Q&A: Are Tattoos OK?

My husband and I were talking the other day, and he said he thought it would be sexy if I got a tattoo.  What does the Bible say about this?  I haven’t found anything about it in the Bible, unless you call it defiling the temple, and I’m not sure if it is or not.  What do you think?

Tattoos are becoming very popular. What used to be only something you would see on a sailor or member of a motor cycle gang is now becoming very common place, even for people in the church. There is a verse in Leviticus 19 which is often cited as God’s law against all tattoos. “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” We do really need to take the time to understand what the Lord was saying in this because the previous verse says that men are not to shave the sides of their heads or beards either. What was God’s concern when he declared these things?

The Hebrew people were overtaking the land and all around them there were non-Jews who were taking part in practices which involved acts that showed their pagan worship of the sun god during their mourning of deceased loved ones. The four practices mentioned in this portion of scripture refer to those acts of mourning. Cutting, shaving or pulling out hair from the sides of the head. Cutting, shaving or pulling out the hair from the sides of the beard. Cutting marks on the body. And printing marks on the body, aka tattooing. There are other places in scripture where the trimming of the head or beard is commanded as an act of mourning (Numbers 6) so we need to perceive what God’s intention was when he said these things.

What I believe this portion of scripture teaches us about God’s concern for us is that He does not want us doing things as worship to false gods. In scriptural examples, so often two people did the same thing, but it was their heart that determined if it was acceptable or not. Cain and Able are a perfect example. They both brought offerings to the Lord, but they had radically different heart conditions. One was acceptable, one was not. We must do everything unto His glory. He wants His people set apart. When we mourn, He wants us to seek Him as our comforter.

All this context is vital to perceiving a godly response to the question, “Are tattoos OK?” It is easier to pile up all the evidence for and against and then place a yes or no judgement that would apply to all people, but that is not how I believe the Lord operates. The older I get, the less I see the world in black and white. I don’t think we can say that everyone is free to go ahead and get a tattoo. Neither do I think it is wise to say that tattoos are absolutely forbidden in all circumstances for all people. If I am convicted that it is not right for me to be tattooed, I ought not put that judgement on another person. And if I have been given freedom to be tattooed, I ought not look down on my sister or brother with pride because they do not have the freedom that I do. How many different examples could we give in this? Whether or not to consume alcohol. Whether or not to wear make up. Whether or not to marry. Whether or not to celebrate halloween. The list goes on and on and on. It’s endless and few things are black and white. The heart of worshipping other gods is sin, but how that plays out in your life is between you and the Lord.

So I can not give the woman who wrote in a definite yes, that she she go ahead and get a tattoo. Her relationship with the Lord is vastly different than mine, but what I can tell her how this question has played out in my life. It’s quite simple. I grew up believing that all tattoos showed that you were in rebellion to God. I no longer believe this to be true. I have come to the place where I would like to get a tattoo and I have received freedom from the Lord that it would be OK for me. The reason I haven’t is because my husband is not convinced he would want me to and since my body belongs to him as well, I will not get one without his blessing. So you can see that even though I have received freedom, I am choosing to honour my husband above my freedom.

I hope this has helped you.

Giving Up Sex for Lent: Good Idea or Bad?

We have now entered the season of lent and for many Christians this means fasting from ‘something’ in order to pray and prepare themselves for Easter. Traditionally, people will abstain from partaking in something they normally have on a regular basis and then Sunday is their “feast day,” the day when they will enjoy whatever they are fasting from during the 40 days of lent.

A reader wrote us asking our opinion on the idea of giving up sex during lent and we thought it would be a great discussion. My personal opinion is that, as with so many other aspects of sexual activity in marriage, it really depends on each couple. I don’t think it is innately good or bad. While I would be more concerned if the couple wasn’t intimate at all for the entire time between Ash Wednesday and Easter, if the couple holds to the belief of including Sundays as a feast day 🙂 I can see how this could be a good thing for them if God was leading them to fast from sex Mondays through Saturdays during lent. The Bible even speaks to the issue of a couple abstaining from sex for the purpose of prayer and fasting so it’s not out of the realm of reason to consider it (1 Corinthians 7). Paul warns though to limit the time of the fast so that the couple isn’t tempted.

So my opinion is that as long as both the husband and wife agree to it, I don’t see a problem with this and can see how it could actually be a blessing to them. Sunday sex could be really awesome in a case like this.

So what do you think? What would your reasons be for fasting or not fasting from sex?  Do you think you could get on board with this? Do you think it could make your sex life better? Do you think it would cause you to pray more about your intimacy than you do now? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Q&A: Homosexuality…Who are they hurting anyway?

We had a reader write us and ask this question….

While your readers are married heterosexuals, many of us are confronted with conflicting feelings on the biblical view of homosexuality because of gay friends and relatives who we love dearly. The trend of women gravitating toward gay men for platonic friendship has only heightened the matter, even for Christian women. In church, it’s a bigger topic than ever because of gay marriage legislation. But the pastor doesn’t preach a sermon on it…he just talks about why we should vote against it to protect the church from state interference. Personally, I find myself in need of something I can fall back on when I’m tempted to say, “Jeez, they’re not hurting anybody and they’re in love, and this how they are, this is how they’ve always been, didn’t God make them this way”…Like any Christian, I get tempted to think that God must have meant it some other way.

This is a very good comment, and I want to expound on it in today’s blog entry. Let me break this apart to address the different thoughts and questions within this whole comment.

All during college, I went through such a dilemma.  I had several friends who were openly homosexual.  I loved them as friends.  They were all male.  I didn’t feel as comfortable with the females I knew were homosexual, but my male friends, they liked me for who I was, there were no “expectations” from them, and I knew I was “safe” with them.   (College boys, ya know?)  They were very careful about who they trusted…I wasn’t a Christian yet, but there was one thing that was VERY strong in my mind…love them.   I loved them for who they were.  I had never read Jesus’ command to us in the Bible, telling us the greatest commandment was to love God and then to love others as ourselves.   I just knew I was to love them.   And in that love, they trusted me.  I knew what they were doing was wrong, but how should I have really treated them?   Did I do the right thing by “supporting” their lifestyle?

In my opinion, yes.

There are so many verses in the Bible that tell us the “thou shalt not”s.   Leviticus 18:22 tells us “’Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 20: 13 tells us the punishment for the earlier Leviticus verse “ ‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Wow.  Death.   Okay, so you get the picture that in the Old Testament, homosexuality was a HUGE sin.   Do you think the people got the picture…well, no.   Sodom and Gommorah are examples of people who just didn’t care about God’s laws…and God destroyed those cities….  What else does the Bible say?  Romans 1:18-32 tells us all about people forsaking God and making gods in their own images or the images of animals.   What did God do?   He gave them what they wanted.  Rom 1:24-25 “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” And verse 26-27 “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Y’all are going to get me on this one… v.32 “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” I didn’t approve of what they were doing…but I will get to that later.

Then there is 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Jude 1:7 “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”

I could go on and on.  Here’s my point and the most important commands in the Bible.     “Love one another.”   Jesus cannot say this enough in the Bible.   Everything he says and does…”Love one another.”    Listen to Jesus’ words…

John 13:34-35  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Romans 12:9-10 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Romans 13:8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

Should I go on?   I went to Biblegateway.com and I searched for “love one another” and this is what I found.  Sixteen entries for “love one another”.   How about “love your neighbor”?  Eleven results that say “love your neighbor as yourself.”  Eleven.    Just the word love?  In the NIV translation, Biblegateway found 697 results.   I think love is a very important thing to God.

Okay, back to my original thoughts and questions.  Who are they hurting?  Well, in the first place, they are hurting God.   God loves them so very much.   He hates to see his children choose not to follow him.  He knows that if they would only trust and obey him, they would know more joy than the temporary pleasure they get now in their sin.   With that thought, they are also hurting themselves.      Literally if you go by the Old Testament verses in Leviticus, as well as in the New Testament when we are told the wages of sin is death.   (Romans 6:23)  They are hurting the other people they are dragging into sin with them as well.   They aren’t going to change by being preached at, friends.   I mean, wouldn’t you get angry if someone followed you around throwing your sin in your face and telling you that you are going to die and go to hell, burning in eternal damnation?  Yes, I know it is the truth that they will suffer eternal separation from God, but just like in my non-Christian days, I come back to this…love them.   Show them the joy that you have in Christ and in obeying Christ.    Love the sinner while you hate the sin.   Jesus didn’t come to the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.   He saved us by doing the most loving act possible.    Put yourself on the cross for these people.    Show them how much you love them.

Homosexuality is a choice my dear ones.  A sin that is chosen, not genetically infused in you when you were born.  God doesn’t make any junk, and he’s doesn’t wire us to sin…we choose to sin.     God tells us that we were meant to be together as man and wife.   There is no other choice, unless you choose to sin.  In the meantime, of course, love your family members who choose homosexuality.  Love your friends who make that choice.  But at the same time, pray for them diligently, that God would show them the truth in their choices before the consequence is irreversible.

Remember Me

I know we have readers from all over the world.  Yesterday, Americans celebrated Memorial Day, a day where we remembered all the soldiers who have fought and gave their life for the freedoms that we enjoy today.   We celebrate and are thankful for our current men and women who are serving in the military, either abroad or here at home to keep us safe.   I am thankful for my own relatives who have served.   I have an uncle who served in Vietnam.   I know that was difficult for him.   My own father served in the Army stateside.    My husband and I have a friend who served in Iraq last year and may still be sent overseas for another tour of duty.    We are thankful to God that he was brought home safely to his family and to us, but we still pray that he doesn’t get sent back.

It reminds me of this verse in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” That is exactly what our men and women in our Armed Forces do for us on a daily basis.  I don’t know that I could do this, but there are men and women who are signing up for this even today, knowing that they could be sent to battle and not come home.   What kind of person does this?

Jesus.   Jesus did this for us all.    He didn’t just do it for the United States, Canada, England, France, Spain, Germany….I think you get the point.   He did this for every single solitary person on this planet.    He chose to leave his home in Heaven, to be born as a mortal man; to live as we live, to experience what we do.   He was tempted as we were; he shared our love and our pain.    He loved his friends.  He wept over the death of his friend Lazarus.   He was angered by the money changers at the temple.   He even prayed to his Father to take away the pain that he was about to endure, taking on all of our sins, but knew that if it were God’s will, that was the way it was to be done.     It happened that way, too.  Our Lord, Jesus, took on all of the sins of the world, so that we would be forgiven and share eternal life with him and his Father.   “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (1John 3:16)

Who sent this “Army of One”?   God did.   “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16)  For anyone who has a son or daughter who is in the military and you have lost your child while they served in the line of duty, God knows how you feel.   He gave up his only son for us all.   He knows the pain of losing a child, but he also knows the thrill of defeat over death.   If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, if you believe that he died for your sins and that you have been forgiven, you can be reunited with your Father in Heaven….who truly would be saddened to lose you forever.

So while we are remembering the sacrifices made by our men and women in the military, let’s also remember the sacrifice that God made for us, and be thankful that the Lord Jesus has the power to save us all.

Pierced by a Tongue

I got you, didn’t I?

I like to consider myself a person who watches what I say.   When someone disappoints me, angers me, or what not, I think through my words before I say them.   Well, most of the time.   When I read an email from someone, I carefully chose the words that I want to reply back.   Why, oh why, can’t I do that for my husband?

I received an email in my box today that said this, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)    Wow.   Those brought back a memory to me.  See, there was this time last week when my husband walked into the bedroom.   He was talking on the phone to his father.   I, of course, was watching the most important show on TV at the time…..House, MD.   (Yeah, go ahead and laugh…you like him, too!)   So, my dear husband sits down at the computer desk to do some research for his Dad….and here I am trying very hard to hear the TV while he is talking.    My daughter had been asleep in bed for an hour…my son was on the computer in the other room…. I had an hour of peace and quiet.    Or so I thought.    I love my hubby.  I love the relationship that is fostered between him and his dad recently…but does it have to be when I am watching House?   He turns to me, this wonderful man that God gave me forever and ever, and gives me the “can you turn down the TV” sign…  Being the good wife that I try ever so hard to be, I turn it down some.    Alas, I find that when I turn it down, I cannot hear the TV because of his phone conversation.    So, I scoot as close to the TV as I can get so I can hear it while he finishes on the phone.

When he gets off the phone with his dad, he looks at me and basically says, “What is more important to you….this TV program or my talking to my Dad on the phone?”   Aw, crap.   Here I go…I am thinking…thinking… sigh.  I have had a hard day at work.  My daughter doesn’t leave me alone from 3-8pm after school.  Here it is…9:30pm.  I am on my second episode of House (Netflix is great!).  I am relaxed on the bed…Couldn’t he have talked to his Dad in the other room?   We have like more computers and laptops in the house than we have people!   This was my only time of the day to do something for myself that I enjoy.   I open my mouth, and… You know what I said, don’t you?   Sigh.  A Proverbs 31 wife, I was not.

The look on his face.  You would have thought I just pierced him with a sword right through his heart.   And I did.     “Reckless words pierce like a sword… ” ACK!   I really didn’t mean to hurt him.  I never, ever mean to hurt him.  But I did.   Why?  For an episode of House?   I had it on DVD right there.   You know, in my mind, I still kept thinking … why didn’t he think about ME when he walked in here?   But God teaches us to think of OTHERS before ourselves.    “Love your neighbor as yourself” is what Matthew 22: 39 tells us.   If I were on the phone with my parents, what would I have wanted or expected from him?   Jesus didn’t tell us that it was okay to hurt the ones we love…in the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus was asked that question…who is my neighbor?   We aren’t just talking about the noisy, psycho neighbor in the house next door, we are talking about everyone and anyone who we come into contact with.     Do you remember the answer Jesus got to that question…Luke 10: 37  And he said (he being the “expert in the law” who asked the question), “The one who showed mercy toward him.”

You know the most embarrassing thing to me?  God knew I was going to say that before I ever even uttered it.   “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.   You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.   You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.   Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.   Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. “(Psalm 139: 1-6)   Sigh.

So why do we do it?  Why did I do it?  Sure it is our sin nature.  I say things more often that hurt my husband and my kids than I do to my employees, my friends, and strangers on the street.   Is it because we are so comfortable with them that we don’t really think before we speak?   Many people think they know me, but if they knew the words that travel through my head, they would be shocked.   I just have a very good sense (most of the time) when to say it and when to not say it.   How about you?  Proverbs 10:19 gives us some good advice “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Was the episode of House I was watching more important than showing love to my husband?  No.   I should have hit pause, or moved into the other room.   It should have never passed through my lips.   I have a friend who once told me that while she teaches in her class, she has some children that are discipline problems.   I asked her how she handles it.   She told me that she imagines that God is testing her, and that child is Jesus.   How would you treat Jesus?   That is how she treats even her worst behavior problem child.   I think God wants me to do that as well.

Let me leave you with this thought.    (Psalm 34: 11-14)   Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.    Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.  Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Sorry, babe.

Hope Never Fails

Last week, I did a short study on faith.   This week, I want to touch on something I was reminded of this past Sunday at church.

This past week ended with a tragedy for a friend’s family, and we were overcome with the “WHY?” question.   At this point, I realize now that I will never really know why.  I don’t really need to know why.  If I did, I would already know why.    But I put my trust in one thing…that God knows why and it happened for a reason.   That’s all I need to know.   Many of my friends and I have been encouraging each other this weekend and the start of this new week.   Something my pastor said this weekend really hit home with me.    Hope.    Here’s the verses we studied this weekend.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  (Romans 5:3-5)

Now, when I wasn’t a Christian yet, I suffered a very painful time when I was young.   My grandfather died, and I didn’t understand why.   All I knew was that he was gone.   After his funeral, my family had a party (At least to my teenage mind, it was a party)   Why were we celebrating?  Hello!  Did you not remember that Granddad died?  Why are you all laughing and joking?  What is so funny about it?   I was hurting really bad.   My grandma was celebrating because my granddad had come to know Christ before he died.   Granddad cheated death so many times already, and Grandma knew it was because God wasn’t done with him yet.   So she was celebrating that she would see her husband in Heaven when she died.   But I didn’t understand that fully until I became a Christian myself and I felt my Father’s hand on my shoulder comforting me.     See, God wants us to thank him in times of happiness.   He wants us to be grateful when we get a prayer answered.   But he wants us to know that he is there when we are suffering, too.    Even though we are suffering, God isn’t through with us yet.   Through our pain, through our suffering, the Master craftsman is molding us and shaping us for something new.   The things we suffer make us stronger.  In it’s verb form, Dictionary.com gives this definition for persevere: “to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.” That’s exactly what God wants us to do….keep on keepin’ on, even in the worst situations.   Keep your eyes on the prize, keep striving toward the goal.    Perseverance builds character.   Integrity.   Our traits that form our individual nature as children of God.  and character builds hope.   I love this next part.   And hope does not disappoint us. AMEN!   Our hope is in the Lord.  He always has our best interest at heart.   We have a hope for the future.  Our future is with our Lord in heaven, going about the business that he has planned for us.   Our future IS NOT eternal separation from our loving God.  I look forward to the day that God decides that my time on this earth has ended and my time with Him begins eternally.   (that is when God decides it is my time)   My hope looks to that future and my hope will never fail me.   God loves me so much that he sent his Son to die for me.   There is my hope.   I have a Savior who loves me and would give anything to have me with him forever.   That, dear ones, is a promise that will never be broken.

So yes, we will go through times of sorrow.  We will go through times of pain.  We will go through times that we just hurt so badly.   These words from God tell us to praise him in this storm.   God holds us all in his hands, and there are no other hands that can hold me so tightly and never let go of me.   God is not through with you, dear one.   When Noah looked out on all the rain that fell and flooded the earth, did he give up hope?  Just because he couldn’t see it through the rain didn’t mean that the rainbow wasn’t there.   God’s word is true forever and ever, AMEN!   God’s promises will never come back with a return to sender stamp on them.   So thank God and praise Him when you are at your lowest.   Take his hand.  There is nowhere to go but up.

Let Our Faith Encourage One Another

I receive these daily emails from Pastor Ed Young’s site. He calls them “evotionals”. (Doesn’t he have cute names for everything? LOL.) The one that came today really brought back this past week, and probably reflects one of the main themes of our blog.

We started out wanting to bring out the truth behind God’s plan for sex. That it is to be between one man and one woman, who are married to each other. Our marriage bed is our wedding present from God. He wants us to consummate our marriage and to enjoy this gift to the fullest during our lifetime with our spouse. Satan sneaks into our bedroom and tries his best to discourage us, to remind us of our past failures, or even to create new problems for us. It starts to discourage us.

Then, I got today’s evotional which reminded me of one of the purposes of this blog. For those of us who’s faith is in Christ Jesus to lift one another up and encourage one another. Listen to the verse that came into my email box today.

“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Romans 1:11-12)

As I read this, it reminded me of the reader “Alone”, who truly thought she was alone in her suffering. Even though her husband went about it in a way that was probably distasteful to her at this point in her journey, it did bring her here to us. The authors of this blog have been there before. There are many readers who have also been there before. Those of us who have been where she has been, it is OUR job to share our faith, to share our stories, to uplift this young woman and to encourage her that by OUR faith, God answered our prayers. Let me borrow something from Ed Young’s evotional. (www.edyoung.com)

“There is something encouraging about looking to the example of someone who has been where you want to go or done what you want to do. As children, we look to our older siblings or friends to let us know that we’ll survive our freshman year. We look to couples who have children to help us feel a little more prepared for the difficulties of parenthood. And the same holds true in our spiritual walk. During difficult times, there will be periods of doubt in your journey with God. But during those times, look to those who have gone before you and be encouraged by their stories of faith. Because no matter what you are facing, God can use the faith of others to encourage you.(emphasis mine)

This was such a wonderful reminder to me, and I hope it is a reminder to you, as well. When we are in the pits of despair and there seems no way out…look up. God is there. He will send just the right person (or people) to help you in your time of need. Look to them for encouragement.   I hope that you can find your encouragement here.

A Reminder from God

I know that I usually write on women of the Bible, but today I decided to step outside the box to a man who we all know from the Old Testament, Elijah.   Elijah is one of my favorite prophets in the Bible because he reminds me of myself, even though I believe him to be a stronger man of God than I am….but I am hoping to fix that.

In 1 Kings 17, we are introduced to Elijah.  1 Kings 17:1  “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” Oh, yeah.  He’s the prophet that made it not rain for awhile.   Well, God made it not rain, Elijah was the messenger.   And of course, just as he said, it didn’t rain.  Not one drop.  Rivers and streams dried up, but God provided for Elijah during this time and kept him safe from the angry King Ahab and his evil wife, Jezebel.   After three years of no rain, God told Elijah “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”, so Elijah obeyed.  (1 Kings 18:1)   So Elijah met with King Ahab and told him that for too long he had worshipped Baal and had stopped obeying God’s commands.  He had a challenge for Ahab.   Send 450 of your prophets of Baal to build an altar, slaughter a bull to be sacrificed and Elijah would do the same.   Then they should call on their god to burn up the offering.  He let the prophets of Baal go first.   They prepared their bull to be sacrificed and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon.  They danced and called out to Baal.  Can you picture what that looked like?   I bet they did some crazy things!  Elijah even taunted them, “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” (1 Kings 18:27)  These prophets shouted and cut themselves with swords (ouch!) until evening.   Still, no word from Baal.   The sacrifice was not burned.  (By the way, I LOVE the way he taunts them…maybe your god is traveling?  busy?  deep in thought?  SLEEPING?  bahahahahaha)

At that point, Elijah repaired the altar for God that was Jacob’s and his 12 descendants.  He dug a trench around it.  He arranged wood on it and cut his bull into pieces for the offering and laid it on the wood.  He then had the people fill 12 large jars of water and poured it on the offering and the wood.     Hold on a minute.  He just poured all this water on his offering.  There is no way that wet wood burns, right?   The water covered the offering and filled the trench around the altar!   “At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”  Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. (1 Kings 18:36-38)   If I had witnessed this myself, I would have been staring at these events with my mouth hitting the floor.  WOW!   Isn’t God amazing?   Elijah obeyed all that God told him to do, and God showed up!   Well, not that he isn’t always there, but these people who were worshipping Baal saw God show up in a big way!


All you have to do is turn one page.  One page in the Bible, and this faithful man of God has a brain fart.  (Okay, someday in Heaven, I promise to apologize to Elijah for that one)

Her name was Jezebel, the prophet killer.  (1 Kings 19:1-2)   Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

Now, Elijah had been provided for by God when all the other prophets were being hidden or were killed by Jezebel.   God just showed up in a big way on Mt. Carmel.   So Elijah stood up with his chest stuck out and told her to come and get me…..

Nope.  He ran.   Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. That’s what the Bible says.   Top it off, he ran into the desert.   He ran for a whole day into the desert.   Elijah, where are you going??   Surely you know that God has more planned for you!  We’ve only known you for 2 chapters!   He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”  Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.

Wow.   I wonder if he were depressed.   It seemed to him like he was the only prophet left in the world.   All the others were gone, and now they were after him.    Christian, have you ever felt like you were the only one left?   Have you ever felt despondent, hopeless, and this desperate?  Elijah was so down that all he wanted to do was sleep.  Jonah did the same thing while the ship he was sailing in was about to be destroyed by the storm.   But take my life?   Was Elijah serious?  If that was part of God’s plan, wouldn’t he be dead like the rest of the prophets?    It wasn’t part of God’s plan because God sent him an angel.  All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. Yoo hoo!  Elijah!   That was an angel trying to strengthen you…not only your body, but your soul!  And you are sleeping again?   Here’s my confession time.  I am Elijah.   Lots of people I know look up to me as a woman of true faith, but I am Elijah.  I have seen great things that the Lord has done, but yet, I sleep, too.   Literally.   My son calls me narcoleptic.   He might be right.   Just today, he fell asleep on my bed after school.   When I woke him up for dinner, he literally said, “Hey, I pulled a Mom!”   I may be depressed somewhat, too lately.   I haven’t really been able to put my finger on why.   Is it because I feel like I am the only one at work who can do things correctly?  Probably.   Is it because when I see a miracle or when I see God’s hand in something, but then something else goes wrong, that I lose sight?   Yes, I am sure it is that now.   Like Elijah, I have seen some wonderful things that can only be God’s doing.   Yet, I run from him when something goes wrong.   And I sleep.  Literally.

The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

Just last week, a new problem at work hit…. I bet I had at least 3 employees that thought I was crazy … I was muttering, “Something for God to do… Something for God to do” over and over and over, to convince myself that I needed to give it up to Him.

I just love this next part.   God speaks to Elijah in that cave… “What are you doing here, Elijah?”   Elijah goes on to tell God, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” I can hear God saying to him, “Be still, listen to me.”   The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Okay, do you see the scene from Titanic when Rose is standing on the bow of the ship with her arms outstretched…..feeling the wind whipping though her hair and how exhilarating it is to be there?   Elijah goes up to the mountain…. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Sometimes, loved ones, we just need to take the time to be still and listen.   I tell the children I teach that yes, sometimes God speaks to us in a loud audible voice, but other times he is so quiet because he wants us to be still and listen for him.   Let all the noise leave us.  Leave all the stress behind us.  Just come to the feet of our Abba Father, and wait for him.   Be still, my child.   Daddy is here.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” God’s calm, quiet voice.  What is wrong, my child?

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

Like the patient Father that he is, the LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.  Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.  Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.  Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel-all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”

I have a plan my child….and like the scene in The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke goes off to face Darth Vader….Obi Wan Kenobi says, “That boy was our last hope.”, but Yoda responds with “No, there is another.”   Elijah was saying, I am your last hope, Lord…but God told him there were others….7,000 others!   Talk about lifting your spirits!

Please remember, when it looks like there is no hope, the Lord is your hope.   Be still and know that He is God.  He knows the beginning.  He knows the end.   He knows who wins.  He does.   Take some time to be still.

Make Me a Servant

This past Sunday while at church listening to a message from Phillipians, my mind started to wander a little bit to the blog here.   Not only was it a good message for any Christian, but it would really work well in the our marriages as well.   Here is the passage I am referring to

Philippians 2:1-5

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Now, Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church while he was in prison, so “make my joy complete” is talking about him since he started the church there in Philippi, but let’s look at these verses and a few others with a little twist.

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, As Christians, we should have joy and encouragement with Christ as our head.

if any comfort from his love, Jesus’ love for us paid the ultimate sacrifice for us.  In that, I take great comfort

if any fellowship with the Spirit When the Holy Spirit indwells us upon our salvation, we should feel a deeper sense of fellowship with Christ since he lives within us.

if any tenderness and compassion As a Christian, don’t you see things in a different light?  Don’t you tend to look on others with more compassion than when you were a nonbeliever?

2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Likeminded…like Christ, we should strive to love one another as Christ loved us, we should strive to be more like Christ in what we say and what we do, with the same purpose as Christ…to love and serve others.

3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

These last two verses are the ones that made me stop and think.  I am in the process of reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman…why?  Because I don’t know WHAT my love language is…go figure.   So here I am reading about all these married folks who don’t know why their marriage is falling apart….and it is because they are not speaking the same language…love language that is.   The purpose behind this book?  To teach you how to recognize the love language you speak and what your spouse speaks, and how to USE that knowledge to show love to your spouse.   To fill their love tanks.   Chapman asks the folks in his book to consider their spouse before themselves.   I haven’t finished the book yet, but I believe my husband’s love language is Words of Affirmation.   (He can correct me if I am wrong….I haven’t read all 5 Love Languages yet)   I try as much as possible to make sure he knows how much I appreciate what he does because he does A LOT in this household.   I had to drop my own “selfish ambition” in order to meet a need that he has.   I leave him notes on his Facebook page to publically let everyone know how much I love and appreciate him.   I am turning into his biggest cheerleader.   Why?  To get rid of my own selfish ambition and to consider him over myself.    Yeah, it’s real easy for me to follow my own interests and needs, but Jesus wants us to go beyond that and put the needs of our husbands before our own needs.   Is that an easy job to do?  No, but it is SO worth it.   Not only do we make them feel good, but it feels good to do it, too.

Think about this….(Philippians 2:5-8)

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death-
even death on a cross!

What did Jesus owe you?   Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.   Yet, he voluntarily took on human nature and became a servant.   He was obedient to his own death.  A death he didn’t deserve, but he loved us that much.   Commit to serving the needs of your spouse.  Move toward sacrificing the things you want for the things your spouse wants and needs.   I need to try to take this challenge on more for my hubby.   Will you join me?

An Innocent Victim: Tamar

Today’s story runs a little tough for me as a write, so bear with me. I cannot compare what happened to me to what happens in this story, but some parts of it are very real to me. I hope this helps someone else who may be going through the same thing.

King David had many children by different wives. In 2 Samuel 13, his firstborn son, Amnon is in a real pickle. His lust for his half sister, Tamar was getting the best of him. He wanted her, but he didn’t want to marry her. His lust for her drove him crazy. She was so beautiful. He was so tormented by her beauty, and she was a virgin, which would cause huge problems. Well, Amnon had a cousin who planned for him how to work it all out….Amnon would feign being sick. When his father, King David, would come looking for him, he would tell his father he was very ill and would he please send his sister, Tamar to care for him and cook for him. When David learns his firstborn is sick, he immediately sends for Tamar per his son’s request. It was not uncommon for a female family member to care for a sick family member. So following her father’s request, she went to Amnon to care for him.

While there, she did as he asked and made him some bread, which he refused to eat. Instead he sent away all who was in his house, and asked Tamar to feed him in his bedroom. And when she went in there, he told her to lie with him. When she refused, he raped her. It didn’t matter that he was the heir to the throne and could take her as his wife…no he didn’t want that. He just wanted to fill a carnal desire within him. When he was through with her, he hated her more than he had ever lusted for her. He sent a servant to kick her out of his house. Her natural brother, Absalom, found her with her with ashes on her head and her robe torn. Instead of defending her, Absalom told her to be quiet about it. King David found out about it and was furious, but did nothing about it.

Okay, I am stepping out of the story for a moment here. Do you feel Tamar’s pain as much as I do right now? The men she entrusted most with her life have all betrayed her, keeping such a foul secret and ruining her life. She is ruined! Her father….that would have been the biggest betryal to me if my father knew and did nothing about it. I would expect my dad to go out with guns blazing to protect me and my reputation….hers did nothing. What about the fact that big brothers should look out for and protect their little sisters? One brother raped her and the other one told her, “Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” DON’T TAKE THIS TO HEART? Yeah, little sis, shake it off. Don’t let it bother you. WHAT? You’ve got to be kidding me right? Besides the fact that her virginity was TAKEN from her by FORCE, the bible tells us she lived in Absalom’s house “a desolate woman”. She’s got some major emotional wounds here as well as the fact that she is living with a sin that isn’t her fault! Merriam-Webster defines desolate in the following manner “joyless, disconsolate, and sorrowful ” She not only lost her virginity that day, she lost her trust in her family that day. Maybe even her God. Why did God allow this to happen? Don’t we all think this at some time or another? The bible tells us that Absalom never said anything at all to Amnon, but that he hated him for what he did to Tamar. Two years later, Absalom did indeed have his brother Amnon murdered, but what is that to say for Tamar? We lose her after this point. No more mention of her.

Isn’t that sometimes so true in our own society. Rape and incest get swept under the rug, but does the innocent victim ever overcome the hurt and pain? It is possible through the blood of Jesus Christ. Praise God that I was never raped, but I was made highly uncomfortable by a family member when I was a preteen. I was always very uncomfortable when I was alone in a room with him….I made a point of NEVER being alone with him. I honestly believed that if I told anyone in my family about things he attempted with me (mostly fondling…I never let it get further) that it would be my word against his. How fair is that? A young girl going though puberty’s word not taken over a relative. Maybe I was wrong back then. Maybe something would have come of it. To this day, my husband is the only one who really knows. I don’t ever see this relative anymore. He’s not part of the family anymore, but I don’t think I have ever forgiven him. That is something that is very hard to do, but something that I need to do. When we left Tamar in the story, she was desolate. Down, depressed, desolate. We aren’t told what ever became of this young beauty. Life was probably never the same for her again. Who do you trust? Who would want a woman used and thrown out like an old worn out sneaker?

Jesus does.

Dear one, I don’t know if this has ever happened to you. But I do know a Savior that loves you and wants to help you to heal. He is the great Physician. The great Healer. I know you probably don’t trust anyone, but God is trustworthy. His Son paid the ultimate sacrifice for you. Cast all your cares on him. He cares for you. He wants to listen to your hurt and he wants to make you whole again. Jesus paid it all for you. Give Him the heavy yoke that you carry. His is much lighter. He will help you carry the load. I am praying for you, dear sisters.

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