He Reigns!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What's Wrong With TV?

I live out in the boonies and have satellite TV, and I have one of the moderate packages, which gives me about 250 channels. (Now, I won't go off on a tangent about that--at least not in this post!) I spend more time flipping around trying to find something decent to watch, than I do actually watching a show.

 I rarely, if ever, watch NBC, CBS, or ABC. Of the other channels I watch, there is rarely anything that doesn't have inappropriate language, and with the exception of only one or two shows, the rest all have sex, or references to sex, or scenes that suggest sex. And these are daytime and early evening hours, the hours that were once designated "family hours" and all the shows were supposed to be family friendly, and have nothing indecent. Apparently, that no longer applies.

Of every popular network station show on during "family hours," there are words like he**, dam*, and the sexual innuendo isn't even innuendo anymore. Showing couples in bed together talking about the sex they had the night before, friends talking to one another about the sex he or she they spent the night with, including homosexual encounters. Very few of these sexual situations are between married couples, and most of them aren't even between a "couple" who are exclusive to one another, but rather one night stands, and never is mention made of safe sex, or that the results of these casual encounters are pregnancy, which can lead to abortion, and/or sexually transmitted diseases, which, in the case of one night stands, can be passed on and on and on.

Then we get into the so-called "reality" shows. These are the ones I hate the most. Women who dress like prostitutes, with no morals, no self-respect, but are the ones young women are watching. Add to that the shows that glorify teenage pregnancy, and I did read an interview that quoted a 15 year old who wanted to get pregnant so she would get her own TV show and be famous. I've even watched some shows that are supposed to be for young people, and these are on the Disney Channel, no less. The episode I watched took place on a high school campus and showed two girls kissing each other, with the "message" that it's okay to be gay. I've even seen shows that feature young kids, ages nine and ten, who spoke about being gay and their friends laughing at them.

I'm not saying the shows saying 'gay is okay' is worse than the other shows, because they're not. They are all teaching immorality and our youth are the most impressionable. More and more kids are committing suicide, are taking guns to school, are getting arrested for violent crimes, having abortions, using drugs, and going to prison. What's wrong with this picture? The lack of morality in this country. The lack of parents disciplining their children. The lack of God in our schools and our government. And that "separation of church and state" everyone starts hollering about--read your history books. That was included to keep the government out of the church, NOT the church out of government. When God was removed from the classroom, the decline began in a big way. 

Romans 1:24-32

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 

In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

I put the text in red to bring it to your attention. Look at the list of things going on in Paul's day--sound familiar? We listen to the news and get mad at corporation presidents who are greedy and ripping off the public, we condemn child molesters and rapists, we watch TV shows that promote envy, we hear about murder and crimes and say the criminal gets what he deserves, people gossip about their friends and co-workers, they slander one another, they say God doesn't exist, and they make fun of those who believe in God; people brag about the new car, house, boat, etc. they just bought, they think they are better than others, and when I watch the true crime TV shows, there are crimes committed that I could have never thought up; children disobey their parents, and parents don't discipline them, or are afraid to because all kids know all they have to do is call CPS and report them; people are mean to one another, unfaithful to their spouses, they don't love one another, and have no mercy on anyone. 

And television reflects all of that. I won't watch movies with blatant sex, and I won't watch anything where the actors take the Lord's Name in vain. Why don't they use Buddha's name in vain, or Confucius', or Hitler's maybe, he was a horrible man? We all shout about our government, other countries, inflation, the cost of gas, the price of food, medical care we can't afford, plus a million other things that go on in today's society. Why keep yelling? It doesn't change a thing, but there is a way to change all of it.

If everyone would bow their heads right now and ask Jesus to forgive their sins, believing with their hearts, and begin to act according to God's laws, this world would turn around. We would do away with war, disease, and famine. There would be no need for prisons, bombs, or hospitals even. Poverty would flee. Illness would be a thing of the past. Deserts would become fertile ground for growing food. And the list goes on and on.

If you would like this movement to start in your home, here is the first step:

"Lord, I know I am a sinner and haven't been living the way you want me to. I believe that Jesus is the Christ, who came to earth through a virgin, died on the cross, was buried and rose on the third day, and is coming back one day.

I ask that Jesus live in my heart, and cleanse me of my sins. Let me be an example for my family and friends, so that they will know there is only one God, and one way to Heaven.

I confess with my mouth that Jesus is my Savior and Lord of my life. I thank you and praise you.

In Jesus' holy name. Amen."

If you said that prayer with a sincere heart, your name has been written in God's Book of Life and when you die, you will go to Heaven. Or if the Lord returns before your death, you will be caught up with all of His people. Now, get a Bible and read the book of John in the New Testament. Find a Bible believing church like the Assembly of God, or Pentecostal Church, these two church entities are everywhere, and it's likely you will find one or both close to your house. Visit each one and decide which one you fit in with the best, and attend every week.

Share your salvation with everyone you know, and don't worry about it if they scoff at you, or think you're going through a phase, it happens to all of us. Just stay faithful in reading the Bible and going to church. The more you go, the more you learn, and the more you grow in the Lord. 

God bless you and keep you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Real TV

I watch a lot of "real" TV shows. These are not the "reality" TV shows, mind you, but those such as Dateline on ID, On The Case With Paula Zahn, Behind Mansion Walls, Disappeared, City Confidential (which are all old because of Paul Winfield's passing), Unusual Suspects, FBI: Criminal Pursuit, and a litany of others. It amazes me at the number of people who kill their families. Generally, it's the spouse, or the child, although parricide is much less common than spousicide but if a spouse is dead, you can bet their other half committed the crime or paid someone else to do the deed.

What I am truly amazed by is the number of incidents that occur each year. And while I don't have as much of a problem accepting men who kill their girlfriends, fiances, or wives, I am flabbergasted by the number of women who kill their husbands. Women, who are the caretakers, the givers of life, the maintainers of the home, the nurturers in the world, it somehow seems unreal when they kill. I have to wonder if this is where "women's lib" has led us? Are we so determined to be equal with men that we have taken on the traits? 

Men have been known over the centuries as warriors, the ones who run off to battle with glee, the ones who hunt and kill for sport. They are the ones who have taken contact sports to an all-time high, or low, depending on your point of view. Wrestling, boxing, football, rodeo, street fighting, and the bloodier the better. Men are the ones with the increased amounts of testosterone that leads them to pound on their chests and shout to show their machismo. Men are the ones who great one another with a punch to the shoulder, and plan tricks to watch one another get hurt, and laugh when they do. Men are the ones with the over-developed anger gene, and that contradicts the scientific reports that while women are emotional, men actually have a "logic" gene that women do not have. Accordingly, they also have the P-3000 gene that causes them to become addicted to alcohol and drugs much easier than women do, should they inherit the gene.

So, if men are the aggressive gender, why are so many more women in prison now for violent crimes? According to history, there has been some very mean ladies with blood lust, but the number of women committing violent crimes in the past twenty-five years has skyrocketed. There are currently in excess of 200,000 women behind bars in the United States, with approximately fifty-eight of those on death row, and more than one million on probation or parole. Compare that to just eight years ago, in 2004 there were an estimated 96,250 women in prison in America. It is also estimated that approximately 13% of female inmates today are under age twenty-five, which is down significantly since 1990 when 25% were females under age twenty-five. However, women age 50 and older show the greatest increase from 4% in 1990 to 19% by the end of 2011. While overall, 63% of female prisoners are serving time for violent crimes.

Reports say that the reasons for women to commit crimes is exactly the same as men. Drug addiction, poverty, spousal abuse, lack of employment, are but a few of the reasons given for committing crimes. Whereas women who kill their spouses, the reasons given are abuse, infidelity (which can be on either spouse's part), and money, or the amount of money a woman will inherit when the husband is dead.

So, while I continue to watch these shows, wondering how anyone can be so cruel to another human being, let alone the person they claimed to love, honor, and cherish. 

I guess that "till death do us part" clause just didn't come along soon enough!

Monday, June 18, 2012

What We Dislike In Ourselves...

Have you ever heard the saying, "What we dislike in others is usually what we dislike in ourselves?" It is a true saying and I've often noticed that people who tell me that so and so is such a (?), it sounds as if they are talking about themselves! Not that I'm above such things, but I do try to be self-aware and recognize that if someone is doing something that makes me not care for their presence, perhaps I need to do a little soul searching and see if there is something in me that needs to change.

I've also learned more recently that some of my old behaviors that I've diligently tried to erase, have come to the surface and it has made me feel quite small and guilty. I've been trying to deal, without much success, with the feelings of loss and anger over my daughter and her family suddenly moving to California, followed by my youngest son's move to a different part of California, and then my older son moving his family to yet another part of California. And my youngest daughter and her family moved to Texas. I have felt so alone and lonely since their departures, but especially with my older daughter's move because she and her family have lived with us over the past year and a half, and I am so attached to her children, and especially her son, who just turned a year old on May 11.

As time went by, I thought I would adjust and get over the crying binges, the anger at feeling as if they betrayed me, and the feelings of overwhelming loss of those grandbabies. Instead of prayer helping, it seemed as if every time I prayed, I only felt the loss that much more keenly. I tried keeping up with my Bible reading but the words just seemed to have no meaning. As the days and weeks passed, I became more depressed, more crying binges that lasted longer and longer, and I couldn't even have a conversation with my daughter without feeling as if I had to tell her exactly how much she had hurt me, which only angered her, and then we didn't talk at all. The more time that went without talking, the more I felt as if she and her husband didn't care at all that I was hurt and missing them and the babies. They never once said, "Mom, as soon as we have our own place, we'll make sure there's a bedroom for you and you can visit and stay as long as you like." Which they had done when their daughter was born. I went out to California when she was born, they had a room for me and said I could stay as long as I wished. Since they were staying with relatives, I didn't even think that they were mainly worried about just getting caught up on their bills, and finding their own place, and would, I'm sure, invite me to visit indefinitely once that was accomplished.

If you've read my past posts, you know I have been a mother since age sixteen, and have always had a houseful of kids and grandkids until just the past few weeks. And with my husband, Nathan, working in another state, I have been here alone except for my doggies. Although they are a great comfort, they aren't much for conversation. If you know anything about me, which would mean you've read Dancing With Bear: A Love Story, you know that the past thirteen years of my life has been tumultuous to say the least, and more than any one person should have to deal with in an entire lifetime, let alone such a short period of time. But through it all, I have tried to take it all with grace and knowledge that the Lord is in control and my life is His to do with as He pleases. However, over the past few weeks, I have been so much less than grace-full, and have been downright mean on several occasions. I've said the most awful things to Lisa, just to underscore the depth of the pain I feel.

I am writing about this now because I did call her and apologize, because she didn't deserve such an attitude from her own mother, but also because I know she is probably feeling a little lost herself right now. But the main reason I am making my deplorable actions public is because I know how God works, and I know how the enemy works. My actions have kept me from doing God's will, and that is what happens every time the enemy is allowed to horn in on our lives, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

It is so easy for us to take our eyes off the Cross of our salvation, the way Peter took his eyes off Jesus while he was walking on water from the boat. (Matthew 14:28-30) We are often like Peter, full of faith one moment, and faith-less the next. We forget who the author and finisher of our faith is, we take our eyes off of Jesus, and look instead at our circumstances and see the worst. Instead of saying, "Jesus, look at our circumstances," we should be saying, "Circumstances, look at our Jesus!"

No matter how long we have been saved, or how long we've been in ministry, there comes times when we are bombarded by negative circumstances, people, and attitudes. We might not handle these situations with the grace we would like to, but the bottom line is, which side we come out of them on. Do we come out with the realization that we were wrong, and need to apologize to the person, or people, we've offended? Do we repent and ask the Lord's forgiveness and trust that He allowed the situation in order for us to learn and grow? Or do we give up and walk away, playing into the enemy's hands?

Keep praying, keep reading the Bible, keep your eyes on the prize, which is our salvation that leads to Heaven.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Love of My Children & Myself

Over the past few weeks I have experienced an all time low, and I've been extremely depressed. My daughter, her husband, and their two children, who we have shared a home with for the past year and a half, moved to California. My granddaughter is two and a half, and my grandson turned a year old on May 11, 2012. I have lived with these two their entire lives, and I was in California with my daughter when her daughter was born. Their son was born out here and I was there then too. My grandson and I share such a close bond, I feel as if my daughter took my own child from me. And I know my grandson knew something was not right, since just before they drove away, I held him, bawling my eyes out, and he didn't squirm or move, he just laid his head on my shoulder and waited. I love that boy so much, and these weeks without him have been killing me. I cry at the thought of him, and his picture is my screensaver, so I see his cute little face every time I boot my pc or shut it down.

I don't know how to not miss him and his sister, or my daughter and her husband, who is like a son to me as well. Shortly after they moved, my youngest son also moved to California, although a different part, where his wife has been living. A week or so before that, my youngest daughter and her family moved to Texas. So I am all out of grandchildren who live nearby. And now my son, who lives in Missouri, and his family, are moving to yet another part of California. 

I have not felt like doing much lately, and really haven't done much at all. My husband also works out of state, so I have literally been home alone for several weeks. Thank goodness for my doggies, who I know will never leave me. They have been my only comfort.

This past week though, I have been watching my usual shows on TBN and the Church Channel, and one of the shows I never miss is Andrew Wommack. He has been teaching on self-centerdness (Is that a word? Oh, well), and while I have always considered myself as not being self-centered, since I've been a mother since age sixteen, and I've always had a houseful of kids to take care of, and then grandkids, and dogs, and I became a pastor and evangelist, and a drug and alcohol counselor, there have always been others to think of before myself. But as I listened to this teaching each day, I came to realize that even I am guilty of being self-centered. 

There are several other verses on this subject, but the following two are my favorites.  

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 16:24-25

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Yet, if I believe these, and I do, then why am I suddenly doubting my sacrifice of self for the heavenly cause? Is it simply a guilty conscience due to a preacher's impassioned words, or conviction of the Holy Spirit? I had to think on these things and consider the past several weeks since my daughter and her family moved away. Of course we expect our children to grow up and move out on their own. And with my older daughter, that has happened, but she usually came home time and again after her bits of time away from home. Even after she moved away to California to be with the man she is now married to, they did move in with us when their daughter was about six or eight months old, and have been here every since. My youngest daughter never moved out for more than a few weeks at a time. Even after she married, she lived at home, while her husband lived with his mother, for about the first six months of their marriage.

Even though we expect our children to move out on their own at some point, whether to go to college, or due to marriage, or perhaps they go to work straight out of high school, as parents, we know they will move out. We also wait for those weekend visits home, and we wait for the announcements of impending parenthood from them, and then we wait for them to bring those little bundles of joy home to visit Nana and Papa, Grams and Gramps, Nanny and Poppy, Grandma and Grandpa, Granny and Grampy, or whatever term we decide our grandchildren will call us. With all of my other grandchildren, I've been pretty much the normal Nana. I send birthday and Christmas presents, wait for school pictures, feel proud when I get news of honor roll and winning sports teams, and show up for high school graduations, weddings, and other events I wouldn't miss for anything. I try not to be too invasive in my children's lives, and I try not to be too nosey in the way they raise their children, and I really try not to be critical, although I've been informed a time or two that I've stuck my nose in where it didn't belong and wasn't welcomed. Hey, I'm normal, give me a break, it wasn't as if I intended to hurt anyone's feelings or make anyone feel as if I was criticizing their parenting techniques. In all honesty, I really was trying to help. I've been there and done that and was only trying to save my child the heartache and heart break I know will come from raising their own children. 

Perhaps it is better my children are all in another state, where my presence doesn't upset or offend anyone. I can visit once or twice a year and continue with the presents and money, and otherwise stay out of their lives where I'm unwanted. Yes, it hurts my feelings. Yes, I feel as if I've been ganged up on since they all left at once. And not mentioning the fact that my youngest has moved back to town, but is apparently not speaking to me because I found out by accident that she is here, I will continue to move forward.

I try not to be self-centered. I try not to think that if I'm not involved in their lives something horrible will happen, and I am the only one who can prevent these things, or the only one who knows how to handle them. I raised kids on my own, and when you do that, you become over-involved, and you become dominant, and you think you should run everyone's lives. After all, when you've done it for so long, and they all turned out rather well, you must know what you're doing, right? Well, apparently not according to them.

So to my children, I apologize. I also promise to stay out of your lives, and I promise to quit butting in, and telling you how you should be doing things, or how I would do them differently. I have raised you to be the men and women you are, and I am proud of each one of you. Because of that I have to trust that you did listen to me at least a little bit while you were growing up and know how to raise your own kids and lead your own lives. I am also going to try and figure out how to live my life without you, which I haven't done since I was sixteen, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. I have a pretty good husband who gets me through these moments when I feel like my only purpose in life was to be your mother and Nana to your children.

I know God has another plan for my life and if I will just quit crying over losing all of you, I will probably be able to hear what that is. So yes, I have discovered that feeling this loss is a form of self-centeredness. It is something I have to come to terms with, learn how to deal with, and move past. It is another stage of my life that I have to move past, because until I do, I won't be able to move into the new stage of my life that God has planned for me.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I'm looking forward to those plans and the future God has in store for me. I love you all very much, but my love for God comes first, before 
you, before me, before everything. And I'm looking forward to it.