Tuesday, September 15, 2015

If You Say "I'm Christian, But I'm Not...", Then You're Not

This video is a perfect example of what compromise and friendship with the world looks like.

"You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (James 4:4)

This video is full of error and here are some reasons why:

1) If you're a Christian, you better be prepared to talk more about Jesus than yourself. Before you can do that, however, you better familiarize yourself with some of Jesus' words such as these:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:18-19)

2) This is what happens when you rely on your own opinion instead of God's word: you make it all about you. God's word is recorded in the Bible. Because it is God's word, the Bible is the standard by which Christians determine correct doctrine. Our opinions count for nothing. If you disagree with what is written, then either you or God is mistaken. (Hint: It's not God.)

"There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end leads to death."(Proverbs 14:12)

3) It is obvious these young people have no clue about who Jesus is and what he did. Not one time do they quote from Scripture to back up what they say. There is no talk of Jesus taking our sins - in fact, there is no mention of sin at all - upon himself and dying on the cross nor is there talk of his victorious resurrection. There is no mention of the Gospel, which is the entire reason for being a Christian. In other words, these young people have not said anything that would set them apart from unbelievers. They have RELIGION, not a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. If they do not repent and get to know the real Jesus, they will one day hear these terrifying words of Jesus:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matt 7:21-23)

Friends,  get to know the real Jesus. Get to know what Jesus really said. The Gospel of John is an excellent place to start. If you don't have your own Bible, go to Bible Gateway.

For the record, a Christian is someone who:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Yeah, It Still Hurts

Dusting off the cobwebs...

Most of the time, I try not to feel sorry for myself. For one, it doesn't change my situation, and two I end up feeling worse. It's harder not to follow my own advice in July. My youngest son will be thirteen years old this week. Cognitively, he's about 4 or 5. He has a closet full of preschool toys, musical toys, toy cars with sound. One can  only buy so many preschool toys before it gets old - really old. He already has most of the popular ones.

Tonight I was in Toys R Us in near tears wondering what to buy for him. It's not like I waited until the last minute; I have been racking my brain since Christmas over what to buy for him. And to think that I have to turn around and do this in 5 months for Christmas nearly sends me over the edge. How hard could it be? Plenty hard.

Currently, he likes his giant teddy bear and CDs. It's funny watching him listen to one of my Eagles CDs, but he still likes the nursery rhyme CDs, too. He has alot of CDs. There's always candy as he likes Hershey bars. There is also a cute sheepskin cover papasan chair that was at Target. He likes scooters - the kind where you can sit and scoot. Unfortunately, almost all of those kinds of scooters are for the 3-5 year old crowd. He's too big, but not too old, for those.

This really shouldn't be a big deal, but it is. I always feel as though I'm short changing him. When I think of the cool birthday gifts (hamster) and Christmas gifts (too many to list) that my older son has gotten...I can't go there.

This time of the year also makes me realize that I wish he were a typical 13 year old boy doing typical thirteen year old things: biking, skateboarding, swimming, playing, running, talking, checking his phone. He does laugh, though. Oh boy does he laugh. His laugh is a hearty, exuberant laugh that is infectious.

So, the pity party is over because I have a real party to plan. I will find something. It may not be extravagant or typical teen gear, but it will be something he enjoys.

Rejoice in the Lord, always. I will say it again: Rejoice! -Philippians 4:4

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Romans 14 and Why I Don't Observe Lent

Growing up Catholic, I observed Lent. From Ash Wednesday, fasting, meatless Fridays (we were too poor to eat fish), all the way through to a looooooong Good Friday service. Yes, I observed Lent. I remember having conversations with my Catholic school classmates about what we were giving up for Lent. Typical answers were: candy, soda, pizza etc. At least, that's what I remember; my classmates might remember differently. But, hey, we're all middle-age now so all of our memories are suspect. :-)

When I left the Catholic Church, I obviously did not observe Lent. When I became a Christian (Catholics may say, "When you became Protestant...") I decided not to observe Lent for the simple reason that I did not find any value in it. The Protestant church I attend does have Stations of the Cross and some of my Christian brothers and sisters do give up something for Lent. I don't participate in any of these things.

My Christian brothers and sisters: Do not let anyone tell you that you must give up something for Lent, or that you must attend Stations of the Cross, or do extra devotions, or do meatless Fridays. Don't let anyone else tell you that you shouldn't, either. While I personally question the value of these things, I believe that whatever you choose should be between you and God. If you're fasting and giving up something for Lent, the world doesn't need to know about it:

Matthew 6:16-18English Standard Version (ESV)

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

If you don't observe Lent, you also, do not need to go on about it. Whatever side of the Lent issue you fall on, don't look down on your brothers and sisters who are on the other side.

So, my unsolicited opinion regarding Lenten observance, or any observance for that matter is this: You're not holy if you do and you're not holy if you don't. It's not a salvation issue and observing Lent is one of those non-essential matters. You are only made holy by the blood of Jesus.

I invite you to read from Romans 14.

 Romans 14 English Standard Version (ESV)

14 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Echeverias in My Drought-Tolerant Garden

I am not a natural-born gardener. In fact, it's safe to say that I have no gardening skills whatsoever. If a plant does happen to thrive in my garden, it's by the grace of God. So when we got rid of our lawn a few years ago, we realized that we would have to replace the lawn with some drought-tolerant plants. Where we live in California the temperature can reach 100°+ in the summer and 25°-30° in the winter. I needed hardy plants that could tolerate these extremes.

Although they are among my favorite succulents, Echeverias don't exactly fit the bill. They don't like the cold and must be covered up or brought inside, and yes we do bring down property values when we cover up our succulents with burlap.☺ Most of the varieties that I have are cold hardy to about 25°. The only Echeveria that I bring inside is 'Berkeley' simply because it's in a container, and even though it says it's cold hardy to 25°, it really didn't like 30°. The others are planted in the ground, or in the case of 'Perle von Nurnberg', in a container outside. You can see some bits of frost damage, particularly on 'Blue Sky' and 'Gibbiflora'.

They don't mind the heat, but they can't be subjected to full 100° sun for hours at a time. 'Dondo' and 'Golden Glow' are planted in full sun. They did get some sunburn over the summer, but fortunately I planted them at the end of August so they didn't have to endure summer heat for too long. We'll see how they hold up this summer.

Out of all of them, 'Topsy Turvy', 'Lila', and 'Perle von Nurnberg' seem to have weathered the worst of winter and summer. My favorites are 'Lila' and 'Perle von Nurnberg' because of their unusual color. Are they particular? Yes. However, these Echeverias have really grown on me and I can't wait to get some more.

Echeveria 'Topsy Turvy'
Echeveria 'Gibbiflora'
Echeveria 'Golden Glow'
Echeveria 'Dondo'
Echeveria 'Dusty Rose'

Echeveria 'Lila'

Echeveria 'Berkeley'
Echeveria 'Blue Sky'

Echeveria 'Perle von Nurnberg'


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