February 16, 2011 § 6 Comments
“EWWWWWWWW…MOOOOOOMMMMMYYYYY, J pooped,” her voice shakes the paintings on the walls as she flees her brother’s presence.
“J we don’t want to play with you when you stink,” his other sister chimes in with the painful truth. I wince to hear her shun her brother. Oh, but I understand why. In fact there is a part of me that wants to shoo the offender and the odor out the door. It is nasty.
The smell permeates the room, paint peels, the smell discolors the carpet (ok I exaggerate, but the smell does stick around for a long time). In fact it hangs in the air long after the diaper has been changed.
As I changed my son today, it hit me. Sin is so nasty, so stinky, so disgusting that God cannot have it in his presence. But it is the sin not the sinner He shuns. God doesn’t say stay away from the sinner with the poopy diaper. No, instead like a mother changing a nasty filthy diaper, God calls us near to Him. He draws us close and uses His Son’s blood to cleanse us. Just as we put a clean diaper on our child, God wraps us with His grace and love.
However the sin smell can linger. We humans don’t like the messiness of it all. We like nice explainable packages and clean good smelling people. So as my daughters did, we point our fingers, shun the sinner, and fail to extend grace.
When we remember that we have stinky poopy diapers and are in desperate need of grace, we are free to offer grace extravagantly to others. We can sit with our friend who has confessed their sin, the smell still hanging in the air, their rears chaffed by the rash it has caused, and we can love them through the pain. We can do this because we are painfully aware that without Christ our sin would still be filling our pants, the smell permeating our skin. Our offer of grace does not remove the consequences of their sin, it only reminds them that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. It only echoes God’s response to us when we run to Him saying, “I pooped again. Change me please.” Amazingly God never runs out of Christ’s blood in which to cleanse us nor does He run out of grace in which to wrap us.
Oh the amazing love of Our Father. That we as cleansed and redeemed sons and daughters would extend His amazing grace to others!
Is grace difficult for you to share with others? What are your thoughts about God’s grace? I can’t wait to hear what you think. Jump in and leave a comment!
Now for your enjoyment a little silliness…This video always makes me smile…
February 14, 2011 § 7 Comments
I seriously have an issue with Valentine’s Day. As a kid my parents did give us candy and tell us they loved us. At school I got candy and those little cards that get thrown away almost as soon as you get home. I gave them too. As I got older, I secretly wished a certain boy would send me a card that shared secret feelings. I hoped and wished, always to be disappointed. Even if I received a card from a certain boy that said something like “Be Mine” I could never be sure if he really wanted me or if he gave that same card to everyone.
Then middle school came around and high school. Every Valentine’s day I knew I didn’t have anyone “special,” but I wanted someone. So I quietly tried to squash the hope that rose in me each year, a hope that was repeatedly disappointed. UGH! Valentine’s Day. Sure now that I am married, I have enjoyed many Valentine’s Days. I have my true Valentine. The one who asked me forever and offered his forever to me.
I look at my kids and groan. Valentine’s Day at school. Inevitably someone ends up with hurt feelings. Little hearts are filled with hope that another little heart will give them approval. I see it on Facebook statuses, like this one:
Copy this to your status and see what you get INBOXED!(:
GOLD : Be my valentine this year?
RED: I used to like you..
ORANGE: You will be mine
……GREEN: I wanna date you!
BLUE: I love you
PURPLE: I wanna chill
PINK: I like you
YELLOW: Your sweet
WHITE: You’re funny
BROWN: You’re amazing
SILVER: You’re cute(:
Approval, love, acceptance…We all want it. We want to know others love us, like us, think we are good-looking. Yet we already have all the acceptance we need in God. He loves you despite knowing all of you (Psalm 139). Not just the you that you try hard to portray. God knows you and loves you. God sent His Son to die for YOU!
So how do I teach my kids to “guard your heart” (Prov 4:23) when in this world we are placing our hearts out there to be filled by anyone? I am not perfect, but this is what I told them. I want them to know on everyday, but especially the day the world celebrates love that God loves them and that mommy and daddy love them. I want their hearts filled with God’s love and the love of their parents so they don’t need to offer their hearts to others until it is time. As Song of Solomon suggests (at least three times), “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”
My goal is to use this day to teach my kids real love. The 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love that is only from God and can only be lived out with the Holy Spirit working it out in us. I pray my husband and I live it out in front of our kids. I pray we pour Godly love into them. I seek to make this day about His kind of love, not our sinful messed up kind. In case you are wondering, yes my sweet husband will be giving me a token of his affection today as I will for him.
What do you think about Valentine’s Day? What are you teaching your kids, friends, family about love?
Hang around leave a comment.
January 21, 2011 § 1 Comment
“Hooters?!” I said incredulously as we drove past what used to be an empty commercial lot.
“Yep,” my husband nodded and he made the first left turn after Hooters to head to our lot. The lot we were building our new house on.
How do you do it?
How do you teach modesty to children who see the world in black and white when grace is in the picture?
How do you teach your daughters that you feel God’s desire to dress modestly means you don’t wear a two-pieces swimming suit, but others who love and honor God may not have that same view?
How do you make sure your kids don’t tell others that Santa isn’t real because we don’t pretend, but others like to pretend?
My answer is it is all about honor.
1. We are to honor God (1Cor 6:20).
All we do, all we say, what we wear, where we go, all of it should be in an effort to honor God. Brushing your teeth? Do it because you want to honor God by taking care of the body He gave you. Teaching your kids about dressing modestly? Do it because we want to honor God with our bodies, not because it makes us righteous. No it only helps us honor a God who died that we may live.
The question we must ask ourselves is am I honoring God in what I say, do, think, wear, my attitude? Then we must step back and know that there is freedom in Christ. Your definition of modesty may be different from mine, but if we are looking to honor God, it doesn’t matter as long as we encourage each other to honor God.
2. Romans 12:10 tells us to “…Honor one another above yourselves.”
Honoring others means extending God’s grace and love in times when we disagree. I have some sweet Godly friends that go to Hooters. I don’t feel I have that freedom in Christ, but they do. I may even tell them in a loving way why I don’t go to Hooters, but love and honor rule that conversation. All covered in the freedom Christ gives. It is about honoring and loving those around us.
Honoring others also means treating them the same way you want to be treated. None of us want to be judged or misunderstood. None of us want to be told because you wear something or go somewhere you are in sin and wrong. Romans 14 tells us about our freedom in Christ, not freedom to sin, but freedom to live out honoring lives to God whether we go to Hooters or not.
Does adding grace into the black and white world of my children work?
Amazingly, yes. I think kids get grace so much easier than we adults do. We try to add things to it.
We add living a “good” life to grace so we can be called righteous, when we know we are righteous by faith in God. (Gal 3:1-6)
Kids just accept it for what it is. We are not righteous by what we do, we are righteous because of whose we are, because we have faith in Him, who died that we may live.
What do you think? How do you teach God’s grace and freedom in Christ in the midst of God’s precepts?
February 28, 2010 § 4 Comments
So lately I have been thinking about obedience. The first thing my heart does when I think about myself and obedience is it twists inside. I can practically feel the flight or fight response begin, I am on my guard. “ME, Obey? Whom am I to obey? I am grown. What do you mean OBEY?” Frightening, but true. My sin nature likes to think I am in control and I don’t really need to “obey” anyone. However, that isn’t accurate at all. I have always been a pleaser to those in authority over me. It is part of my make up. I don’t want to disappoint so I do my best to please them, but is that truly obedience? NO. I had every pretension of obedience, but I didn’t always obey. I didn’t have the right attitude and I was willing to disobey as long as I wasn’t caught.
The same can be true today. I have the pretension of obeying God. I read my Bible, I pray, but am I truly obeying? See God is more interested in where my heart is rather than my actions. Psalm 51:16-17 says, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” So obedience is more than just going through the motions. I have been reading a book called Say Goodbye to Whining Complaining and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Turansky and Miller. I will tell you it dives into the issue behind obedience, it is honor. Honor is more important than obedience and for God it is part of obedience. As He calls us to honor Him. He taught us how to honor Him as well. Look at all the rules He gave the Israelites. Look at the sacrifices, the clean and unclean, the offerings, the commandments. God was teaching the Israelites THIS is how you obey and honor ME. No other god could do that!
So not only is obedience something I fight, not only is it about more than my actions, but it is also about love. WHAT? How is obedience about love? I so often think of tyrants when I think of obedience. What does love have to do with it? Well, first thing, obedience when coupled with honor (or the right attitude) is a gift you give the one you are obeying. Kids, when you obey your parents it is a gift. Wives when we obey our husbands it is a gift. Students when you obey your teachers it is a gift. Now this isn’t the feet stomping, eye rolling sort of obeying, this is the honor filled obedience. Secondly look at what Jesus has to say about obedience. (I must be slow that this is such a revelation to me, but it is true) John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” So It is easy for me to gloss over my part and say ok, if I do what God wants me to do He will love me, but that isn’t the point. The way we show love to God is OBEDIENCE! What? Seriously, we can say we love God, but unless we are obeying His commands that “love” is just lip-service. It is just a bunch of garbage.
So I have been convicted lately that if I am not obeying God then I am not loving God. That really changes they way I think about obedience. Praise God that He gives me more chances than I deserve to obey and honor Him.