I have a friend in need of prayer. I know that when you see this video it will remind you of one of your friends who needs to hear from God right now. I am in prayer for this person, not without my own frustration and not without my own opinion but deciding to set it aside for a touch from God which is the only thing can change the course of action. Let’s agree in prayer today for those people in our lives who are lost and need a touch from God in this moment!
Month: August 2010
In The Name Of Love
We become obsessive
We kill each other
We overeat as in “I love cake”
We try to control another
We allow ourselves to be controlled
We say things we don’t mean
We say things that are mean
We make stupid decisions for our lives
We lose our definition
We are too permissive
We are too authoritarian
We become stalkers
We become overbearing
We become insecure
We become insensitive
We take each other for granted
We cease to work on ourselves
We compromise our future
We compromise our morals
We compromise our desires
We compromise our character
We blind ourselves to the truth
We lose touch with reality
We turn our back on our family
We become foolish in our decisions
We become co-dependent
We overlook sin
We overlook flaws
We overlook problems
We go into debt
We get abused
We manipulate wrongly
We are manipulated
In the name of love we commit atrocities on ourselves and others. Yet,
1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Do we know God? Or do we think we know love? They are inseparable. Do we understand what love is and will we adhere to the principles of love as God has directed or will be continue make a mess of our lives in the name of what we think is love?
Your Brain On Computers
I read this article in the New York Times, by Matt Richtel and think it bears repeating. Click here to read the article.
Here is an excerpt:
Technology use can benefit the brain in some ways, researchers say. Imaging studies show the brains of Internet users become more efficient at finding information. And players of some video games develop better visual acuity.
More broadly, cellphones and computers have transformed life. They let people escape their cubicles and work anywhere. They shrink distances and handle countless mundane tasks, freeing up time for more exciting pursuits.
For better or worse, the consumption of media, as varied as e-mail and TV, has exploded. In 2008, people consumed three times as much information each day as they did in 1960. And they are constantly shifting their attention. Computer users at work change windows or check e-mail or other programs nearly 37 times an hour, new research shows.
The nonstop interactivity is one of the most significant shifts ever in the human environment, said Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco.
“We are exposing our brains to an environment and asking them to do things we weren’t necessarily evolved to do,” he said. “We know already there are consequences.”
I made the mistake once of saying in a group that I get up early to write because it’s the only part of the day that I have all to myself. Sometimes, I have no filter and I say things that should remain private for my sake. Anyway, I said I normally get up around 5:30 to get an hour or so in of writing before I have to start my day.
I don’t know why, but this seemed to give people the nod to call or text my cell at that hour. They forgot the part about how it’s my only time to myself. They also forgot that I am married and that my husband is sleeping at that time and the phone wakes him up in a very grumpy way. Anyway, I’ve straightened it out. Either by politely answering after 8 or saying something directly. The only time my phone should ring at that time is because an employee is calling in sick or someone is in the hospital.
For social calls the phone should ring between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. For business calls the phone can begin to ring at 8 a.m. unless you know a place of business is open before that.
To my youth kids who read the blog, it’s not okay to call each other, even on your cell phones, at 10 p.m. or 2 a.m. I know, I know, that’s ol’ skool but my kids get their phones taken away for infringements of etiquette because I’m trying to teach manners. If you ask any parent, they don’t want you to call late either. Since most parents pay for cell phones then their rules go. If you pay your own cell phone bill then the rule still applies because the only reason you have money for a cell phone is because your parents pay for rent, food and health insurance.
Also, don’t call hang up and call again. If the person was busy two seconds ago, they are probably still busy now. Just leave a message and wait. Right now as I write this, someone has called four times, not left a single message and I’ve been typing for 3 minutes and 28 seconds. There are times when I am typing, working, sleeping, cooking, having dinner and I don’t answer my phone during that time. It’s okay, there was time in the world where we weren’t so accessible and………………….. we lived.
Without doubt modesty is nothing less than a holy feeling; and without doubt the person whose rule of modesty has been transgressed feels the same sort of wound that he would feel if something made holy to him by his religion had suffered a desecretation. I say “rule of modesty” because there are about a million rules in the world, and this makes a million standards to be looked out for. -Mark Twain- Following the Equator
Sometimes women, we are our worst enemies. Instead of fighting for true injustice in the world, abuse, sex-trafficking, child slavery and rape we are assessing each other’s dress code and deeming it inappropriate. We disguise it under the veil of religion, determining that we cause men to lust with our clothing. As if we have the power to dictate the feelings of another.
Only who determines modesty? Muslims can feel we Christians are immodest. Certain denominations of Christians determine that other denominations are immodest and the list goes on and on. I find it interesting though that men aren’t held to this standard. A woman’s lust for a man isn’t predicated on his attire or so it seems.
I just want it to stop. The women in the church clucking and running around talking about the attire of others are nothing more than bullies who have determined it is their right to speak out, behind your back of course, about their opinion of the way another dresses. The problem is you can make all the religious rules you want to about dress code. Unless the heart convicts you, you follow the rules in front of the rule authorities but you won’t follow it on your own because it isn’t your conviction.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Col 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Why Men Cheat
The number one search engine term that people use to get to our blog is ‘I am a mistake’ which prompted me to write the blog You’re Not A Mistake. The second thing that brings people to our site are issues with children and we’ve written quite a bit on that.
The third is ‘why do men cheat’. I hadn’t written on it because I didn’t really think I had answers. I began to make notes as to what some reasons are that we hear in counseling as to why men cheat. Interestingly enough I found some common reasons.
Hungry Men Cheat. No! Not hungry as in physical food but hungry as in something is missing. Whether a valid concern or a fantasy of what they thought a marriage was supposed to be, it doesn’t really matter because it still leads them down a wrong path. So the question is why are they hungry and what are they hungry for?
Respect. So often we marry men and then expect them to change. When they don’t become that fantasy man we thought they had potential to become we get mad. We begin to nitpick at their flaws. Who wants that? So suddenly the girl at the office who thinks he has potential and flatters him begins to look good. Just like you used to look before you decided he wasn’t all that.
Lisa Bevere made a poignant statement in her series Nurture. She said that women train their husbands and serve their children. That statement smacked me in the head. How many times have we determined that our husbands way of doing things are wrong and ours is right? What gives us the right? I think most women would respond negatively if the roles were reversed. Quit nagging about what he isn’t and appreciate what he is. I don’t think I have to go into any more details here. Make your man feel as if what he does for you is important.
Letting ourselves go. What does it cost us to put some makeup on and try to look like we care a little bit? There is this thing, I believe, in marriage where we become too familiar. I don’t give myself a facial in front of my husband. I understand he’s visual and I don’t want to put an image of my face with a mud mask as a visual in his head. I also keep myself in decent shape and I wear pretty things in and out of bed. We need to quit lying to ourselves and making excuses for our lackadaisical behavior. We would have been mortified if, when we were dating, our man had seen us the way we run around now. You put your best foot forward for strangers, why don’t we do that for our husbands?
Putting others above him. There is no one above your husband. Not your mom, not your best friend, not your children. You need to remember that. If you don’t put your husband as number one someone else will.
Be sexy, flirt shamelessly, have lots of sex, be nice to him, cook him dinner.
Finally, sometimes no matter what you do and how good you are at the things I’ve mentioned above, affairs happen. Sometimes, you married a bad man who didn’t appreciate what he had at home. Sometimes he didn’t put the boundaries in place in his life that he needed to keep himself safe. Sometimes he’s so busy looking around for the next best thing that he will never be satisfied with the good thing he’s found. There are men who hang with other men where cheating is expected and they fall to peer pressure. Then there is the power they feel in being able to conquer. These aren’t your normal decent men. Your normal decent man isn’t looking at other women with lust. He’s happy at home.
If you are honest you’ll see places where you can affair-proof your marriage. It won’t guarantee 100%, but it can make a big difference.
Ultimately though, I will say an affair is a decision that was made. Two people did not just get naked without a lot of boundaries being broken. So the responsibility of the action falls on the person having the affair. The actions that lead up to this devastating action is ours to examine and change before it’s too late.
The Slippery Slope
Dina Lohan is in the news for defending her daughter, actress Lindsay Lohan, whom she feels is being judged unfairly for having to serve jail time for drinking and driving. Americans have vilified Dina Lohan as a mother out of control and enabling her daughter. Only ask yourself what’s so different about her and us?
How many parents who know the school has banned the use of cell phones, allow their child to take a cell phone anyway? How many parents have done their kid’s homework? How many parents have let their kids lie without consequence? How many parents have marched their child over to an adult they have disrespected and made them apologize to the person in front of them? How many parents have lied to get what they wanted for their children, as in free lunch or subsidized daycare or welfare, or discounted movie, amusement park tickets? How many parents have paid restitution for their child’s shoplifting or grafitti, rather than let their child pay for it? How many parents have pushed beyond competitiveness for a child who is deemed a winner? How many parents have big time debt buying whatever their children desire? How many parents are still paying their adult children’s bills?
Not the same thing you say? It’s exactly the same thing. The kid wanted it and the mom went to whatever lengths she had to go to get it. Do we think we are above it and would never do it? Think again, we do it all the time. Does the scale matter? No, the slope is the same and we’re all tumbling down it. It’s easy to judge her because she is in the public eye. I wonder if we judge ourselves as harshly?
This is an ongoing series on Blended Families. To read the previous post click here.
I’m sure Cinderella loved Lady Tremaine in the beginning. It always starts out with a love fest. I don’t think any stepmother would enter into a relationship with children who hated her. Cinderella, being an only child had to have imagined having two sisters would be a blessing. Lady Tremaine must have felt that one more daughter to love would be wonderful as well. Finally two broken families would become one complete one! Sounds romantic and safe doesn’t it?
If only that were the end of the story, we’d smile and go home bored. We don’t know the middle part of the story but we know it ends very badly. We know we’ve never seen Lady Tremaine smile. Not even once. We know that she has become angry and bitter. Have you ever asked yourself why?
Further we know from Cinderella’s perspective that she feels she is a slave, she gets no love and everyone hates her. This is pretty typical even today. In the story of Hansel and Gretel their dad was a woodcutter. How long must their dad had been out in the woods that their stepmother got fed up, and sent them to the witch’s house?
While these may be fairy tales of our childhood and great Disney animated movies we can learn a lot from them. For example, will the biological parent please stand up? Where are the parents in these scenarios? Where are the grandparents and the support systems that these families need? This is an important key to the entire process.
The honeymoon phase is that dating part of the relationship where everyone is happy to know each other. Only I wonder how much of this is imagination and wishful thinking and how much of this is real? In a dating situation it’s a lot easier to overlook the underlying issues but if we are honest we see the issues, it just that love clouds judgment in this stage.
I know a woman who thought her boyfriend’s kids were out of control and needed some discipline. When she broached the subject with him, he answered, “Of course my kids are out of control, I’m out of control, that’s why you are so good for us, you will bring us balance.” Instead of heeding the warning signals that were being thrown at her she became a Lady Tremaine within a year. The problem was the family clinged to her. They had fun with her, they wanted to be around her and she was flattered enough to overlook her intuition.
Other women I have spoken to say all was well until they got married then the children turned on them. It really wasn’t that the children turned on them, it was that there are such delicate dynamics here. Day to day living is a much different animal than the honeymoon phase.
You must go in with eyes wide open. What are some of the obstacles? What do the biological parents think of this new relationship? In the movie Stepmom, there is a scene where the children are horse-back riding with their mother played by Susan Sarrandon. The children are discussing Isabel their dad’s new love interest, played by Julia Roberts, and they seem to like her. There is a poignant moment in the film where the children see the reaction of their mother and sense that she is not pleased at all. So they tell their mother, “If you want us to hate her we will.” Remember that a child’s first allegiance is always going to be with the bio parent. Even still Hollywood makes endings simple. Real life is not.
One of the healthiest thing a parent can do is give their child permission to love. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case in a divorce situation and so a war ensues where the prisoners of war are the children.
Psalm 5:1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing. 2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. 3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
Expectation: noun the act or state of expect.
Expect Verb: to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of
In Psalm 5 the psalmist says with confidence in Verse 3- …O LORD, you hear my voice
He doesn’t say he hopes the Lord hears his voice, he doesn’t plead, “oh please hear my voice”. He says, O LORD, you hear my voice. There is a level of expectancy that has to be there for a believer to move forward in the things of God. What is the level of your expectation?
The psalmist goes on to say, in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
Again, he is saying I lay it all bare before you Lord and then I wait for it to manifest according to your will. When was the last time you prayed with that level of confidence and patience? When was the last time you didn’t touch a situation and merely waited in expectation?
I want to ask a very important question to you all today. What are you expecting? I believe for most of us we need to raise our level of expectation. If you say you haven’t met the Holy Spirit in a while, it’s because you haven’t expected to not because he isn’t at work.
A few weeks ago, on prayer night, only a handful of us showed up. So we went old school in our music. There was tongue talking, crying out, Holy Ghost movement here in the house. Why? Because when those songs are played, we go back to our memories and we remember a sweet time with the Lord so we EXPECT some movement. The Holy Spirit isn’t moved because of the songs, the Holy Spirit is moved because of our expectant hearts.
Our religious nature tells us that the Holy Spirit is present when all is perfect, when we are dressed in an expected dress code, when we play a certain style of music, when we stand at the reading of the word. I don’t believe any of that because I see no reference in scripture to it. I see God searching for hearts who wait expectantly for a touch from their Master.
What is your level of expectation? Have you lacked the Holy Spirit in your life? You’ve been tracing back steps to where you last felt him thinking that it was that spot, that song, that circumstance that caused it? Then I ask you how big is your God? Why is your God limited to time and space?
The God I serve, the God you serve, meets you at your expectation. He gave you dominion. He enters when you allow him to. He is not, nor has he ever been, nor will he ever be limited to a song, circumstance, or place. He is all knowing, all seeing, all powerful, all consuming and nothing or no one can put him in a box. He meets the prostitute, the sinner, the drug addicted, the saint, he meets all of us when we earnestly cry out to him.
I wonder if you will put down your religion long enough to meet the God of freedom? Raise your level of expectation and usher in the presence of the Lord your God.