Taking Away the Sins of the World

I am a Sunday School teacher.Image result for Bible

I was reading an article studying details of a lesson I was going to teach.

What I was looking up dealt with passages about Jesus taking away the sins of the world-bearing them in His body.   The author I was reading brought up something that I find myself revisiting often.

As Christ moved forward towards His ultimate act of obedience to God, His death on theImage result for christ's beating cross.  He endured the most awful abuses of man.  He was betrayed, verbally abused, mentally abused, physically abused, beaten, scorned, mocked, stripped of dignity, etc., etc., I don’t want to go on.

BUT, and here is the point, He did not sin by giving it back.  In all honesty, this is what gets us, isn’t it.  He was quiet as a lamb.  He broke the cycle of sin.  He took in sin and did not return it.  He endured without retaliation.  How radical.  How powerful.

How many times have we been sinned against-hundreds, thousands???  How many of those times have we participated in the cycle by sinning back-telling everyone we know what they did, become angry and lashing out, or even doing something back to them.  Never ending cycle.

Image result for angry faceIs the only way to respond to being sinned against retaliation?  Obviously not.  Was it easy for Him? No!  Will it be easy for us? Not on your life.  But what a better way. What a higher way.  What a way to participate in the purposes and ways of the Kingdom of God-do not allow the cycle of sin to pass through you.  Stop the cycle.  Cut it off.

And, in closing, another verse I have thought on many a time:  Although He was the Son, even He learned obedience through what he suffered.  He was made perfect through His suffering.  What a way to frame the suffering we endure at the hands of others-as perfecting us.

Some questions we might ask ourselves.: Do we participate in the sin cycle or do we break it?  Is not retaliating a sign of weakness or strength?  If we don’t retaliate, do we have to take sin in allowing it to destroy us internally, or can we give it to God and allow Him to deal with it?

Jesus modeled for us a better way to deal with sin than become a participant in it-stop the cycle.

 

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Gluttony is Contagious????

So, I am a science teacher. I teach 5th grade science. I love science. I also love God. Do God and science go together? Does science prove or disprove God?

I think that is a valid question. If God IS the creator and sustainer of life as He says he is, science should be advancing to the place of proving God’s existence.

And it is moving in that direction.  Although we may not there yet, we’re on our way.

I have seen more evidence of movement this morning when God’s word was proven by scientific research.

Here’s the story: My husband is beginning to show signs of heart disease. Just the beginning stages but enough that I bought this book.

Last night while reading the chapter on weight’s affects on heart disease, I read this insert titled “Is Obesity Socially Contagious”.

Apparently research has proven that hanging around obese people (of which I struggle myself) affects the possibility of a another becoming obese.

This hit home to me because I’ve seen evidence of this and been warning people that I love to take note and be careful of who they hang around.  I have watched a popular home that became the hangout of many, birth an entire group of people that resembled the habits of those who called it home.  In love for the family, I have to say that they were some of the most loving and accepting people I’d ever met.  I’m sure that was the attraction, BUT the activities accepted and practiced in that very accepting and morally passive home were absorbed by those who found solace there.   Many bear the consequences of spending time there.  Drunkenness, gluttony, and homosexuality overtook and  filled the home and, unfortunately, were absorbed by those who spent time there.  The casualties were many.

The Word of God warns us…”Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons..” Proverbs 23:20  Scientific research proves that if you do, you might just become a drunkard and glutton yourself.

Jesus Christ came that we might be set free.  Jesus Christ came to deliver us and set us on a new path, give us a new standard, provide us with new friends who also desire freedom from the enslaving behaviors of this world.

 

 

 

Posted in addiction, Faith, freedom, freedom from the flesh, gluttony, influence | Leave a comment

Freedom from Worry

Are you a worrier?  I have a tendency to worry.

Image result for worrying

I can recite the verse…. Do not be anxious for anything….

But, I still have a tendency to worry.

Image result for anxiety

 

Through a God-sent series of events I ended up reading a  booklet on prayer.  A new verse about anxiety stood out and spoke to me. ” Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Cast my anxiety on Him.  Just that quickly I realized that I had not been casting.   For when you cast something, you throw it away.  If anxiety stays, then I haven’t truly cast my concerns-I’ve cast then them back. casting   Which is disobedience.

Jesus Christ came so that we could be set free.  Free from anxiety as we learn to obey and trust Him by casting our worries onto Him.   When anxiety sneaks up on us, God has given us a way to deal with it-cast it.

 

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College-Ready, or Not?

Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I’ve a many curious things to shew when you are there.”
Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.” 

It happened again.  I was talking to a dad today.  He bragged about his college aged son, but then added that, you know, college had done a number on their child’s faith.  How infuriating.  

From the moment they are born, we born-again, Christ followers realize the importance of passing on our faith in Christ to our children.  Nothing else takes precedence over this eternity altering and life molding relationship.  

They usually do pretty good while still in our faith filled homes.  I mean they are human;  they make mistakes, they get misled, but we are there to discipline, to talk to them, to speak truth to them.   Most things get buffed out and they pull on our faith when theirs is weak or challenged.  But then we send them off to college-as sheep among wolves.

Think about it:  If you were Satan where better to set up an ambush on the next generation than in a college.  I mean, we’ve taught them that they ALL have to go to college or they will be poor and destitute so more young people than ever are entering the college arena.  And who better to use than an impressive, successful professor of incredible (seeming) intelligence to baffle them and make them question every premise they’ve ever believed.  Not only question, but feel ignorant for believing.  And, they fall for it; not all of them, but some.  And some is too many.  

So, what can a parent do?  What can a Christian body do to help prepare their young adults for college.  I don’t know, maybe warn them.  Ignorance is not bliss here.  They have an enemy and we rarely tell them-too dark, a little scary.   And he is strategic in his warfare-yes, he hangs out at colleges.  If you were him, wouldn’t you?  It doesn’t take much intelligence to realize where the young, vulnerable ones are.  And, yes, there is such a thing as spiritual warfare.  Anyone who has ever experienced it knows it.  Spiritual warfare is just that-spiritual.  Aiming to draw us spiritually away from our faith in Jesus Christ.   “Do you actually believe?  How ignorant can you be?  Science reveals to us…”

They have to know that they will be tested in this lifetime; we all are.  They need to decide now what they believe and who they believe in.  They need to put on the armor that God has provided and stand firm in their beliefs.  College only lasts a few years.  The challenges to their faith can weaken them or strengthen them depending on how prepared they are.  For those who stand strong and keep the faith, they will come out stronger from the buffeting because they will have dug their feet in deep.

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed:
Unto an evil counselor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

The Spider and the Fly
Mary Howitt 

 

Posted in Christian, christian parenting, College, Faith, Family, Raising kids, wisdom

It is Never Too Late

I like to grow things.  I have a large garden and a raised bed garden.  I have compost bins and rain barrels and, most recently, all the paraphernalia to begin beekeeping.  onions

I actually can’t make things grow though.  I can only place seeds or small plants in the right conditions for them to be able to grow.  If I monitor the conditions and provide for their needs, I can watch as beautiful plants grow to maturity and bear beautiful fruit.

 

tomatoes

 

 

It is a wonderful process. I never grow tired of it.

 

 

Gardening always makes me think of the parallels to human life.  Take seeds for example.  Inside a seed is an identity.  An apple seed is an apple seed.  A bean seed is a bean seed.  A sunflower seed is a sunflower seed.  But also, within each seed is a destiny.   An apple seed will become an apple tree and a bean seed will become a green sprawling bean plant.    Sunflower seeds will grow into green giantsseed.  And lastly, within each seed is a purpose.  Apple seeds are designed to produce a sweet, delicious fruit, bean seeds produce beans, and sunflower seeds produce a huge gorgeous flower full of new seeds that are food for birds and animals.  The design and plan of seeds is amazing.

 

 

Humans are like seeds.  Within each of us is a pre-designed identity, destiny, and purpose.

The problem with growing things, however, whether it be a plant or a human being is that conditions matter for the health of a living thing.  If you plant a seed in harsh conditions, it won’t thrive well.  And if a human is raised or placed in harsh, unloving, conditions where it is deprived, it will, at its best, survive.  Hurts, abuse, and disappointment can cause a person to live in darkness to their true identity,  never go down the path that leads to their God-appointed destiny and not fulfill their God-designed purpose.

There is good news though.  Like the 4,000 year old seeds that were found in the pyramids of Egypt that were planted, nurtured, and that sprouted and grew, these attributes can never be lost but they can lie dormant until placed in the right conditions.  Every human being has deep within them a God-given identity, destiny, and purpose that cannot be taken away or destroyed.

If you have been in a place of darkness and difficulty, take heart.   Deep within you remains everything you need to be who you were created to be, go where you were designed to go and fulfill the purposes planned for your life.  All you need is to begin to nurture the incredible being that God created you to be.  Believe.  Take care of yourself.  Move into the source of life Himself to receive from Him His nurturing and care.  It is never too late.  Grow.

woman praising

 

 

 

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My Garden Experiment

For those who don’t know-my fall/winter/spring job is as a 5th grade science teacher.  In the summer months I am housewife full on.

With that background, this will make more sense.

Anyway, I wish I had taken a before picture but this is the after.  As you can see half of my green beans are doing GREAT while the other half isn’t doing so well-at all.

competition and green beans

Hmmm…being the science teacher that I am, my mind immediately went to work and then my hands did.  I realized that this set me up for the PERFECT at-home, hands-on science investigation.  You see (If I had taken a before pictures, you’d actually SEE. But,  well, live and learn.)  I had gotten tired in my hoeing last week and only hoed half-way down the row.

A recent rain had made grass grow and invade the last half of the row, stunting its growth.   I quickly realized that this gave me the opportunity to do an at-home science experiment on the effects of competition on the growth of plants.  So, I went to work pulling almost all the grass out of the stunted portion and now I can’t wait to see if-with the competition removed-the green beans would begin to flourish and grow.

I also realized that this would make a great BLOG.  I’d title it:  “Competition Will Suck the Life Out of a Marriage”-or maybe I’d come up with something better.

 

married hands

Marriages were designed to flourish and grow.  The day a couple gets married is the day they are “planted”.  As with everything designed to grow, marriages have needs.  And, if those needs aren’t met or if things creep in and aren’t weeded out, competition can suck the life out of a marriage making it weak, stunted, and unfruitful.

Just a few things that compete for the attention and affection we should be “feeding” our marriages:  careers, hobbies, children, worries, fears…etc.  The list is long.

I just wonder, if we were to look at our marriages and see that they are not thriving, if we would stop and do some weeding, would our marriages-having it’s needs met again-begin to thrive, grow, and become fruitful.  Hmmm….sounds like a great at-home, hands-on life producing, worthy of our consideration experiment.

 

For the love of God, Family, and Science (which proves His existence) as it should.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Make No Provision for the Flesh

So, I just read the statement, repentance is a lifestyle.  Hmmm, I like that.   It states a truth that we have to come to terms with-we live in the flesh and the flesh is bent towards sinful behaviors that, left unchecked, will suck the life out of us one cookie at a time, one sexy photo at a time, one hit at a time.

flesh

The flesh has appetites and desires that will take us down unhealthy roads physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

How do we live in these times where every sinful desire can be satisfied in a moment’s notice?   Repentance.  Everyday.  Leading a lifestyle of repentance, or turning away.

repent sign

Of course we won’t have to turn around if we don’t head in that direction in the first place.  How do we do that?   Well, the Manufacturer’s Instruction Manual tells us to “make no provision for the flesh and its lusts”  Romans 13:14b.   Hmmm, do not provide.   What does that look like?

Here is one way I am “not providing”.  I cleaned out my pantry.   Really cleaned it out.

pantry empty

And then I restocked it.  Minus the cookies and chips and….well everything that I tended to not be able to stop eating when I knew I need to.  I am working to create a lifestyle of repentance by turning my back on purchasing and providing for my flesh.

pantry full

What about you?   Tired of being “bullied” by the flesh into doing things you later regret? Go with me and let’s start leading a lifestyle of repentance together.  What is one thing you can clean out?   Restock?

 

May God bless your efforts.

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