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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bible Camp vs. Reality

[Here is a post I had in 'draft status' for almost 2 years. I'm not sure why I never posted it, but here it is.]

My daughter had an observation that I thought was worthy of sharing. Though she has never been to a summer bible camp, she has heard plenty about them from some of her friends ... and from me (I have went to several summer bible camps in my youth, some a few years in a row).

The other day she spent quite a bit of time in a green bean patch. She said more spiritual lessons can be learned and gleaned working in a green bean patch for half a day than can be learned going to summer bible camp for one week. I agree.

The same youth that look forward to summer bible camp often times are the same youth that can hardly stand to do a half day of work and even if they did manage to put in a half day of work they can be heard complaining and seen poking around, not really wanting to do the task at hand. And too, serving the elderly with not even a thought of compensation is definitely out.

Of course this does not apply to all youth :) I know so very hard working youngsters and it's always a blessing to be in their company. They work with their parents and siblings side-by-side, happy, singing, etc. These same youth are glad to go to the nursing home or help an elderly neighbor with 'no strings attached'. This is how it should be. This is what should be considered 'normal' and the other not.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Learning: Studying vs. Hands-on

I was thinking the other day about ways to learn and how there are 'two kinds' of learning. There's the book learning ... where we get excited about something and just read and read and read. For instance, I'm getting goats next spring, Lord willing [and health permitting], and I've been reading all I can about them. Even still, I KNOW things will be different when I'm actually raising them. While it's good to be as prepared as possible, I know reading and studying will never give me a full picture of actually raising goats. The fuller picture will come when the goats are in my care and I have some real, hands-on experience with them. But even then the picture will not be 100% complete because I will only have one kind of goat, only have a few, etc... There are other variables too, but I'm sure you get the idea.
Not yet being a goat owner and still having only the 'book knowledge' of goats, can you imagine what a seasoned goat owner would think if I tried to correct them?! What if, when I go to visit the farm where I'm getting my goats, I told them they were doing "xyz" wrong? These people have been in business many years, breeding, showing, and selling the same kind of goats ... what do I have to offer THEM?! I'd do well to keep my mouth shut unless it's to ask questions and learn!

When I was younger I took an accelerated college degree for accounting (basically getting a two year degree in 1 1/2 years). I ate, slept and breathed accounting (well, I had to work the graveyard shift and Denny's AND be a single mom too ... but accounting was on my mind pretty much all the time). With all the classes and studying, I STILL did not have full knowledge of what it was to be an accountant. Then I took my internship and got hired where I interned - a major construction company in Omaha. My knowledge and experience in accounting was growing and growing all the time. By the time I quit being an accountant 5 years later, my boss said my experience far surpassed that of a person with a four year degree. Not only did I have the 'book knowledge' but, more importantly, I had the 'hands-on' knowledge that only comes through trial and error. But even still, there are all kinds of accountants!! And all kinds of businesses!! I was a general accountant and a job-cost accountant for a construction company. The only thing I ever did with payroll was cut the checks my boss got ready. What would a seasoned payroll accountant think if I criticized them for the way they were doing things? Or what would an accountant in a totally different industry think if I tried to fix her problems with my construction-only knowledge?
Which reminds me of when I had a few temporary jobs after the construction job. One was in a small office on a tree farm. VERY DIFFERENT but I was still an accountant. Another was in a large electrical contractor office. VERY DIFFERENT but I was still an accountant. I had to learn whole new ways of doing things in each job, but my title was the same: Accountant.

I believe this is the same with our walks with the Lord. We all have a cross to carry. It is ours and no one else's. Where some only have 'book knowledge', others have 'hands-on knowledge', yet sadly, many of the 'book-knowledge-only-folks' criticize and condemn the way the 'hands-on-knowledge-folks' do things. Let's be careful that we do not fall into this camp!! Instead of criticizing someone who is not carrying their cross the way we think they should be carrying it, let's come up along side of them and try to help bear their load; be an encouragement and a blessing instead of a stumbling block.

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

As I [Christ] have loved you, so must you love one another.

The second greatest commandment is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands ...

whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, [dwell on these things.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Learning to Walk

I was just thinking this morning about babies learning to walk. They are at an age in life where they are learning and growing at such a rapid pace. So many new discoveries, new skills, new knowledge ... and new mistakes. Trial and error are excellent teachers!!

While our little ones are learning how to walk, we would never even think to spank or scold them if they fell, knocked something over while trying to balance, etc. They make mistakes and that's ok! It's expected. They are learning and growing.

This made me think of learning how to walk with the Lord. We are learning and growing. We are making new discoveries, learning new skills, gaining new knowledge, growing in wisdom, (etc.) ... and making some mistakes to. Trail and error are excellent teachers.

While we would not scold or spank a baby for making mistakes while growing and learning, why are we so quick to scold (or, worse yet, shun) those who seem to be making a mistake in their walk with the Lord? If we are not in their shoes, how can we make such harsh judgments? Maybe they are exactly where the LORD wants them to be? Maybe what looks bad to us is actually a time of great learning and growing for them? Maybe if we interfere, instead of helping them we are actually hindering the Lord's work in their lives?

If we just love one another, as Christ taught, and leave the judging up to him, we will have the freedom to come up alongside someone who might not be doing things the way *we* think they should be doing them and, instead of criticizing or shunning, offer our arm or hand, a word of encouragement, help.

What a blessing to have this freedom!

God knows how harsh and critical I was on others when I first started my walk. I am ashamed of that time!!! But, as Mother Teresa says, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Praise the Lord! Every day is new. [make the wrongs right of course!! but then move on and BE a better person]

Let's spend our time loving and blessing others instead of criticizing and cutting them down. Light vs. darkness. Love vs. hate. Peace vs. discord.

Monday, October 12, 2015

My thoughts are higher than your thoughts ....

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

These verses are really good to keep in mind when discouragement is knocking at our door. Check your thoughts. Are they in line with God's? His ways and thoughts are HIGHER than ours!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Thoughts of a former atheist.

The other day I saw a cartoon picture [in regards to the recent school shooting in Oregon] of two people walking side by side. One said, "Why didn't God stop the shooting?" The other responded, "How could he? He's not allowed in school any more." But that's not the focus of this post. The focus is on what happened next. Someone commented and basically said they did not believe in God, he isn't real, and until proven factual with evidence, they will continue to be agnostic. I understand where they are coming from because most of my life I thought the same way.

A little background.

I grew up in an atheist home. Though I did have some exposure to church and 'god' it was not the God of the bible (but I did not know that at the time). Religion was forced upon me by way of prizes, treats, and other such bribery. "If you come to sunday school x times in a row you will get a free bible!" "If you bring a friend you will get a snickers bar!" "Do you want to burn in hell? Then ask Jesus to come into your heart!" "Do you believe Jesus died on the cross? Then you are saved forever!" etc. That was mostly the IFB church, however I also attended Catholic mass many times with the other side of my family. Stand up. Sit down. Kneel. Sit. Kneel. Stand. Kneel. Say this. Say that. What was the priest saying? How do they know exactly what to say all at the same time? Talk about confusing! Once I became "old enough" to absolutely refuse to go to any sort of church I did. I hated it; all of it. It was like torture to me and I hated anything that had to do with Christianity.

As a child and teenager I LOVED science. Really. I soaked in all I could, did all the extra credit that was offered, went the extra mile in every project. In 9th grade Biology class my overall score for the year was something like 110%. Chemistry. Physics. Anything that had to do with science and I was there. I cannot remember most of my teachers names but of all the ones I do remember most were my science teachers. Mr. Floyd in 7th grade. Mr. Kennedy in 8th grade. Mr. Dappen in 9th grade. Mr. Doctor in 11th grade. For 10th grade I was in Phoenix and everything was messed up ... I cannot remember my teacher's name but I do remember she was from Boston, had a neat accent and a really good way of teaching the metric system which I still use to this very day. I liked her a lot. And of course I dropped out in the 11th grade so that was it for me. I did however go on to ace my GED test and get a college degree ... in accounting.

Anyway, these teachers had a huge impact on me. And science was my passion. I wanted to be an aerospace engineer with the goal of becoming an astronaut. Yeap. That was my dream for a long time and I was on my way ... until I got pregnant :) for which I am very thankful.

I was a strong advocate of evolution. It was a fact to me without any doubting in any way whatsoever. I thought those who believed otherwise were ignorant or brainwashed or just plain stupid. I was really good at arguing my beliefs.

Then I started homeschooling my children and hanging out with a bunch of professing Christians. At the request of my oldest child, we started attending a contemporary church (that of my brother-in-law and his family). Though I still did not pick up the bible and actually read it and I still claimed to be an atheist, I was going through the motions of modern Christianity and feeling good about myself ... feeling good knowing that I was getting my children involved in 'good things' with 'good people'. This actually went on for 3 or 4 years, but at one point in there my sister-in-law and I were driving around hitting all the garage sales we could find and  we started talking about science. I really cannot remember the flow of the conversation but I remember very specifically saying, "Can you believe there are actually Christians who believe the earth is only about 6,000 years old? That is so ridiculous! Science has proven it is millions or even billions of years old!" She said, "Lots of Christians believe that." Though it was not spoken, I knew she was part of the "lots of Christians" group. We dropped the subject but I never forgot it.

Somewhere in that time I got hold of the Kent Hovind seminars. He had one seminar that was titled something like, "Lies in the textbooks." In this seminar he explained all of the different THEORIES that are taught as FACTS ... and many of those THEORIES were proven FALSE or FRAUDULANT years ago, yet the school textbooks (and many museums) still taught them!!!!!! (I just did a youtube search - the seminar is titled as I said and it's been posted several times if you are interested in seeing it ... though I'll say now I do NOT agree with everything he believes.)

This was very hard for me. My whole system of belief was crumbling down all around me. I honestly felt so BETRAYED for all of those years ... being taught evolution as a FACT instead of a THEORY and never being offered an alternate belief or theory ... this is NOT proper science!!!! I was well aware of the Scientific Method, and that's what made me feel even more betrayed and helped me see that I WAS THE ONE WHO WAS BRAINWASHED!

Back to the commenter ... they will not believe in God until there is absolute PROOF that he exists. This person needs EVIDENCE. Well, come on now, let's look at this logically. I am using a computer. The very fact that it IS tells me that someone CREATED it. It did not just evolve over 'millions of years' 'by chance'. The believer in Evolution would think I was stupid if I believed the computer evolved by chance. And the human body is MUCH MORE COMPLICATED than a computer!! Why do we look at a painting or a computer or a car and KNOW that someone created them but then we look at a human being and KNOW (or I should say, "know") that it was a complete accident or complete chance? That makes no logical sense whatsoever. We'd rather believe we were a complete accident and formed by chance out of sludge than to believe that we were created by choice with a purpose.

Well, believe it or not, I've always been a very logical thinker, but it took me a while to see through the poison I was inoculated with. Poison, plain and simple. Such BAD, TERRIBLE SCIENCE!!!

Though still a huge skeptic and teetering on the fence of belief and unbelief, about 10 years or so ago when I finally first picked up the bible and started reading what Jesus taught with an open mind and a heart really just wanting to know the truth, I learned of another way where my thinking had been skewed or corrupted. You see, all of my life I hated a god that really did NOT exist. The Atheists are RIGHT! When I read what Jesus taught I learned very quickly that the God he teaches about is not the same god that most of professing Christianity is following. It was not God's fault! It was OURS!

And that's all I have to say about that ... for now ...

Friday, September 18, 2015

Isaiah 3:10-12

I am going through the book of Isaiah right now and the other day this stood out to me.

Isaiah 3:10-12 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of they paths.
“And women rule over them” … “they which lead thee [the women that rule over them] shall cause thee to err”. This is not a good thing! It is a judgment to those who do not do what is right.
"children are their oppressors" Children are their taskmasters! They run the show (along with the women). And look a few verses before the ones I mentioned above: "...the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable"
These exact things are going on around us every day. I think of the verses that warn and command children to obey their parents, that warn against pride, that teach what the most important things in life are. And the verses that tell women how they are to conduct themselves "that the word of God be not blasphemed."
These things come from the heart. They are not things that you can pretend or force yourself to do. The truth will always show sooner or later. If they are truly done from the heart you will bring forth the fruits of the Spirit.

Monday, August 31, 2015