Monday, December 30, 2013

Who Is Really At Work?

Have you ever wished you were in charge of everyone around you? Have you ever wanted to grab someone by the neck and yell at them to stop doing what they are doing or to start doing what you want them to do? Have you ever been frustrated and angry when someone you love keeps disappointing you and letting you down? Um, yeah, we all have!

Isn't it such a relief to know that true, eternal change happens in others lives not by our coercing/arguing/nagging/convincing? True, everlasting change is a work of God, not of man.

I love this passage from Ezekiel 36:25-29, notice how many times God says: "I will.." not "you will..."

"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you..."
However, this doesn't mean that God won't use us to work in the hearts of man! He can and does work through people!

1 Thess. 5:11
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."

Rom. 10:14
" can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"

The important thing is to preach, encourage, exhort and teach with His strength and His leading, not our own. Our own strength and leading only results in more disappointment and frustration. Apart from Him we can do nothing of eternal value. He is the One that causes the change, not us. The Holy Spirit is the One who convicts, not us.

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

 "When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world, and show where right and wrong and judgment lie. He will convict them of wrong..." John 16:8

I think Paul explains it well in 1 Cor. 6:6-7
"I planted, Apollos watered, BUT GOD was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, BUT GOD who causes the growth.…"

Quit TRYING to make your husband someone he isn't. Quit bossing your sister around because she isn't living the way you want. Quit nagging at your friend for her decisions. What would happen if we prayed for people as much as we talk at or about people? Do you change by the force of others around you? Is it not through a surrender to Christ and His power in your life? That is what brings change in your own life and in every other person's life as well. Leave the business of changing lives up to God. Allow Him to use you as He wills and leave the results up to Him.

p.s. as always, preaching to myself here :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013


There are MANY views on television in the Christian realm. My point in this post is not to "stir the pot" but to encourage moms out there that feel guilty like I did about how they are using the television as their babysitter...

I had a love/hate relationship with the television as of just a few months ago. Thank God my husband stepped in and said: "Enough is enough." He wasn't condemning or mean. He just hated watching our children sit in front of the t.v. for hours... he hated "watching brain cells die"... so did I... but not enough to turn the screen off.

I loved the t.v. because it distracted my children... it decreased my involvement... it fed my laziness as well as my children's... I hated it for all the same reasons. I knew that I was pushing my parenting responsibility on to an inanimate object... sick...

I want to mother in a way that I will have the least amount of regret later in life. I know I would regret plopping my kids in front of the television for hours a day. I know I would never look back and think: "man, I just wish my children would have watched more television!"

So, as of now, they are allowed to watch it only when Scott and I go over his sermon and what they can watch is pretty limited.

I know a couple who are very condemning toward Christians who let their children watch any television at all and yet they beat each other up (literally) in front of the children often. Let us not be like that! Look at the plank in your own eye before removing the splinter from your friend's. And please don't judge people who watch cable when you watch "only netflix". Don't think just because you watch movies that you are better than those who watch t.v. shows. And please don't say "We don't watch anything on the t.v., we only watch stuff on our computer." As if a smaller screen is more holy? The weird comparisons Christians come up with sometimes to make ourselves feel better about our decisions is astounding.

The thing that I have learned the most from all of this is: our children are often capable of much more than we think they are. I remember thinking often: "Johnny just can't play all day. He'll never be able to do that." Well, let me tell you, Johnny is MORE than able to play all day! Just tonight he entertained himself (by himself since Rhea and Ricky were already in bed) with a wrapping paper roll (the center tube) and a tiny ball for over an hour. We will never know what our kids are capable of if we don't take different forms of "entertainment" away. Children played for hundreds of years without a television, why can't they now?

Thankful for the direction our family is going in regards to television. Thankful for what God has been teaching me and doing in my own heart through all of this. Thankful to think that I won't regret this area in my life later...

I would like to conclude with some interesting and yet disturbing facts:

*The average American (including both adults & teenagers) watches over four hours of TV every day, which is over two months of uninterrupted watching per year. This means that – at current usage-rates, the average 65 year-old American will have spent 9 YEARS of his or her life idly sitting in front of a television!

*Over two-thirds of all American families with children watch television while eating dinner “together”.

*The average American child spends roughly 28 hours each week watching television. In contrast, the average American parent spends only roughly 5 MINUTES each week in meaningful conversation with those same children.

*TV is so tempting that over half of all 4-6 year olds polled preferred watching television to spending quality time with their fathers.

*Every activity a child engages in during his busy day refines some set of skills. Reading is practice; writing is practice; sports is practice; engaging in fantasy games is practice; and interacting with people is practice. All these activities in some way help prepare a child for the challenges of adult life. Television is also practice, but not for any activity. Television is practice for inactivity. When children watch television they are practicing sleeping while awake.