Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

Telling the Truth August 10, 2011

Filed under: Family Life — womenembracingfaith @ 1:58 pm
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A safe place should have an atsmosphere of mutual trust. This aroma of safety and trust is what you want to smell when you walk in the door. Homemaking is not all about interior design, furniture, the latest style, scented candles, or even dust or mildew. Or steamlined organization, the current trend. A home should be safe. Safe in the sense of physical safety, sure, but, at the next level, emotional safety is built on reliability, dependability, trustworthiness, and loyalty. All these looped together make up our third construction tool:truthfulness.

Telling the truth seems so easy. But, little life hindrances keep butting in. “I’ll take you fishing Saturday.” “I’ll be home for dinner.” “I’ll forsake all others and you will be the center of my life.” “I’ll get a sitter for Friday night so we can be together.” “I’ll pick up the movie for family night.” The hindrances to keeping our word don’t appear so bad: “I forgot I’d promised to paint the nursery on Saturday.” “Oh, I stopped at Starbucks and got so involved with my projects on the internet, the time just flew.” “I really couldn’t help it; she was so alluring, and you’d been so tied up and busy lately. “No sitter. But, I couldn’t go anyway. Jeannie called and she’s got a coupon for two-for-one manicures.” “Oh, my goodness, I completely forgot about the movie.”

You see what is happening here, don’t you? It doesn’t begin as an intent to lie but a pursuing of one’s own agenda. A hurrid, rather careless, aiming at the goal of pleasing yourself. The result in our closest relationships is a letting down, a tossing aside of loyalty, a cumulative destruction of dependability. If we can’t know that our husband/wife, parent/child, sibling/sibling relationships can be relied on, what are we left with?

Telling the truth counts. That is why God wrote it in stone. “You shall not bear false witness.” This is not only on the witness stand before a judge, but in our everyday, our most intense relationships. Keeping promises over time, being there when we said or when needed or expected, builds rather than slowly tears down a relationship. Truthfulness seals love. Without it, the family may live under one beautifully designed roof but be fractured in all different directions, each seeking what he or she wants. The result is, instead of growing closer together, we are increasingly isolated, looking around for fulfillment, competing, pursuing our own agenda.

Are we using truthfulness to glue our family together? How does picking up this tool look to you personally? How can you use it to build up your home? Be sure to keep all your tools handy.

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One More Time October 27, 2010

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 3:32 pm
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Back years ago, I found a rainbow to stick on our stationwagon window.  My idea was to remind the children and I that God keeps His promises.  It worked; we couldn’t help but see it every day and we talked about that biblical principle a lot.  I had no idea the rainbow had become a symbol for homosexuality!  

Use it anyway.  God put the rainbow in the sky as a sign of His faithfulness.

One more thing.  God promised Noah He would never destroy the earth again.  He would always take care of it.  The sun would come up each day; the moon would light the night; the four seasons would keep coming around (Genesis 8:22).  Your children or grandchildren need to hear this.  There is something settling about it.  Secure.  Their world is scary; they aren’t sure what is real and what is pretend.  You can remind them of this promise every day.  Watch the sunset together. Look for rainbows.  Talk about the moon.  And talk about how God will take care of it all.

“Then the LORD said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I destroy every living thing as I have done….never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth'” (Genesis 8:21;9:11).

 

“We Just Need Rehab.” August 25, 2010

Filed under: Ezekiel,Uncategorized — womenembracingfaith @ 3:28 pm
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Every generation has proverbs generally accepted by most people.  Sometimes spoken or written; sometimes not.  My mother’s generation lived by: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”  I get to buy a few Lilly dresses now because of  that proverb! It is not such a bad saying…

A proverb of today in the U.S. might be: “We haven’t sinned; we just need rehab.”  Whether it’s a celebrity or public official or just a husband using the internet for dirty pictures, there’s seldom visible sorrow for the action itself that has caused such devastating consequences.  Anger management or sexual addiction counseling are “in.” 

Ezekiel saw the same kind of thinking going on among his exiled friends.  They had lost their country, been forced to move from Jerusalem to Iraq.  He kept preaching about true heart repentance–sorrow, sadness, deep grief resulting in seeking a renewed relationship with God that included right living.  They kept saying, “We’re suffering because of the sins of our fathers. We haven’t done anything to deserve this.”  Instead of repentance and mourning, they shirked their responsibility and blamed their parents and said God was not fair.

In Ezekiel 18,we have his sermon refuting this proverb. I hope you have the time to read it.  ’As I live,’  says the Lord GOD, ‘you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.'”  He goes on to list the right living of the first generation (18:5-9), and the violent greed, idoltry, and sexual impurity of the second generation, then the right living of the third generation (v.14-18).  Ezekiel defends personal responsibilty and the fairness of God:

“He shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live!

As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbbed his brother by violence, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity. … The soul who sins shall die” (Ez. 18:17-20).

“‘Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?’ says the Lord GOD, ‘and not that he should turn from his ways and live?'” 

 Should we be using our proverb today to excuse ourselves?  Is getting rehabilatation and counseling (or traveling the world for a year or so) the only thing we need to do?  What about cleaning up our act? 

Teaching Tip

Train your children (or those you teach or influence in any way) to accept responsibility for their attitudes and actions.  In preschool and early elementary years, I focused on getting my daughters to “honor” me. I tried not to have many “rules” but  when they didn’t show respect, they “got” it! It was their fault, even if I was wrong or short-tempered.  Of course, I often messed up myself, and this same principle of responsibility applied to me, but, nevertheless, my being in the wrong did not excuse them. It isn’t always the teacher’s or the parent’s fault.

 For upper elementary and high school, help them to see how false the cultural proverbs can be. You need to talk WITH them a lot (not to them as much). Take them daily to the real Proverbs as a contrast to what they are hearing “out there.”   Keep the focus on personal accountability and turning from wrong behavior and attitudes–in their relationship with you and with the Lord Jesus. 

Of course, in delivering this sermon on accountability, Ezekiel is in no way ignoring the hope of the Promised One who would be an atonement for sin.  He didn’t know all the details yet; it was 590 or so years before Jesus’ death. As an educated priest,  Ezekiel was very familar with all of Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah’s coming.  But, this sermon’s main point is that each of us is accountable to God and that does not make God unfair.  “Repent and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin” (Ez. 18:30).

 

Summer Dreams June 25, 2008

Filed under: applications,Family Life — womenembracingfaith @ 2:35 pm
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We all dream of lazy summer days with no demanding schedules;

cute kids in flip-flops along the shore;

or chasing lizards or butterflies in the backyard;

family reunions with great food (prepared by Aunt…..) and fun games (organized by Uncle…..);

luxury cotton linens;

and quiet escapes;

time to read a great book or flip through a magazine.

But, summer reality is a far different picture! Let the following turn your thinking from summer dreams to reality:

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–that is, that we may be mutually encourage by each other’s faith, both your and mine” (Romans 1:11-12).

“…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2).

“Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:16).

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us” (I John 4:16).

“In the beginning was the Word (God the Son), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made” (John 1:1-3 ( ) added by me).

I hope this will help you think straight. “Right” thinking leads to “right” living. Dreaming sometimes needs to be reined in like a spirited horse. Truth matters.