"Flick Off promoters say the campaign is a hip, edgy way of getting the environmental message through to teenagers."
"EC promoters say the movement is a hip, edgy way of getting the gospel message through to the unchurched."
"Flick Off promoters say the campaign is a hip, edgy way of getting the environmental message through to teenagers."
"EC promoters say the movement is a hip, edgy way of getting the gospel message through to the unchurched."
I'm sure there is nothing I could possibly say on this topic that hasn't been said before, so I have no intention of trying to reinvent the wheel - and at the same time - I believe it's important to revisit topics like this to keep ourselves in a right balance, a proper perspective on the whole issue so that we don't make the mistake of leaning toward one extreme or the other. Especially for women, since we have the tendency to do this for various reasons.
While emotions can be a good thing, and have been given to us by our Heavenly Father, they are also just as corrupt as any other part of us. Just as our physical bodies are fallen and begin to deteriorate the moment we're conceived, just as our logic and reasoning skills are limited - our emotions are also corrupt and often at the mercy of our own pride, and often dictated by a self-centered perspective.
Emotions can be deceptive, and further can often be destructive in both a spiritual sense and a practical sense. They can lead us to say things we shouldn't have said, think things we shouldn't have thought, and feel things that aren't even real. We have to be so careful not to be led by our emotions and yet at the same time understand where those "feelings" come from and keep them in check, so to speak.
Depending on a wide variety of circumstances (such as stress, joy, good health or poor health, weather, good relationships or bad ones, and yes girls, even that time each month when our body/brain chemistry does the rollercoaster loop-de-loop), on any given day we can easily experience a broad range of emotion, such as:
Feelings of... being overlooked, left out, disregarded, unimportant or useless. Feelings of failure, regret, sorrow, frustration, anxiety, fear, anger or jealousy. In the very same day (even in the very same hour) we can easily experience the sensation of the opposite kinds of feelings such as feelings of joy, peace, contendedness, success, pride or accomplishment.
For most of us (I think... if we're honest) we don't always gauge accurately whether all of these kinds of feelings we experience are good, and/or coming from a Biblical view - or if they're sinful and coming from a "me first", self-centered view.
I'll use jealousy as an example - this is something we all deal with whether we want to admit it or not.
The other day Kev and I were joking around about the kind of sloganeering that goes on in advertising. Ad agencies know that the average consumer is self-centered, so they design their campaigns around that truth. In various forms there is always one kind of ad that works every time, and that's the ad that tells you if you buy this/use this/wear this that others will want to look like you, walk like you, even BE you. It feeds into the pride in man that says "I want to be noticed", and it works quite well. At the same time, it fuels the jealous streak in men & women that says "I want to be/look/sound like that person".
Obviously, this is sinful jealousy that leads directly to covetousness and discontentment and should have no place in a Christian heart. But it's just one example among the countless kinds of examples of how emotion can subtly creep in and lead our thoughts, feelings and in this case even our buying dollars.
Being led by emotion is something that can potentially happen in a wide variety of situations. There are entire Christian denominations that have been affected this way, whirlwind romances are started this way, cut-throat divorces are fueled this way, and abusive relationships are kept abusive, for this very reason as well. In some less extreme situations, even the difficult job of Christian parenting, marital relationships or even on the job relationships can be adversely affected by allowing emotion to lead, rather than wisdom and prayer.
Have you ever experienced (or heard or read someone else say this) that "feeling" that you could burst into tears at the drop of a hat, and you really don't even know why? It could be that there isn't really a legitimate trial going on in your life, but for some reason you feel weepy, or melancholy. I can't pretend to understand why we sometimes feel that way other than to say that it can be a physical, chemical/hormonal imbalance, but I can say that we (especially us women) need to be so very careful and guarded with our words and thoughts when we are feeling that way. Even the smallest or most innocent thing can set off a cascade of thoughts or emotions that aren't really based on anything real, but we just took it the wrong way at the time because we were already feeling despondent, already prone to receiving it the wrong way. This is when we let emotion lead - and it's never a healthy thing either spiritually or as it pertains to our relationships with others.
There are a million other kinds of examples I could give, all very real, real-life examples that we all deal with at one time or another. More important than giving these examples (I think) is pointing to Scripture to deal with them, however extreme or subtle they may be. Just for the record, I do go through this too, so please be assured this isn't finger pointing - it applies to myself as much as anyone else.
The one verse that always comes to mind whenever this topic of emotion comes up, is this one:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
A corresponding verse for this is here:
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. (Proverbs 28:26)
It should grab your attention that the heart, the seat of emotion in a human being, is described as deceitful, above all things. What Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden, the purity and joy of unfallen, uncorrupted emotion – is something that no other human being has ever experienced. No matter if its joy, sorrow, anger or contentment, any emotion we experience is in some way touched by sin, and by selfish pride. Our emotions are corrupt because we are fallen people.
Secondly, in the verse in Jeremiah the heart is described as being desperately wicked. Not just wicked, but desperately wicked – that’s important to note. Another way to say that is that the human heart is incurably weak, frail and sick without hope of getting any better. If you think for a moment about a person who has or has had a terminal illness, the first image that comes up for your in your mind should give you a good visual image of what condition the human heart is in. Not only is the heart above all things deceitful, leaving us prone to subtle, shifting, insidious mood swings and emotional over-reactions, it is also the very source of our weakness and our frailty.
The second verse from Proverbs spells it out quite clearly for us. Putting your trust in your own heart makes you a fool. By stark contrast the message of the world will tell you to “follow your heart” or to “listen to your heart”. A quick google search on just those two little phrases yields over 2 million hits. It’s a pretty popular sentiment, but it’s also what the Bible says renders you a fool, dull of mind or even arrogant.
Knowing all of this, and keeping it all in proper perspective is very important but its not even the most important way to approach our own emotional responses or reactions.
The second part of Proverbs 28:26 is the key:
“but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered”
As I considered writing about this over the last few days, I made it a matter of prayer that the Lord would use me to deliver this to those who needed to hear it the most. Truth be told, I am among those who need to hear it the most so I wanted to make sure I indeed addressed this Biblically. One of the most important things I believe we could ever do in our walk with Christ is to routinely and purposefully humble ourselves before the Lord in prayer and pray that He reveal any wicked way, any flaw, any issue within our hearts or minds, just as David did, when he said “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts”.
It should be a constant in our prayer life that our emotions, motivations and intentions be guided by wisdom from above because left on our own, we simply do not have it in us, to bring God the glory. Especially is it pertains to how we deal with emotion and emotional response, we would greatly benefit from an intentional "pause" of thought and seek the Lord for His wisdom, rather than our own emotionally charge reaction.
I do pray that this has blessed you and encouraged you in some way today.
Today however, was a different story. Ruth woke up sick, or should I say woke up Kev at 3:30 am, being sick. I never knew a thing about it until morning when she told me. She's been sick all day. :-( Kev had a rough night with her, so by the time he got up at 9 he was looking a bit haggard. He's on a rotating shift at work and tonight he goes back on midnights. The first night of midnights he needs a lot of sleep, so today is all messed up for him anyway, plus he missed sleep last night taking care of Ruth. So today we stayed home from church. For whatever reason only the Lord knows these things seem to happen more on a Sunday than any other day. I'm not happy about it, but there isn't much I can do, except thank the Lord that it wasn't anything worse.
So tonight, I took my kids shopping. It was the easiest shopping trip I've ever been on with 4 kids all under the age of 9. We didn't even have to put our shoes on, drive anywhere or spend any time in changing rooms. And it all took less than 10 minutes.
We went to Reflections, and they each got to pick out their own new t-shirt! Here's what they each chose:
I think they did a fine job picking out their own shirts. I enjoyed not having to battle any crowds, the sleezy selections made available in girls tops, and the bad attitude slogans on boys t-shirts at most stores.
I also spent some time today being inspired by my 6 year old son's bedroom:
... and wishing I were here:
So... that was my day. Not exactly the usual Sunday around here.
But, do you?
So instead of writing, I did this instead:
Click the graphic to see the full line, for each.
• The culture we live in• Personal holiness• Honor• Image• Responsibility
• Right to privacy
Obviously this issue is certainly not exclusive to our generation of kids. Our own parents (and theirs before them, and so on) dealt with the same kinds of issues. The whole “Elvis the Pelvis” thing in the 50’s (or was it the 60’s?) comes to mind. Indeed every generation of parents, and every generation of kids goes through this to one degree or another.
I am convinced though, that this particular generation of kids is being immersed in a deviant culture unlike any before it, in western society. I’ve asked parents who are older than me, that have raised their kids in my generation and they agree that it’s much worse, and most are glad they’re not still raising their kids, in this culture.
Indeed it’s a battle. The solution? Holy living, teaching them what’s right, reinforcing that every single day in word, thought and deed, vigorous prayer for them and with them, fellowship with a local church body that also reinforces these same Godly standards, and constant communication with your kids.
While it may be impossible to know first-hand what it’s like to be a teenager in our modern culture, it’s not impossible to display a standard for them in their own house, where they can see the difference between the message of the culture and the life of a genuine Christian. That’s our job, our duty, and our responsibility, as their parents. We persevere and we pray and we keep talking to them. We hope God’s word is being cultivated in their hearts and blasting away the message of modern society.
Then, at the end of the day, we might be able to take a deep breath and discuss good food, great music, and fluffy little kitties.
Name three characters (from books)...1). You wish were real so you could meet them.
The smallest garden faerie in my faerie story, RuEm.2). You would like to be.Well, they're not 'characters', they were real people. Since I just recently read (and was blessed by) again about Martha and Mary, I'll say I'd like to be a combination of the best character traits of both of them.
3). Who scare you.
"God bless America, with soul-shaking, tear-producing, behavior altering repentance!"
Every once in a while I run across something online that I wrote maybe 5 or 10 years ago. The first web page I created in 1997 is still online (carlarolfe.com) and some of my older writings are there. I’ve updated many of them, removed many of them, and changed things around a bit, but some of my earliest Christian thoughts are there for the whole world to see. There’s even an online archive of a discussion forum I was on back in 1993, before I was saved – and no I will not be pointing anyone to that link.
Whenever I come across something I’ve written long ago, I cringe. I don’t make it a secret that I used to be a charismatic, and when I read my old writings sometimes I secretly wish I could sneak in and edit them when no one’s looking so that no one knows how much of a doctrinal dummy I was, years ago. (Which is not to imply all charismatics are dummies, it simply means that I was one, once, and I was also a doctrinal dummy). Whenever I have re-written something that I first wrote many years ago, I make it clear that I’ve updated it and edited it, so that no one thinks I’m trying to be Mrs. Sneaky Pants – making it appear as if I did it right the first time around.
I suppose not everything I’ve ever written was filled with error, but those earlier Christian articles stand as a testimony to God’s grace in my life to continue to “grow me up” in Him. As unpleasant as it can be to see where I was 5 or 10 years ago, it’s also a good thing because I see how far I’ve come. Oddly enough the more I see that, the more I see how far I still have to go. Amazing how that works out.
When we “get saved” or when we become converted to Christ, for most of us it’s a literal matter of being in kindergarten. We just don’t know much of anything outside of the gospel that we heard that transformed our lives. We ask a lot of questions (either openly or privately with someone) and we often make some very ignorant statements. It’s just the way it is.
Recently my husband and I were having a conversation about a Christian singer’s music. I made the comment that in the more recent material, the tone of the songs and the emotion in the voice is seasoned with life, and all that comes with that. Going through painful trials down in the valley and and then being restored with unspeakable joy up on the mountain, and having that Christian maturity that ongoing sanctification brings with it, makes a big difference in the way you sound – no matter if you’re speaking, singing, or writing. The more growth & maturity, the more obvious it is that the person ‘has been there’ and knows what they’re talking about.
Here are just a few of the Bible promises, that tell us He will be faithful to ‘grow us up’ in Him:
• That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (Ephesians 4:14-15)
• And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:3)
• But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (Proverbs 4:18)
• I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:3-6)
• But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2Peter 3:18)
Well what do you do when you had a HUGE post nearly done and you're disconnected from the internet and lose the whole thing?
You eat blackberry ice cream (home made) and sigh a lot.
Some day I'll remember to compose offline so this won't keep happening to me.
A commenter left this message in this thread:
"Has anyone noticed that anytime there is a post here that even loosely refers to critiques of the emerging movement, the meta runs rampant and turns into a tiresome deconstruction of words used, tone expressed, presuppositions presupposed and eventually becomes a sophomoric "I said/he said" exchange?"
You might as well have asked:
Has anyone noticed that anytime the mainstream media runs a story on the nightly news about "Christianity" you're inevitibly going to see a clip of a RC church and/or a shot of the pope?
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:12-17)
"Do you want to know who you really are? Take a hard look at your private life—especially your innermost thoughts. Gaze into the mirror of God’s Word, and allow it to disclose and correct the real thoughts and motives of your heart."
Read that again. Now one more time. This was the closing statement of Pastor John's post here on there being nothing safe about secret sin. You REALLY need to read this post, and really really need to read this post if you think for one second that you don't need to read this post.
Someone once said something to me that left me undone. You've heard it before I'm sure, and that saying goes more or less like this "what kind of Christian are you when no one's looking?" Ouch. Truth be told, sometimes I'm exactly the person you read at this blog, and other times I'm on the laundry room floor bawling like a 4 yr old that got the broken candy cane. You know how kids act when they get the broken one - it's monumental and the whole world is supposed to be revolving around them, and serving them unbroken candy canes! Yep, momentary episodes of pure selfishness and lack of faith. Ouch again.
Moving right along...
You might recognize this from the sidebar at TeamPyro. Phil routinely lists good books, audio and web links that he's currently enjoying, under this little heading. I click the links there quite often, and did that very thing night before last, to this link that Phil called "The last enemy that shall be destroyed". I stayed up well beyond my bed time to scroll through the entire story as my dial up connection was smoking and sputtering to load each picture. It was worth it.
I continually amaze myself with my selfishness when I can click a link like that and still wallow in my own pathetic whinery. No, I did not mean winery. If you click that link and follow the story of this mother and her son, and you do not feel compelled to tell yourself to 'stick a sock in it' and it does not break your heart, then you just don't have a heart to begin with.
I could have listed a bunch of other stuff for this week (and last, since I didn't 'Fodder last week either) but I want to focus on these two. Besides, I keep getting disconnected from my ISP and every time I do, I lose what I've written. I wont whine too much about that, but that is annoying.
Off with you now, go read Pastor John's post, then go look at the link Phil posted. It'll change your perspective BIG TIME.
I probably need one of these to really cure me once and for all. Better yet, I probably just need to go to the store and buy what I need to make homemade blizzards.
hmmm... now there's a great idea for this Sunday's dessert.
I'm way too busy for that though, so I wont.
I finally got around to uploading some new pics over yonder at my Flickr account. It took some doing, since they merged with Yahoo! and Yahoo! was the sound it made when it ate my old Flickr ID/login and left me out in the cold, battling to get logged in and straighten the whole mess out. A couple of hours I could have spent eating chocolate, spent instead duking it out with yahoos that flicker. How intelligent. Anyhoo (and not yahoo), there are some shots of the girls & the cutest baby in the universe up there.
That habit just stuck with me, and the older I got I contined to read the same way, fast & furious. I often wondered if I really retained what I had read, so often I'd talk to people who'd read the same books I did just to see if they had the same impression of the book, and 9 times out of 10 others had the same opinions & insights into the same books. Somehow, power-reading works for me and I do indeed retain what I read. Once in a while though, I come across a book that I just can't do that with. Maybe it's more accurate to say I don't want to do that with all books. The deeper the doctrine, the richer or more timeless the message, and I find myself not wanting to miss anything, or overlook an opportunity to really meditate on the words and see how or if somethng I've read applies in my own life.
Since I started homeschooling 7 years ago, my reading habits have drastically changed, however. The book budget that we used to spend on books for ourselves for furthering our Christian education, or for purely entertainment purposes, was replaced by text books, workbooks and school supplies. It's only every once in a while that either Kev or I have the opportunity to buy ourselves a book, and when we do that now we try to be even more careful & discerning with what we do buy, so that it can be a permanent part of our own library, for the kids to read when they're older, or the church library, for someone else to read and enjoy as well. Even the way I read now is different, since my daytime hours are taken up with school & household chores & errands, and my night time hours are limited and I have to decide if I'm going to work on my store, create new graphics, do some blogging or other writing, work on a household project, or find a book to read. It's a tough choice and I only have a few hours in the evening to cram all that in!
More or less, I said all that to sort of explain why a book I received for my birthday in December, is still on my "currently reading" list. I only have one chapter to go but by all rights I should have been done reading this book in January. Last night however, I decided to simply unplug and find a comfy chair to sit under the teaching of pastor John MacArthur in Twelve Extraordinary Women. With my coffee and prerequisite cheetos (no, I did not get any powdered cheese product on the pages, I'm a very skilled snacker/reader), I spent the night looking a little closer at Mary the mother of Jesus, Anna the aged prophetess that lived in the temple, the Samaritan woman at the well, sisters Martha and Mary, and Mary Magdalene. I'm so glad I did that last night, they were the best company I could think of, to visit with.
What struck me in reading last night is the same thing that always strikes me as frustrating when I read about Martha. It's hard for me to put into words (although John MacArthur didn't have a problem with it, I sure do!), but I see Scripture painting her as a genuine servant, and at the same time someone with a bit of a control issue. I guess it's hard for me to say that because I've always admired Martha and feel odd saying anything like that about her. It's obvious though in the way she tries to scold Mary for not helping her when she thought she should be, even though Mary was busy worshipping Jesus.
Can you picture in your mind, you and your brother or sister having Jesus in your home, and you're listening to Him and worshipping Him while the other gets flustered because you're not helping with the potato salad, and actually tries to get Jesus to tell you to get up and come to the kitchen and help? I know that sounds crazy, but that's exactly what Martha did. I always cringe when I read that passage, because I see myself in Martha, in that aspect. That character trait that pops out and says "it has to be done this way, and at this time, and in this order". It's a domineering pride issue to get all caught up in the method of service and I know it, and I don't like that it's a part of me.
I do like the way pastor John handled that though, and even admitted that he himself identifies with Martha in this way. I think it would be safe to say we all understand at least a part of that kind of control-freakish sort of attitude.
In any case, I have been and continue to be thoroughly blessed by this book. I'm still sick (worse actually, now it's sinus pain), so I'm at home this morning while everyone is off at church. I hate missing church, and especially don't want to miss Pastor Ken's next address in the Hall of Faith. I hope Ken remembers to grab a tape for me.
I'll be visiting with Lydia today, and then I'm done with this book. I cannot give a higher recommendation than to simply say, ladies, if you haven't read it yet, you NEED to read this book. It will simply bless your heart and challenge you to aim a little higher toward the goal of being a godly woman.