laughing, talking, eating.   I guess subconsciously I associated the smell of supper cooking with the soon arrival of Daddy.   

Because of my lifetime association of food with such a wide range of emotions (happiness, anger, depression and frustration), I have come to accept that I am going to have to be more intentional with both my emotions and food choices.  

I mentioned this to someone in my family and they said, "You are going on a diet?"  No.  I simply want God in control of my emotions instead of letting my emotions controlling my eating.  

Why am I writing all this on my blog? Because I feel like getting it out of my thoughts and writing it down will make it "real".    So there you go.... it is now real.