Misinformation in the Information Age

bible-2690295_1920Lately I find myself bristling almost constantly, there is so much misinformation floating out there and my critical spirit is having a field day.

For instance the misinformation that the media puts out there that semi automatic guns need to be banned and that no one needs to have that kind of gun. Well here is the problem, almost every gun out there, pistol or rifle is semi automatic if it loads the bullet into the chamber for you. It still takes a trigger pull to expel the bullet, not like the images that the media tries to portray that has the average Joe with little firearm knowledge thinking that people have machine guns in their possession.

https://science.howstuffworks.com/semi-automatic-weapon-vs-machine-gun.htm

Another piece of misinformation that is floating out there that raises red flags for me, is that essential oils are toxic to animals. The reality is that we use air fresheners and oils that have alcohol and other things in our homes without a thought and yet essential oils becomes the boogie man. Responsible humans don’t take medication with knowing the dosage of the medication and know that if they use too much it is toxic to their system. That is why there are dilution ratios on essential oils for people, children, babies and pets.

https://www.youngliving.com/blog/essential-oils-for-pets-a-quick-how-to/

I have a critical spirit and I know I need to keep a tight reign on my thoughts and opinions. However, it has served me well when I come across something that does not sound right or sends up a red flag to my conscience, I then set out to prove the idea wrong. Not with opinion pieces or media claptrap, but with real research. Do I like when my original thought is proven wrong? Heck no, that just feels icky and I try not to have that happen often (smile).

This brings me to the misinformation out there about the Bible. The one thing that really makes my skin crawl other than the name it claim it, prosperity gospel and baptismal regeneration is the idea that the Old Testament is not relevant and you need to focus only on the New Testament (ok there are a lot of philosophies that bother me…so sue me). How can you possibly understand the New Testament without the Old? The NT quotes the OT on a pretty consistent basis. In fact Jesus Himself does it when he confronts the Pharisees and Sadducees because the OT text is what they are supposed to be knowledgeable about. The OT contains The Law and explains the reasons for The Law. It opens the door to understanding how some can draw conclusions about eating certain foods, obeying certain church dogma, the lineage of Jesus, how we can still totally mess it all up and God still loves us like Abraham and David and even Lot. It’s hard to ignore and even harder to explain why someone would want to.

We are called to be disciples of The Word as Jesus tells us in Mark 16:15, “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” But how can we do that if we have the wrong information? Don’t we just become a noisy gong or clanging cymbal? The Bible is meant to be a WHOLE book. Not taken in pieces to drive a point home. Not taken out of context to satisfy church dogma, but most certainly used as one instruction manual on how to live our lives and why to live it that way.

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Measure and Purpose of a Super Bowl Win

sports-2454766_1920I have been a bit distressed this past week or so. I live in Eagles country. No not the flying type, the football type. I admittedly am not a football fan and I refused to even watch one game this year the moment that some players “took a knee”.  I don’t know many other people who get to protest or show blatant disrespect while on the clock, but that is a whole other kettle of fish.

My distress this week has been many Christians trying to justify the Super Bowl win simply because first Wentz and then Foles were recorded giving glory to God. Do not misunderstand, I think that is wonderful and even more encouraging is that their coach is giving glory to The Creator, but what is distressing to me is the articles and memes that say that they won simply because there are Christians in their midst.

Quoting verses like Isaiah 40:31, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.” To mount up like eagles is the measure of the strength the Lord gives us and to run and not grow tired and walk and not grow weary is the purpose of the strength. It has NOTHING to do with the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl!

I am ecstatic that players and coaches are being bold and proclaiming the Lord on television and in interviews. That is as it should be in a world where debauchery and idol worship is encouraged. However, what would have happened if the Eagles had lost? Would there still be memes and articles justifying the loss? Would the quote from Isaiah still be used? I don’t think the noise would be so deafening proclaiming their spiritual life had they lost.

It reminds me a bit of the “name it claim it” churches. If you pray hard enough then you will get “it”. If you don’t get “it” then you didn’t pray hard enough, your faith isn’t strong enough or someone wasn’t in agreement with your prayers. So would the Eagles not have been Christian enough if they had lost?

As Christians we have a responsibility to not pass along the wrong kind of message. It is awesome that Wentz became a positive influence in the locker room and on the field and that Foles and the Quarterback coach could proclaim the name of Jesus boldly and give glory to God on National television and in interviews. But let’s not use Isaiah as proof that they were destined to win, because they could have just as easily have lost, and yet God would’ve still used it for His glory.

Happy New Year?

happy new yearI would suppose that wishing everyone a Happy New Year would be in order, but as I sit here and I read through some Facebook posts and some Twitter feeds it would appear that doing that is an exercise in futility. The reason that I say that is because many people have posted that they are so glad to see the year 2017 go and hope the new one will be better.

I wonder what people are actually expecting. Is a new year fairy going to appear and create a world where heartache, sorrow and joy no longer exists so that a better year is going to magically appear once the clock ticks over to 12:01?

Let’s face it we all work and suffer through things we would rather not throughout the year, but we also get to experience great things that otherwise wouldn’t happen if we weren’t where we are, in that space, at that time. I have learned to cherish every moment. We don’t get a say in how many moments we have and instead of bemoaning the past year rejoice in the fact that you got to spend that time with family, no matter how frustrating or anger inducing they might be, rejoice that you got to watch your children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren grow for another year. Rejoice in the fact that you had another year to build your relationship with God, so that at the end of your time He will say, “well done good and faithful servant”.

I don’t hope that 2018 will be a better year, I hope it will be the year it needs to be for me to live the life that God intends for me. It’s like wrinkles on our faces, we don’t always like them and even at times lament their existence, but be proud that you have them because it means that you lived and if you lived for Him the best way you know how then embrace every line and every wrinkle, you’ve earned them.

Struggling In My Space

holzfigur-980784_1920Today is the day that my father has his procedure. Usually I am the one who is not worried, but I must admit I am concerned this time. I think I failed to realize that I have not truly embraced the idea of not IF, but WHEN. I know that the outcome is in God’s hands and His will be done, but what will I do if His will is to take my father home?

I am not a worrier, my mother has that particular skill covered and so does my one son. however, to admit that my flesh so wants to worry is shaking my foundation a little and making me feel vulnerable. Growing up it wasn’t a good thing to open yourself to be vulnerable because that was something that wasn’t forgotten and brought up as an arrow to the heart to make you feel guilty later on.

I know that I should count myself lucky that I don’t have other family to battle over my parents leaving this earth. There will be no epic battles no other opinions, no hurt feelings and no sibling shouldering most of the responsibility. But I have to be honest, right now I would welcome some of that. Maybe because I don’t really know what that is like, to have to argue over every little detail or wish that my brother or sister would help a little to ease the pain and lighten the load.

I guess my biggest struggle is accepting that I have to leave this in God’s capable hands and grasp that whatever happens is within His perfect will even if I don’t like it. It’s just HARD. It’s time like these that, I think, test my faith. I can be all about prayer and being in His will until a really challenging trial comes and that is when I feel like I crumble like a cookie dropped on the kitchen floor. It feels like I hear this in my head more often than not (Matthew 14:31) “Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” I wonder if I don’t inwardly become that little child throwing the tantrum and scream, “I WANT IT MY WAY! IF THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN I DON’T BELIEVE IN YOU!” I know that is the devil getting a hold of me and me not listening for the still small voice or waiting for the moment of peace to over come me. What I really need to rest in is 1 Corinthians 2:3-5, “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

The power of God…..and a mighty power it is, rest in that.

 

So Tired

woman-1006102_1920This post contains affiliate links

I don’t think I can adequately describe how tired I am. Yes, I do have some chronic illness in my life, but this tired is not the kind of exhaustion you feel while battling an illness, this is soul wrenching tired.

I am an only child, and no, I was not spoiled, let’s just get that out-of-the-way. If you met my parents you would know that was impossible. Did I get a little bit more if there was extra money? Yes, but that was only because there was just me. Being an only child was not for lack of trying on my parents part. I know they, most particular my mom, wanted more children, but it wasn’t to be. That lead to my parents being older when they had me. By today’s standards they were still young, but my parents are old souls and over 50 years ago 27 (mom) and 31 ( dad) was considered “very mature” for starting to have children. So with the scene set let me tell you why I am so tired.

My mom has dementia. It wasn’t a surprise, yet how can you ever be prepared to know that your mother is slowly losing her capability to reason. At 79 my mom cannot walk without assistance (power chair and walker), she is significantly stooped over, with a heart condition that began back in her youth, and now she sometimes does not comprehend what you said 2 minutes ago. I will admit that I am impatient on my best days, but this is really testing my mettle. Today, I think I hurt things more than I helped while we were discussing scheduled appointments.

My father, who at 82 and still works full-time as an aerospace engineer (I heard that gasp of surprise, yes full time at 82), I think, is in denial. I know he sees and hears what is happening, but to acknowledge it means that reality becomes not, IF, but WHEN. Part of the fear stems from both of them not knowing for sure that they are going to heaven. Before you ask or berate me, I have tried. I have spoken gently, directly, scripturally, and even to the point of being pushy, but my parents are tough nuts to crack (and I wonder why I become intractable at times). Dealing with my father is a whole different issue. It has been heard that while I am the executrix of my parents will,  they have left everything to my two grown sons. I don’t care about any money or things, but to be passed over in favor of my children proves a point that while I was growing up I never quite measured up. I’ve accepted that fact and I even understand a little where it comes from, but it doesn’t make the sting of that knowledge go away. My dad almost refuses to hear me when I ask them to gather their papers, and to file for power of attorney for medical and financial issues. I am not asking to be named as such, but it needs to be done so that the state does not step in when something happens. It’s been an ongoing battle for awhile now.

All of this to say that I am leaning on God and Proverbs 3:5-6,
“5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Yet, this is HARD and it is wearing me out. Consequently I have been dealing with bouts of depression because no path seems straight. I know that God will work this out and in His perfect timing, but even with that knowledge I am exhausted in mind, body and soul.

I think I am also draining myself looking for ways to help alleviate the discouragement. I am a part of the Young Living family and have been trying to come up with combinations to diffuse or put on the back of my neck, but it’s hard to isolate one symptom to try and ease. I have been scouring The Word and most especially the Psalms to give me perspective. King David’s Psalms have been some comfort as his Psalms run the gamut of human emotions which has been my life lately. Each way helps, yet when I am not actively doing them the depression settles in and sometimes takes root for a whole day. Lately it has been coming in waves and since Thanksgiving has been almost crippling at times. I will get past this, but in God’s timing. I feel this is my season of refinement and I am bucking the system.

My husband has been a wonderful support, but I fear that I will wear him out too and that would not be fair. So for now I have to hold on to the scripture I mentioned before and, Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” and Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” and most especially verse 8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Is It Good Doctrine

 

bible-428947_1920As a new believer I was once told that I had to be able to speak in tongues to be indwelt with the Holy Spirit. That was some of the most damaging words that anyone could have spoken to a new believer like me, in my opinion, and could have seriously derailed my faith and walk.

There are other beliefs out there that I think could also be just as damaging and could stumble a brother or a sister. It happens when one small piece of scripture is used to build doctrine around. I am not saying that the sincerity or earnestness of those who believe as this, and they are doubtless quite honest and well intentioned in what they claim. However, there is still deception in the thought process.

One of these is the filling of the Holy Spirit only happens if a believer speaks in tongues.  This belief creates a good bit of division in the church. Jesus never once told us that we had to speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit within us. We receive the Holy Spirit the moment we believe and the filling of the Holy Spirit is an ongoing process in the Christian life. Jesus told us that He would give us another comforter/helper, John 14:16-17 ” I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” There are no conditions that you must speak in tongues first anywhere in scripture.

Another one that puzzles me is that to complete your salvation you must be baptized. Many think that when Peter tells the Jews, who are asking how they can make their evil deed right, to repent and be baptized in Acts 2 that one must be baptized to be saved. Peter is speaking to the Jews who crucified Jesus and he is telling them that they must repent first and then be baptized since baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. Jews were not known to be baptized, so this was a big deal and a sign to all that they had changed. Further on in the verse it also proves that you don’t have to speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit because Peter says, ” ……. Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Many of these misconceptions come from teaching that takes something so simple and tweaks it to fit man’s ideas. Such as calling out over a person with an ailment, “And by His stripes you will be healed!”  It’s true by His stripes we have been healed because, “But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)

Jesus paid the price for our salvation and making statements that don’t line up exactly with scripture, but kind of do, can damage a person’s walk and their faith. Lately it looks like we are raising generations of backsliders and I believe that this kind of teaching is a glaring example of why it is happening. Context is everything!

Birth Pangs

earth-405096_1920So we are told in Matthew 28:6-8, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” If these times are the beginnings of  birth pangs then please someone give us an epidural!

I start each day thinking that it can’t get much worse. That somehow overnight the world will have awakened to the depravity and sorrow that it brings upon itself, and each day I am disappointed a little bit more. In the book of Mark 8:36-37, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” It’s almost as if our souls are leaking out bit by bit and yet some are not even aware or just don’t care.

The church is becoming complicit in letting quite a few things slide too just so that they can say that Jesus is love and they are showing the love of Jesus. We as Christians should be doing as Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” But yet what seems to be happening in churches all over is more of what Paul goes on to tell Timothy is verses 3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” Ministry leaders, deacons, elders and in some cases are even allowing or letting slide behaviors and choices that go directly against The Word of God because it’s easier or the church needs to be relevant.

When did we move so far away from God and so close to the fiery pit? We were warned and what makes me sad is we are, even as Christians, choosing to be of this world not just in it. (And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2)

Anxiety In The Pain

Back for blogI have found it incredibly hard to write as of late. Having moved and trying to put my house in order has taken up a lot of my patience and a lot of my time. I have also been not feeling up to par. I thought it was stress, but this is becoming a real issue and is wearing me out. Then there is the scariest thing…..

In 2013 I had major back surgery. I had gotten to the point of having to use either a walker or a scooter to get around because my back had gotten so bad that my legs would randomly stop working. I saw an excellent specialist and I became the owner of two rods 4 screws and three cadaver discs. It was a long recovery, but afterward I was so grateful that I could walk again even if there were twinges of pain it was nothing.

Then comes the big move. I was feeling some pain off and on and had some difficulty doing the tasks that usually came naturally, but being overweight and having to pack up a whole house was what I thought was the main contributor to the problem. Now the boxes are primarily moved in and while I am still overweight the pain is increasing at an alarming rate and I will admit, I am scared.

I have had to sincerely focus on Philippians 4:6-9, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” to just get by lately.  When you are in pain it is hard to find that for which to be thankful. I am thankful that for now I can still walk, I am thankful that the pain is not overwhelming, I am glad that my husband is understanding and helps all he can, I am thankful that no matter what happens with my back I am breathing and able to enjoy my family and our new house. I have struggled to find the peace of God, but I know it’s there and while it has been fleeting moments there at least have been moments.

I will make an appointment with the specialist as soon as I can, but I am anxious Lord, help me to focus on the steps I need to take to lessen the pain and not drown out your still small voice.

Wounding Reply

SpeechWhat do you do when all you did was try and offer a little comfort and maybe a different perspective on looking at a situation and all you get back is hate and anger? I got a belly full of it today and it was completely undeserved.

A fellow believer mentioned that her parent had cancer and a brain tumor and was going to be having surgery of which he had a 50% chance of survival. I know how it can be so easy to focus on the 50% that means death, my mom was very ill while I was growing up and I lived with the thought that the next heart attack could be her last. That was extremely hard for a young girl to live with. Imagine being 7 years old and your mother falls on the floor unconscious, you try everything you know to revive her, and your father is at work (no cell phones then) over 20 miles away. Or being 4 years old and the only way your mom can play with you is from her hospital bed in the middle of the living room. So I know sorrow, I know being scared and I know hurt, and now I am struggling with the mortality of my parents yet again, but yet I was the target of a really nasty reply to my message of focusing on the 50% chance of living and being concerned about his salvation because if he knows Jesus the battle is already won.

I was called a bully, that I obviously never learned that people go through these feelings in any psychology class. I was accused of finding people’s faults instead of sharing the good news of Christ like a good Christian would. It hurt! I didn’t think I did anything to deserve that emotional vomit. It was as if someone poured acid all over me because they were hurting.

This whole incident has really made me think how it feels when I lash out at those who don’t deserve it. I know we operate in a meat suit and it’s hard not to let emotions get the best of us, but to completely unload on someone who meant nothing but good and certainly no harm…..where is the love in that?

Now I get to lick my wounds, overhaul where my attentions will be today and try make sure that my words follow Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Creating A Happy Place

Lately as I said before I haven’t been wanting to write. The world and the people in it have been breaking my heart and I become angry and sad all at once. I know it’s not right to lash out and the sorrow keeps me from saying much also.

So to keep myself busy I have been creating graphics that can be used on blogs, Facebook and Instagram. I am a photographer and decided that I wasn’t all that thrilled with what was out there and I liked my photos better, so I have been designing and producing my own. However, I think there are and will be plenty to go around so, help yourself to a download or two,

My Graphics