Monday, November 29, 2010

My Favorite Nuances

Today has been very typical day in the Greene household leaving me with very little to write about, but I felt like writing so here is some random stuff to chew on.

I guess I'll open by saying that some really strange things have been happening around lately. Some minor, and some...well, you tell me. On our way to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving I was driving on 63, a two lane road from Batavia to Geneseo, when the car kept swerving to the left right in front of large trucks and only in front of large trucks. I obviously continued to regain control before anything bad happened, but it was more than just wind. After this happened about four times in a row, we pulled off the road to check the tires and discovered that, not only were the tires all fine, but there was ZERO wind. As we drove on, we decided to pray and rebuke whatever it was in the name of Jesus. It never happened again. I'm not usually a paranoid person, but I couldn't help but think that Satan was trying to kills us! So praise God for His protection.

Now I'm coming down from the Thanksgiving hangover. I didn't want to go to bed last night, a result of several late nights of playing Apples to Apples with my family over the break, and I didn't want to workout this morning. Both things eventually happened and I dragged myself back into my regular routing...kicking and screaming.

My feet have been cold all day. This always leaves me reciting Dr. Seuss, "My shoe is off. My foot is cold. I have a bird I like to hold." If you're a mom or dad, chances are you know the lines.
I discovered that I could (maybe) lose weight if I listen to music and dance while doing the dishes. But then I wondered if people could see me through the windows, and if they could, I wondered what it looked like. Because while my bottom half is moving and shaking, my top half has to remain pretty steady to wash the dishes, so it probably looked a lot like I was trying desperately not to pee my pants.
While doing the dishes I was listening to songs from our computer which I take with me to the kitchen to use All Recipes. It was right in the middle of a gospel song which I don't really know, but was really groovin' to. The choir was singing about the Holy Spirit, singing, "I got the power!" when the power in the computer died and killed my worship buzz.

Then the radio in the living room, which we never use, turned on by itself at exactly 7:35 pm for the third night in a row. I have no idea how an alarm could even be set on there, and I'm quite certain I didn't do it.

This evening Elijah kept asking to listen to his "nuances." I've heard this before, and I knew what he was talking about, but for some reason tonight it took me a few minutes to realize that he was talking about his nursery rhyme DVD that I play for them sometimes. "May I have nuances, please?" was all I heard for several minutes before I finally popped it in, then to hear, "It's time to sing, dance, and play with your favorite friends today, so come along and sing your favorite songs!" And Chastity and Elijah start to dance, which makes the annoying DVD one of my very favorite things.

I love those kids. They wake up and "read" books to each other before I come get them. The other day when I was giving them each their yogurt, I went to give Elijah a bite, and he said, "No. Ladies first, Mommy," so that I'd give Chastity her bite first. Tonight I sat like an old granny, crocheting scarves to sell, while they danced, and giggled and announced when they'd "poooooooot," rather loudly. They get into everything but say "Sowwy," as soon as I catch them. They melt my heart with their hugs and kisses, especially after I've just reprimanded them. As I sit here listening to them chatter and giggle while they drift off to sleep I can't help but think that most of this is not very extraordinary, but maybe just wonderfully ordinary.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's Only the World

I suppose you could call this a follow-up to my follow-up blog, which even annoys me. This is not what I set this blog up for, and this is why I stopped blogging years ago. Either I am not a very clear writer, or many just pick and choose what they want to hear, and therefore, miss my point entirely.

I will say one last thing in regard to Halloween and listen carefully. :) Other than buying the candy just in case some kids come by, we actually do not participate in Halloween in the traditional sense. We honestly can't justify the expense of the costumes right now, and it is too difficult to avoid the scary and evil aspects of the night which many people choose to magnify, and which terrify my children. I grew up with horrible nightmares, and I'm not trying to pass them on. I'm not telling you all this so that I will stop being judged. But I already told you my opinions, which regardless of how misunderstood they might have been, I'm not repeating. Live and let live.

Moving on...

In my last blog I touched on the topic of judgment. This has been on my heart for sometime, and it may have also been misunderstood since I didn't really dive into it. It's just that I can't even count the number of people throughout my life who have confessed to me that they have nothing to do with God or the church because of the people. Basically, because of us, because of God's people, someone would avoid God. That breaks my heart!

What I wrote last time wasn't meant to make me sound blameless. I am guilty of it too. We all do it whether inwardly or outwardly, and I'm challenging us all, myself included, to put a stop to it. It is not our jobs to judge others in their decisions. I do believe that in some cases God might lay it on your heart to step up and maybe talk to someone about the choices they are making, but enter that prayerfully. We shouldn't just be spouting off rules, "Don't do this, and don't do that." In fact sometimes it's best not to say anything at all. I know that I'm contradicting that just by writing this blog, but I know from my personal experience. I have learned more from people's actions than from their words. I could write out countless testimonies to that. Before saying a word to them try praying for them, being there for them, and leading by your actions and with your love.

What is hardest, I think, for most people, is having a finger pointed at them while knowing the finger pointer's imperfections, because, let's face it, a lot of the judging comes from those who know us best. We all know each others' flaws and even if you don't, you can bet that they have some. It is ignorant to say or believe that we as Christians do not sin, or even that we don't practice sin. Something as simple as eating until you are well beyond satisfied is gluttony. We've all done it, and continue to do it. Christians do make mistakes, and unfortunately they do sometimes repeat them. What sets us apart from the world isn't perfection. It's forgiveness. We know and see and hear from a God who, in His ultimate mercy and grace and love, offered up His Son for us. Maybe if we all quiet down with the yelling of scriptures and judgments and "Bible thumping" others might hear Him too.

Now, this blog in itself would appear to be judgmental, wouldn't it? I guess it is. I suppose the media is, in part, to blame, because not all Christians are like that, but those sure are the ones we see on TV a lot, aren't they? I shouldn't be judging them because God knows their hearts, and I believe that many of their hearts are in the right place, but it's got to be hard to save souls while simultaneously scaring them away.   

I am not perfect; far from it. And I am asking for God's help with this. We are all under attack from the evil one, and you better believe that he knows that the tactic of judging and shaming people is not going to bring many (if any) people to Christ. I pray that God would remove those impure thoughts and judgments from our minds, and fill us with His love to share with the world. Amen

Pheww! Can I write about lighter stuff now, please? :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hallowed be Thy Name

Since my last blog began quite the discussion/debate, I felt it was only right to follow it up a little bit. After a lot of back and forth with great friends and family, what it came down to is this: while many believe that we are honoring Satan by participating in anything Halloween, my take is the opposite. I believe that in avoiding the day all together, we are honoring him, by basically giving him his own day! It is true that people have used it to purposely honor him and continue to do that to this day. That does not mean that Christians who participate in Halloween are honoring Satan anymore than they are honoring the sun god by putting up a Christmas tree at Christmas or honoring the fertility god by celebrating Easter. Do the research and you will find that both Easter and Christmas were once highly regarded as pagan holidays. Neither one of them is biblical, though we use them to celebrate biblical truths.

I have heard some complaining that the church shouldn't be putting on Harvest Parties in lieu of Halloween. I ask, what better place is there to be? I believe we should be including God in a day when many are leaving Him out. I agree that we should not be dressing up as evil beings. We actually had to duck out of our church party after only 10 minutes because one of the the costumes there absolutely terrified Elijah. He was trembling terribly. It was a shame and very disappointing. I believe it is risky to take on such characters. Actors will tell you that to play a role, they channel that character they are playing. Such young, impressionable and imaginative minds are very easily capable of the same channeling, and even "just pretending" to be evil can be very dangerous. However, what harm is there in letting our children play dress up? Do you mean to tell me that your children can play princess and cowboy all their little hearts desire on any other day of the year and that's ok? Do you believe that on that one day of the year their hearts aren't as innocent?

I realize it is a fine line, and the evil and scary aspects of the day are hard to avoid, even at church parties. I also understand that this is just one of those areas where people are convicted differently. Drinking the occasional glass of wine is not a sin, but getting drunk is. Many people are convicted strongly against touching alcohol at all, and perhaps with good reason. Maybe they are prone to alcoholism. Some are, and they know it, so they have a strong conviction against it. That doesn't mean that a glass of wine is bad and that all Christians should avoid it. If you are strongly convicting against participating in Halloween, so be. I'm not arguing with you, or judging your decision. I believe what I believe. God knows my heart. He knows exactly where I stand, and I'm not going to avoid some traditions of a day that has long been filled with quality family fun for me.

Also, don't kid yourself when you say you are not judging. It is another topic entirely, but I'll touch on it now. We all fall short of the glory of God. We are all sinners, yet we somehow manage to tear each other apart for things we believe are wrong. Someone else is always doing something we don't agree with. I lovingly remind you that we all do things that are wrong or that could be perceived as wrong, every single day whether others see it or not. Someone else allowing their kids to dress up, have fun, and eat candy on Halloween should really be the least of our concerns.

Jesus says in Luke 7:33-34, "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'"

Both of them lived according to their own convictions. Yet both were regarded as flawed, to say the least, by many. Let us not forget the God we serve, who did not avoid the sinners, but rather, went to those who needed Him most, without being fearful of the names He would be called. 

I reiterate, Halloween does not need to be the evil thing that it has become or that some people treat it as. Anything can be what you  make it. Just google "Hallowed be Thy Name," and check out the first couple things that pop up. Yet, we won't remove that from the Lord's Prayer, and that won't take away from what it means to us, because it is God' is everything