A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Mower is My Muse

In case you were wondering where I often am when I get inspired to write........here it is!

Isn't it pretty?  I'd prefer purple, but the orange fits me just fine.

I spend approximately 5-7 hours a day on this machine.  Granted, this is not an actual photo of MY machine but it almost identical. Mine's just older.  

And more dinged up.

Without the cup holder...(What were they thinking?)...

And those little black stoppers on the front to keep you from putting a big dent in whatever you happen to hit!  (Trees will be eternally grateful!)

As much as I don't like the lawn business (have I mentioned that before?), I have found that this little machine provides me a quiet place (i.e. free of "Mom, Mom, Mom?", and "Honey, will you do", and the ringing of the phone, and all the distractions at home by things that need done) to think....and sing without anyone being able to hear......and to fill my head with the Word of God which is tucked into my ipod which is pumped into these.......

.....which fit over my ear buds.... and my sunglasses and occasionally a headband.  Yes, you almost have to be an engineer just to get me ready to mow.  

The mower transports me to a whole other world it seems.  It's my muse.  So many profound and wonderful things pop into my head as my mow. My lawn mower devotions are birthed there.....and most of what I write otherwise too.  It's a place where I can pray and not one person can hear what I'm saying...except for God of course!  :-) I even keep a small notebook and pen in my pants pocket.  Often I just stop and write down a few thoughts.  

I hadn't planned on mowing this summer.  I didn't want to mow this summer.   I have been searching for a full time job since February, but now that I'm into it, I am finding so many advantages to what I'm doing:

-As I mentioned before, I have time alone everyday where no one can reach me.

-I get to work with my husband everyday of the year.

-I do have some flexibility in my schedule that I won't have once I'm working full time.

-I'll never have a cooler boss than I do right now. (My hubby is the absolute best!)

-And.....I can just clear my head and think of things I'd like to write about.  

It's so nice to know that the timing of my life is in the hands of God.  So for now, I am content...doing what I don't want to do, going where I'd prefer not to go... but finding and taking advantage of what is good about what I do and leaning on the grace of God to help me do what is hard.  Me thinks my mower is a very good place.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Only Two Things That Really Count

Over the last couple of years I've noticed a severe increase in the word "busy" in people's vocabulary.  Everyone is SO busy-busy-busy.  On Sunday, our Pastor said something that I have thought to be true for years.  He said "busy-ness is  more a state of mind than a state of being!"  I let out a hearty AMEN!  (I love it when he says something that I actually thought of first!!!  That doesn't happen very often!)  LOL!

The dictionary defines busyness as:
     a : engaged in action : occupiedb : being in use <found the telephone busy>2
: full of activity : bustling <a busy seaport>3
: foolishly or intrusively active : meddling4
: full of distracting detail <a busy design>

Interestingly enough, I don't see anywhere in that definition where busyness is a forced activity.

Most "busy" people are the flustered type.  They say things like "Sheeeeww!  I'm so busy!",   "I'm just too busy!"  "Go away, can't you see I'm busy!"  "When I'm not so busy, I'm going to _____________."  It seems to me that people are more a victim of their own busyness than blessed by it.  In fact, most "busy" people are controlled by their busyness!  That's not a desirable thing because I have found that busyness does not have a reverse gear, only a forward and faster one.  People are busy, for the most part because they choose to be or they allow themselves to be.  Most of the sighing, complaining and frustration is self-inflicted.

I'm not saying that there aren't busy people in the world.  There are.  Even I, busyness's greatest naysayer, have times in life when I am "full of activity" (see definition #2).  And sometimes, it's not by my own choosing. It just comes along with being married to a man who is also "full of activity" who needs a helping hand.  I have seasons of busyness.  Problem is, those seasons try to extend themselves, much like winter is trying to extend itself this year.  (Currently I am sitting in my living room still a little sore from the sunburn I got from mowing in a tank top on Thursday while my kids are standing here asking if there is a school snow delay today.)  But when I find myself slipping into the negativity that busyness tries to inflict me with, I stop and take a good long look at my life and my schedule and make the needed adjustments.  That requires that I get real honest about what my priorities are and allow the Holy Spirit to show me where they are lacking.  Many times this requires that I run counterculture.  But you see, I am not of this world.  I am a citizen of another country whose builder and maker is God.  Abraham spent his life looking forward to it, but through Christ, I get to live in it!  It is country "full" of activity that brings peace, joy, and happiness, not one full of distractions and frustration!

I am not advocating laziness.  Laziness is sinful!  Even when I'm not busy, I'm not sitting around eating bon-bons and watching soap operas.  In fact, I'm almost always involved in at least two things at once.  For instance when I do watch t.v., I also knit, or exercise my brain in some way.  I may chat with a friend on the computer or frustrate myself by losing as many games of Words with Friends as possible.  (For someone who likes to write, I sure do have a limited vocabulary!)  LOL!

A few years ago, some ivy league schools released the results of some research they had just completed on school aged children.  The research determined that kids that were over scheduled during the school years were not prepared to handle the independence of college life and were failing due to lack of ability to organize and schedule themselves!  In America, this is an epidemic.  And not just with kids!

The problem with the attitude of busyness is that we often are so busy with activities that we're too busy for people.  We have our lives so planned out and scheduled that we cannot just spontaneously take time to be with someone who wants to spend time with us.  Granted, even busy people will drop everything in the case of an emergency, but what if someone just needs some human companionship to help with discouragement, frustration, or just needs some fellowship??

Several years ago, the Lord really impressed upon me to prioritize and simplify my life.  Number one priority has to be time with God.  If this bond servant's day does not flow from time spent first thing with the Master, finding His direction and instruction for the day, then of what value could it be?  My daily prayer is that the Lord will "order my day".  I then walk in faith that He will and is doing that.  So when busyness, with all it's negatives, tries to overtake me, I can just rest in knowing that God is ordering my day and that there is sufficient grace to do whatever He has led me to.  If MY to-do list sits unchecked at the end of the day because circumstances (that the Lord allowed or caused) took me a different direction, I don't sweat it and stay up all night being "busy" and losing sleep.  Nope!  I go to bed knowing that the Lord ordered my day even if I didn't understand it!  And I can sleep like a baby.

Priority #2 is people.  Sinners and saints alike.  I will drop almost anything to help another person, no matter how great or small the need.  Jesus asked Peter simply to do one thing-"feed my sheep."  He commissioned his disciples to "go......and make disciples."  Christ came to save the world, i.e. the people of the world.  The actual world will be renovated by fire someday, so to me it seems pretty ridiculous to be busy about fixing it up or making ourselves a "place" in it at the expense of leaving people in their need.  In fact, Jesus rebuked people for ignoring the cries of neighbors in need.

I choose to look at my life as "full."  It makes a huge difference for me.  Just the word full creates an image of blessing and abundance.  I hate it when people say that they didn't ask me to do something or go somewhere because they "know how busy I am."  I just want to wear a sign all day that says..."I'm not busy!"   That doesn't mean that I allow people to fill my life with their drama or dysfunction.  But I do allow myself time to be doing things that totally do not benefit me in any way if it will enrich, strengthen or enhance the life of someone else.  I guess it just depends on which bank you have treasure stored in.

That's it!  God and people.  Two priorities.  Because those are the only two things, out of all the things that we know, that are eternal.  They are the only two things that really count.

"Thou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength.  And love your neighbor as yourself."

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Shoutout ("Hello") To All The International Readers

Just recently Blogger added a nifty little feature.  It's called "stats".  I can click on it and see what country my readers are located in.  While the majority of those who read this blog are in the US, there are also many from other countries who regularly pop in here to see what's going on.  I like that.

I often question at what level we connect.  Do you read to get a taste of the life of a normal American?  Or do we connect more on a spiritual level?  Or maybe you just think I'm really weird.  LOL!  Whatever the reason, I'm glad you read.  And if you would like to satisfy my curiosity, I would love for you to leave me a comment and tell me where you're from, a little about yourself and why you read my blog.

Although my blog is mainly just an outlet for me to get words from my mind and heart onto paper, I try to write with readers in mind.  It still really baffles (confuses, intrigues) me that anyone reads this blog at all.  I never dreamed that people from all over the world would put it on their regular reading lists.  When I write something using slang words, I try to remember to explain what they mean in regular English terms.  I might be horrified at what on-line translators would define some of our slang words as!   And I'm sure that I occasionally use words that are not considered "nice" in other parts of the world.  I sometimes get emails from Pastor's wives in other countries telling me that I used a word that is offensive in their culture.  Just to let all of you know, I do not cuss or use swear words in my own language--EVER!  It's a Jesus thing.  So if I use a word that is off-color in your language, please accept my apology.  It was a totally innocent mistake!  Even in America, there are many words that are acceptable in one region and not in another.  It's almost as if we have different dialects here too.  

I don't consider myself a traveler.  I don't get the opportunity to travel much.  I've only left the United States one time and I was still so close to her borders I could look across a river and see her!  That's not to say that I don't like traveling.  I really don't know because I've never done it!  I don't even own a passport.  I think I would love the history of Europe and Asia, the wildlife of Africa and Australia, and the scenery changes in all other countries.

I do, however get the opportunity to experience other countries here at home.  Our local university has thousands of international students and professors from all over the world.  One of my favorite activities is to befriend some of them and exchange traditions.  For instance, my Asian friends know very little about baking and ovens.  So I spend time with them teaching them to bake and eat apple pie.  There used to be a popular expression that went "that's as American as Mom and apple pie".   So I believe that everyone should experience apple pie at least once or as many times as possible!!!   On the other hand, I was very impressed by the traditions and practices of my Asian friend and her family after she had a baby.  Very different from what we do in America.

And I have some very funny memories of times I made of a fool of myself around my international friends or when the language barrier was a real challenge.  Maybe sometime I'll share some of those stories.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"A Better Possession AND An Abiding One"

Hebrews 10:34

God has truly been challenging me to examine my heart concerning worldliness and my attachments to it.   On days when I tend to complain because I feel that I'm lacking in some way, the Lord reminds me that I live in America where I have much, much more than most of the rest of the world.  I own a home, two cars, and a business.  I have friends, family, health, a wonderful church family, a place to meet with that church family on a regular basis without fear of persecution and where I can freely express and live my faith.  I have a computer that I can use while sitting practically anywhere in my house.  I have shelves and shelves of books, all written by giants in the faith who radically changed their world for Jesus Christ and I have a variety of Bibles and study aides to learn from.  I have clothes in my dresser, food in my cupboards, and money in my checking account (even though in America it's not considered a lot).  If I get sick, I can go to the hospital to be treated by some of the best doctors in the United States without having to give them a single penny before entering for treatment.  

Having a lot of things can cause one to get attached-quickly.  I have to constantly keep my mind on what's really valuable in this world or I can quickly begin to compare myself with others and begin to feel that God has "shorted" me in some way.  Not only is that evil because it is a total lie, it is very counterproductive to living a victorious Christian life.

In Hebrews 10, the writer, whom I believe was Paul, or possibly Luke, was admonishing those in the church who had lost everything for the sake of the gospel.  Verse 34 brought great conviction on my heart as I read of their property (that's everything folks-their homes and all that was in them) being seized simply because they were followers of Christ.  The verse says that they accepted it joyfully----JOYFULLY because they knew that they had a BETTER possession and one that abides!  What was it?  Confidence in the blood of Jesus Christ (10:19).  And in that confidence lay a great reward!  

I had to ask myself, what would I do if I suddenly lost everything due to the gospel?  Could I have the same witness as these precious ones?  Do I live with the awareness that I have a BETTER possession and one that is constantly abiding?  Do I fully acknowledge all the benefits of this possession in my daily life and do I allow it to color, influence and change my character and personality?  Do I consider that what I possess is truly my BEST possession, or is my salvation just something that is added to the bookshelves of my life?   Does Christ make everything else in my life pale next to His amazing brightness? Is the blood of Jesus Christ precious to me?  Do I allow it to remind me that there is absolutely NO good in me?  That any thoughts of holiness or any deeds of righteousness are completely and absolutely ALL supplied to me by Christ?  Even those "nice" attributes of my personality were given me in the womb by the one who knit me together.  It's not because my DNA was smarter than anyone elses.

I took some time and I just sat and thought on Jesus.  Suddenly all I could do was just to say His name over and over again.  What a wonderful, beautiful, incomparable name!  What a preciousness is found in His name!  What strength, what power, what majesty is in that name!  It brought a song to my mind that we just learned in church whose chorus goes "we bow our hearts, we life our hands, in humble adoration to our God;  we lay down our lives to lift up your name....the name above all names."

Yes, truly I possess the pearl of great price, that priceless gem, that treasure that is so incredible that it would be worth giving up everything just to have it.  I am blessed.  Not because of what I have but because of WHO I have and because He constantly abides, never leaving nor forsaking me, aware of even one hair that falls from my head, the good shepherd, the healer, the provider, the source of all wisdom and knowledge, the lover of my soul!  Imagine!!  The only good thing about me is HIM, yet He loves me!  Anything lovable in me is all Him!  Any gifting, any talent, any unction, is ALL HIM!  He is the only perfect sacrifice for sin, the only sacrifice that God will accept, and He abides in me so that when I go to the Father, I am acceptable and as a result, heard by God.  Jesus, what a Savior!

Everything else that I possess is just icing on the cake!  What a blessing!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Throw Away People

Today has been a monumental day in my husband's life.  His softball team has been disbanded!  My husband has played either baseball or softball since he was old enough to swing a bat, so probably for the last 44 years he has been part of some team.  The last 20 years has been spent playing with the same group of guys.  Many of them have gone off to the 35 and older league and/or the 45 and over league, but not my hubby.  He still plays with the "young bucks" as he calls them.   The manager of the team just decided that he was going to disband the team so without any warning hubby got the news-no more softball team.  Hubby is currently trying to salvage the team but has discovered that other teams are trying to recruit all the young guys from the team to play for them.  No one has called my hubby.  You see, he's 52 years old, but in better shape than any of those guys will be at his age.  Softball is the one thing on this earth that my hubby truly loves to do, so it has been a little disheartening to him that no one has called him.  

I feel bad for him because my hubby is the most consistent member of the team in terms of attendance and consistency of play. He has been exemplary in his demeanor and has been a true friend to many of the guys on the team.   He may not be as fast as he used to be but he can still swing a bat well and snag a ball.  He can still field those hot ones zooming towards third base.  He can tell immediately when a ball comes off a bat where and how far it's going and can help steer the less talented and less experienced outfielders to the ball.  He knows exactly what plays are an option and how the plays should go at every at-bat.  His head is always in the game.  He would be an incredible asset to any team.  Best of all, he's got more experience than most people will ever get in their lifetime at playing the game. He has a lot to offer.

But it seems he has been cast off.  Why?  Because he's  "OLD".   Because the current generation thinks brawn is better than brains.  In actuality, brains can actually extend brawn because if you play smart, you can play longer because you expend less.  Just look at my hubby!  Still kickin' it up with the young guys and to be honest, showin' the young guys up.  As my husband would say, "it's their loss", but I feel terrible for him.  

Too often I see this same attitude in churches.  The old has been cast off to embrace the new.  The gray headed saints who have weathered life and not only survived but thrived in life are relegated to the pew on Sunday mornings.   Instead of flocking to their sides to gain wisdom, younger people look on them with a generational arrogance that is surely to produce "a fall" for them.  The older generation, who have so much wisdom and knowledge to offer sit tolerated but not treasured in most churches.  Perhaps that is why they are often thought of as "troublemakers".  What else has anyone given them to do?

Scripture tells us that old age is a sign of righteousness and the blessing of the Lord.  It is often fruit of God's favor. 

“Follow the whole instruction the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, prosper, and have a long life in the land you will possess” (Deuteronomy 5:33). 

If we would just listen to what the older generation has done and know and experienced of God, we could be so much further ahead in the Lord than we are.  They have a lifetime of learning the ways and the heart of God.  By virtue of years in the Lord, they know the Lord in ways we only dream of.  I know, as a Pastor's wife, I would love to have an older, experienced Pastor's wife or just a wife to learn from.  

Old age may be a reward to those who have obeyed scripture through the years.   The promise of scripture is that the righteous will live long and full lives.  

“Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land” (Ephesians 6:1).
  1. “If you walk in My ways and keep My statutes and commandments just as your father David did, I will give you a long life” (1 Kings 3:14).
    “Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31).

     Yes, older folks are our greatest resource.  Righteousness produces wisdom.  Doesn't everyone want and need wisdom?  It is evidence of a life that has been dependent on God and the recipient of the faithfulness of God.  

    “Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding… She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor” (Proverbs 3:13, 15-16).

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by Wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life” (Proverbs 9:10-11)

    Older people have a duty to the younger.  To pass along wisdom.  

“Hear this, you elders; listen, all you inhabitants of the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation” (Joel 1:2-3).
“Remember the days of old; consider the years long past. Ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will teach you” (Deuteronomy 32:7).
“In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. [They are] to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, pure, good homemakers, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered” (Titus 2:3-5).

By ignoring older people we are not allowing them to fulfill their purpose in the stage of life that they are in.  And perhaps if it is the Biblical duty of the older to pass along to the younger, it is also the duty of the younger to respect and listen to the older generation.  

But perhaps, by thinking that the older generation has nothing to offer us because we have "progressed" beyond them, we are not helping ourselves but hurting ourselves instead.  Bruce Barton said " All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward" By choosing to ignore what they have to say,  by belittling their experiences with the "higher wisdom" of our own, we may be pointing ourselves in the wrong direction and will waste valuable time finding our way back.  How that will sting in our memories when we are in their same position in life. (And yes, we will all be in their position someday, if we, like them live a long life.)  By throwing away their wisdom we are establishing our own tradition-a tradition to not have any tradition- and that would be very hurtful.

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

Those who are old in body AND the Lord have traditions forged from the Word of God, prayer and those who have gone before.  Those traditions have the fruit of a long and blessed life.  Traditions established by and through the Word of God do not expire or grow old.  The principles of God's Word do not change.  They do not progress.  As our Pastor says, "God is not like a phone-He doesn't need updates!"   They are not affected by time or culture shifts.  God's principles are everlasting.  What worked for the righteous who have gone before will work for us just as well.  So it makes sense to me that instead of re-inventing the wheel, we would be so much farther ahead if we would just take some time and listen to what those who have gone before us have to say.

We must be careful not to throw wisdom away to make room for "progress".  Progress has yet to prove itself.  It has yet to be tried in the fires of experience.  We must be careful and value what we already have.  and we can start by respecting AND valuing the older folks God has placed in out Body.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another University Shooting???

Today I go a place that I rarely go-current events and politics.  Why?  Because Christian universities and Christian students are very dear to my heart AND because the need and necessity to carry some kind of protection has never been more evident than in the crazy society and world we live in.   Even 30 years ago, I would not have said this, but let's face it, sin is increasing exponentially, just as scripture says it will in the last days.  We need to not only learn to discern the times in which we live, we also need to figure out how to survive them.  Sin and it's effects are ugly and indiscriminate. It preys on the guilty and the innocent alike.  Therefore, we must not only guard ourselves from sin preying on our own hearts, but we must also guard ourselves from the effects of sin in the lives of those around us because quite frankly, we are often the innocent victims of another's sin.

On April 2nd, in Oakland, CA, a man stood up in the middle of a class at Oikos University, drew a gun, shot a student squarely in the chest and then sprayed the room with bullets killing 7 people and wounding 3 others.  Chaos incurred.  Up to 30 shots were heard by those hiding in closets and behind locked doors.  Eerily similar to the VA Tech, the Columbine massacre and the Penn State shootings a few years ago, it is obvious that campuses are not secure.  It appears that unless you can carry a campus policeman with you, you may not be safe, even in school.  

I've heard all the arguments against allowing students to carry guns but when these shootings are happening more and more frequently it becomes obvious that something has to change.  Most people opposing the right to concealed carry have never been in a situation where they or a loved one have been in a situation where they were threatened by someone else's violent intents. 

There have been several times that my husband, and consequently our family, have been threatened with violence because of the ministry.  More than once I have had to take special precautions to insure the safety of our children both at home and school due to threats made by mentally unstable people who have crossed paths with our ministry and did not like something we did or stood for.   As a mother, it enraged me that I had sit down with my elementary aged children and tell them what to do if so-and-so ever showed up at our house.   Once I was followed all over Wal-Mart by a person who had made such threats and was trying to intimidate me.  At that point, all I had was pepper spray on my key chain.  A deterrent, yes, but not much help against a knife or a gun.  It was very frightening.  

Fifteen years ago, on a sunny afternoon, while hundreds of students relaxed on the lush green grass of Old Main lawn, a young woman with a hunting rifle crouched behind a bush and began shooting at students.  One young woman died, another student was wounded and several others found bullets lodged in their backpacks after returning to their dorms.  (Finally....a good use for those 20 pound science books that no one ever reads).  This hit home for me because that happened literally in my back yard which was only one block from campus.  It is totally conceivable that given the right trajectory, some of those shots could have ended up in my yard. My kids play in the yard.

When I think about these situations and especially the Oikos shooting, I often wonder what would have been the outcome if just one of the students or faculty had been armed and could have neutralized the situation before 7 people ended up dead?  Let's face facts. 

 Bad people who want guns will find a way to get them.  There is absolutely nothing we can do about that!  Taking guns from good citizens will not fix this problem.  Banning all guns is a pipe dream.  It will never happen!  A ban on guns altogether would only heighten the intensity and increase the frequency of what the ban was trying to eliminate.  There will be and should always be guns.  So the only alternative that makes any kind of sense is to allow people who have been screened by local law enforcement to have their own protection.  California, where this latest shooting took place, does have a concealed carry law but one of the requirements that must be met to qualify is the "need" of the person applying for the permit, a decision that is totally left up to the discretion of the local official processing the application.  In a lot of cases, personal protection is not considered a "need".  However, it was on April 2nd.  Personally, I'm not willing to be another statistic in the "died without a chance" category.  

After yesterday's shooting, it appears that the "need" for protection could be simply that you attend college or that you live in California!   Here is an excerpt from an article written by Representative Cliff Stearns which says:

"So many liberal politicians and self-appointed experts want to keep honest Americans from having access to firearms, even though, since 2003, in states which allow concealed carry, violent crime rates have been lower than anytime since the mid-1970s. The reverse logic of this "knee jerk" reaction is astounding and has lead to an outright assault on our basic Constitutional and natural rights.  These misguided policies to keep firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens literally mean a death sentence for thousands of Americans.
In research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, in which almost 2,000 felons were interviewed, 34% of felons said they had been “scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim" and 40% of these criminals admitted that they had been deterred from committing a crime out of fear that the potential victim was armed. 
Allowing law-abiding people to arm themselves offers more than piece of mind for those individuals -- it pays off for everybody through lower crime rates.  Statistics from the FBI’s Uniformed Crime Report of 2007 show that states with right-to-carry laws have a 30% lower homicide rate, 46% lower robbery, and 12% lower aggravated assault rate and a 22% lower overall violent crime rate than do states without such laws.  That is why more and more states have passed right-to-carry laws over the past decade."

As a gun owner, a  concealed carry license holder, and a shooting competitor I can say that deciding to own a gun was a BIG decision for me!  And not one that I took lightly. I was not raised around guns, in fact, until just a few years ago, I was scared to death of them.  That fear has now become an extremely healthy respect instead of paranoia.   

As I have met others who also believe that a gun is legitimate form of protection, I have found that they don't take the responsibility lightly either.  Most have taken classes, as I have, to learn how to safely maintain and operate a gun in a way to minimize injury and harm both to the offender and the innocent.   Why?  Because we are responsible citizens.  Because we care about our families and our society.  Because we agree that  "inalienable rights" of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do come from God.  Because we are blessed to live in a country that recognizes  those rights as coming from God and recognizes our rights to pursue them. 

My prayer everyday is that if I am ever in a situation where using lethal force is my ONLY option that I would use it to save a life and not take one.  In a large majority of cases, a gun in the hands of a law abiding citizen is more of a discouragement to violence than an actual weapon of one.  Most people who go into a place with the intent to shoot innocent people go to a place that they know is a "gun free zone", like a school or a church, or a government building.  Unless they are just a total psychopath or someone intent on dying themselves, someone calling their bluff by pointing a gun back at them or by putting a red dot from a laser site on their chest is a huge deterrent and often leads to the surrender of the perpetrator.  

The controversy will continue.  The lines will continue to be drawn between two schools of thought on this issues.   The theological debates will continue too.   

The Bible speaks of love in terms of giving your life for friend.   And there is every anti-gun person's favorite "thou shalt not kill."   Unfortunately this commandment cannot be used in the context of self defense.  In the original Hebrew, the commandment is "thou shalt not murder", that is you should not kill with evil intent. 

 Scripture also tells us in Proverbs 25 "not to give way to the unrighteous".  In Luke 22 Jesus instructed his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword if they didn't have one before going out to preach the gospel. ( I seriously doubt that the purpose of the sword was to slice bread for dinner or to clean fingernails.  They too lived in perilous times.)   Nehemiah instructed Israel to "fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."   And in the law, if someone was breaking into your house at night and you killed them, you were not held responsible for their death.  

As someone who has had incidents like these hit too close to home,  I have to say that I am in favor of a revision of the concealed carry laws on university campuses.  I have two children heading to college in the next several years and I would want to know that if the occasion ever arose where they needed to protect themselves, they would have the option to use whatever means was available to them.  

The perception that anyone who owns a gun is a crazed nut-case that would use it to murder innocent people is just not correct.  Of all the people that I know, those that carry a concealed weapon are some of the most level headed, law abiding, conscientious  people that I have ever been around.  They understand the responsibility of carrying a gun and they take that responsibility very seriously.  

We live in times when people have less and less regard for human life.  So, in response, we must be guarders of the innocent more than we ever have been before.  To me there is no difference between guarding the unborn or guarding those that are already born.  And if I would take a life or lose my own when using a gun to save another, I believe the Lord would be just as pleased.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

People Really Need To Learn To Mind Their Own Business

My hubby called me the other day from work a little excited.  He works at a very uneventful place-the garage where the school district stores their buses.  I mean, really, how much that is exciting can really go on in a place where there's two offices, a break room and 3-4 garage bays?

My hubby was walking from the parking lot to the time clock when he saw a man in a pick up truck driving around the parking lot and looking in vehicles.  The man then approached my husband and asked "are you ____?"  My husband, being the kook that he is said "no, that this week anyway."  The man looked a little puzzled as my husband continued on to the garage.  After clocking in, he walked back outside to observe what the man was doing.  He was continuing to look in vehicles.  So the boss called the police.

Turns out he was spouse of one of the drivers.  They are separated.  The reason he was there looking for "____" is because someone that used to work there was talking to his cousin and said that there was a rumor about his spouse and someone named "____" were hooking up.  This man, who was quickly apprehended and arrested by the police for a DUI. was there looking for this supposed person who was seeing his wife.  He was upset about the circumstances of their marriage and wanting to get them resolved and this information drove him to drink and then show up at his spouse's place of work and subsequently get arrested.

"So what?" you may be saying.  This kind of stuff goes on everyday.  Well, first of all,  "____" is not having an affair with anyone from the garage.  It was simply gossip meant to sensationalize someones obviously boring life. The problem was that this man, intoxicated and angry, could have ended up hurting someone, especially if he had found the totally innocent person named "____".   Furthermore, if he is the very angry sort, he might have just walked into the garage and started spraying bullets around or slashing people with something, like the shooter at Oikos University in Oakland, CA.  And who knows?  His arrest meant to neutralize the situation might just be the thing that makes him even madder.  Misplaced anger is often involved when innocent people are hurt.

Scripture tells us to live a "QUIET" life!  We are not to be "talebearers".  I don't care if it is to family members!  Truth is, we rarely have all the facts about most situations so telling what we know may hurt more than help, even if it's meant to help.  Most of the time though, information shared is just to create conversation or to feed that fleshy desire to appear like  "we KNOW things", as if that adds one ounce of importance to us as individuals.

If we have an opportunity to speak, we must speak truth.  God's Word is a good place to start!  What would happen if every time someone tried to gossip to us or tried to get us to participate in gossip we just simply shared something from the Word of God?  How many hearts could we minister to?  How much truth could we release into a person's life?  How much more opportunity would the Holy Spirit have to work in the life of someone needing His ministry?

What are you saying in your emails?  What are you writing on the Internet?  What are you talking with others about when you are just "chatting"?  Is your conversation building up or breaking down?  Are you contributing to healing or are you sympathizing with something that will cause it to continue to fester?

Words are important!   Watch what you say.  Say what you mean.  Mean what you say.  Speak truth, but in love.....always, always, always speak truth!  "My Word is truth!"

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Favorite Watering Hole

New blogs seem to be the theme at our house this week.  My daughter and son-in-law decided to start a food blog, highlighting local food spots.  My youngest son started a totally random blog because he was craving peanuts.  (Like i said-TOTALLY RANDOM).  

So since everyone seems to be thinking along the food lines, I started a blog to post spiritual food that comes right from the horse's mouth  (actually our Pastor and/or guest speakers).

"Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."  

I only have a few sermons up right now.  Several are scheduled to appear in a day or two.  Two are in note form because I had started to do this before we started recording sermons.  The notes are full of good, solid food for the spirit.  But now I am hoping to get all the sermons up in audio form as well.  It's a lot easier and who can say what he says better than the man himself??  

Feel free to leave comments and be sure to check out our church page, which is also very primitive, but informative.  

And if you're wondering where I get some of my thoughts, well, now you'll know.  

Even though he is my husband, he is also my Pastor and I have received much blessing from him since I learned to see and receive from him in this capacity.  

Many Pastor's wives do not look at their husbands as their Pastor and therefore often feel "Pastorless" or abandoned by God.  Not so!  Because I also see my husband as my Pastor and give him room and opportunity to be my Pastor, I go to church just like any other believer ready to receive whatever God has laid on  my Pastor's heart for me.  It is a continual avenue of blessing from God in my life.  

You may like his preaching, you may not.  He is my favorite preacher to listen to. And not just because he looks good in a suit!  LOL!  It's because of all the Christian men, teachers and preachers I have ever met, he alone has been the single, most positive influence to my spiritual walk.  If you read my blog and you like what I believe, you will love this blog and listening to it firsthand.

The address is :  http://pdssermons.blogspot.com/

Check it out!