Friday, June 28, 2013

DOMA Defeat

God is in control and nothing comes as a surprise to God.


The Supreme Court's decision makes me wonder if this is not an ongoing opportunity for Christians to be salt and light in this dark world by loving and ministering to those we scorn; those that are different from us.

Isn't it ironic, that marriage was not considered a big deal until the same sex couples wanted what heterosexuals took for granted all along.

More irony - the AIDS epidemic was one of the things that brought the issue of same sex rights to the forefront.

I currently live in California; the chances of me interacting with someone who is gay is very high; or my children knowing someone who is being raised by two moms or two dads is very high; or friends in my peer group who will never have grandchildren (unless they're adopted) is very high. These are not remote situations.

I believe what the Bible says about marriage, and will always stand by that. My daily pray is that whomever I interact with that they may see Jesus in me; that they will feel comfortable enough to share with me.  When Jesus walked this earth He was love in action; I want to be like that.  Since I'm not God, I'll leave the judging and the punishing to him (I hope that's not wrong of me). May I have Godly discernment to know when to have compassion, making a distinction; but on others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” Jude 1: 22-24 

God is in control and nothing comes as a surprise to Him.


Friday, June 21, 2013

College's Unwritten Curriculum

I am now a mother of children who have attended college. To date, two have graduated from college. While I am happy about this, there are somethings that I have come face to face with that have been jarring to my spirit.

One of the few things I like to read in the newspaper besides the comics, is the advice column. This  recent letter was in the "Ask Amy" column and it shares a student's perspective of dealing with pressures at college:

DEAR AMY: I am a college student who doesn't drink. I was raised in a religious family, and it was instilled in me not to drink until I turn 21. My roommate drinks and pressures me to drink.
She and my friends never invite me out because they think I will be no fun. One night I gave in and had a few sips of alcohol.
All of a sudden, my roommate was inviting me to parties. When I went I felt uncomfortable, yet at the same time, people were accepting me. A few people came up to me and told me that until that night they didn't want to hang out with me because they thought I was too uptight.
Is it wrong to change what I believe in so that I can have a common bond with my new friends? Do I drink occasionally and have some friends, or stick to what I believe in and sit in my dorm room alone? What should I do?
Torn

This letter exemplifies what many of our children go through once they leave for college. As a matter of fact in the above letter you can replace drinking with sex, drugs, partying or any other vice that seems so prevalent during the college years. And unfortunately though many of our children were raised as Christian and some are Christians the situation above is more typical than we can imagine. Though we pray for our children and instill in them morals and values, the rubber meets the road when children are away from home with no parental authority in sight.

When children go away or leave for college they no longer have the umbrella of parental authority. Parental authority provides love, discipline and accountability. While many want to get out from under it, they sometimes initially don't know how to handle themselves when the umbrella is gone.

Also note that bad company corrupts good character 1 Cor 15:33;  why this is so I do not know, but this is the case time and time again. (I sometimes call it the law of gravity). It would be foolish of us as parents to think our children will go to college and not be affected by all that is happening around them.  (I used to feel this way.)

Here's the advice the columnist gave:
DEAR TORN: The job of the older teen/young adult is to try to answer these questions: Who am I? What do I want? The most important guiding principle is that you cannot let other people define you.
True friendships are all about authenticity and the possibility of being accepted for your true self.
Go to parties and have fun without drinking. I assure you, as your friends get more drunk, you will either seem more hilarious, or they will become more belligerent and bullying. Your sobriety will put you at an advantage because you will possess the ability to discern the difference. Many universities now offer "clean living" dorms/communities. You should apply for a slot. You may not form friendships with every sober person you meet, but at the least you will not be judged for having the integrity to live according to your values.

Here's what I suggest:
  • Pray for wisdom - Solomon the wisest man in the world prayed for wisdom and received it. 2  Chronicles 1: 7-12;  you can too  James 1:5
  • Don't be afraid to set boundaries and stick to them - Matthew 5:37
  • Don't be afraid to do what's right - Matthew 10:16
  • It's OK if people don't like you; everyone can't and usually it is their problem not yours
  • Surround yourself with like minded people - Matthew 26:38
  • Nurture your spirit; meditate on God's word so that you can recall it - Psalm 119:11
  • Go back to your foundation - what does the Bible say? What have my parents taught me? Do the two contradict each other? 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23
  • If you were raised in a Christian household, but never believed what you were taught this will also be a time of self discovery for you. Hopefully, in seeking you will find the truth. Matthew 7:7
College is a time for learning who you are. Clean living does not start with a set of buildings, it starts with your internal values; a college's definition of clean may not line up with yours. Also know that there are consequences for every action. Life is not a series of rules where you can't have fun, but rather a series of experiences that are constantly shaping us. You will have to define what is fun for you; it's OK if you don't think all vices are fun. It's strikes me that what most people call fun is shallow, empty and short lived pleasure.
Don't be a wimp about this - there's no need to feel torn as this may be a test for bigger issues you may have to deal with.

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Are you familiar with the unwritten curriculum? How can you help a young person today?



Monday, June 17, 2013

Beautiful

He makes all things beautiful in His time - Ecclesiates 3:11

Jozanne Marie in Beautiful
We go through a lot in life and often times we don't know why. If you believe in God ultimately you are able to reconcile the circumstances of your life, with attributes that aren't human. Things like grace, mercy, forgiveness, redemption, restoration and hope.

We saw the play Beautiful on Saturday. It left me speechless (and few things do). It was stunning in its capacity to show what the human spirit can endure. It also displayed the supernatural power of God's forgiveness and healing. We talk about redemption and restoration, but to hear what Jozanne went through and how she now holds no ill will to those who hurt her is amazing. Those that hurt her were very close to her and it was part of her family legacy, but with the forgiveness she chose to bestow, she has broken that legacy. With her life, God has made something absolutely beautiful.



Currently I am wrestling with a number of things as it relates to families and child rearing. I have recognized that I need to support my children even though I don't necessarily agree with their endeavors; this has been hard. I recognize what support does for a child - I supported another child in her endeavors because I believe in her and having that support behind her has made a huge difference. For the other child not having the support they so desperately needs has also made a huge difference but not in a positive direction. My prayer right now is that God will take all of this and make it beautiful in his time; that He will change hearts - mine and theirs.

Perhaps you're not going through anything as harrowing as the character in the play, or perhaps you are.
Seek Him - 1 Chronicles 16:11 Isaiah 55:6-7
Trust God -  Proverbs 3:5-6
Forgive, for your own benefit - Ephesians 4:31-32, Matthew 6:14
Feel his love flow through you - remember the offense no more as God did with us; He hath not dealt with us according to our offenses - Hebrews 8:12; Psalm 103: 8-12
Trust God to restore - it's a promise -  Joel 2:25

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiates 3:11
God makes all things beautiful in His time. Let Him take your mess and make it beautiful. Will you?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tropical Mood

On 7/30/12 I planted an avocado seed from Jamaica.
Since I live in sunny Southern California, I don't see why a pear tree can't grow.
avocado also known as pear

 I also hope to plant an ackee tree also and then I can have ackee and codfish whenever I want.

ackees
Ackee and codfish eaten with breadfruit is one of life's pleasures. A Breadfruit tree is also on my wishlist

I also want to plant a mango tree.

mangoes

I'm going to need a big yard...but a girl can dream, can't she?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Just Do It


We've all heard the expression from Nike - "just do it.' Nike provides the equipment, but ultimately you've got to decide to use the equipment. This has great application to every aspect of life including the spiritual.
Lately, I've been a slacker on many fronts. I used to run three to five days a week until I developed a knee injury.  In attempting to treat it, I slacked off on the running.
I also used to wake up every morning and spend quality quiet time with the Lord. Of late, I find myself rolling out of bed and jumping right in to the day's activities, then stopping myself so that I can at least have 5-10 minutes of morning devotions. This amount of time is not sufficient to deepen a relationship.
In both of these areas I've seen the difference - I often feel disconnected from my Source, and I question and doubt myself.

Recently I started running again and here's what I realized:

  • I have what I need to do this
  • Just because it feels tough does not mean I should quit
  • You already know how to run, now just keep putting one foot in front of the other
  • The sense of accomplishment when completed is worth it
  • The more I do it, the better I feel, the easier it becomes
  • Just when you think you've mastered this, something comes along to trip you up, but keep going any how.
  • Finish strong


These lessons are important in my spiritual life as well and I've started to apply them. As a matter of fact they are more important spiritually, than physically.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

Have you been slacking off lately? Do you have what it takes to just do it?