So true… I tend to build walls and then complain. Not good. So, with that, I ask you God, “Help me to knock down my walls and embrace life and those around me. Help me to knock down my walls so I can live more Christ like.” Amen.
Recently a friend forwarded an article from the LA Times. It is an op-ed piece titled, “How secular family values stack up.” intrigued, I decided to have a look, and what I found is probably what I expected. What I expected, was someone outlining (in my opinion) that religion really isn’t needed in a child’s life. Wow… look how far our country has fallen if this has started to be the main stream thoughts.
From here, I open up the discussion to all of you, and I will kick it off with my own thoughts on a few points to ponder from the article. The article indicated:
Secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the “cool kids” think – Really??? I think it’s rare that a child doesn’t care – religious or not.
Secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults… – Again really??? Some of the most vengeful, authoritarian people I know are those who have no moral compass, and no concerns what-so-ever regarding religion or not. In fact, most people who fall into this category I just mentioned make fun of those who follow their faith.
Atheists were almost absent from our prison population as of the late 1990s, comprising less than half of 1% of those behind bars – Wow what a surprise!!! Especially after you look at the fact that according to a 2012 Pew Report, there are only approximately 2.4% of the US population who indicated that they were atheist to begin with! That is for the entire US. That would mean that 20% of all atheist are in jail. Umm, does anyone else believe that is a little high to you?
Democratic countries with the lowest levels of religious faith and participation today — such as Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Belgium and New Zealand — have among the lowest violent crime rates in the world and enjoy remarkably high levels of societal well-being. Interesting, but from what I have read, this has more to do with how the country handles the crime, and it perception in the community, than whether the country is religious or not. In Japan for example, crime is dealt with quickly and severely, plus is has the added stigma of failure leading some to commit suicide. Is that religion or culture?
Others points to ponder. Since the 1950s, look what has happened:
Substance abuse has increased significantly
Drug Overdoses has almost double in the past 20 years
Alcohol abuse has increased
Abortions have increased – 1950 had about 680, and in 2013 there were 169,368
More children are being born into a single parent homes than ever before
ACT scores have been slowly declining since the late 50s
Number of people going to jail has increased rapidly since 1975
Rape has increased significantly since the 60s
Depressed is at a near all-time high
Teen suicide has more than doubled since 1950 (15-19 year olds – 2.7/100,000 to 7.5/100,000)
Option 1 – You can ask for something that God won’t give you, or
Option 2 – You could lose heart and faith and stop believing, or
Option 3 – You can continue to pray and not lose hope that God will answer your prayers on His time and when you are ready for Him to answer them.
When we go into prayer, we must do it knowing that God may or may not answer our very specific prayers. Rather He will do what is best for us. His timing is more important than ours. His timing may mean that He will answer the prayer from today sometime today or maybe 10 years from now. But, it is His time that is important, not ours.
There are times when I find it hard to know if what I am praying for is something He will not answer, or something that may have to wait. There are times when I wonder if He answered my prayer and I missed the subtle answer that was personalized for me.
New Year’s is another time for me to be attentive to His voice. I don’t want to be rushing through life and missing His sweet response.
I have a friend who has basically told me to get lost. Don’t call me. Don’t email. I am not interested in….we were friends at one time, or so I thought. I cannot help but feel I have offended him, but he will not even talk about it. With that said, I searched for an answer, and just about everything I found pointed me to Matthew 18.
To be honest, I am still at a loss…I really don’t have a clue what to do, or how to do it. I must trust in the Lord to do what is right. If that means letting this friendship go…then so be it…but is that biblical????
This is really hard on me right now. So, with that said, I plan to read the following verses each day and some more, and then pray about it.
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Matthew 18:15-19).
First, approach your friend confidentially to provide an opportunity for your friend to admit to wrongdoing and to offer an apology. If that happens, then the encounter was truly a success. If not, then it is time to get some spiritually mature partners to accompany you in approaching your friend for a second time. Be sure you take each step in order. It is unbiblical to recruit the help of outsiders before you have tried to reconcile on your own.
Remember, as long as you do what is right in the sight of God and handle yourself appropriately with honor then you are blameless in the conflict. However, if you allow a root of bitterness to take hold, fault will be found in yourself as well as your friend. The goal should always be restoration and healing approached with sincerity and love. If your friend behaves self-righteously and proudly and will not admit to his or her fault then at least you have tried to work things out according to biblical guidelines. It is your friend who will have to answer to God for being disobedient and self-righteous.
Life has been all over the place for me the past few years. Just check out my last post in June 2012. I have sat back to long. It is time for me to grab onto God and allow him to direct me. I believe with all of my heart that there is One True God – my Lord and savior. Jesus Christ!
More to come… more to come. It may not be daily, but it will be more often than it has been.
Your brother in Christ,
Wow… sorry for the delay in writing and updating. It seems like life has to accelerate faster than I can keep up before I decide to sit down and write anything these days. There are times when I have every intention of writing and then life gets in the way, or I just need to sit back and relax for a minute. Anyway, enough excuses. I will write from time to time, but mostly likely not every day. My promise going forward – to be inconsistent.
With that said, life has been coming at me from all sides. So much so that I am just heading through life right now and can only see is what is right in front of me. The things in a distance – well they are a blur.
A lot is changing around me – I have friends who are talking about health problems, financial problems, family problems.
I have two daughters who are growing up faster than I want (I still want to hold them close to me – wishing they were 10 again). I have two daughters who want to change the world – one through medicine, and the other through an NGO. I have a daughter who broke up with her boyfriend, and continues to hide the pain.
I have a wife who continues to move through life and criticizes Christ and anything Christian, but is amazing in so many other ways (thus the need for constant prayers for her and me.)
I have a friend – Half/caf (now no/caf) – who is going through life and trying to figure out what’s next – open a coffee shop, change the world, change a life? Who knows, but isn’t it fun to explore, discover, and exam life?
Then there is me. I want to do so much, but I am hesitating. I think of it this way – it is one thing to plan for the future, it is another to live for the future. Right now, I feel like I am planning for the future, but going nowhere. If I was living for the future, things would be moving. I don’t know. Maybe this time is needed. But I feel disconnected from my plans and the people who were once close to me, and I’m really not sure why.
For example, “T” down the street is top of the list of people I feel disconnected to. I really don’t know where to go with this friendship. He has seemed distant for awhile now, I know a lot is going on, but every effort to reach out yields a smile and “I am fine.” I often make the mistake of saying too much, or trying too hard to help, so I am making an effort to back away, and let it go.
So with that said, I ask that you pray for me. I ask that your prays focus on clarity and anything else you feel moved to pray for. In addition, I ask that you pray for the following people who continue to need some Godly touches (feel free to add to the list):
Alece R (divorce)
Scott W (life and divorce)
Linda D (divorce, and life)
Cheri G (life, son’s health problems, and mom passing away)
Shanelle V (uncle passed away September 2011)
Jack H (continued struggles with his relationship with his wife, job and another baby)
Peggy F (her son has cancer)
A and T (relationship)
Susan E and her dad (dad has kidney cancer and she just adopted a little child from China)
Sheila C and her daughter (daughter’s health issues, and commute to and from Mayo)
Bob H (mom died this year (2011))
Eric W (for strength, and exceptional leadership)
Eric W’s extended family – specifically his wife and dad have health issues
Monica (life – give her clearness of mind to make the right decisions)
Carrie C (figure out the next phase in her life)
Take care, and let me know if I can pray for you.
I don’t feel exactly like this. I was lucky, my cancer was not as far advanced, but I have a lot of the same feelings – they are all there.
Read this article. It is fresh. It is thought provoking. It is what every person needs to read if you have a friend fighting cancer – whether they are a “verteran” or a “newbie”.