Let’s Call It What It Is, Selfishness.

Let’s Call It What It Is, Selfishness.


There is nothing new under the sun. No new faults, desires, sins. It all boils down to self, the “I wants”, right now, greed.

Greed, the hardening of the heart to put self before all else is as old as time. “I want”, “I need”, and “me first above all else” is priority. Self leads to all sins because self rules.

People want to be rich, they want success, they want prosperity, they want everything centered around them, they want… want… want. Wants, not needs, is as old as recorded time.
Yesterday New York celebrated a “want” for women. High society, highly successful New York, so sophisticated, so highly educated, right? Or, are they just turning back time to archaic and barbaric practices? Did they not just erase centuries of advancement for women?

The Canaanites, circa 1509 BC, practiced a ritual of offering their first born to the fires of Moloch so they would receive riches, prosperity and a successful life. Malkam was the same for the Ammonites and Melqart for the Tyrian. Placing their first born in a fire, how barbaric people say. How ignorant, how selfish. God thought so.

Leviticus 20:2 “Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death.

Imagine what He thinks now as New York has just turned back time. Women can now offer their first born to the fires of abortion. Yes, fire, saline abortion is toxic and it burns. Essentially it burns soft tissues, even skin in the womb. The baby is burned even from the inside as the child swallows the solution. Such torture. Unthinkable. Unimaginable. How barbaric. A modern woman would never do such a thing.

New York has done the unthinkable. A woman can choose to torture an infant for convenience, for costs, for unwanted, for wrong gender, for any reason. Be careful though, you still cannot disturb a turtle or eagles nest. Those eggs, fertilized or not, are still protected by state and federal laws.
Welcome to 2019 New York. Your women can sacrifice their first born for convenience, career, riches, gender choice …. success and prosperity. Moloch just changed his name to abortion.

A civilized woman would utilize self control over selfishness. A civilized society would fund adoptions, not abortions.

It’s All About The Fishin’


I love a sunrise or sunset walk along the beach; sun creeping up over the horizon or setting in the west.  The lap of the waves, the call of birds, the peace and beauty of God’s creation is all there at the beach.  I stroll, pickin’ up little treasures along the way; thinking, praying, singing.  At the beach my world is peaceful.  People smile and greet me, sometimes wanting to know what I have found.

A fisherman greets me with, “Find anything good?”  I smile, “not yet … just started … and you?  Catch anything yet?”   He smiles, “No, but it’s not about the catchin’, it’s about the fishin’.”   I continue to walk and think.  Raising kids, working, day-to-day living … it’s about the fishin’ not the catchin’.   God places each of us here for His purpose … the fishin’.  Sometimes we cast nets to get bait.  Other times we  re-bait a simple hook.  Fishin’ takes patience and time.  Sometimes you catch nothin’, sometimes you catch a lot.   Some days are beautiful and others stormy.   Life is a lot like fishin’ and we need to remember it is not about the catchin’.

Some days it seems you are always fishin’ and never catchin’.  Sometimes it seems like stormy days will never end.   Days turn into weeks, weeks to months and months to years.  It is so hard to focus on the fishin’ at these times.  It does not matter if it is struggles with raising kids, working at a job you dread, struggling in a marriage or whatever other difficulty you may be facing.  You have to face the day and focus on the fishin’.

When my husband takes our oldest granddaughter fishing, he knows there will be little catching.  Mainly it will be re-hooking and untangling.  He has to focus on the time he has with her and not the results of the catch.  It’s about the fishin’ … being with her.                                                                                                                       

In our day-to-day life with others we need to focus on the time we are spending with others.  It may be our children, our spouse or other family members.  The majority of my time is spent with customers in a retail store.  The phrase ‘quality time’ is over used, however, it is the best way to describe what God sent Jesus to do … 33 short years on earth, yet the quality of His time with those He came in contact with and the effect on their lives resulted in touching all mankind for all eternity.

Today, you’re fishin’.  As a parent, spouse, employee, etc., your daily fishing touches others.  Make sure you spend time in the Word and in prayer (proper preparation for fishin’).  My husband takes our granddaughter through the steps of preparing to fish knowing it may be a long while before she is able to fish on her own, and even longer before she may catch anything.  We also must show others around us by the way we “fish” how to prepare for life.  Maintain your fishin’ equipment so that you are ever ready for the day-to-day fishin’ at home, work, school, the mall… everywhere.  Having dull hooks, broken lines, and a messy tackle box will keep you from being ready to fish.

Jesus never said you were to go out and catch.  Leave the catching to Him.  He simply says to prepare yourself. 

Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

R U A Fixer-Upper?


“I CAN’T FIX IT” … ever feel frustrated with your life … your family … your job?  Do you feel helpless to help? I hate that feeling.  I like to make things better.

Face it: You Can't Fix It

R. U. A Fixer-upper?  Do you try to solve all your own problems?  (Fix your children’s lives to make them smooth?)  Of course we are to be helpful, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us; loving and caring.  But, sometimes you can’t ‘fix it’, and you were not meant to fix people’s lives.

I admit that I have often said to the Lord in my prayer time, “Lord, if you’d let me I could” or “Lord, you know if this happened then …”.  I like to fix it.  Right now, if I could, I would give my husband his dream job, we would have all the money we need come in to fix our financial woes, I would save our house from the bank … I would fly to my daughter to help take care of my sick granddaughter.  Yet, as ‘noble’ as all those plans are, they are not God’s plan.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
What if we truly believed God’s word?  What if we fully understood that our soul is safe … that He is taking care of it and that our HOPE and FUTURE are in Him? Yes, sometimes we will not prosper and we will fall in harms way … but, that’s here … on earth.  And sometimes we will prosper and have everything going our way here on earth.  But God’s plan is that we all find His son and live with Him in prosperity in the future … in Heaven.  This life on earth is preparing us for that time.
So many times when we try to ‘fix’ things we break them … we make them worse.  God gives discernment to you through His Holy Spirit… if we would only listen.
God does not teach or guide you through doubt.  He gives HOPE.  HOPE is an action verb.  You stand before choices and ask God to guide you.  If you have doubts about a choice, you wait.  You make choices that He shows you.  When you read His word and pray each day, you are in tune with Him and the Holy Spirit.  As odd as it sounds, you have peace over even making a hard decision.
Why do we try to repair our broken lives when we not only know the best “fixer-upper”, but He is also the creator of what needs fixing?

Yield Your ALL to Him and He Will Direct Your Path

Need to know basis …


Curiosity killed the cat …. curiosity gets us in a pickle …

When we think we need to know ... we don't.

(ask the cat in the picture to the right).   Growing up I heard these sayings and I repeated them to my children as I raised them.  You probably have said them yourself.  My other favorite comment was, “that is a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know.”  We know these truths on one level but on the spiritual level we do not live them.

Sometimes we treat God with the attitude of “I NEED TO KNOW … and I NEED TO KNOW NOW!”.  It is a struggle of will power, of who is in control.  I would be lying if I said I do not struggle with wanting to know God’s plan NOW.  Waiting is hard.  But, He says in  Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ESV

We are like the reader that wants to look ahead to the back of the book to see how it ends.  We look for the answer sheet to the crossword puzzle in the paper.  We want to cheat because we want to know.  We think we NEED to know.  We have to know or …. or what?  Truthfully, there is nothing you or I can do to hurry God’s plan.  All we are doing is adding to our anguish by not letting go and letting God.

God is on a need to know basis … He gives you His word for guidance.  You have prayer and the Holy Spirit to lead you in His will for your life.  If you are in control and demand to know … if you are constantly striving to figure things out on your own, then you are going to get yourself in some pretty tight jams (just ask the cat).

All we need to know is He knows.  Trust Him and wait upon the Lord…

“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 ESV

remembering that in His time (not yours), all things work together for good. Romans 8:28 says,

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” ESV

Will They Be Like You?


Focus

We recently learned that our youngest daughter is expecting a boy in December.  We have two wonderful granddaughters by our oldest daughter so this will be the first grandson.  Well of course I had to go walk through the baby department to see what is out there for boys.  As I was browsing I heard this loud voice and I looked and there was this very tall, athletic man on a Blue-tooth talking away.  He had a little 7-8 year old girl tagging behind.   They were in the little girls department next to infants so I could hear and see the whole incident.  Obviously dad had her out to look for things for her.  Maybe mom had the little one’s at home, maybe it was his weekend … it really did not matter, it simply was not ‘her time’.  The conversation went like this, “yeah man, it was like that game when the Bucs (Tampa Bay’s football team) played … you know, the year before they won the Superbowl”.   OK, time reference here … the man is discussing a game circa 2001.  His little girl probably was not born.  I wanted to shake him and say, “look at her face … see your child … what are you doing?”   I wanted to go to the little girl and tell her to pull up Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In The Cradle” and play it for her dad.

Where is your focus?  Children know when they are not getting your best.  God’s word says in Matthew chapter 6, that He loves us and cares for us.  He knows our every need and want and He takes care of us.  As Christians we are to mirror God’s parenting as we parent our children.  I do not see God with a cell phone in His hand, watching His favorite TV show, or reading a book.   He is not out playing some sports game, or going to some event at our expense.  Our children get their value of themselves from us.  We tell them by our actions how valuable they are.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing things for yourself as long it is not at your child’s expense.  No matter if you chose to be a parent at this time or not, you are the parent.   The child comes first.

I remember growing up watching a relative with their kids and comparing them to my parents in my head.   If there was a cake to be divided that parent would always make sure they got a piece,  the biggest piece.  Yet if there was dessert on our table, my mom (who LOVED dessert and would eat it at the beginning of the meal  if she could) always made sure we got some and then if any was left she had some.  One time  my dad gave mom the money to go buy herself a new coat, TWICE.  After she returned from the store twice with things for all her five children, the third time dad drove her to the store and stayed until she bought herself a coat.  She taught us how valuable we were.  It was not just ‘things’ either.  She spent time on her knees for us; she made our favorite foods; she went to the school events; was PTA and band booster presidents.  She invested her life in us.  She was a mom first, and “Gwen” … well, after all others’ needs were met.

My goal was to grow up to be a mom like her and to raise children that felt loved and valued and then they would pass it on to the next generation.   Throughout the Old Testament (like in Leviticus and I Samuel) there are stories told of ‘sins of the fathers’ being passed on to generations.  Basically, this means sin begets sin.  A drunk raises drunks; a thief raises a thief, a liar a liar …  an adulterer raises an adulterer; and an inattentive and unloving parent raises another generation of inattentive and unloving parent.  The cycle stops when someone in the chain makes a conscious decision to repent of the pattern of sin in their family and chooses to move forward in God’s strength leaving the past sins of the father’s behind.  Then and only then, will God heal the family.

Leviticus 26:39-43 (New International Version)
39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers’ sins they will waste away.
40 ” ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees.

Your kids, they’re going to grow up to be just like you!  Scared?

Consequences


Actions = Reactions

I am amazed at the lack of ability for people to see that their actions affect anyone other than themselves.  Consider the angry driver that speeds out of sight as the two cars they swerved through head for ditches; the over-eating, over-drinking or over-smoking family member that says it only hurts them; or the teenage who swears it is their life to mess up and none of your business. As you are reading those scenarios you can easily find the consequences.  Yet, everyday we act without seeing the long-range effect on those actions.   The ‘lecture’ on consequences is one of my most discussed with students.

Children often need to be reminded that their actions have consequences, good ones and bad ones.  It is important to give them examples of both so they know it is good actions that everyone benefits the most from.  In teaching this concept you can take a  bucket of water, a tub, pool or lake and hand them something  to toss in the water.  Ask them to toss it in so that the water cannot be disturbed.  Impossible.  No matter what they do, they will not be able to pass the object through the water without disturbing the surface.  The bigger the action, the bigger the reaction, or consequence.  Choices, we make them everyday and our actions always have reactions or consequences.   What defines our actions?

  1. What we read, hear, see = our thoughts
  2. What we think = attitude
  3. Our attitude = character
  4. Our character = actions

If someone’s actions are negative they cause negative reactions which means we must change what they read, hear and see.  It is important to show the flip side of the coin by praising positive actions that equaled positive reactions.  For example, studying, doing homework, etc. = better grades.  Or, showing respect and consideration = receiving respect and consideration, which results in more privileges and responsibility.

Unfortunately, we are in a world ruled by sin.  Sin is a huge pebble thrown in the pond and its ripples are the consequences that are far-reaching, even into the next generations.  In 1 Samuel 3 the Bible tells of Eli’s penalty for not stopping his sons’ actions.  Eli paid the price of ‘in-action’ over his sons ‘actions’.

11And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 12At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. 14Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

Eli’s sin was allowing desecration of the house of the Lord.  He knew about what his sons were doing and did nothing.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it?  I know parents who have thrown in the towel over their minor children and said, “what can I do?”.  EVERYTHING you can, is what God expects.  God holds mothers and fathers responsible for how their children act, what they read, hear and see.  The problem is, parents allow things to slip by until the children are so out of control it will take a war to win.  Some say they pick their battles, but that usually means they finally exit the war.  Raising children is spiritual warfare and the other side is not sitting idle.

Inaction IS an action.  I recently heard two boys discussing hitting back over a senseless killing.  I could have kept walking the class room and ignored them.  Trust me, it is easier.  However,  1) I knew they saw I heard them, and 2) that ‘feeling’ you get inside when you know you are supposed to speak and want to choose not to was choking me to get out.   So I went back and looked at the young man and asked, ‘What will that do’?  He said, “It will get even, I can’t just do nothing”.  I looked at him and said, “You cannot throw a rock in the water and not expect a splash.”  Blunt statements that seem senseless usually get their attention.  I then asked him, “What if they get even and ‘hit’ you back?”  He said, “We all gotta die sometime.”  Death is not a feared consequence any more.  We have desensitized a whole generation.  I asked him if he thought someone would get even for him, he thought they would.  I then asked him, “What if it’s your grandmother, or your mother, or baby sister they hit next and how will those left behind feel then?”  I had his attention.  First, death is not the end of anything, even if you do not believe in afterlife.  Second, there are those left behind after a shooting, suicide, death or self-inflicted cancer.  Even if you die, someone is forced to live with your action’s consequences.

The Bible says in Matthew 7:16-20 ,

16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Your actions define what kind of tree you are.   What will your actions cause today?