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.

Monday, April 27, 2015

I Don't Want Moral Children

There is nothing that hurts my heart more than knowing that I have unsaved children. My thoughts every morning are for them. My prayers every day are for them. My last thought at night is for them. My cube at work is plastered with scripture promises and reminders that God is able and willing to save. The things that God has laid on my heart concerning their lives is still fresh on my heart even though my head tries to tell me it's impossible. I never dreamed while my children were young and innocent that they would grow up to not serve God. I did all that I felt God ask me to in teaching them, training them, and praying for them. I don't feel that I failed in raising them right, and believe me, I've sought the Lord about this extensively. I made mistakes, but no more than any other parent has or will make.  I think I can relate with any other mother who also has a wayward son or a prodigal daughter. 

Through the years I've listened to parent's conversations about their children. One thing I've heard has really disturbed me. I've often heard, "well, he/she is not serving the Lord....BUT...they are a good father/mother, a nice person, or a loving son/daughter. He/she even attends church." As if that makes a difference somehow! In essence they are saying that they were successful as parents in that their children have conformed. The problem is that they don't sound very concerned over the lack of transformation!  At the very foundation of this way of thinking is a relief that they don't look bad. Unfortunately this way of thinking does not carry the urgency that one needs to pray for the lost. I don't care if your child is President. If they are lost, they're just as lost as a bum on the street. All the ground is level at the foot of the cross.

Whether your unsaved child is a nice person or an obviously rebellious mess really doesn't matter. The fact of the matter is that if they died or the Lord returned, they would still be lost. As a parent, it's much easier to hear that people like your children than it is to have women pulling their children to their sides when your kid walks in the room, but the scary one is no less saved than the nice one and deserves the same amount of love, care and interaction with Christians that are genuinally concerned for their souls. 

I don't want moral children.  I want saved, loving God, on their way to heaven children and I won't settle for anything less. If someone would ask me at prayer time where I'm going, I would tell them "I'm going to get my kids back."

The Lord denied the devil once a long time ago when he tried to steal my kids. He didn't do that so that they would be lost later.

I was reminded of a story in 1 Samuel 30. It says that David returned from battle to find that Ziklag had been burned and the women, children and livestock had all been stolen. Then the Bible says that "David and the people who were with him lifed their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep." After a time a weeping, David "strenghthen himself in the Lord his God" and then he went and got them back. 

Too many parents who are burdened for their children stop at the weeping part. David's weeping did not get his family and goods back. He had to go and get them back. And the Bible says that he brought it ALL back. 

Are you a weeping parent? Well weep until you can weep no more and then get up and strenghthen yourself in the Lord. Remember the promises He has made to you concerning your seed and stand on them. He didn't have His fingers crossed behind His back when He made them. Encourage yourself in knowing that although your kids are sinners, Christ gave His life for them and wants to save them the same way He did for you. 

And one last thing. Don't let the self-righteous, demeaning, and sometimes downright nasty looks and comments of people with "perfect" kids deter or discourage you. Don't allow the devil to use them to make you feel that you were somehow inadequate as a parent lest he try to make you feel inadequate to pray for their salvation.  Who else is going to labor over their souls with more sincerity than you? God instructed David to go get what was his. So lets do the same! Will you have to fight some battles?  Probably. David did but God was with him and victory came. 

Who's with me? Let's go get our kids back!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Complete Joy

 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.  These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.  1 Jn 1:4

I bet you thought I was going to talk about my grandsons from the title, right? Sorry to disappoint. This passage of scripture grabbed me this morning. 

John starts out with verifying his witness of Christ in a most convincing fashion by testifying of his belief in eternal life through Jesus Christ, the Word of life. Of all the conclusions he could have come to, he concludes that his greatest joy is to share it with others so that they too can experience it and come into the same fellowship that he has with the Father and with Jesus Christ. This is what makes their joy complete. Imagine! It wasn't the experiences, what they had heard, what they had seen and touched with their hands, it wasn't even the current fellowship they have with the Father and the Son or the knowledge of eternal life now theirs, it was having their words received and manifested in the life of another that gave them complete joy!

I had to ask myself a couple of questions after being arrested by this passage:

1. Is my testimony of the Word of Life based on what I know because I have experienced it myself or is it based on what I've been taught? None of us like listening to someone repeating facts they have memorized. We would much rather hear it from the horse's mouth, from someone who has experienced it firsthand for themselves. Do I have those experiences that have convinced me of what I profess to believe? Has that life been manifested to me and in me? If not, I really have little to say.

2. Is it my natural inclination to proclaim what I have seen and heard? Can I honestly say that "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation" and therefore I take every opportunity to share the love and power of Christ with as many people as I can. If I don't speak of Christ when I can, how can I be so selfish as to have experienced the cure to what ails every human being on the earth and leave them bound for hell when it is within my power to offer them hope and healing for their sin-sick lives? Do I operate under the fear of God or the fear of man?

3. Is it my greatest joy to see others receiving salvation as I did? Do I realize the miracle it is every it happens? Am I filled with awe, as the angels are, over the Lord extending salvation to the world? It should never grow old! Or am I just satisfied to have my nice little group of church friends who help the Lord meet all my needs? Am I just satisfied that I'm okay but never really give a thought to the dying that are all around me? Is my heart filled with compassion for even the rankest lost soul? Do I see them the way that God saw me before He saved my soul?

I can have joy over what the Lord has done for me.  I can revel in the times when the Lord touches me, speaks to me, and changes me. But according to this scripture, joy is not complete unless this joy that I have is shared with and experienced by others. THIS should be my greatest joy! It's why God left me here after salvation, for heaven's sake!

In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul talks about his ministry to the Thessalonians.  How he toiled to deliver to them the Word of Life and they received it. Because of this, he ends his passage with "for you are our glory and joy." His "joy" was in their salvation. Even above his own salvation, it seems.

13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received theword of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and [q]drove us out. [r]They are not pleasing to God, [s]but hostile to all men, 16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them [t]to the utmost.
17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a [u]short while—in[v]person, not in [w]spirit—were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. 18 [x]For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, [y]more than once—and yetSatan hindered us. 19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His [z]coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy

So I have to ask myself--

4. Is my greatest joy seeing others receive Christ-even above my own joy of having Christ and all the benfits that go along with that? Surely this was the mindset of Christ Himself who laid down His glory to come in human flesh and provide a way for man's salvation.  Does scripture not tell us that "but for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross?" He looked past the suffering and saw the joy that comes in the morning.  Not His own joy, not His own exaltation-He'd already been there and laid down parts of it He will never get back! I believe He saw our joy when the temple veil was torn and all mankind received a way back to fellowship with God the Father. Am I willing to suffer as John, Paul and Jesus so that others might receive salvation? Do I see myself as expendable for the Kingdom of God? Am I really willing to lay down my life, even to the point of death for the gospel? It's easy to answer yes until God requires some little thing of me and oh, how I can fight it, argue with it or try to justify it. Just how sold out am I to the cause of the gospel? 

I have to admit, I have fallen short of this. I need a reality check to remind me that this world, with all it's joys and blessing, is not my home. I am here only as an ambassador, a soldier, a pilgrim. This is not my final destination. I can enjoy the blessings along the way but I must never forget my mission.  It must stay always in the forefront of my mind and heart. May God once again remind me what I was saved from and that He saved me from it by sacrificing His own Son "while I was yet a sinner," without hope, lost and dying. May the same mind that was in Christ Jesus be mine when I look at the lost. May the same resolve that was demonstrated by Jesus be mine as I minister to the lost. And may the salvation of souls be what makes my joy, in this life and the next, complete.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Name Droppers

You know what a name dropper is, right?  It’s a person who tries to impress you by using their associations with other more “prominent” or “important” people to make themselves appear more elevated or important.  

I find this whole phenomenon rather puzzling.  Just because you know “important” people doesn’t change who you are one iota. I had lunch several times with a former cabinet member of the Bush administration but knowing him did not change my status anywhere.  It did not make me a different person than what I already was. To think that “knowing people” will increase your intrinsic value or stature is a deception.

Additionally, I find that people’s definition of “knowing someone” varies.  For some people knowing someone means that they had a 10 minute conversation on the street with them once or worse yet, that they saw someone prominent walking down the street.  I chatted with the Penn State Ladies basketball coach while standing in the checkout line one day.  That doesn’t mean I know her and even more certainly I can guarantee that she does not feel that she “knows” me. She probably wouldn’t even remember that she talked to me at all.

I started thinking about this because a young man at my work won some tickets to a Penn State hockey game.  Up until last year, Penn State hockey was a club and supported solely by a booster club whose members are very well known for their wealth and power in the country. Anyway, these tickets were REALLY GOOD tickets! Another person was going on and on about how sitting in that section would be advantageous for him because he would meet a lot of important people and be seen with people he should be seen with. I found that so shallow, I almost wanted to puke. Since when is one person more important than another? Is there any soul on which God places more value than another? Then I saw this photo and thought, this is right on. I think Jesus put it this way in Luke:

7 And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them,8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. 10 But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Mt. 23:12:
Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Not only do I find name dropping puzzling, I genuinely pity anyone who feels they need to do it. Granted, occasionally dropping a name can get you access to things, but it should only be if the person whose name you are dropping approved of you doing it beforehand.  Seriously, earn what you have and on your own merit, not someone elses. Name dropping creates the facade that you’re something you are not. It sets you up for a fall because when people find out that you’re not all you present yourself as, they will be brutal. Having to live under that pressure to be someone you’re not or think that you are nothing until you are recognized by another human being would be an awful way to live.  And sadly, your reward is only what attention you get on earth which in the end, will mean absolutely nothing.

Name droppers are often do gooders too. They join prominent charities, not so much for what the charity stands for but for who else belongs to the charity that they would like to rub shoulders with. I’m so glad that my life and associations are God directed. If I’m to be famous, it will come in God’s way and in His time. I’d rather be famous in heaven than on earth anyway. Those who quietly serve the Lord by ministering to the unlovely will be rock stars in heaven.

What’s funny is, that with all the name dropping going on, when you mention that you know God, people are completely unimpressed! What’s with that????  They even think you are weird or craaaaaazy! What person could you possibly know that is more important?

They may know the president of the university, our left-wing, liberal mayor, or the owner of a successful business but I know the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the creator and sustainer of the universe, the one who tells the sun to rise every day and it does, the one who is aware of every bird that falls to the ground and every hair that falls of their heads. In fact, I not only know Him, we’re related! He’s adopted me!  Now that’s important!  That’s a name you would think everyone would want to be associated with, but sadly, it’s not.

As Christians, we are called to be ambassadors. We are to reflect, mirror and mimic the one we represent. As we behold Him more and more, we become like Him and make His name known.  I guess that in a way, we are to be “dropping God’s name” in a lost world. But actions truly do speak louder than words, so the first thing they need to see is Christ in action. The man healed by Jesus on the sabbath didn’t even know who had healed him but I can bet that after he found out who Jesus was, he talked of him to anyone and everyone that would listen. Being with Jesus has an effect on people.

Acts 4:13 says “now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.”

I often examine my life and wonder, do sinners see that I’m different in the way I live my life, in the way I express myself, and in the way I react to and interact with them? Do they know that I am different because of Christ or do they just think I’m a nice, laid back,funny, “good” person?  They must see Christ! If they don’t, then I need to see more of Him so that they can see Him.

When Moses was in the presence of God, his face shone so brightly he had to cover it with a veil. People need to see that we have been the presence of Jesus and they will only see that as we spend time in the presence of Christ and let His presence change us.  As He changes us, we reflect Him and a lost world can be changed too.

Friday, April 3, 2015

What If?

Life can bring some difficulties our way.  Those difficulties become part of our personal history.

Oftentimes they bring worrisome choices and hard changes. They can even try to define us.

But what if we take what is trying to define us and let it refine us instead? 

What if what’s trying to defeat us, we let complete us?

The Easter story is perhaps our greatest example.  Sometimes what appears to be the end may actually be a new and better beginning.

The choice is ours.

Have a great holiday everyone!