Personal Lessons - Knowledge Based on Experience

Sep. 22, 2018

It bothers me. I’ve never held back sharing my feelings in my blog, so I won’t hold back now. It really bothers me to see what’s going on in our relationships with one another. Believe me. I know I am part of the problem, but you know what? I am also part of the solution. You are, too.

It seems that when anything controversial happens or when change occurs, we come unglued. I’ve observed that we, myself included, seem so determined to voice our opinion, we stop listening to the voice of God. It isn’t just “them” doing it. It’s “us,” God’s children. The sibling rivalry and infighting are destroying any chance of unity. Unity is a biblical word for, “getting along.” Harmony is a cosmos word for, “get along.” Unfortunately, we have neither. There isn’t unity in God’s Church and there isn’t harmony in God’s creation.

I read something written by a disillusioned Christian and it saddened me. This young woman wrote, “If the God of the Old Testament is the True God, He isn’t very nice.” I need to respond to her thoughts. I hesitate because I’ve always vowed that I wouldn’t blog about anyone without first talking to them about my thoughts. I don’t know this young woman. I don’t dare respond on Facebook because, well, you know. Most of us go on attack mode if anyone says something we don’t like. So, just this one time, please let me respond here.

The historical accounts recorded in Scripture, the Old Testament, shares stories of everyday people. Imperfect people. People trying to understand this God that created them and their surroundings. They are good at times and bad at times. They are fair at times and unfair at other times. Most importantly, like us, they mess up. The lesson in the Old Testament is that God established laws (referred to as, “Law,”) in an effort to reel in mankind. Bible translators did the best they could to relay the information presented, but here’s the deal: The Old Testament is background information. It’s telling us the story of mankind and the plight of God’s people. Our instruction book is the New Testament. That’s where we see the true Spirit of God through Jesus. Through Christ’s redemptive work.

Look at Jesus. Please don’t pick one or two verses out of the Old Testament – a time where Law ruled – to determine your opinion of God. Certainly, do not look at people like me to determine how you view God. See Jesus.

God’s entire story is wrapped up in One Person, Jesus Christ our Lord. His love. His nature. His priorities. His practices. What He said. What He did. How He treated others. It’s all there. Look at Jesus if you want to know what God is really like. Please.

“If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him. Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.’ Jesus replied, ‘Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” John 14:7-9

Sep. 21, 2018

“The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.” Ecclesiastes 9:17

It isn’t you. It isn’t your story. It isn’t your nightmare. You are no longer back there in that difficult, dark place. That place where your innocence was taken away. The point where your ideal life collided with harsh realities.

It’s not you telling your story this time. His face isn’t the face you worked so hard to erase from your mind. Those defending him aren’t the same people who stood against you. It feels familiar, but it isn’t the same.

Anytime sexual abuse and sexual assault make headlines in a big way, every victim feels it. Every victim feels the sensation of trying to scream while having his hand held tightly over your mouth. Every victim feels exposed. Every victim remembers the doubting eyes and dirty looks. Every victim relives their memories and it feels the same. But it isn’t.

Whether it was Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, the Access Hollywood tapes or the latest situation with Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, the fear is reignited. The anger returns. The jeers play over and over again in your mind. But it isn’t you. It isn’t your story. It isn’t your pain. It feels as though you can’t stop the feelings, but we can replace them with His truth.

I encourage you to remember two things: 1-You are no longer a victim. You are a survivor. 2-Our society will always struggle with he said/she said. The senseless, meaningless, cruel search for “truth” has existed since the first rape recorded in scripture. God doesn’t like it any more than us. He certainly isn’t ignoring what is going on. Questionable people have always been exalted to high places and that pattern will continue. However, their self-perceived power does not outrank our God. Any feelings of getting away with it will be revealed when Christ returns.

Turn off the TV. Hide the posts where opinionated people pretend they are experts and assume they know the truth. Breathe. Love. Rest knowing that God has this. Regardless of who is telling the truth and who is not, God has this. God sees. God hears. God knows.

If you are someone falsely accused, the same applies. It isn’t you. It isn’t your story. It isn’t your nightmare. When we hush and allow God to be the Judge, things always turn out for the better.

Sep. 20, 2018

I encourage you to read Genesis 19 for this blog to make any sense. Genesis 19 is one of the key chapters in the bible that Christians use to support the depravity of homosexuality. We are taught from the time we are children that God was so angry over the homosexuality running rampant in the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, that He rained fire down on both cities. God was so angry at the acceptance of homosexuality that He utterly and completely destroyed both cities and their inhabitants. God willingly spared one family. The family of Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was escorted out of the city to escape the destruction.

A portion of the chapter we, Christians, seem okay skimming over is found in Genesis 19:6-8. It goes like this, “So Lot went out through the door to them and shut the door behind him. Then he said, “Please, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Look, I have two daughters who have not been with a man. Please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”  When the evil men in the city wanted to have sexual relations with two male visitors, Lot (one of those saved by God in the story) says something interesting, “I have two virgin daughters that I’ll give you. Let me bring them to you and you may do to them as you wish.”

And, we think the only problem in Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality? See, that’s what we do when we want to make our point. We focus on what we see as “sin” while skimming over what we simply see as being part of the ongoing story. As I’ve aged and matured, I’ve never understood why my pastors, teachers, or bible study leaders read these verses with ease and flow before moving into why God hates homosexuality. It’s as if we are okay (or worse, yet, don’t notice) that Lot – again, the guy spared – was willing to give his innocent daughters over to a mob of men encouraging them “to do to them as you wish.”

The problem continues today. If we read, watch the news, keep up with the latest happenings in the world only with the eyes we choose to see, we continue to miss a whole lot of the problem. Lot’s daughters were living, breathing, human beings. Lot’s daughters had done nothing wrong and did nothing to deserve the risk of abuse. Lot’s daughters had the unfortunate reality of being born female in a world that really had no interest in their well-being. This world, Sodom and Gomorrah, was too interested in making sure the men on both sides were taken care of to let their depraved little minds realize the obvious. Lot was ready to hand his daughters over as an act of spiritual salvation.

Actions to demean women are often subtle and accepted; most especially in Christian circles. We devalue women and we never even bat an eye. Usually because we are so busy trying to make our point, we don’t stop to ask what God must be thinking. In our efforts to save the world and those we deem as important, we willingly throw others under the bus. Proudly, I might add.

What must God be thinking? I suspect God threw in many hidden teachings in Scripture just to see if we are paying attention. When we observe life with eyes that are willing to see, ears that are willing to hear, and minds that are ready to grow, God teaches us that these arguments about perspective are nothing more than our choosing to remain blind, mean, and rebellious.

Sep. 19, 2018

You’re kidding, right? We are spending time discussing the sexual orientation of Sesame Street’s characters Bert and Ernie. We do understand…THEY ARE PUPPETS. <insert eye roll>

The more conservative viewers believe the characters Bert and Ernie, you know – the puppets, were copycats of the supporting characters in the Christmastime classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Although Muppets creator Jim Henson never shared that version of the story, somebody somewhere decided to declare it as truth. It cannot be ignored that none of his modern-day supporters believe he had the connective intelligence to create puppets based on a classic movie. He created based on his own vision – not someone else’s.

Our more liberal friends want to claim that Bert and Ernie are gay. Not to be too blunt, but do Bert and Ernie have genitals? I’m not sure we can determine their sexual preference if they have no clearly-defined sex. Hey! Maybe they are pansexual. <insert a second eye roll>

Does it matter? That’s the better question: Does it really matter? Hello…. THEY ARE PUPPETS. As a child, I remember people I knew, loved and admired stopped allowing Sesame Street in their homes because Henson had the audacity to allow black actors to become regular figures on the show. <deep sigh>

Our country is in such disarray these days. It is obvious that each one of us has already decided what we believe based on who we want to believe. This is true regardless of the topic, Bert and Ernie; females claiming sexual abuse; weathermen embellishing their stories; and, so on. Both sides has lost all integrity and we are slowly slipping into insanity.

Dear Christians, may I suggest something revolutionary? Focus on the Lord. Thank you.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Sep. 18, 2018

The TV and social media world have become very disturbing to me over the course of a few years. I’ve never been a big TV watcher. In fact, my husband and I stopped watching the Emmys. Not because they are too political. Everything has become too political these days. We stopped watching the Emmys because we don’t watch any of the shows being featured on the program.

News isn’t something that we’ve ever overdone. I think my parents raised me too logically. It’s always been obvious to me that too much news distorts our world view. It isn’t that news is more biased these days. I think the problem is there are over 600 channels of it for 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Good grief. Who needs that? Truth and justice stopped being peas and carrots a long time ago. In today’s world, where there is truth, there is very little justice. Our idea of justice is terribly skewed, in my opinion. (My sister, Debbie, is smiling in Heaven because I am inserting “in my opinion” more often!)

Tommy and I enjoy watching dancing shows. Probably because we don’t dance often enough. We also watch reruns of some of our favorites: Reba, Everybody Loves Raymond, and The Andy Griffith Show. We are grateful to our grandson, Toby, for introducing us to Netflix. We are grateful to his daddy, Todd, for paying for it.  <smile> If you haven’t discovered Netflix, I encourage you to research it. Broadcast TV is worried about their future. I don’t blame them. The variety of “old” TV and “new” TV featured on Netflix is amazing. (If you subscribe, watch the Netflix original, “Extinction.” Then, call me.)

When today’s TV becomes too much for me, I hold down the microphone button on my Xfinity remote and say, “Andy Griffith.” Suddenly, the world becomes a happier place. Did you know Andy and Barney were cousins? If you subscribe to Netflix, you can watch The Andy Griffith Show from the very beginning. There are all sorts of neat discoveries. Some of which reveal the “good ol’ days” weren’t all that “good.” They may have been simpler, but the fact that Mayberry had no diversity and hitting women was funny – that’s not good to me. I don’t think God sees it as good either. In my opinion… <wink>

Before I make you too mad, pleases allow me to get to my point. If there is anyway, including YouTube, for you to watch The Andy Griffith Show’s episode of “Ellie Runs for Council,” please watch it. I tried to find a link that would a) give you the quality you needed to enjoy the show, and b) played the show in the original format but was unable to find one. Please just trust me. We all need to watch “Ellie Runs for Council.”

“Why?” you may ask? Well, watch it. Then, let’s talk. (PS If you get Netflix, we will have a great deal to talk about!)

If you only want the written synopsis, click here But I assure you, you won’t get the full effect.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28