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.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Watch Your Attitude!

Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.Ecclesiastes 5:1-2
A few weeks ago, our Pastor used this passage in a sermon on a Sunday morning. As I was reviewing my sermon notes, I re-read this passage and the Lord dropped some thoughts into my mind that I thought I would share.

It made me think about my expectations and actions in the house of God. I am a sanguine. I like to talk so these scriptures were especially applicable to me. I like to talk to God and do regularly but today I let Him talk and you know what I found? I found that when I shut up, He will actually say something! 

He said the following things to me as I read this passage. I think I've been guilty of almost all of them at some point in my life:

1) Don't be flippant with God. Don't use flippant words with God. How often do we come into the presence of God with a flippant attitude? Flippancy means we do not show a serious or respectful attitude.We forget about who He is. If we stay up til all hours of the morning on Saturday night because it's the weekend and then sleep through church, that's showing disrespect and flippant. If we take scripture and inject it into our conversations in a common way or quote it in a sarcastic way, that's flippancy. If we talk to God as if He's on our level and one of the gang, that's flippant and disrespectful. It's about the heart attitude. Whatever we say to God must be said with a reverent heart. We must remember who He is and who we are. Remember "He is in heaven and we are on the earth; therefore let our words be few." And I would add, let our attitudes be humble. 

2) Always speak faith filled words to God. Faith moves the heart of God and causes Him to listen. When we speak words that truly reflect who He is, what He has said, and what He will do, we will live the reality of those words here on earth. On the other hand, when we whine or rehearse our situation, as if He doesn't already know about it, this dishonors God and He will not answer. We don't need to explain anything to God, especially our situations or the reason we do things. He already knows. To retell it to Him is an insult. It's okay to let God know how you are feeling as long as you as you are well ready to admit that you are wrong when your feelings do not line up with His Word and to speak, by faith, His will into your situation and life. 

3) Don't question God. Don't accuse Him in any way. Instead question your knowledge of His will and ways and ask Him for wisdom and revelation. Whatever God does is always perfect. To question Him in an accusatory way is wrong. To question Him with the attitude of wanting to understand what He is doing is godly and productive. God doesn't cause evil but sometimes He has to allow it.

4) Don't get angry with God. That is sin. Scripture clearly tells us to "be angry and sin not." Be angry with what causes sickness, trouble, discouragement and sadness-sin and the devil. Don't blame God for your troubles. He didn't cause them. If you alienate yourself from your only true source of help by accusing Him of things He didn't cause, where does that leave you? 

5} Speak less and listen more. "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger." James 1:19. If we would listen more to people and talk less, we would probably get angry less with them because we would actually be hearing what they are saying and would understand. We would ask questions for clarification and gain a true picture of what is on their heart so that when we do speak, our words would be effective and helpful.  

Bottom line is that we must be intentional with God. We must approach him with a humble and reverent heart because He is God and we are only there because His love has made a way for us to be in His presence at all! We must speak in a way that represents and honors Him. 

We not fear Him if we are saved, but He must never become common because He has never been or will he ever be common. He is divine. He is eternal. He is all powerful. He is God Almighty!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Battle With the Tootsie Roll Bowl

One of my co-workers had a bowl of Tootsie rolls on his desk to share with everyone. They are the smallest size tootsie roll and when you're having a sugar craving just right to squelch it. They are only 11 calories and since I don't usually eat all my points in a day anyway, I don't feel bad about eating one. So that's five a week or 55 calories.

The problem comes in when I pop that candy into my mouth and the phone rings. Rather than gross out my co-workers by spitting it our and saving it, I just have to chew it as fast as I can before I answer the phone. Then I feel as if I was cheated, so I go get another one. On days when I'm weak, I might end up eating 3-4 of those delicious little bites and THAT IS NOT GOOD! Because after all is said and done, I might have close to 100 calories invested in those little brown devils. That's 15 minutes of walking at a fast pace to burn that off!

The bad thing is now my body wants at least one everyday at 3 pm. I have sworn off the temptation but my flesh is still longing, crying for, aching for a Tootsie roll. It tells me that just one won't hurt. It's not breaking the rules. It's well within the allowable guidelines. And so on and so on.

In our spiritual lives, the devil has a bowl of Tootsie Rolls that he is more than willing to share with us. Those little things in scripture that aren't marked as wrong, but that we are cautioned about. It's okay to have a little wine for your stomach, but notice he said "a little. For medicinal reasons. It's not prohibited. I can't say that someone who drinks a glass of wine now and then is going to hell. The problem is that things like this cause us to walk close to a line that we don't want to cross, if we truly love God, that is.

Let's look at alcohol for a minute. The Bible does tell us that the drunkard will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. From my BC (before Christ) days, I know that it is hard to tell when you have crossed the line from sober to drunk. The law has an allowable limit, but that doesn't mean it's the same as God's. Then factor in tolerance, that the longer we drink, the more we need to get the feeling we were seeking in the first place and soon we are not just taking one tootsie roll from the bowl and if we're not careful we have crossed the line into sin. (As a side thought I would just add that I have no earthly idea why a Christian would "need" a drink. There is nothing found in alcohol that you won't find more abundantly in Christ. If you feel that you "need " a drink, then friend, what you really need is Christ.)

You might say that you can handle it, that you know how much you can drink and stay sober. Godly Noah thought he could to. Read Genesis and see how that worked for him.  Proverbs 20:1 clearly tells us that drinking is not wise. We are always seeking God's wisdom for the things that affect our lives-our marriages, raising our children, making business decisions, handling problems-so why won't we accept the wisdom God freely gives us without us asking? Why do we feel that we have to walk so close to the line just because we can? It's called carnality.

Billy Graham describes the carnal Christian as follows:
"There was a time, perhaps, when you were a spiritual Christian. You still had your first love; a fire burned in your heart for God. But something has happened along the way, something has disturbed your relationship with God, and you no longer know the joy, the peace and the thrill that you once knew." You have fallen prey to the three enemies of your soul-the world, the flesh and the devil and somehow it appears to be sweet like a Tootsie roll that just beckons to you from the bowl.

There are other things as well that if we overindulge in, they will steal our fidelity, strength and resolve and cause us to lose out with God. What are the tootsie rolls in your life? Is it entertainment? Music? The Sabbath? Modesty?

Take each tootsie roll and ask yourself these questions:
Will it benefit me spiritually?
Is there the potential for bondage?
Will it defile my temple?
Could it cause anyone to stumble?
Will it further the cause of evangelism?
Will it violate my conscience?
Will it bring glory to God?

If you truly want to please the Lord, error on the side of safety. Don't get too close to the edge. Don't walk on the line. Your enemy, the devil, is waiting for an opportunity, any opportunity to trip you up.