Disclaimer: This will more than likely be my only personal thoughts shared on this matter because I typically like to keep it between me and God. I despise the constant bickering that has become social media and with that being said, I will not be engaging in debates or arguments. I just felt compelled to share my feelings so here I am. I also want to go ahead and inform you that you will not find arguments in support/opposition towards Law Enforcement, Black is Good/White is Bad, White is Good/Black is Bad, or my political viewpoints in this post. If you are trolling, this post is not for you.
For starters, I ask that you don’t jump to conclusions as to what my thoughts are before reading this post, seeing as I am a conservative white woman. This isn’t about I’m right, you’re wrong, vice versa. I do not exclude myself from being a receiver of this post just because I am the one writing it. As the old saying goes, I had to eat it first.
I am not a racist. I believe God looks at the heart, soul, and spirit of a human being, not the outward appearance or skin color. I have met many beautiful people with ugly souls, and I am a firm believer that what’s on the inside is what counts. I have family of all race and nationalities. They aren’t my family by blood or marriage, but by choice. Not only am I speaking about my brothers and sisters in Christ, but also about those I truly count as family, as though they honestly were blood.
In fact, one of the sweetest women in my family is a black woman who was my worship leader until marriage led her to a different area of the state. (GASP!! I belong to a multiracial church!) She has been my friend for many years and we refer to each other as Twin. Believe it or not, people actually get us confused. I refer to another black woman I know and love as Auntie. My kids have never known her as anything else. Then there’s the black man who pastors in a neighboring county and coincidentally shares my last name. My husband affectionately refers to him as his brother, not just in Christ. All 3 of these, and many others not mentioned, call my in-laws Mama and Papa. And these are just the ones in America.
I also have black siblings in Ghana, West Africa. My father-in-law very recently had open heart surgery and my sister in Ghana has not failed to send me a daily message asking how her Papa is doing. Our pastor friend over there calls my mother-in-law Mama Linda and even named one of his daughters after her. Yes, her name is Mama Linda. This doesn’t even begin to include the many others who are white like me, or Mexican, Indian, Native American, etc. that make up my family. I could never mention them all by name.
Anyway, that is not the purpose of my post, just a real glimpse into the background of my heart.
The point is this- I am not in any way, shape, or form surprised by the current events and chaotic state of our nation. It didn’t surprise me this week, last month, or even last year. Why? Yes, there is the whole thing that according to the Bible certain things have to be played out, but that’s not even it. It’s because we are living in a Godless nation. I 100% believe the United States of America has turned her back on God.
What is God? 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. When there is a Godless nation, it becomes a loveless nation. A nation without God and His love can only be filled with evil and hate. It’s as simple as 2+2.
This is the reason why these sad and depressing current events don’t shock me at all. What more could we expect from a broken, ugly, cruel place that has denied the love of Jesus?
Black lives Matter. White lives matter. Police lives matter. Christian lives matter. All lives matter. It’s all overwhelmingly heartbreaking that it has come to this. Apparently if you support one you’re automatically against the other and it’s ridiculous. And as ridiculous as it all is, do you want to know who I am really grieving over? The Church.
Please don’t stand up and applaud yourselves if you feel you fit this category.
I am grieved in my spirit because I am beyond disappointed in The Church. I have prayed this past week and even had to rebuke my own thoughts. I do my best to stay out of the social media circus because all it does is harm instead of help. And you know what I’m seeing? I’m not seeing God’s people shine His light in the midst of all this chaos. I’m seeing what is supposed to be His Church tearing each other apart with their words and actions. I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what part of all this we think is going to lead us into heaven.
See, as I scroll through my news-feed and I find I can’t tell my churchgoing friends apart from my non-churchgoing friends, I am grieved and disgusted. I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to be upset or even mad, but I do know the Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 to be angry and sin not.
Now, I’m not talking about the “Christians” who are nothing more than modern day Pharisees, Sadducees, and Hypocrites. I expect that from them. I’m talking about us that call ourselves the True Church of the Most High God…you know- the one that is supposed to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. The one Peter wrote to in 1 Peter 4:8 that is supposed to have fervent love for each other cause it covers a multitude of sins. The one Jesus expected to keep the greatest two commandments in loving God with our all and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Listen, we do not get to pick and choose our neighbors. How can we honestly say we love God when we’re picking which neighbors to stand up for instead of operating in the love of the Father? When the True Church begins to operate in the same hate as the world, we might as well forget about being there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun. We won’t be going. And that is a shame.
I realize by the world’s standards the things we spew out of our mouths (which is essentially where we stand in our hearts—Luke 6:45) are justified, but we aren’t supposed to be living by the world’s standards. Remember? Or have our hearts lost focus?
If anyone had the right to rant and rave about unjust persecution and the loss of innocent life it was Jesus. And if I remember correctly, His only social outburst during those current events was, “Father, forgive them.” (Luke 23:34)
Whether they are right or wrong, criminal or innocent, honest or crooked, black or white—God calls us to forgive. Will it be easy? No. But it would certainly go smoother if we fight this battle on our knees in prayer and not with our words and actions.
As I previously stated, I am truly disappointed in what is supposed to be The Church and ashamed to be included in what the world is seeing us represent right now. What I’m witnessing does not in any way reflect the God we’re said to be serving.
It’s time for REAL men and women of God to stand up and stand TOGETHER with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of color, nationality, or background. It’s time we sincerely represent the God who is love and who has called us to serve Him and our neighbor. We must be careful in our claims as The Church. We must search ourselves. Wolves in sheep’s clothing will not be making the cut.
We are called to love in word, deed, actions, reactions, justice, injustice, and at all times. The world may be allowed to decide when love shuts off, but God’s people don’t have a choice- no matter the circumstance or situation. He calls for love and requires forgiveness.
I pray we begin to walk in this before it’s too late.
As moms, we’re pretty hard on ourselves. If dinner burns, we forgot to get five things at the grocery store (although, in all fairness, they weren’t on the list), the kids misbehaved in Sunday school, or the neighbor complains that our dog is too noisy, we’re quick to blame ourselves. But what about when a marriage struggles, relationships with our children are strained, or we lose a job? Right. We blame ourselves there too.
We’re human. Of course we bear part of the blame! But most of these scenarios involve situations and people that we can’t control on our own. So we aren’t wholly to blame, even though it feels like it.
How do you recover from failures like these? How do you survive the stress and strain? How do you find success again? There are solutions, and they’re not as complicated as you might expect, whether the issues are big or small:
Obviously, these are pretty vague, and they don’t apply equally to all situations, but the basic principles are there. God can help you through any failure you find yourself in. He will see you through all the pain and heartache to the other side, if you will surrender yourself to Him to bring the healing and restoration you need.
I’ve been gluten-free since last summer. I went dairy-free the first of this year. I recently started getting back into the routine of exercising four to five times a week, and I’m making every effort to read and crochet each day. In addition to my daily quiet time, I’ve started taking a “time out” several times a day to read some Psalms and pray. In the past few weeks, I’ve drastically reduced my sugar consumption.
Yes, my life looks much different from many people’s. Some of these decisions I made for my physical health. Some of these decisions I made for my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Following the culture hasn’t worked for me. I needed a change.
The thing about change is that it’s uncomfortable. It’s hard to learn a new way of eating, to rearrange your schedule to accommodate exercise, to stop throughout the day to pause and remember that God is in your day with you and you’re not alone. It makes me uncomfortable to have to ask for the manager every time I enter a restaurant (in addition to being dairy- and gluten-free, I also have a life-threatening allergy to another food) and to demand (nicely, of course) that they take appropriate steps to keep me safe. I don’t particularly appreciate the discomfort involved in exercise and the soreness that accompanies working out.
I do, however, like the results of all of these changes. That’s why I continue to press forward with my plans.
The longer I do these things, the more they become habits, part of the dailiness of my life, the more I embrace them because they’re good for me and because I feel better when I do them.
They become my “new normal.” After a while, they don’t feel new anymore. They just feel normal. Explaining why I do what I do seems less embarrassing and more matter of course. It’s just what I do.
If you’re trying to make big changes in your life, start with one thing at a time. Don’t try to make all of them at once. When one change begins to feel normal, start another one.
There’s no way to tell exactly how long it will take for you to feel “normal” about the changes you’re making. It depends on your personality and the magnitude of the change you’re making. Give yourself grace. Embrace the change, knowing that it will eventually feel normal.
I’m the queen of keeping things comfortable and familiar. Change is difficult and scary for me. If I can do this, you can too. As a wise friend told me last week, “Just do the next right thing.” That’s how you change your life.
Want to see Emily’s Outline for Recapturing Your Beautiful? Click Here!
Interested in Recapturing Your Beautiful from WalkingRedeemed.org? Click here!
During week 7, I didn’t do too many normal work outs, but I made up for it by working out in other ways. “Like how?” you may ask. Well, like moving furniture (heavy stuff: couches), for instance. It wasn’t normal, but I felt it!
Being that I’m coming up on the last week of the challenge, I’m determined to give it my all. I’ve slacked off in week 7 and that made me sad at myself. My plan is to finish out the challenge with a bang, and as previously stated, to keep going even when it’s over.
Would you pray for me this week? I would love to be able to give you a week 8 update that tells how awesome I did. Lol! However, I know that to be able to do so will require much discipline and self-control on my part. Will you please pray that I have strength to persevere? I certainly appreciate it!
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Want to see Emily’s Outline for Recapturing Your Beautiful? Click Here!
Interested in Recapturing Your Beautiful from WalkingRedeemed.org? Click here!
I didn’t do very well during week 6 at all. This week, however, it wasn’t due to lack of motivation or anything like that. It was due to such a busy week that there really wasn’t time to squeeze in any workouts. Early mornings, late nights, hectic schedule. Most nights, by the time I got home, I was completely exhausted. One day I went to take a shower and realized that I never took one the day before and I had no idea! Yes, it was that crazy!
It’s not an excuse. It is truly true. And I must say, I actually missed my work outs. Week 7 should be a much slower and calmer week, so I hope to play catch up. Especially with just two weeks left of the challenge.
As stated before, I plan on keeping it up even when the eight weeks are over. I never thought I’d enjoy exercising, but I do. I think it’s because I’m not a bossy monster about it. I’m not holding myself to such high standards that I’m not meeting my expectations and as I’ve mentioned several times already, I understand that life happens. Sticking to a routine is not easy. It’s not like television shows. Actual reality is involved. But, I’m gonna keep going, even when I have terrible (or almost nonexistent) workout weeks like Week 6. 🙂
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
By now you’ve probably seen me talking a lot about Building Character With Children, a new program by Shirley Solis, in social media. But just in case you haven’t had a chance to check out the FREE video for yourself, I want to tell you a little bit about how well it has worked for our family.
I am beyond surprised with how her technique of teaching my son to do his chores every morning without being asked has worked! I’ve been trying for a few years to get Tommy, 5, to pitch in a little more around the house. I’m not talking massive housework, just basic chores and taking care of himself. With the advice that Shirley offered in the first free video, he is now doing 5 things every morning before he eats breakfast. He even memorized what the 5 chores are on the first day! It not only worked, but it was so simple on my part. Needless to say, tag me, I’m sold! I wish this woman was in front of me so I could give her the biggest hug.
If you’re wondering if Shirley Solis’ program is good for you, just stop and think about your family for a moment.
Are you frustrated with your children’s attitudes?
Are you tired of doing all the chores around the house?
Do you wish the children helped around the house a little more?
Need creative ways to train your children?
Want to start the year off right and finally train your children consistently?
Are you constantly yelling at your children?
Building Character with Children is a brand new video-based program with homeschool mom, author, and speaker Shirley Solis. In these short, 7-minute videos, Shirley shares her experience as a mom of 6 children, with tips and tricks to build strong, desirable character traits in your children!
In Building Character with Children, you will learn:
This post contains affiliate links.
First of all, I want to make it clear that I am not trying to sound uber-spiritual or profound by choosing the word “serve” for my One Word for 2014. Trust me, I am far from being near as spiritual (or profound) as I would love to be. I’m way too human for my own good, in fact, which is part of the reason I have chosen this word to base my year upon. I want to get back to basics, and to fully humble myself I need to serve.
The word serve has very many meanings. Just go to your favorite dictionary and you’ll see. All but a few are what I would like to do or be this year. (I could do without being a volleyball bouncing between two hands, thankyouverymuch.) In all seriousness, I want to serve instead of be served. To help instead of be helped. I want to do everything that God would have me to do. My heart, soul, and mind want to intentionally be everything I am meant to be: A good wife, a strong mother, a friend, and more. I want to give my time to battle for the Lord the way our military battles for our country. I want to serve.
I don’t want recognition. In fact, if you know me personally then you know that I hate to have any sort of attention brought to me. I’m shy, awkward, and terribly clumsy. I just want to know that someday when I look back at this life, I will honestly be able to say I did everything I could. I told everyone that I was able about God’s love. I shared Jesus with those who needed Him. I helped the ones who couldn’t help themselves. I served the Lord with all I had and never took Him for granted.
24Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.28“But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”– Luke 22:24-30 NKJV-
Will I be able to say those things? Not likely. I’ve already made more mistakes than I can count. But I want to know I did my best to serve Him the best ways I know how.
To put this into action will take a lot of careful listening on my part. In order to serve God, I need to know what He asks of me and be lined up with His will and calling for my life. In order to serve my husband, I need to listen to what he needs me to do in order to be his helpmeet. To serve my children and family, I need to know what they are in need of so I can provide it (or say no as needed). I can’t just run around willy nilly doing things that I feel are helping to serve a purpose. I must line up with His purpose. Even when I might think I’m doing a good thing for someone else.
When I was a little girl I sang a song in church. If you were a kid in church in the 80’s you probably know it. The first time I heard it on a Psalty Kid’s Praise VHS, I begged my Mom to buy me the accompaniment track on cassette so I could stand in front of the church and sing it. I memorized those words, walked up to the platform, looked at the floor, and belted them out as shy as I could without once looking out at everyone in front of me. “If you want to be great, in God’s kingdom, learn to be a servant of allllllll…”
While trying to decide on a word for this year, my family and I sat down and watched the old recording and the memories flooded back to me, as did words that I memorized. I want to be a servant of all for Him. Just like that little girl did 20 years ago. Time to get back to basics…
How about you? Do you have One Word for 2014?
For more posts about how we are Starting The Year Off Right, click here!
Yes, I know that compared to others, my One Word for 2014 is a little… Well, fruity… For lack of better words. What I mean is, I realize my word may not seem to be very profound or Spiritual, but stay with me. I’m gonna explain.
As I was praying about what my One Word should be, I thought I was going to have to dig deep, do some serious soul searching. I figured I would be waiting until sometime in the middle of January before my word would reveal itself to me. I was gladly mistaken. As I prayed about my word, it seemed to all of a sudden jump out at me.
Now, due to the lack of ‘wow factor’ surrounding my word, I thought for a moment that I was crazy. This couldn’t possibly be my One Word. Maybe I was hearing wrong. Yet, as I pondered the why, it began to make sense for me.
“16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.“
No matter where I am or what I am doing, I am producing fruit. Everyone that comes in contact with me also comes in contact with my fruit. What kind of fruit are they seeing? What kind of fruit am I producing? Any and everyone I meet will know me by my fruit. My husband will know me by my fruit. My children will know me by my fruit. My fellow church members will know me by my fruit. The cashier at Wal-Mart will know me by my fruit. All of you that read this will know me by my fruit. And most importantly, God will judge me by my fruit.
FRUIT is my One Word 2014 because I want to constantly be reminded that I am producing fruit. I want to be aware at all times of what type of fruit I am offering. I don’t want to be rotten and squishy. I don’t want to be cut down and thrown into the fire. I want to bear good fruit. I want to be pleasing to the Lord. I want my fruit to be a sweet smelling savor that rises to the throne room of the Father. On December 31, 2014, I want to be able to look back over the year and not be ashamed of the fruit I produced.
Do you have a One Word 2014? Be sure and share it with us!
Want to see more posts about how we are starting the year off right? Click here!
This is a NEW series here at Raising Sticky Hands to Heaven about how to leave your church! This is part one of a four part series about how to leave your church! Stay tuned for more posts in the near future! 🙂 ~Priscilla
Recently, I felt the Lord calling my family to leave the church that I had been attending since 2004. I felt connected in MY church. How could I even leave MY church? I was a member of the worship team. I had friends there. I had fond memories of the church, and I didn’t want to leave! But, I had changed so much since I joined my church. I was also married now, and the church did not fit in line with my husband’s belief system.
There will come a time when you may have to leave your church for one reason or another. Sometimes leaving your church is an easy decision to make. Other times, we are so comfortable where we are that we couldn’t image being anywhere else.
Looking back, I think I felt too comfortable at my old church. Strange thing is, God usually uses me best when I’m uncomfortable, but fully submitted to Him!
I think that I felt too comfortable at my old church. -From How to Leave Your Church, Part One.
Needless to say, when God told me to leave my old church… it was hard to submit. I didn’t want to get out of my comfort zone. I spent a month in pure denial until my husband refused to attend the church again. At that time, I knew that my husband and I needed something different. I knew that God had a higher calling, and we were needed to use our gifts at another church.
There is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1). It’s hard to fathom that God would plant us in a church, and then root us up to serve somewhere else. Besides that, leaving a church is very difficult. When I finally left my church for good, I grieved the loss. I’m talking stayed-in-bed-all-day-&-pulled-the-blanket-over-my-head kind of grieving a loss. It was horrible. In fact, it was almost like losing a family member.
That fog of “depression” didn’t lift until God sent comfort during our first church service in our new church! I knew then that everything was going to be OK, and that God had sent us to the right place! Whew! Hallelujah!
I think that the first step in the process of leaving a church is to determine the reasons why you are leaving the church… Then, you have to make sure that your reasons for leaving are in line with the Word of God, and God’s will for your life. In this post I’ve listed 16 GOOD reasons to leave your church. While this list does not cover all reasons to leave a church, it does cover some major reasons that you may want to leave a church.
GOOD Reasons to Leave Your Church:
I have to admit, some of these reasons were applicable in my family’s case when we left our old church, but some of these reasons are observations that I made from the lives of other Christians. Don’t get me wrong, there are BAD reasons to leave the church, but don’t let the enemy tell you that you shouldn’t leave as well! I think satan plays mind games with us when we try to seek God’s will.
In the next part of this series, I will discuss some BAD reasons to leave your church, and how to pray for God’s will when making the transition. Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid some of the mistakes that my family made in the transition.
Until then… be sure to comment below! I would love to know if you have had to leave your church. How did you leave your church? How was the transition? What were your greatest challenges?
Thanks SO much for reading this article about how to leave your church! We here at RSHTH hope that it has helped you in your transition.
Has God been calling you to do something and you are running away from it faster than a cat with it’s tail on fire?
Well, as most of you know, Jonah had to stop running eventually. When God told him to go to Nineveh, Jonah was like, “no way, no Sir, no how!” He even turned and went the opposite direction to put as much space between him and his destiny as he possibly could. No matter where he went though, he could not escape the calling of God Almighty.
Because of his disobedience, he had to be thrown overboard from the ship to Tarshish. He didn’t realize beforehand that the decisions that he was making, had a great effect on those he was in company with or those around him. His decision to disobey God caused the boat to sway to and fro in a rage. The other men on the boat were scared and knew that this kind of rage could only come from God.
God had already had the “big fish” prepared to swallow Jonah up. Can you imagine being in the actually belly of a fish? With all the stomach acids and inner parts? You know that it couldn’t have smelled very well. He wasn’t just there for one day either, but 3 days and nights!
This gave him plenty of time to think, pray, and humble himself before God. After those 3 days, he was vomited up onto dry land, and from there, Jonah went on to Nineveh as he was supposed to in the first place, which led to a mighty work of God in that city.
Do you realize that if you’re not walking in His calling, you are pulling against Him? Your decision affects those around you. You could be the only Bible that other people read. There may be someone around you that doesn’t know Jesus and YOU are the one that is supposed to be a witness to them.
If God is calling you to something, which ticket are you going to purchase? One to Tarshish or one to Nineveh?