Abortion, Forgiveness, Relationships

Throwback Thursday on Friday ~ Aborting People

Originally posted July 24, 2014Aborting People

Cut the negative people out of your life.

Don’t lift a finger for people who won’t lift a finger for you.

Don’t allow people in your life who don’t deserve to be there.

1003507_590200727718304_1809958203_n1-640x640

 

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see something like this on Facebook. Clearly, there are people who are violent that we need to stay away from for our own physical safety, and marital problems absolutely must be resolved, but those aren’t what this line of thinking seems to be addressing. It’s talking about the difficult people. We all have them in our lives. You’re probably thinking of some right now.

The constant complainer.

The drama queen.

The narcissist.

The annoyance.

The just plain unlovely.

Maybe it’s a family member, a neighbor, or a co-worker. Somebody who’s in your life for some reason, only you wish she weren’t.

The world’s advice: abort people. If they’re negative, if they don’t further your success, if they drain you, if they’re somehow undeserving of your time and attention. Just cut them out of your life. Abort them.

11212321106_3a06d4e485_m

 

Christians are on the front lines of the battle against literal abortion. “Every life is precious,” we say, and that’s as it should be. But somehow, the world’s abortive mentality has crept into our thinking when it comes to the relationships we have with others. Babies are being killed because they’re inconvenient, they’ll hinder someone’s pursuit of success, or they have a disability, and we’re – rightly – grieved and outraged, but do we have any pangs of conscience when it comes to throwing away that inconvenient friend or that personality-handicapped family member? Is every life really precious?

We serve a Savior who loved the unlovely. Took time for the inconvenient. Invested in the drains. He felt their loneliness and rejection and knew the pain of being scorned.

Because He was one of them.

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:2b-3

Jesus stopped along the roadside, not for those who would further His success, but for those who were needy. He called the awkward and personality impaired “brother.” He called a betrayer, “friend.” Even those who wielded the whip, embedded the thorns, and drove the nails didn’t hear, “Go to hell,” but, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Yes, there are people who are so difficult that we may have to love them from afar, taking time between each encounter with them to pray, recover, and forgive.

But we must remember who we were called to be.

I love, not because people deserve it, but because He first loved me.

I am forgiving because I have been forgiven much.

I am kind because God has been so kind to me.

I lay down my life for messy people because Christ laid down His life for the biggest mess of all- me. 

Extend grace. Because in God’s eyes, every life is precious. Even yours.

Sanctification, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Irritability: 7 Ways to Fight the Red-Eyed Monster

Originally published November 21, 2014irritability

If jealousy is the “green-eyed monster,” then, surely, irritability is the “red-eyed monster.” Confession time: irritability is a sin I struggle against on a daily basis. And all too often, that red-eyed monster wins, and I lose, giving in to temptation once again. I snap at my children or my husband or the dog, not because I’m seeking to build them up in Christ, or admonish them toward godliness (and lemme tell you, the dog desperately needs this admonition), but because I’m annoyed, my agenda is being thwarted, somebody rubbed me the wrong way. Hmmm…seems like there’s a common thread there.

Me. I’m not getting things my way.

And when I put myself first by venting my frustration and anger on others instead of putting my own feelings aside in order to serve them, I am dishonoring and disobeying my Master who put everything aside to redeem me. Me. A selfish, rebellious sinner who didn’t deserve His grace. And I am not being a picture of the gospel to the person I’m being short with.

I am so deeply grateful that when I confess my sin, Christ is faithful and just to forgive me for that sin and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). If it weren’t for His grace and mercy, well, I don’t even want to think about what would become of me. But I love my Jesus, and while I’m grateful for His forgiveness, what I’d really rather do is honor Him by not sinning in the first place.

Did you know there are some proactive steps you can take to wage an offensive attack on irritability? Here are seven weapons for your arsenal. As Mr. Mandelbaum would say, “It’s go time.”

 

1. Start the day off with Bible study and prayer.

I’m not just saying that because this is a Christian article and I have to make sure I stick that in somewhere. I’m saying that for two reasons.

First, Jesus tells us to, and that’s the most important reason. In John 15:4-5, Jesus says:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Daily study of the Bible and prayer are the primary ways we abide in Christ. It nourishes and shapes our spirits and forms us into His likeness. Prayer is also the place where we can ask forgiveness for our sin and for the Holy Spirit to strengthen us for the next round of temptation.

Second, my experience bears this “abiding” thing out (and I’ll bet yours does too). When I neglect prayer and Bible study, I am far less likely to respond to irritation in a godly way. When my spiritual tank is full, however, it is much easier to be aware of, and obey, when the Spirit prompts me to keep my mouth shut, or take a deep breath and wait a minute before responding to someone.

Want to be a branch that bears good fruit? You’ve got to abide in the Vine.

2. Remind yourself where irritation comes from.

As I mentioned above, it comes from selfishness. Completely inappropriate for a Christian. While the world tells us that every feeling we have must be expressed, Jesus tells us we are to deny ourselves, not indulge our sinful flesh and vomit our emotions all over any hapless soul who stumbles across our paths.

3. Preach the gospel to yourself, and mirror Christ.

The heart of the gospel is Romans 5:8:

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Think about all the sins you’ve committed over the course of your life. Think God might have just a skosh of a reason to be irritated with you? Yep. But instead of pouring out His anger on you each time you transgressed, what did He do? He sent His precious Son to die for you. He loved. He gave.

Now, usually, when somebody irritates me, it’s not even because he’s sinning. What excuse do I have for pouring my anger out on others instead of remembering the grace God extended to me and extending that same grace to them?

4. Memorize Scripture.

Funny thing about memorizing Scripture– you get it imbedded in your brain, and the Holy Spirit causes it to pop back up right when you need it. Some verses I would suggest:

Matthew 16:24- Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Galatians 5:22-23- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5- Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

Ephesians 4:32- Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Proverbs 31:26- She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

5. Let’s get physical.

Let’s face it, when our bodies are out of whack, it’s harder to control our emotions.

  • Making sure you get enough sleep should be a no-brainer. We’re all more irritable when we’re tired.
  • Eating a nutritious diet is important, but so is eating at regular times and not skipping meals. Who’s happy with anybody when she’s starving? Also, get the right amount of caffeine for your body. Too much can make you irritable, but so can too little, depending on what you’re used to.
  • Exercising regularly is a great way to prevent irritability, but it’s also a great way to work out all those frustrations in a healthy way. Ready to let loose on somebody? Lace up the running shoes and take it out on the pavement instead.
  • Go to the bathroom. That’s right, I said it. When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go, and not just for your own sake. You can’t focus on being kind to people who are annoying you when the call of nature is demanding to be answered.
  • And, to get even more personal, ladies, chart your periods so you’ll know when PMS will be rearing its ugly head. Then, do what you can, whether it’s taking medication, eliminating things from your schedule to reduce stress, or locking yourself in your room for a few days, to curb your propensity to rip everybody’s face off.

6. Proactively manage your exposure to other humans.

Although I wouldn’t consider myself a genuine introvert, I definitely lean that direction. It’s not that I don’t love my husband, children, and others, but I’ve found that I need some time alone each day to maintain my emotional and spiritual health. In Scripture, we see that even Jesus had a similar need. Luke 5:15b-16 tells us:

…crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Also helpful is knowing who irritates you, in which situations, and why. If it’s someone you don’t have to see everyday, try to arrange your meetings with her for days when you’re rested up, hormonally balanced, and had a good long quiet time. And don’t forget to pray for patience before you meet with her.

7. Get help.

Know your warning signs of irritability and get your family and friends to help you. My husband knows when that time of the month rolls around and knows exactly how to kindly and patiently bring me back down to earth. He has also learned that it takes a couple of minutes of wakefulness for my self control to kick in. So he is quiet and doesn’t try to engage me in those moments of half consciousness when I’m just waking up.

I have also considered employing the “Muskrat Method” for my husband. If you’ve seen the movie Meet the Parents, you’ll remember that every time the dad was about to lose his temper, his wife would say, “Muskrat, Jack!” It was a code word that meant, “Hey, I see you’re about to go berserk. Let’s rein it in while there’s still a chance to opt for sanity.”

 

Irritability isn’t becoming of a Christian. Whereas patience, kindness, gentleness, and self control are fruits of the Spirit, irritability is a fruit of the flesh. What are some of the ways you fight irritability?

Forgiveness, Relationships, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ We’re ALL a Bunch of Bumbling Morons

Originally published November 7, 2014morons

I recently did something colossally stupid.

I can tell by the sound of your jaw hitting the floor that you’re shocked.

dragon-265844_640To repeat the details would be to repeat the offense, so, suffice it to say, it was the metaphorical equivalent of walking across a room and knocking over a really expensive vase. It wasn’t a sin, per se, it was just one of those oafish things we all do from time to time simply because we’re fallen humans living in a fallen world.

Blessedly, God protected the other person and me from the brunt of my bumbling. And then a beautiful thing happened. The other person passed over the incident as if it hadn’t even happened.

Wow.

Now, I can’t tell you the number of times God has had to protect me from my own stupidity (both sinful and non-sinful). One of my favorite passages is Psalm 103:13-14:

As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

In other words, God knit together every cell in our bodies and knows every thought and action of our lives from conception to death. Nothing unexpected there, for Him. He knows what He’s got to work with. So, God being God and all, maybe it’s not so surprising that He might have that perspective. He knows all of our weaknesses and still shows us compassion. (Don’t mistake my lack of surprise for lack of gratitude. I would be a smoking crater in the ground if God didn’t treat me with that kind of mercy and compassion. I am extremely grateful for it.)

What’s down right unfathomable in this day and age of everybody wearing his feelings on his sleeve, and wanting to absolutely obliterate anyone who causes him the least amount of agitation is for one human to pass over the failure of another. Proverbs 19:11 says:

Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Not- confront the person and demand an apology. Not- stop speaking to the person and carry a grudge until I feel he’s been sufficiently punished. Overlook. Act like it didn’t happen. Refuse to let it change your relationship with the person. Fuhgeddaboutit.

These days, that’s rarer than a modest outfit on a Hollywood starlet, even among professing Christians.

And it shouldn’t be. Because the Bible also says:

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31

Remember that? The Golden Rule? What happened to treating others the way we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes? Yes, pernicious sin in the Body needs to be dealt with by confronting the person in mercy, love, and a spirit of restoration,  but what about those non-sinful, unintentional human foibles that land in our laps? Can’t we adopt that same mercy and grace God has towards us and our weaknesses and extend it to others?

flower-child-336658_640I want to get better at that. Because when you get right down to it, we’ve got enough people freaking out and flying off the handle these days. All that does is make everybody tense and unhappy. Not to get all “peace, love, and harmony” on y’all, but, well…couldn’t we use a little more peace, love, and harmony as we do life with other humanoids? And of all the people peace, love, and harmony could come from, shouldn’t it be coming from Christians first? Let’s extend some extra grace and give people room to be human. Everybody’s going to need it at one time or another.

After all, the next bumbling moron to come along just might be you.

Abortion, Forgiveness, Relationships, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Aborting People

Originally posted July 24, 2014Aborting People

Cut the negative people out of your life.

Don’t lift a finger for people who won’t lift a finger for you.

Don’t allow people in your life who don’t deserve to be there.

1003507_590200727718304_1809958203_n1-640x640

 

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see something like this on Facebook. Clearly, there are people who are violent that we need to stay away from for our own physical safety, and marital problems absolutely must be resolved, but those aren’t what this line of thinking seems to be addressing. It’s talking about the difficult people. We all have them in our lives. You’re probably thinking of some right now.

The constant complainer.

The drama queen.

The narcissist.

The annoyance.

The just plain unlovely.

Maybe it’s a family member, a neighbor, or a co-worker. Somebody who’s in your life for some reason, only you wish she weren’t.

The world’s advice: abort people. If they’re negative, if they don’t further your success, if they drain you, if they’re somehow undeserving of your time and attention. Just cut them out of your life. Abort them.

11212321106_3a06d4e485_m

 

Christians are on the front lines of the battle against literal abortion. “Every life is precious,” we say, and that’s as it should be. But somehow, the world’s abortive mentality has crept into our thinking when it comes to the relationships we have with others. Babies are being killed because they’re inconvenient, they’ll hinder someone’s pursuit of success, or they have a disability, and we’re – rightly – grieved and outraged, but do we have any pangs of conscience when it comes to throwing away that inconvenient friend or that personality-handicapped family member? Is every life really precious?

We serve a Savior who loved the unlovely. Took time for the inconvenient. Invested in the drains. He felt their loneliness and rejection and knew the pain of being scorned.

Because He was one of them.

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:2b-3

Jesus stopped along the roadside, not for those who would further His success, but for those were needy. He called the awkward and personality impaired “brother.” He called a betrayer, “friend.” Even those who wielded the whip, embedded the thorns, and drove the nails didn’t hear, “Go to hell,” but, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Yes, there are people who are so difficult that we may have to love them from afar, taking time between each encounter with them to pray, recover, and forgive.

But we must remember who we were called to be.

I love, not because people deserve it, but because He first loved me.

I am forgiving because I have been forgiven much.

I am kind because God has been so kind to me.

I lay down my life for messy people because Christ laid down His life for the biggest mess of all- me. 

Extend grace. Because in God’s eyes, every life is precious. Even yours.

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ 2 Samuel 9

2 sam 9 8

2 Samuel 9

And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”

Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


 

Questions to Consider:

1. Who were Saul and Jonathan, and why did David want to show kindness to someone from the house of Saul? (v. 1)

2. The story of David and Mephibosheth is a type and shadow of Christ. How does David’s heart in this story remind you of Jesus’ heart? How do his actions remind you of Jesus’ actions during His earthly ministry?

3. If David is playing the part of Jesus, who does Mephibosheth represent in Jesus’ earthly ministry? How do David and Mephibosheth foreshadow or symbolize what Jesus did for sinners?

4. With what sort of attitude and countenance did Mephibosheth respond to David? (v. 6,8) What does this tell us about our heart attitude as we respond to Christ?

5. In verses 9-13, Mephibosheth, due to David’s kindness, ends up financially comfortable with servants to take care of him. Is this a promise to Christians today that we will be wealthy and comfortable in this life? How do you know? How might Philippians 4:19 and John 16:33 work with verses 9-13?