8.20.2014

Social Media with a Mission {Come Join Me!}


" Just as a hammer can be used to build a house or tear one down, so social media can be used to build up or tear down…people, relationships, reputations, etc."

I'm over at Women of Worship today, sharing about Social Media with a Mission. Come join me? 



Women Of Worship


I'm excited to be part of the new contributor team at Women of Worship! Lots of exciting things happening there...be sure to like our Facebook page so you don't miss anything! :)



8.17.2014

{Pew Ponderings} Unexpected Friends




There is just a bit of irony in the fact that as I write a blog series on the church, I've missed more church in the last six weeks than I've missed since our three girls had the chicken pox several years ago. (They succumbed consecutively, rather than concurrently, so that we had someone with the pox for seven weeks straight.  Not the best fall ever. ;-))

However, I'm pressing on with the series, and praying that this season, as those crazy weeks of chicken pox, will also pass.  If anything, missing as much as I've had to recently has made me realize even more the importance of the church.  It's hard when we miss! 
(Author's Note: This is another post that has been sitting in draft for a month or so. :) We've actually made it to church as a family for most of the last month. Yay!  Again a bit of irony...I was home again this morning after waking up with a horribly sick headache. I've finally had enough Excedrin that I can do something other than sit with my head in my hands, and I'm looking forward to getting back to church tonight!) 

In Placing Ourselves Deeply, we stopped in the middle of chapter 1 of Anne Ortlund's Love Me With Tough Love.  As I pick up there now, the first thing I see are these underlined words:

We need to learn to love!

Yes! We do!  do!

I tend to feel as though this is something I'm pretty good at, and then I am hit with reminders of how far, far, far I have to go in this area. 

I can definitely say with Anne, however, "Thank you, Lord! You have made me rich in friends.  They're friends who know me well--my sins and failures, too--and they still love me."

She goes on to pray for her readers to be given the tools to forge this kind of Christian friendships, the kind that make us courageous to live for Him as we could never otherwise do.

Then she talks about Paul, a writer and traveler who "could easily have been a loner".  She points out that in spite of this, Paul "made his way deeply into the lives of many other believers."  He talks about some of them by name in his epistles. 

Paul talks about all kinds of people, and it is obvious that he was deeply involved with them.  He knows their strengths and weaknesses, and he talks about his great love for them. 

Although I know from other writings that Anne and her husband Ray put a priority on family time, they also felt strongly that serving the Lord in front of and alongside their children was a vital part of raising them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  Anne tells of her encouragement to a young wife who was hesitant about her husband being involved in a certain area of church work.  Anne said, "Let your husband go....let him plunge into all the church life he wants to.  His heart may need it.  Encourage lots of exposure to godly people.  He'll be a far better husband and father as a result!"

(She is careful to say here that she couldn't have said that if their church wasn't "living and functional"-- being in the right church is crucial here. )

The input of our brothers and sisters in Christ should make us better spouses and parents.  It shouldn't take away anything from our families, but should add richly to them.

"The miracle of the church! Who can explain it?  We need all the relationships God will give us.  Each believer represents a different facet of Jesus Christ, and as we are baptized into a life of fellowship in the Spirit, we are plunged into Christ Himself.  Doctrinally, we are baptized into Christ at the moment of our conversion.  Experientially, you might say that we are 'baptized' into Christ as we are daily immersed in our fellow believers."

Years ago, I was exposed to some teaching that I unfortunately didn't check carefully against Scripture.  It was teaching that elevated the family to a place far above the church, and which encouraged a type of isolationism for families within the church.  It discouraged close relationships within the church with those who weren't "like-minded" in even minor areas. 

God has done much in my life to show me how wrong (and even dangerous) that teaching was.  I still believe strongly that parents have ultimate authority and responsibility for their own children.  I still believe strongly that a measure of sheltering, especially in the early years, is important.  I still believe that our very closest relationships should and will of necessity be with people who have very similar standards and beliefs.

However, God has blessed us tremendously with relationships  with those in the church with whom we agree on the "majors" (salvation and major points of doctrine), but from whom we may be worlds apart in other ways.  He has filled the gaps in our ever-shrinking extended family with people who have become very precious to us over the years....people who in earlier years I would kept at a distance. 

What blessings we would have missed if I had! 

He has also blessed us abundantly with people who've become "unexpected friends" in other ways.  People of different generations...older and younger...and people from all different walks of life have entered our lives and hearts in amazing ways. 
What blessings we would have missed without those unexpected friendships! 
How have you seen God work through unexpected friendships within the church?  How have you seen God make you a better spouse or parent through relationships and service within the church? I'd love to hear in the comments! 
***
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Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email. 

8.15.2014

Fitness Friday {By the Skin of our Teeth}




I've missed a few Fitness Fridays lately.  Actually, I haven't just missed Fitness Fridays...I've been completely MIA from my blog for most of July! However, during those weeks, I've composed a number of Fitness Friday posts in my head. :) I definitely want to update on my progress and share some of what I'm learning. 

(Author's Note: I actually started this post on July 21st. Content in black is from that original date. Content in blue was added today. :)

First, a disclaimer:  I know that many of you have way more experience and success with this than I do, and that many of you have much more knowledge of fitness -related subjects than I have.  I share not from the perspective of an expert at all, but as someone who is learning along the way.  Over the last few months, I've been challenged and encouraged greatly by others who are further along this journey than I am who have shared via blogs and other social media.

Second, the "in a nutshell" update:  Since the first of June, I have fulfilled my goal of getting to the gym at least 3 times a week.  My preference is four times, but some weeks it's a challenge to make it three!  I have finally, after losing 35+ pounds and keeping them off for two years, actually gone down two pant sizes. (Yay!!)  And this week, after a long, long plateau period where my weight has wobbled a point one way or the other but never begun to drop again, I was down two pounds this morning!  That was an exciting turn of events, even though I've intentionally not been focusing on weight during this time.  Hopefully now that I'm over that hump, that trend will continue.

In the meantime, I'm still looking forward to workouts at the gym and missing them when I can't get there.  I'm back "up to speed" with cardio after recuperating from last month's minor ankle injury, although fitting it in timewise has been a challenge lately.  My original plan was to alternate days between circuit cardio/weights and working out in the pool.  I'm enjoying the pool and the weights so much, though, that with only getting there 3 times a week some weeks, I hate to miss either!  I'd love to do 30 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of weights, and 40 minutes in the pool each time I go, but we never seem to quite have time.  I end up getting in 20 minutes of weights and 30-40 minutes in the pool most workouts, with another 20ish minutes of cardio on "good" days. 

A couple of weeks ago I got to attend a water aerobics class.  What fun that was!!  I'd love to do that more often, but it doesn't fit into our current family schedule very well.  I'm glad I got to go that once, though, as I made some delightful new friends and learned some good exercises to add to my pool repertoire.

Here it is August 15, and I have yet to finish and publish this post!  It's been a crazy summer here.  I said that to a friend the other day, and she said, "And why would anyone who knows your family expect you to have any other kind?" Okay. Point taken. :) But it really looked like heading into it that it was going to be a peaceful, productive, relaxing summer. I realize now I was highly delusional last spring. :)

Despite it all, however, we've still managed to make it to the gym at least 3 times a week.  Some days, like today, our whole schedule has had to be changed to make that happen (we're planning to go right around lunch time today, which was NOT in my original plan :)), but we've made it (by the skin of our teeth!)

One of the things I'm learning is that I don't do well when I go more than two days between workouts. I talked about that a bit in a previous Fitness Friday post, and it's become even more evident since I've gone 3-4 days between workouts a couple of times. I'm looking forward to getting on a more regular schedule with the beginning of the new school year. 

Speaking of the upcoming school year, that is presenting a bit of a challenge with our gym plans. We joined the gym the first of June, rather on the spur of the moment, and we've made a priority this summer of getting there at least 3, and preferably 4, times a week by just working it in wherever it would fit. There have been days we've ended up eating supper at 9:00 because that was the only way we could get to the gym before it closed, and days that we've skipped chores or otherwise left things undone in order to fit in our workout time. 

With the new school year starting, however, that kind of helter-skelter isn't going to work. We've got an intense school year ahead. Billy and I are also serving as activity directors for our homeschool group this year, which is an added demand on our time, and I've started working a few hours a week. Along with working out, we're trying to eat healthier while also trying to manage our food budget more wisely, which means more time spent in planning and food prep (and less driving through Eureka Pizza for $5 pizzas...eek!)

So, I need not just a plan, but a PLAN. That's one of the top priorities on this week's list. (Well, top priority after celebrating a couple of girls' birthdays, that is!)  Making that an additional challenge are the facts that we can't go early in the morning (while that would be optimal in some respects, it just isn't possible right now due to factors beyond our control), and Sundays are out (the only time we could go on Sunday would be from 1-3, and the pool is used for family swim time during that time, which would make it almost impossible to do our usual water workout.)
It's time to move our workouts from "by the skin of our teeth" to part of an orderly flow of our weeks. (Yes, I'm working on that orderly flow in all areas this year. We really, really need it!)

I would love to hear how you fit fitness into your schedule. What works for you? I hope to share more about our new fall schedule, as well as additional progress updates and things we're learning about getting healthy, in the next week or two. In the meantime, please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments here or on Facebook!  I'd also still love to hear any tips for gym newbies, or experiences with losing significant amounts of weight and keeping it off over a long period of time.


***
If a post or posts on Ponderings of an Elect Exile has been a blessing to you, would you do me a huge favor?  Please share the link to Ponderings with your friends using the social media share buttons below or the "pin it" button above.  Thank you!  
***
Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email. 


8.13.2014

I LIke to Go to Church! {Pew Ponderings}





"Do you know how exciting it is to be here this morning?"

Those were Bro. Gary's words just before the sermon on a recent Sunday, and as he said them, I couldn't help but nod and smile.

I'd been excited all morning. It was the first Sunday, if I was calculating correctly, since June 1 that all six of us had actually made it to Sunday morning worship together. That's a highly unusual situation for us...an odd combination of illness, my mom having a minor accident, and our "big kids" needing to be at our "old church" one Sunday. 

Most of those weeks, I was among those absent.  My main goal for the weekend was to get to church all day Sunday myself, and for the entire family to make it as well. 

And we had.  And I was excited.

Bro. Gary wasn't referring it being exciting just to those of us who'd been out for a while, though. And he wasn't referring to what many would think of as an "exciting" church service.

We're a small church. We sing hymns with piano accompaniment. There is no smoke, no light show, no "entertainment".  We don't even have a choir (yet! :))  Our focus is on true worship, and the preaching of Truth from God's Word.

So where's the excitement, you may ask?

True worship, even in its simplest form, is exciting.  Hearing the truth of the Word preached and sung is, in and of itself, exciting.

Or it should be. 

That same morning, I had posted this quote from Paul David Tripp on Facebook:

Corporate worship is not meant to be a burdensome duty, but a gift from the God of grace who welcomes us to come to Him again and again.

The God of the Universe invites...commands...us to come into His presence and worship, together, in fellowship with other believers.

That's exciting!

The God of the Universe has given us a letter...His very own words to us...and charged preachers to preach and Christ-followers to listen.

That's exciting!

Many years ago, I learned a little song in preschool Sunday School..."I like to go to church. I like to go to church.  I like to learn of Jesus there, I like to go to church."  

And then "I like to go to church.  I like to go to church.  I like the happy songs we sing, I like to go to church."

And I have liked to go to church ever since. :) 

(And I just have to say...recently I saw on Facebook a photo of my 2-year-old class Sunday School teacher and my 3-year-old class Sunday School teacher doing mission work together in Romania!  These two dear ladies had such a huge impact on my learning to love church and God's Word, and now so many, many years later they are serving the Lord doing missions on the other side of the world!  What beautiful examples of a lifetime of faithful service. :))

I know you may be saying, "That's a sweet little song, but..."  I know, it's not always quite that simple.  Churches aren't perfect, and things get complicated.  But really and truly, I think in some ways, we just need to get back to that little song.  We need to decide that Christ loves the Church...His bride...and gave Himself for her....and we are going to love her, too.  

Because that's exciting. 

Do you like to go to church? Is it exciting to you to be in God's house? 

Please tell us about it in the comments!



If a post or posts on Ponderings of an Elect Exile has been a blessing to you, would you do me a huge favor?  Please share the link to Ponderings with your friends using the social media share buttons below or the "pin it" button above.  Thank you! 
***
  Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  
Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!   If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!   You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.   


8.11.2014

Simple Woman's Daybook {Birthday Week Edition}



Outside my window...
Sunny and hot! But not as hot as usual for this time of year. I am ever-so-thankful for that!!

I am thinking...
I need about 5 more hours in this day! ;-)

I am thankful...
For my husband, who continually sacrifices to love his family as Christ loved the church.
For my children, especially as we prepare to celebrate two of their birthdays in the next week, and I see their siblings' determination to make sure that their days are extra-special.
For our church and the work God is doing there.
For friends who sharpen and encourage and pray and laugh and share.

In the kitchen...
Lots of special treats in the works for the upcoming birthdays!
Also getting back on track with menus, reducing food waste, and eating healthier. Hope to post more about that soon. :)
And learning all kinds of ways to use chia seeds, one of my new obsessions. :)

I am creating...
bits of birthday everywhere! :)

I am going...
shopping with my son this afternoon, and with the little girls tonight. Fun times! 

I am looking forward to...
 getting back to the gym Wednesday! We managed to get there 3 times last week (4 if you count going twice in one day) by the skin of our teeth, but we didn't get to go at all over the weekend, and today and tomorrow are out, too. Last time I went four days between workouts, I said I'd never do that again...I feel SO much better when I am getting there at least every couple of days. 

I am reading...
Wrestling Prayer, by Eric and Leslie Ludy. I'm just a short way into it, but it's already challenging and convicting me. 
I am remembering...
Shark Week! 13 and 15 years ago, Emlyn and Bayley were both born during Shark Week! We didn't have cable (still don't), so Billy got to watch Shark Week at the hospital.  That was a treat for him. :)  Mostly, though, remembering all the details of these amazing girls coming into the world and the joy and laughter they've brought to us since! 

I am looking forward to...
Fall!! This is the time of year Daddy would be giving us the daily countdown til cooler weather. :) Fall is my favorite season, and with the wetter-than-usual summer we've had, hopefully it will be an exceptionally colorful one!

I am learning...
How to use my new phone. :)  I have finally entered the world of the smartphone, and finding it useful (and fun!) in so many ways. Planning a Tech Tuesday post about that soon!

Around the house...
Right now, the house is erupting in birthday chaos, with a bit of kitchen reorganization and school year prep added it. Plans for some serious decluttering and reorganization as soon as birthday week is over. 
Bayley's getting a headstart on things for us, though...she reorganized the two shelf units we use as pantry storage last week.  So thankful for her hard work and organizational skills!

I am pondering...
my blogging, or lack thereof, lately. I have Pew Ponderings, Fitness Friday, Tech Tuesday, and lots of other posts on queue, just haven't had a minute to finalize and post lately.  Determined to remedy that this week! 

A favorite quote for today...
 "If we had the power to live up to God's standard, the Holy Spirit wouldn't need to live within us to constantly empower us."
~Paul David Tripp 

One of my favorite things...
 TKD Belt Testing. I need to write a whole post on this with pictures, but Bayley had belt testing last week. She is now a yellow belt!!  I never thought I would enjoy sitting through several hours of belt testing, but it's become one of my favorite things. :)  Lots more to say about that, but no time now, so hopefully another post soon. :)



A few plans for the rest of the week:
Birthday prep!
School prep!
Normal chores, church, TKD, etc.

A peek into my day...

 
These aren't from today (!), but I came across them today while looking for photos for various birthday uses. :)
 
Thanks to Peggy for hosting the Simple Woman's Daybook! Please visit her for more info and to see what others are doing this week! 



If a post or posts on Ponderings of an Elect Exile has been a blessing to you, would you do me a huge favor?  Please share the link to Ponderings with your friends using the social media share buttons below or the "pin it" button above.  Thank you! 

***
  Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  

Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  
If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  
You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.   

7.25.2014

"Fifty Shades" Revisited {And More About the "More"}

 










With Fifty Shades of Grey showing up all over social media again due to the recently released movie trailer, I decided to pull out this post from a couple of years ago, dust it off and polish it up a bit, and repost today.  My feelings haven't changed since it was originally posted; if anything, they've gotten stronger.  This is heavy on my heart!

As I've re-read this post this morning, however, the thoughts on my heart go beyond Fifty Shades.  No, I'm not going to read the book or see the movie, but while my feelings are very strong about the book/movie, if that's where our focus is, we're missing the point.  The whole point of this post two years ago was that I wanted to be so caught up in God's best for me, and for my family, that reading the book or seeing the movie wasn't even on my radar. 

My focus needs to be on HIM.  As I said way down there at the end...how can my mind and heart be focused on the wonder and majesty and love, mercy, and grace of the Almighty God and even think of filling my mind with the likes of Fifty Shades?  But that doesn't just apply to this particular book or movie.  It applies to anything that would be offensive to Him.

And as He continues to teach me, the point is not just to avoid the bad stuff (although that's important!) The point is to be filling my mind and heart (and my children's minds and hearts!) with HIM, every moment of every day.  Am I truly doing that?  That's the question on my heart today as I share these thoughts from two summers ago: 

Shock and a Soapbox

(Sunday 07.08.12)
I really wasn't going to post about "the book" (Fifty Shades of Grey) or "the movie" (Magic Mike).  There has been much said recently about both, including quite a bit by people I felt were saying it much better than I could.  This morning, however, when I found myself headed into multiple paragraphs in a comment on a link on a friend's Facebook wall, I realized that I apparently was going to post after all. 


My friend Tauna (whose blog you really need to check out if you haven't already!) posted the link to Joshua Harris's blog post on her Facebook wall last night.  I had already read both his post and the post he referenced by Melissa Jenna (as well as posts by a few other bloggers), but as I read the comments this morning, I was stunned all over again by the reactions.  


One of the best posts I've read on "the book" is this post by Dannah Gresh on the True Woman site.   One of the commenters on the Josh Harris post mentioned the backlash in the comments on the Dannah Gresh post.  I had not read the comments, but I was shocked as I began to read this morning.  Not shocked at comments by those who don't claim the name of Christ...those I would understand defending such things...but shocked at comments by people who do claim a relationship with Christ and yet defend this book.  


This was my comment on Tauna's link this morning...


What I cannot understand is how there can be ANY controversy about this book or this movie among those who profess to be Christians. What a heartbreaking example of Satan's powers of deception. So many people have no idea the "slippery slope" of porn and how devastatingly dangerous it can become very quickly...regardless of the gender of the one who partakes. I had read the True Woman post referenced in the comments of the Josh Harris post earlier this week, but hadn't read the comments. Wow. I am absolutely floored....although I shouldn't be. This is the power of the enemy and I am convinced that porn...in all it's stages and variations...is one of his strongest weapons in this age. *Sigh* I think I've pulled my soapbox out and hopped on...I had said that I wasn't going to blog on this, because there are already so many good blog posts out there on this topic, but I'm afraid I feel one coming on...because I am flooded with thoughts on this. One I have already shared, though, is this, " I want to be so caught up in the "more" that God created me for that I don't have time for books or movies like these to even be on my radar."

(Monday 07.09.12)

Husbands and Hogwash!

I had lots of thoughts on the book, the movie, and the posts/comments about them when I started this post early yesterday.  I've struggled with saying what I want and need to say all day.  There are many specific, random issues I have with the book, the movie, and those who are defending them.  For instance, I've seen several people comment that men as well as women should read the book, because supposedly, through the main character (who uses pain, dominance, and bondage in his relationships with women), men can learn how to truly love and romance their wives.  


As more than one pastor of mine has said, there is a good Greek word for that...HOGWASH!! 


Men are not to follow the example of the hero in an erotic novel to know how to love their wives...they are to follow the example of Christ in the way that He loves His bride, the Church. 


Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her,  that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word,  so that He might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  because we are members of His body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33

For Christians Only

There are other specific issues I could address, but as I've prayed over this post the last two days, I've taught a Sunday School lesson and heard two sermons that really summed it all up.  (Interestingly, the two sermons were by different guest preachers yesterday in the absence of our pastor.  Both sermons tied in perfectly with the youth Sunday School lesson yesterday morning, and with this post.)




The Bible says that lust is sin.  The Bible says that sex outside of marriage is sin.  That's the starting point for this next part of the post.   For those who don't believe the Bible is the true, inerrant, holy Word of God...well, I'm glad to have you reading, and hope you'll stay and read some more, and I'd love to chat with you via the comments or email about that.  However, this particular post really isn't for you.  Because until a person realizes the depth of their sin against the holy and righteous Creator of the universe, repents of that sin, and accepts the gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus...the rest really doesn't matter much.  If you haven't taken that step, I'd love to chat with you about it!


But my focus in this post is Christians...those who claim to have been convicted of sin, turned to God in repentance, and accepted that gift of eternal life...those who claim the name of Christ.  


For those who truly are Christ-followers, the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, and Jesus Christ has become the Lord of our lives.  Our Sunday School lesson yesterday was on Romans 7:20-8:9...Victory over sin and death through the Holy Spirit.  Paul says:


Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.  For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,  but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
 

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  (Romans 7:20-8:9)

The girls and I discussed that there is a war going on, as Paul says in these verses, in every Christian...a war between our new self and our old sin nature.  But...Jesus Christ has already won the war through His death and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit helps us to live in that victory. 


But how do we live in that victory?  The key, according to this lesson, is our mind-set...our way of thinking, developed by what we make the focus of our lives.  As these verses say, "those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit."


If we set our minds on things of the flesh, our flesh will control us.  If we set our minds on things of the Spirit, the Spirit controls us.  If we are truly Christians, by relationship, and not only by name, we are to have our hearts set on the things of God, not on things of this world.  The more we feed our flesh, the less sensitive we are going to be to the prompting and conviction of the Holy Spirit.  This gives Satan greater opportunity to deceive us...to make things that are sin look beautiful and appealing.  That is what he has been doing since the Garden of Eden...making things that God calls evil look good.  That deception is obvious in the discussion in Christian circles about this book and this movie. 

What is Gray (Or Grey)?

I shared this story with the girls yesterday, not for the first time.  Many years ago, when I was in college, Gilbert and Susan Baker were my Sunday School teachers.  There are many things that have stuck with me all these years from my time in their class, but one of the biggest was about gray areas.  Gilbert quoted 1 John 1:5...God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  Gray, he pointed out, is white with a bit of black added...light with a bit of darkness.  But "in Him is no darkness at all."  So...if it is gray...it is not of God.  We are to "walk in the light, as He is in the light" (1 John 1:7)  And if we back up a verse there, He says that "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth." 


After that Sunday School lesson, I went into not one, but two, sermons that tied in perfectly. I love it when God does that!  The first was taken from the book of Judges and was on the importance of the King (Jesus) being on the throne of our hearts...in other words, the importance of His Lordship in our lives...and the catastrophic results of sin when we do not allow Him that Lordship.  


The second sermon was taken from John 4.  Bro. Gary quoted Walter Chantry, author of Today's Gospel, Authentic or Synthetic, saying, "Only a small portion of those who 'make decisions' evidence the grace of God in a transformed life," and then said, "We've stopped telling people that their sin offends a Holy God."  "We've got to get back to offending people," he pointed out, saying that if the Gospel doesn't step on our toes, something is wrong. 


Two other things that stuck out from Bro. Gary's sermon last night, with this blog post in the back of my mind: 

*Anything that is offensive to God should be offensive to us.

*People who are saved are going to thirst after the things of God.  
Based on those truths: 

1. Sexual immorality is offensive to God; therefore, it should be offensive to us

It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.     1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28 (That applies in the reverse as well.)

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness,which is idolatry.  On account of these the wrath of God is coming. Colossians 3:5-6

2. If we are saved, we are going to thirst after the things of God.  

Another blogger posting on this subject said, "We were made for so much more!"  I commented on her post, " I want to be so caught up in the "more" that God created me for (and I want the same for my children) that I don't have time for books/movies like these to even be on my radar. "  I want to be seeking after Him with all my heart!  I want to be so full of His best for me that everything else fades into complete obscurity.  

But Think on These Things!

The other thing that really struck me yesterday in relation to this post was a song we sang in the morning worship service.   This song by Mark Altrogge so perfectly declares the holiness, glory, beauty, majesty, and righteousness of our God.   How can we even think of filling our minds with the likes of Fifty Shades or Magic Mike in the light of His love and mercy and grace?

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard 
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You 
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You

You are beautiful beyond description
Yet God crushed You for my sin
In agony and deep affliction
Cut off that I might enter in
Who can grasp such tender compassion?
Who can fathom this mercy so free?
You are beautiful beyond description
Lamb of God who died for me

What About You?

"I want to be so caught up in the more He created me for that I don't have time for books/movies like these to even be on my radar.  I want to be seeking after Him with all my heart!  I want to be so full of His best for me that everything else fades into obscurity."

Is that your heart today? Do you share those desires?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments here or on Facebook, or through the "contact me" box on the right.  Disagree?  Feel free to share also...as long as it stays clean and friendly.  I reserve the right to delete if I feel something crosses the line. :)


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