Sunday, February 24, 2013

At What Point?

 
 


At what point does one wake up and let the scales fall from their eyes?

They have walked a narrow path of Christ at one time.  They exemplified virtuous traits of the scriptures.  They were meek, kind, loving, they cared for their husband and children, they tried to be sober minded, they avoided drunkenness, they were blessed to be able to be a keeper at home, they focused on learning Biblical living ways.  They were an encouragement and edification to so many.  They were separate from the world, in attire and actions.  They focused on others, instead of self.  Their family was often mentioned, and so much joy was within.  They clearly had an attitude of serving and selflessness.  Serving Christ, and walking a narrow path was the primary focus of their life.  Serving family was second.

However, slowly changes are made. Perhaps letting in little things to pamper oneself occasionally doesn’t seem so bad? There is no real harm in wanting to feel a little pretty.  Who doesn’t? So the attire changes to add some fun and frill. Beauty is not sinful.  However, at some point that isn’t the case.  The line gets blurred, more and more and further away. A little frill becomes slowly to blatant immodesty and vanity.

Prettiness to please ones husband is no longer the main concern, but prettiness to please the world becomes paramount. Necklines plunge.  Skirt hems raise.  Having a pleasant time of fellowship with friends becomes nights out of alcohol and dancing with strange men. Immodest attire and behaviors NEVER before considered remotely acceptable now become perfectly normal.

The attitude of selflessness is gone, but one of selfishness has taken over.  The focus becomes one pleasure and having fun.  While the children are at home in someone else’s care.  How do the children feel?  How does the husband feel?

These changes progress slowly, so one almost doesn’t realize how VERY much they have changed.  Perhaps others have tried to warn them they strayed from the narrow path they once walked?  Maybe they were quickly were told to mind their own business and not be so judgmental? Perhaps no one has warned them at all?  Some may have even encouraged them to finally go out and have fun and focus on self.

Many of us may have elements of this hypothetical person in our lives.  Perhaps we are that literal person?  We know what we should be doing.  We know how we should be living.  However, we have let innocent little changes, become big changes over time.

We took tiny steps from a narrow path, until somehow we walked right over to the freeway of the world.  At what point will we wake up, repent, and take the nearest exit ramp to get off of this worldly main road of life.  May we get back on and STAY on that narrow path.  May we find our joy in serving God and family.  May we really and truly see, where we have been and where we are going.

A vital question we must ask ourselves……How do I think God feels about how I am living my life right now? Is my path a narrow one according to Him?  How does He view my actions, my attire, and most importantly my heart?  The answer to that question should tell us all we need to know.

Let us pray to today if we have scales over our eyes, that they fall so we may see clearly to walk the narrow path of a mighty and Holy God!
 
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Follow up note:  I want to clarify something lest I be misunderstood.  Exterior beauty or looking pretty is not a sin.  There is no hard obvious line where it becomes such, as a lot of it what is going on inside one’s heart.  Exterior beauty is fine.  However, vanity of the heart is sin.  Immodesty is sin.  There is no one perfect attire for a professing Christian sister.  She has much freedom in how she dresses.  It may certainly be in a pleasing manner and long as some vital lines are not cross. 

Things to avoid:
Vanity
Pride
Worldliness
Immodesty

Things to exemplify both in dress and demeanor:
Meekness
Humility
Beauty (however inner beauty must always be more important than exterior)
Chastity
Holiness
Modesty
Respect

Make sure we encourage one another as sisters in Christ to adorn ourselves with Godliness and not worldliness.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mercy

Seen this one today from my older brother sharing it.  Perfect follow up to yesterday's post.


Amen

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Do we have to pay for our mistakes?

A quick thought on sharing on facebook.  I see the below image a lot.



But let us ask ourselves does it fit with scripture?

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

People do have to pay for bad choices eternally.  I realize that isnt the intent of the picture.  Or is it?

We live in a society that wants to feel "guilt free" for sin.  People misuse and twist scripture.  It is often screamed that we are not supposed to judge.   There is truth in that, but it is a twisted truth.  We do see and weigh the fruits of others.  The point is we are not to issue corrections and rebukes without first repenting ourselves.  Ultimately, we do judge.  No one likes to be the recipiant of a correction.  Whether that be from a fellow believer sincerely trying to help you on your path or even from God.

It stings and hurts our pride.  It brings humility in a meek and open heart.  That is good.  But in many, they will resist the correction.  Pride will win.  Thus they lie to themslves and make excuse.  They oftentimes turn and attack, claiming no one should dare judge or correct them.  They lie to themselves saying they do not have to pay for their mistakes.

It is true we should not beat one another up for our mistakes.  We absolutely should leave matters alone if the person repents.  We have ALL needed grace and forgiveness.  Not one of us is better than the other. 

But that does not remove the fact there IS punishment for sin.  Just be sure you look at the second part of the above verse.  Accept the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus! 


Only THEN may you view your past differntly. 
Only THEN it is under the blood of Christ. 
Only THEN can you NOT have to pay for your mistakes, IF you have truly repented of them. 

Praise God for that grace!  A sincere repentant heart does not have to pay for mistakes.  Jesus paid for them for us!

Please do not fail to see the whole picture.   I know many have shared that picture, or ones like it innocently.  Sometimes I have shared pictures without putting a lot of thought into their real meaning.  I do think it is important to be careful lest we unintentionally mislead others(or even ourself). 

May God guide us in all we do! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Heart of Good Manners and Grammar


Today I have been thinking of manners and good speech.  I have often heard that good manners are not important for ourselves, but they are for making others around you feel comfortable and respected.  They are not something ones does to raise their own level, but a manner of restraining oneself to put another’s comfort before their own.

I think that is a good way to view it.  The same can be said of grammar, or many acts that we do.

It is important to practice good hospitality and make others feel comfortable and well received.  We do need to be thinking about how our words and actions make other people feel.  We should be kind and loving towards others in every way we can be.

However, I notice many are starting to take a different view.  There are more people mocking poor grammar, regional accent/dialect, attire, or various aspects of a person’s education and life.

What surprises me about this is not that it happens.  I expect worldly people to fall into the trap of mocking others.  Christian believers, we should be thinking and acting differently.  We need to put the hearts and feelings of others before our own.  Do you realize when you mock someone’s grammar you are being quite hurtful?  Many do this on facebook for a little laugh.  I understand the need for a smile and laugh.  We all need smiles.  Please be careful that you do not take your smiles and laughs at the expense of another.

We do not always know someone else situation.  They may not have been as blessed with the opportunities for education you have.  They may not have been as encouraged in their lives.  They may have hardships you do not know of. 

Besides that, while it is certainly important to learn things like good manners and good grammar, are these things REALLY more important than the hearts and minds of others?  I would say certainly not.

I may not always use the best grammar.  It doesn’t always mean I do not know how.  Sometimes it is lack of time to proof and nit pick my writings.  I do my best to be as clear and concise as possible to be understood, but I don’t spend a huge amount of time proofing.  I do look things over within the time I have, but that is it.  I simply consider the HEART of what is being said to be of FAR greater importance than HOW it is said. 

I am also one that has a regional accent.  My accent is Appalachian.  It sounds similar to a southern accent, but there is a different “twang” to it.  My husband and I both learned quickly, in certain situations, we drop the accent.  (ie interviews)  We know others will view us as less intelligent simply because of a regional accent!  I find that so sad.  I feel sad when I see people make fun of southerner, rednecks, etc. 

If people those who are so quick to do that, would take that time and get to know more of us “rednecks”, then they might find we are not so bad.  Some of the most kind, giving, selfless, and humble people I know would also be described as having terrible grammar, manners, and a “hick” accent.  I am okay with that.  I have been blessed to have known them.  I aspire to be more like them.

Remember good manners are to put others at ease and comfort.  Thus it follows that boasting of your own intelligence, while putting others down, is actually a contradiction.  It is a false pride.

The Lord values humility and meekness.  We are required to love others, including our enemy.  We are required to be kind and treat others how we wish to be treated.  We are required to show hospitality.  Let us be self-controlled in our speech.  May we never use our educated speech to put another down or trample upon their hearts.

If you enjoy being a “grammar nazi”  (this is a term many happily bestow upon themselves) great!  I am glad you are trying to polish your skills.  It is a good thing to know.  Do practice good grammar and manners often. 

However, focus on your own words and those that are under your teaching such as your children.  While you teach them good grammar, precise pronunciations, and excellent manners… do not neglect the more important matters of the heart.  May we never let our intelligence lead us to pride.   


I share these thoughts in hopes that it will lead us to think of others, before we speak(or type). I know it is well possible, many have done this and simply not thought about how it can make another person feel. I say these things not to pick on anyone in particular. It is a general pattern of behavior I have seen and occasionally have been guilty of in the past. I truly hope if I ever made anyone feel badly in this manner, I beg their forgiveness. May we walk a narrow path and display fruits such as self-control, humility, meekness, and love.