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.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fasting and Dieting Are Not The Same Thing!

A little rant here!  I'm seeing all these articles in Christian magazines about "fasting."  However, upon reading them, what they are really talking about is dieting.  It's interesting to me January would be the month where all the so-called "fasting" articles appear because January is the month when everyone thinks about losing weight, whether to get rid of those extra holiday pounds or just as a new year's kind of resolution to get healthy. Suddenly, there are multiple articles popping up on popular Christian magazine sites about "fasting" but in the context of losing unwanted pounds with a sprinkle of "and oh yea, fasting can help you spiritually too."   It's along the same lines of secularizing our church services to the point that we apologize to attendees if the words hell, sin, repentance or even Jesus are mentioned in the process.

If you look in scripture, fasting had nothing with weight loss! People didn't fast because they were fat. They might have if they were gluttons and were repentant for sinning against God because food was an idol in their lives, but they didn't do it to lose weight. 

Fasting has nothing to do with healthy living, in the sense that you call a fast to live more healthy! But to read the current trainwreck of thought in Charismania, you would think that it did.  Yes, God wants us healthy and He's provided through His Son for us to live healthy, fasting is not God's way of achieving health. I believe that God's way of bringing health to a man is to first make him spiritually healthy and that, in turn, produces healthy lifestyle and health to all the other parts of the man. The Holy Spirit will never lead you into unhealthy ways of living, so to follow Him in ALL areas of life will produce health. Fasting can help you hear the voice of God more clearly, but unless you practice what you hear, it does you no good spiritually.

Isaiah 58 explains some reasons for fasting. God also rebukes them because they are fasting for their own advancement, not the advancement of the things that are on God's agenda.  They aren't fasting to please God.  They are fasting to please themselves! Israel fasted when they had sinned against the Lord or when they needed wisdom from God in battle or protection from their enemies, not to lose weight. Wake up America! God is not interested in how buff or slim you are! He hates that your body is an idol so alluring that you are willing to sacrifice His original intentions for fasting on the altar of self-improvement. 

Do we need to fast in America?  YOU BET WE DO,  but not for the reasons that our self-appointed Christian ministers and magazine editors are telling us.  God would call us as a nation to repent for our self-indulgence, disdain of His commands, and pride.  He would have us deny ourselves and refuse to eat until we've heard from heaven. He would have us cry out for healing in our nation, on all levels. God would have us return to him wholeheartedly. 

I just want to tell those article authors to shut up! What an insult to the Lord to once again, take what is holy and sanctified unto Himself and making it all about me! Shameful!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Faith VS Firearm

As most of you know, I am a competitive pistol shooter.  IDPA, USPSA, steel shoots, I enjoy them all. As a private citizen living in a state that allows concealed and open carry, I also exercise my right to defend myself and carry concealed. This seems to cause many people who know me some consternation as they come from different backgrounds, ways of thinking and circumstances than I do. 

Deciding to carry was not an easy decision for me nor is it something that I take lightly. It is a grave responsibility. It was based out of need and what I felt the Word of God allowed for in the life a believer. I've heard all the arguments pro and con. Ultimately it is a personal decision that each person has to make for themselves.  My prayer each day is that I would not have to use my gun, but if I do, that it would save a life, not take one. The shooting sports help me to prepare for situations in that I learn to safely and responsibly operate a gun when the adrenalin in high and quick decisions or action is required. 

Some say that they would never shoot another human being, no matter what was happening to them or a family member. They say "I would not send anyone to hell.  I would just have faith in God.  That's all I need."  Their reasoning sounds good and yes very spiritual, but is in some cases, I believe, unrealistic and naive. I've read many stories of angels stepping in to defend the innocent and I praise God for that.  In fact, I believe that in one instance, it happened to me.  I fully believe that God can and does that in some cases. 

If put in the kind of situation where I was left defenseless and a victim, I believe that God would totally take care of me. On the other hand, when Moses was asking God for that kind of protection, he didn't get the answer He was expecting. God basically told him to quit whining and use the resources that God had given him to get the job done. Did God move miraculously and save Moses and the people of Israel. Yes, he did but not until Moses did something with what was already at his disposal. 

We may not need to split a body of water, but we are given the responsibility to care for the innocent, the young and the helpless. For instance, if someone broke into your house and started to beat your toddler or rape your teenage daughter, I wager that you would not be content to sit and do nothing. I think you would be looking around for a way to thwart what was happening to your loved one. Witnessing to the person and praying you get through might not even be an option, although I believe it would be a wise course of action if the situation allowed. However there are cases where a person's mental state, whether emotionally or drug induced, would not allow for a nice little chat but looking down the barrel of a gun or seeing a red laser dot on their chest might. Many crimes have been interrupted and resolved peacefully without firing a shot when a firearm has been present. Just because it comes out of the holster does not mean it has to be fired. Ninety-nine percent of people who do carry a gun save it as a LAST RESORT after exhausting all other means of escape. No one would question shooting a raging bear but shooting a human in that same state, who is just as dangerous, is immoral? 

During my college days, I was accosted several times, witnessed violent acts more times than I can count, and barely escaped several very dangerous situations only because I was young and athletic or perhaps someone was praying for me. These and some more recent experiences caused me to think more deeply about protection but my decisions were still based solely on what I felt God would have me do. 

When Jesus sent the disciples out in groups of 2-3, he instructed them to take no provision. They went solely on Jesus' word and God took care of them. In Luke 2:36, after reminding them of that fact, he then instructed them "Now" carry provision, including a sword.  In fact, He dwelt on the sword for a little while telling them that if they didn't own one to sell something and get one. This word means "sword", a lethal instrument of war. He wasn't talking about taking a paring knife to peel apples at lunch. A sword was used for defense and was the most common self defense weapon. He knew that His disciples would meet up with robbers and enemies in their travels after His death and He wanted to make sure that they understood that they were to defend themselves. It's not unreasonable to think that if they were known to travel unprotected that the spread of the gospel might have been adversely affected. After His resurrection, he was with them just as much then as He is with us today, but yet He instructed them to take a lethal weapon with them in their travels. 

In a world where many people feel that the end justifies the means, where people are robbed in broad daylight in grocery store parking lots and where crazy people regularly walk into churches and kill Pastors and members of their congregation, the need for protection has never been greater. Police are wonderful, however they are usually a few magazines away. Many can be injured and killed in the meantime. It always amazes me that people who save lives because they carried concealed and neutralized a threat are heralded as heroes, but up until that time they are looked upon as weird, right-wing, paranoid nuts. That's like calling a Doctor a drug addict until he prescribes you something that helps you.

You may not agree with my decision but I am not the bad guy. I carry concealed lawfully, responsibly and with great care.  I prepare and train to use my firearm in such a way as to preserve life, not destroy it and to protect the innocent. My faith is not in my firearm or even my own shooting ability. It is in God. And God has provided a means of protection for me and so I use it trusting Him to guide and direct.