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Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

Are You Looking to Be Entertained in Church?

Why Are You in Church? {Mom of Many}

What is your motivation for going to church? Really. Be honest. Are you looking for entertainment?

Do you go for the fellowship. Do you go for the programs for your kids? Do you go because you’re supposed to? Do you go because others will think ill of you if you don’t? Do you go for the music or excitement or so you will get a good feeling?

There is a prevalent belief these days that our church much have it all. Here are ten “I wish our church had” areas that often become requirements:

Why Are You in Church? {Mom of Many}

  • Great, inspiring, fun music
  • Challenging and exciting preaching
  • Warm, friendly and attentive members
  • Self-sacrificing pastor with a well adjusted family ready to serve at a moment’s notice
  • Smooth running services that are uplifting and leave us wanting more
  • Quite, happy and well-run nursery, Sunday school, youth group, mom’s group, singles group, etc.
  • Big savings, no debt
  • Beautiful building, big fellowship hall, big parking lot free of holes, beautifully manicured lawn
  • Comfortable chairs/pews, new clean carpet, beautifully decorated ladies’ bathrooms (men don’t care)
  • Ministry opportunities that fit into our lifestyle and require little time or effort

…and the list goes on.

Do you expect all of this? Guess what…there was no mention of doctrine here.

Our belief system is the most important facet, yet it seems to be the last one considered in many cases.

Do I want all of the above? Sure! As a matter of fact, my DH and I have been discussing and working on all of the above for about a year now. Nobody wants a boring, lifeless worship experience. So we must be always working toward “having it all,” but never rate our church as undesirable or disappointing if it doesn’t.

We have two choices if our church doesn’t line up to our expectations. LEAVE or FIX IT.

We choose to fix it because we have a pastor who wants it all too! YEP. He’s the perfect pastor – not because he’s perfect, but because he has a proper outlook on what a good church is and is willing to work with us with a proper spirit and proper expectations.

Why Are You in Church? {Mom of Many}

If we decided to LEAVE for something we thought was better (but only because God called us to), then we leave with a proper respect for the one we left and never put it down to make ourselves look better. Not every church is right for everybody. We have to find the right one that fits our family. BUT, always make sure it’s for the right reasons: doctrine – especially the doctrine of salvation. It is paramount and must be considered above all else.

The people are the church. The programs are nice but they aren’t the church. The building is nice (some don’t even have a building!), but it’s not the church. We are the church. (Believers)

Why Are You in Church? {Mom of Many}What she said…

Christ gave himself for the church – not the building or the music or the programs. All of those things are good and can help the church reach others, but we must give proper place to “things.”

There is so much that I want. I want my church to grow and become an exciting vibrant example of how we ought to worship as believers. BUT, I won’t expect everything on my laundry list to happen right now (though I WANT it to!) nor will I sit back and wait for others to do it all (though I WANT them to!).

We must be patient, willing, understanding, wise, hearty, prayerful, kind, studious, faithful…you get the picture.

Let’s dig in and make a difference in our church. Let’s plan and make lists and dream. Let’s not quit, complain, nit pick or oppose. Let’s work together and make our churches what they were intended to be – a hospital for the sick, a refuge for the sinner and a home for the believer.

God is good.Why Are You in Church? {Mom of Many}

Val @ Mom of Many

P.S. I’m not targeting anyone or anything or any church. It’s just me thinking out loud and sharing with those who seek to improve their church for God’s glory.

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Spiritual Truths

Lie #12 – Lies Women Believe Bible Study

Women of Truth {Mom of Many}

Due to A NEW BABY in the Frania family, Bible study was cut short last night. Good problem to have, ay?

So I’m sharing my thoughts on Lie #12 from our Bible study “Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free” by Nancy DeMoss:

LIE: I should not have to live with unfulfilled longings

I have so many unfulfilled longings that if I pursued all of them I’d be a wreck.

Is it the same with you? Am I alone on this?

Women make plans. Women day dream about what life could be like if only…

Women want more! Women pursue hopes and dreams like their life depended on it. We multi task and one of those tasks – always – is what we want to do or how we could do something better, or what our next step is…you get the picture.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy! BUT that is what makes us special. We pursue. We don’t sit idle and we don’t accept mediocrity.

BUT that also is what can drive us nuts and cause us to think we are missing out.

Free from Bondage! {Mom of Many}

It can put us in bondage.

Too often we think that: if we are hungry – eat. If we don’t have the $ – charge it. If we want more romance – do what it takes to get it.

BUT that mind set will always leave us unfulfilled.

Longings are not bad. Longings are a natural part of a woman’s life. It’s what we do about them that makes our lives better… or empty.

It’s OK to have longings.

Our satisfaction must come from our relationship with God and if we are believers we can be fulfilled in Him. That’s not just a religious platitude.

Our mindset needs to be purposely managed – decide to look to God to supply our needs/wants/dreams/aspirations/goals, etc.

He will do it for you if you:

  • Walk in the Spirit (sincerely follow Him, get to know Him through His Word, pursue a life of holiness living a life pleasing to God, consider spiritual things daily and LOVE Him in word and actions) Galatians 5:25
  • Ask Him for direction and listen to His promptings (He speaks in a quiet voice, so learn to LISTEN). Colossians 2:6,7
  • Determine to consider every decision: Am I putting my relationship with God first? Does what I am contemplating line up with Scripture? Will the outcome of my actions please Him? Am I considering others?  Ephesians 4:30

Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Sometimes we just need to choose to do right regardless of our own desires. OUCH.

I want it all! {Mom of Many}

 Pursuing the wrong thing = discontent.

Let’s determine to make good decisions, choose to do right no matter what, and to pursue God and not “things.”

We cannot have all that we desire – unless our desires are desires that God has put in our hearts. (Psalm 37:4)

All of our longings will not be satisfied this side of heaven. So let’s set our sights on heaven and glorifying God while we are here – it is the only way we will be fulfilled and content.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Educating Our Children Musings Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

6 Ways to Keep Electronics From Frying Your Kids’ Brains

Kids & Technology {Mom of Many}

Should we let our children jump into the tech world? Is it safe to let them online? Will their brains get fried? Will they turn into electronics zombies? Will they be socially retarded? Will people think you are a lazy parent?

It’s a fairly new debate. Should your kids play games, search the net, talk to Siri on your iPad, iPhone or laptop?

How much is too much tech?

If we do, how much supervision do they need? How much, how long and how often should they be allowed on the zeroes and ones superhighway?

Let me start out by declaring that each family is different, each child is unique and each parent has different experiences and different opinions based on those experiences.

Some of MY kids (I have 15) were very responsible and could be thrown in the middle of a cesspool and come out clean. Others would struggle, knowing it was nasty stinky but still become a modern day Pig Pen (remember Pig Pen from Charlie Brown?). Others would jump in, lather up in the muck and smile.

So what’s the right answer?

Balance is Key

  1. Know your child.
  2. Tailor your expectations to your family goals and to your child’s talents and propensities.
  3. Consider the Internet and your devices to be tools, not a babysitting service.
  4. Establish rules/guidelines and stick to them. Regulate!
  5. Participate – know what your child is doing and why.
  6. Keep the online activity in an area of your home that is well supervised. Keep the monitor facing out and check on them often.

Should small children own devices?

I know families who have given their four year old their own ipod for watching cartoons. I know others who feel strongly that their child will not own a device and allows only a half hour/day on any type of media. So who is right?

Both of them/neither of them (How’s that for a decisive judgement?).

It’s not our job to judge others. Every child is different. Every parent is different. Our only responsibility is to decide for our own families. We all decide based on our experiences and goals. Those are different in every family.

 

Pros and Cons of the Tech World

If I have trouble figuring out my iPhone, guess who I ask?  Yep, my 9 year old grandson, Isaac.

Don’t judge me! I’m not one of those old grannies that doesn’t know how to send an email or know what a font is.

I’m fairly techy and can pretty much navigate myself around in cyberspace, but I don’t really take the time to learn the minute details of my devices. I have too much else going on to spend time on it.

But my grandson has a naturally inquisitive nature that makes him a prime candidate for the tech world. He’s not afraid to experiment and investigate. I’ve had to hand my iPhone back to him and tell him to undo what he did because he messed it up (In his mind he made it better.).

  1. To become familiar with devices is a very good thing. To know their way around the web and have experience with searching for answers and solutions to everyday problems can only help a child grow and learn. Formal schooling is good but not the answer. Developing an inquisitive mind and a penchant for searching out answers is extremely beneficial.
  2. Like it or not this world is high tech and your children will need to know how to maneuver their way around all those 0’s and 1’s.
  3. Encourage them to learn technology with guidelines, regulations and supervision…lots of supervision. Obsession with technology will become a problem if you are not careful.
  4. Don’t forgo the other means of educationreading (real tangible, hold in your hands books), playing (this a child’s vocation), experimenting (hands on learning) and watching and interacting with those around them (make them put the devices down and connect with real, live people!).

Kids & Technology {Mom of Many}

B.A.L.A.N.C.E.

What say you?

Do you think technology is a good thing?

Do you regulate and supervise your child’s online activity?

I am concerned about people today – not just kids. There seems to be less personal interaction. If we are to preserve our sense of community, we need to keep in touch (more than just on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram ).

Shoot me a comment and tell me your opinion.

(I do find it mildly amusing that you are reading this on your laptop, iPad or iPhone.)

Have you read my FREE parenting tips ebook yet? Check it out HERE.

Val @ Mom of Many

Categories
Ministry Musings Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

Are your standards dictated by your church?

Church roof logo
 
This has been an age old controversy. Or maybe we can call it a debate. All I know is I have put a ton of thought into this and finally feel like I have a handle on it.
 
I'm 56 years old and finally can say I am enjoying true freedom in Christ. Oh, I always had it, just wasn't free to enjoy it. It took me many years to get to the place where I understand that statement and to be confident in applying it in a practical manner.
 
Freedom in Christ is the freedom to serve Him – but I want to go a step further and say that freedom in Christ is the freedom to serve Him with a fearless and content happy heart. If we truly exercise our freedom in Christ we will have a happiness like none other. Some would call it "joy" but I call it "free to be me."
 
When I ask, "Are your standards dictated by your church?" I'm referring to everything from skirt length (or manner of dress in general) to what you eat, where you go, what you say and who you spend time with. Yep, the whole shebang.
 
My DH and I have served in several churches, both on staff in pastoral/school teacher positions and as lay people working in ministries ranging from custodial to preaching and teaching. We have served under several pastors and have had a variety of experiences doing so. I'm in a "been there done that" position.
 
Here's an example of how twisted my thinking was after leaving one of our ministries.
 
Just after leaving one church where we served for 9+ years, I was at the mall with my husband (wearing jeans in public for the first time in years) and he said, "Oh, look there's (insert name of the pastor's wife)." He thought he was funny. She wasn't really there. He just knew my heart would jump 10 feet. I constantly tell people not to laugh at him because he's not funny. This falls on dull ears. People think he's so funny. I didn't think he was funny that day.
 
I knew I was in bondage when I quickly looked where he pointed in a panic. I knew I had freedom in Christ, but I didn't "feel it." I didn't have the confidence I needed to live in that freedom. I was stuck in a set of rules laid out for me. I had been so stressed out for years trying to be the perfect little pastor's wife that I stopped thinking for myself and just followed the rules – which by the way was made very clear I had to do if I wanted to serve in that ministry.
 
When we finally arrived to the church we are in now, I was shopping with my daughter, Jillian, when I saw our new pastor's van pulling up, everyone waving a hello to us. Uh huh. I was in jeans. But the pastor and his wife had never seen me outside of church and they were skirt only people. Of course, due to my past experience, I was curious to see what their reaction would be to our non-skirt atire. I was happy to discover that they didn't miss a beat – they rolled up with big smiles on their faces, greeting Jillian and I as if we were long lost relatives. Over the past 4 years I am happy to announce that I have a gracious and accepting pastor's family and am perfectly content to be allowed to enjoy my freedom in Christ without pressure to conform or obey a collection of works based standards.
 
Guess what? I did everything expected of me and more, but we still lost our ministry in that standards oriented church. Why? Because you can do your best and if your leadership has their own agenda you have no solid footing – you are at the mercy of the "man of God." It's not how well you follow the rules, or how valuable you are to the ministry, it's about how gracious and spiritually mature your leader is and if he allows you to follow God by hearing His voice rather than worshipping the "man of God" in the place of the real God, our God Jehovah, the Creator and LORD of all things.
 
If He is our Lord then why do we have to obey the "man of God" and put him on a lofty pedestal? You are as much a "Man or Woman of God" as he is if you are walking in the Spirit as a believer. Why do we need to be controlled by a man? If our heart is right would we not be right in man's eyes too? If our vertical relationship with God is right, would not our horizontal relationships, those with the people around us, be right too? Should we not choose those to be on staff based on their spiritual maturity and ability to follow God's call and direction rather than putting them in a box and pulling their strings to show we are in charge?
 
Are Your Standards Dictated by Your Church? {Mom of Many}
 
We ought not to choose a ministry to serve in that must control us. We must choose a ministry to serve in that supports us and creates a better environment for us to be able to serve in the way God that calls us. I tell my kids that they should marry a person who compliments them and is fit to be the type of partner that eniches their ability to serve God – not inhibits or traps them into a lifestyle that makes it difficult to serve. Each step in our life either leads us to or away from God and His purpose for our lives.
 
Don't get me wrong. We truly believe we were called by God to go to each ministry we have served in, but that doesn't mean everything that went on or the pain we endured was right or approved of God. If we had truly exercised our freedom in Christ, things would have been different – either by our leaving sooner once we detected things going awry or exhibiting the confidence to maintain our freedom in Christ by being more assertive. Either way, I do know this – I will never allow myself to be in that situation again. I am free now and once a person is completely free, they will never go back to bondage.
 
Freedom isn't free. Someone earned that freedom and it is a shame when we don't live in that freedom. Why did Christ die if His people can't enjoy the freedom He suffered and died for? Standards are great, but they are not a true measure of our spiritual maturity. Remember the verses, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." I Corinthians 13:1? Follow all the man made rules you can, but it will never make up for a lack of charity (love for your fellow man).
 
Let's focus on the good stuff – loving one another, supporting fellow believers, sharing the love of Christ, faithfully following God in all we say and do. These things should be our main focus – not making sure our neckline is only two fingers below the hollow in our neck. Sure, modesty and such are important but they are not the measuring stick of our validity. I know a believer who will not talk to a lady that is wearing pants. Is this why Christ gave his blood, so we could treat one another with contempt? I say, "Nay!."
 
Val @ Mom of Many
Raising Real Kids Ebook {Mom of Many}
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Family Events Ministry Musings Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

How Much is Too Much Loss?

How Much is Too Much Loss? {Love My DIY Home}

Our family and friends have experienced so much loss, pain and suffering lately.
 
Everywhere I look I see loss.
  • My father-in-law passed away a year ago. My mom 6 months ago.
  • A friend lost her youngest son in a car accident yesterday.
  • Another friend is caring for her youngest son who was in a head-on collision two days ago. Thankfully he is still with us – they came so close to losing him. He's in traction with 6 months of recovery ahead.
  • My Marine son, Andrew, is planning to go fight ISIS this fall independently of the military – because our country isn't doing much to free the world of this threat. I don't want to lose him.
  • My son-in-law just lost his job – out of the blue, no warning.
  • Last month my other son had to be cut out of his truck after after being broadsided – but thankfully got out with just a hurt shoulder.
  • How much loss is TOO MUCH LOSS? Loss is everywhere. How do we survive it? How do we prepare for it?
What can't we do?
We can't stop our loved ones from getting hurt or dying. We can't stop time or stop the pain of loss. We can't forsee disasters or emergencies. We can't control our government, other people, the weather, or our circumstances.
 
Word has it our country in for a major financial disaster soon. There is unrest everywhere in the world.
 
BUT, I know from experience that a person can live through hardship or tragedy and come out a better person, stronger and better equipped for life – the life they must learn how to live without whatever/whomever they have lost.
 
What can we do?
There are things we can do to survive and ANYTHING…and even thrive.
 
We can prepare ourselves emotionally, physically, spiritually. Do you have all your ducks in a row?
  • Get your finances in order – pay off debt and get your spending under control. Have an emergency fund. PLAN ahead.
  • Find out who God is. Really find out. He can supernaturally carry us through the darkest days.
  • Treasure everyone who means anything to you. Don't stay away for any reason. Life is short and it passes quicker than you realize. One day you will get a call and it will be too late. Work is good but it's not everything. It will still be there after you go fishing with your son or shopping with your sister or hang out at your parents house. Help your mom in her garden, it will lift both of your spirits. (hint, hint my children)
  • Treat others with respect. Regret is a bugger. You will some day need a support system. Develop and strengthen your relationships.
  • Eat right, get enough sleep, know your limitations but strive for the best – not OK or good, but the best. Take care of your health, quit your vices, focus on what is important. Care about doing right and follow through.
  • Don't dwell on the negative, disappointments, problems or sinful thoughts. Debi Pryde once gave me a tip: Don't dwell, if you have a problem think about it for 5 minutes, decide what you will do about it and then move on. Dwelling never helps and can cause other problems. I have found this to be good advice.
  • Only get biblical counseling – man's opinions differ but the Word of God is solid and trustworthy.
  • Set goals. Make lists. Accomplish. Get organized.
  • Find out who you are and be that person. Seriously. Many years I fit the mold that others made. I don't do that any more. Be the best YOU that you can be. Develop good character and a good reputation. Live clean. Don't break your mother's heart by living riotously and hurting your family name. But realize, always, that your mother still loves you, regardless.

If you are prepared, when tragedy strikes you will have the strength to get through anything. Strive for a solid foundation with confidence in yourself and your support system. God should not be an afterthought. Put Him in your life so He will be there when you need Him. Put your support system in place now.

Alone is not fun. Alone is bad. Alone stinks. None of us needs to be alone.

We won't be alone if we prepare.

The Will of God by Jim Elliott {Love My DIY Home}

8×10 printable (just click and save), take to your favorite photo printing
place and then frame it. It will be a good reminder.
 
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." II Corinthians 1:3, 4

Val @ Mom of Many

 
 
Categories
Ministry Musings Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

Ladies, YOU need to hear this… Listen up!

Hey ladies, my valuable, worthy ladies who love God and put yourself out there every day for others. Yes, I mean you.

Melody2 by Jesse Therrien from freeimages freesxc

I have something to tell you, something you NEED to hear. I’ve gotten so many letters, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and frustrated, “I need to talk to you,” face to face encounters that I have to address this. Urgh.

There is something you may not know and I’m going to tell you right now.

So listen up.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way. That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

Yes, I mean you.

I see you day to day putting yourself aside and working for others, dropping by a vase of flowers for a sick older lady, changing diapers in the church nursery, going out to work to help support the family, caring your grandchildren, sacrificing for your children, washing dishes after a fellowship in your church, raising an adopted child by yourself, taking your kids to sports practice, blogging tutorials for strangers on how to save a dime, tutoring the student who just doesn’t get it, caring for a sick husband, encouraging others to keep going…

You do so much for others that I couldn’t possibly list it all. And yet, you are discouraged, feeling unloved and disrespected.

To quote a phrase in the Bible, because it is so simple yet profound, “These things ought not so to be.”

It makes me angry (yes, I can be angry and sin not) to see the women around me live discouraged, defeated lives because of how they are regarded by those around them.

It ends now.

Every woman who belongs to Christ (if you’re not sure, go here) must claim their position in Him, realize their value, and act like it!

No more questioning. No more letting people walk all over you. No more wondering if you can be used.

NO MORE!

You are not alone.

When you met Christ, you not only were forgiven, but you became brand new. You became His child, valuable and complete.

Did you hear that? You are complete in Him. He VALUED you enough to hang on that cross – FOR YOU.

So how is it that we wonder if we are enough? How is it that we question our value?

Um, no.

Right now you are going to realize you are valuable, complete in Him and to be regarded as such. No more are you going to accept the notion that you are not as good or capable or usable as that woman you think is better than you (or that woman that thinks she is better than you and lets you know it).

If someone tries to make you feel small, you just stand tall and tell yourself, “I am a daughter of the Most High God, I am valued, I am complete in Him.” Notice I said, “tries.” No one can put you in your place but God, and if you belong to Him, you are already placed in His hand and He is in your heart.

Repeat after me, “I got this.”

Photo by Stephen Davies freeimages

I don’t mean, “I got this,” as in “I’m perfect,” I mean, “I got this, I’m complete, I’m valued by God, I don’t need your approval, I don’t need you to put me in my place. I’m good where I’m at, in my God’s hand, loved and valued.”

Stop comparing yourself to other women. Stop trying to compete. Just be whom God made you. Accept who you are. Realize your value. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

Being submissive doesn’t mean we are a little mouse that walks around afraid to speak. If you’re not sure this is true, go read in the Scriptures about how all the women that served God were strong, confident women with purpose.

Being a good woman doesn’t mean you stand by while others smack you around with their words or actions. Others will not respect you if you don’t respect yourself. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

One friend recently said, “I’ve decided I will just stay in my room when they are home.”

Um. No.

You are not going to hide. You are not going to step aside and let them devalue you, take advantage of your insecurities or let them make you feel unloved. You are the daughter of a king. You step up and say,

“I got this.”

You are going to claim your position in Christ, say to yourself, “I belong to the King,” and take your place as a valued child. You are going to set your boundaries and claim your spot. It is your home. They are visitors. They will respect and cherish you or they will go.

I have a family of 5 living in our home and my 87 year old mother. None of them treat me like I am worthless. None of them push me around. None of them disrespect me. In fact, it is just the opposite. I have loved every moment my daughter’s family has been in our home for the past 5 months. I have gained much by having my mother in our home. We help each other, we laugh, we enjoy, we respect each other. When they move out in the next few days I will feel a loss. When my mother goes home to glory, I will feel a void.

If this is not the case with those around you, then you need to reevaluate your relationships, disconnect from those who do not value you and find some who do. Pray for a girlfriend who will uplift you and support you. Find someone who can encourage you and walk with you. Set your boundaries with everyone in your life and make it clear you know whom you, to whom you belong are and who you are not. And then tell yourself, “I got this.”

You are a daughter of the King.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way.

That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

And yes, I mean you.

Blessings to you,

VAL signature

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Family Events Ministry Notable Acts Spiritual Truths

Christian Liberty – Permission to be Free

I made reference a few days ago on my Facebook status that our Pastor, Weng Liew, had “hit one out of the park.” He sent me his notes tonight and I have his points listed below. Make sure you slooowwwlyy read through them. At first glance they appear to be the typical sermon on Christian liberty, ie: do right, do your best, don’t use your liberty to sin, etc. But take the time to read what he has to say. Read each word carefully. If you do, you’ll see why our whole family celebrated last Sunday night by recapping what he said and how he said it. It was surreal. We’ve known pastors who see Christian liberty the same way we do – it’s between us and God, no right to judge, keep your walk with the Spirit and your life will please God, etc. but we’ve never heard a sermon, a pastor, actually give us permission right from the pulpit to live according to our own personal convictions. Wow. WOW.

The sermon was executed with a heart of love from a humble servant who desired to see his people live in freedom – freedom to choose their own path, directed by their own personal relationship with God. There was no condemning judgement, pressure to conform, or self-righteous spirit. Though I agreed 100% and already held the exact same thought process regarding Christian liberty, I experienced a deep peace after that night. It’s a peace I wish for all my friends and family who name the name of Christ and try to serve and please Him with their lives.

Here are the specifics on Pastor Weng’s sermon.  As you read it, pretend it’s being told to you by one who loves you as Christ loves His own. Better yet, pretend as you read that Christ Himself is telling you about the freedom you can enjoy in Him. Jump up into His lap and let Him set you free.  Pay particular attention to the last 5 words – they are key. “God recognizes each as such.

(Romans 14:1-23)

1. We need to remember what we are saved from – the bondage and chains of sin. We are free INDEED (completely, absolutely, forever) through Christ.

2. All things are lawful to the child of God, although not all things are expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23). Thus, while a Christian cannot “break” the law as he is no longer under the law, does not give the right to sin. While we are at liberty to act as the Spirit gives liberty, not all actions are expedient, i.e. prudent. Out of all the things one can do in a given situation, one course of action is best. This is what edifies another brother or sister in Christ, not that which becomes a stumbling block to them.

3. The pinnacle of Christian liberty is to willingly do more (not less) than required by the law to love one another.

4. We must remember we are all servants of Christ. Just as in the secular world we do not judge another man’s servant, we are not to judge each other. We are all accountable ultimately to Christ alone. One who abstains from certain meats does it to glorify God. One who eats all meats in thanksgiving to God does so to glorify God. So both believers glorify God by being true to their own conscience (must be done in faith to please God) and God recognizes each as such.

5. My Christian liberty is not to be flaunted so it becomes an hindrance to another believer. Whenever at a disagreement with another, we need to yield (even if we’re “right”).

6. Charity covers the multitude of sins. When we truly have charity one to another, we don’t even see their faults.

7. Believers need to remember we are on the same team. We have the same indwelling Holy Spirit. A brother or sister in Christ is NEVER the enemy. Satan is ALWAYS the enemy.

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Family Events Spiritual Truths

Jesus Leads Us Through the Fog

Last night we were on our way home from Taylor’s graduation in Florida when we encountered a dense fog about 40 minutes from home.  It was about 11PM and we had been traveling since 8AM. First it set in in spots that only took a second to drive through. Then it descended so heavily that I couldn’t seen more than 50 feet ahead of me. I was in one of those situations where if I slowed down to a safe speed, I could be hit from behind by a vehicle traveling 65 mph. If I kept at the speed limit, I could rear end another car that had decided to stop or travel slowly.  I was stuck. I considered stopping at a hotel, but my mom was sick and I felt I needed to get her home. I wasn’t really sure what to do. I could see a 20 car pile up in my head just waiting for car #21.

Then I saw two small tail lights in front of me that I could follow. I immediately knew it was safe to continue as long as they were there. Then they disappeared after a few minutes and I thought, “Oh great, there goes my guide.”

The next second a large vehicle passed me and pulled in front of me – about 6 car lengths ahead of me. It kept steadily there all the way to our exit 30 minutes away.  As long as I kept a few car lengths from my guide, I knew I was safe to continue on. It was a bit nerve wracking but knowing there were two red lights just ahead gave me the confidence to keep going.

It reminded me of how Christ leads me – out in front, leading me all the way.  As long as I keep my eyes on Him, I know the road is safe and He will lead me all the way to my exit.

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Family Events Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

A Story of God’s Protection

Years ago, when I was a child, our family took a trip out east to visit Washington D.C. We were campers, so when we found our camp ground for the week, the camp ground manager asked my dad where he wanted to camp – on the lower part of the campground near the office and all the amenities, or at one of the higher ground campsites, up the hill a ways away. For the past half hour, my dad had been whistling the tune to Higher Ground, his favorite hymn. Since the Lord had brought that tune into his head, he promptly answered, “Higher ground.”

We made the trek uphill to our campsite, and set up camp. Later that night a terrible storm came. It was so bad that I distinctly remember having to stand up part of the night holding up the sides of our camper for fear it would blow over during the storm.  I couldn’t have been more than 10 or 12 at the time, so this was a very scary night for me. The details of that night have stuck with me these past 40 years. I was not only amazed at how bad the storm was, but was also aware that we could be blown away with it.

Eventually the storm quieted and we were able to go to sleep for the night. The next morning we decided to check out, not ever having been able to see Washington D.C.  We discovered that we had to sit tight for a couple of days while they built a new road for us to travel down. The storm had washed away our road to the lower level of the camp ground. In the meantime we listened to the reports of how the storm had affected the area.

All news reports had confirmed that the storm wreaked havoc on the area and D.C. was pretty much under water. There would be no adventure for our family to our nation’s capital on this vacation. We were very disappointed, but as we gained clearance to take the trek back down into the lower part of the campground on the new road they built, we saw the devastation all around us. The high winds had swept several campers and vehicles into the river adjacent to the campground and many campers and tents had been blown away. In my mind’s eye I can see the floating campers and the rescue vehicles working at pulling them out.

It was obvious to us that our father had been given a song that would be instrumental in his decision to choose “higher ground.” Since that day I gained a new appreciation for my father’s connection to His Savior and realized in a tangible way that God is a God of protection – if we’ll just allow Him to keep us underneath His umbrella. I’ve kept that “umbrella” with me since then and have had many occasions that I’ve based my reaction upon the reflection of those days in D.C.

Here are the words God gave our family that day so long ago:
I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Chorus
Lord, lift me up, and let me stand, By faith, on heaven’s table-land, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay, Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Tho’ some may dwell where these abound, My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world Tho’ Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the upmost height, And catch a glimpse of glory-bright;
But still I’ll pray till Heav’n I’ve found, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

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Family Events My Kids Notable Acts Spiritual Truths

Thankful for God’s Protection

3 car pile-upI am very glad to let you know that God protected our family today. Our daughter Jillian was driving back to work after lunch today and was stopped right in front of the daycare where she works when another car stopped right behind her. They both had to wait for a tow truck to pass.

After it had passed, she turned into the daycare parking lot. As she did that, she heard a loud noise, but thought it was just the noise of a nearby truck. As she parked and looked, she witnessed a six car pile up right behind where she had been waiting to turn in.

Apparently someone three cars back wasn’t paying attention and rammed right into the car that was stopped right behind her. At the present time, she’s watching the scene unfold as ambulances and police cars arrive. One of the vehicles received the most attention. The back was smashed in about two feet and it appears that the rescue personnel are trying to extract a car seat from the back of the vehicle.

Thank God that she was saved from a possible fatal accident and please pray for what it appears to be a child that will be air lifted to a hospital. I’ll let you know more as she find out what has happened to those involved in the pile up. I am reminded today that life is fragile and that our lives can be changed in an instant. I am very glad I have a God that is in control.

Thank you God, for protecting my daughter today.