MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Too Different to Make a Difference

November 15th, 2018 Viewed 229 times, 5 so far today

Or different enough to distinguish the difference? Yes, I’m talking about Christianity—modern, post-modern, traditional, emergent—your choice.

There seems to be a fine line between Christian types today. If we seem to be too concerned about the ever-increasing ills of society we’re labeled ‘condemning’ and ‘intolerant’. Try instead, ‘sober’ and ‘vigilant’. 1 Peter 5:8

Or, if we’re embracing the lost and at the same time compromising the foundation of faith we’re called ‘seekers’ attempting to draw converts under cover of worldly placebos.

It’s sometimes hard to balance the command to “Come out from among them and be ye separate” with “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.”

Some Abortion Facts

November 13th, 2018 Viewed 231 times

Did you know, that in England and Wales, nearly 25% of all pregnancies are terminated by means of abortion? Six million, in fact, since 1967. For more, check out Alive and Kicking, the campaign to make abortions rare in the UK.

Sweden stats: 35,000 abortions per year. (check on that it said 35.000)

As for the United States, an article on the Supreme Court’s recent upholding of the partial birth abortion ban stated the following:

More than 1 million abortions are performed in the United States each year, according to recent statistics. Nearly 90 percent of those occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and are not affected by Tuesday’s ruling.

Worldwide abortion stats:

  • 46 million per year
  • 126,000 per day
  • 64.4% of all abortions are performed on never-married women
  • 18.4% of all abortions are performed on married women
  • 9.4% of all abortions are performed on divorced women
  • 93% of all women say their decision to have an abortion was a social decision (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient)
  • 47% of all abortions are performed on women who have already had one or more abortions

The Ultrasound

May 8th, 2007 Viewed 7612 times, 2 so far today

Baby UltrasoundIn high school, I attended a pro-life rally in which the 28 minute film, A Silent Scream was shown. In it, a twelve-week-old baby is aborted. Powerful.

In these days of increasing evil, it’s refreshing to fight on in the pro-life cause by whatever positive means we can.

Enter the power of the Ultrasound. Crisis pregnancy centers across the United States are using them with phenomenal success. There is nothing like seeing your active son or daughter, squirming on-screen, thumb in mouth, heart pulsing. And the newer 3D-4D sonograms are amazing. This parent-child awakening is saving lives. And it’s making the pro-choice front sit up and take notice.

Cancer Cure

February 3rd, 2007 Viewed 1293 times, 1 so far today

Ann at Everyday in Grace posted a detailed article the other day about a cheap new drug that cures cancer. After reading it, DCA (dichloroacetate) sounds almost too good to be true: non-toxic…only killing cancer cells and leaving healthy cells whole…

Is this the “magic bullet”?

Probably not according to Bill Sardi, who agrees DCA has possibilities, but has his eye on Resveratrol, which he calls “a hundred anti-cancer drugs in one.”
I’m thinking we’re all intrigued by two things:

  • a cancer treatment that won’t kill you before you’re cured?
  • it’s affordable?

In fact, DCA would cost only pennies per dose:

But that’s also a problem, because big drug companies are unlikely to spend a billion dollars or so on large-scale clinical trials for a compound they can’t patent.

Sad, huh. A cure like this, and it’s not worth their time.

Thankfully, a Dr. Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta and two of his colleagues, with the support of the University and the Alberta Cancer Board, are taking this research project upon themselves. They hope private philanthropists and foundations will help underwrite the process.

For more on how you can help go to the DCA Research Information site.

Raising Responsible Kids

February 1st, 2007 Viewed 2201 times

smileboy.jpgIn a culture preoccupied with entertaining and having fun, how do we as Christians ensure that our children grow up equipped to handle adulthood with success?

Yesterday in my post, Are We Having Fun Yet, we talked about the growing trend of irresponsibility and immaturity evidenced in many young adults.

And why shouldn’t they value pleasure over purpose? We reinforce this wrong attitude by encouraging our kids to enjoy their childhood, by giving them every electronic toy and media available, by planning the best vacations, sending them to the best sports camps; in short, telling them that life is all about doing whatever it takes to be happy.

Childhood should have its carefree moments, but childhood is also the time to cultivate the good habits and godly character that prepare one to value a life lived with direction and purpose.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Qualities we want to strive toward:

  • financial and emotional security
  • great relationship skills
  • steady and reliable, vs bowing out when the going gets tough
  • contentment and thankfulness

And most importantly:

  • having a “Holy Ambition” (as described by John Piper, follow the link)

Financial and Emotional Security

How do you spend your time and money? This speaks loudly to your children… Try to guide them early on in a Biblical mindset on hard work and giving. Teach them an empathy for others, rather than focusing on themselves.

A couple ways we’ve done this is by being up front and conversational about such things as Hurricane Katrina, the Asian Tsunamis and children at risk. Children’s hearts go out to other hurting children, maximize on this empathy while they’re young, and encourage them to give money to help others.

At the same time, teach them responsibility with the money they have. Give them daily chores, and on top of that, occasionally create opportunities for them to earn money from doing jobs outside their required ones. Crown Financial has a great piggy bank designed to teach the Biblical concepts of giving, saving and spending.

Chores make your child feel a vital and needed part of the family. They also teach them that if everyone does their job everyone benefits. (It’s not fun to pick up a room that’s been neglected for two weeks, vs keeping up with it on a daily basis)

Affirm to them that they are needed and loved. Thank them for all they do for you. Occasionally, point out areas in which they could do better (but only in times of non-conflict).

Great Relationship Skills

Imagine how many marriages and boss/employee relationships would be furthered if adults knew the basics of the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Anything you can do to teach selflessness to your child will reap gi-normously (as my nine yo would say) in their future relationships.

Steady and Reliable

These qualities are the pluses of responsible people. There are many ways to reinforce them in your children:

  • be steady and reliable yourself! Volunteer your time and do it joyfully giving 100% effort (bring your kids into it as well–family bonding)
  • expect them to do what you tell them when you tell them to do it!
  • if they fail to accomplish what you’ve required, let there be a consequence. For instance, if they forget their homework at home as a 5th grader, don’t rush it to school for them. If you told them they could watch a movie if they fulfill “such and such” don’t remind them, and harp at them to get it done or else. Just leave it up to them and simply remind them that they didn’t get the end result because they didn’t prove up in the allotted time frame.
  • don’t let them get in the habit of giving you excuses
  • if they can’t keep up with one responsibility (like keeping their toys picked up) then they’re not ready for another responsibility (like owning a pet). They need to deserve those steps up the responsibility ladder…
  • point out the consequences others are paying for their bad choices, do this without being judgmental, and only if you trust your child not to act rudely or pridefully with the information
  • in the same way, point out the benefits of wise choices

Some of these may seem harsh, but they can be carried out in a loving and firm manner. Your child can have another chance on brand new day. Also, you implement these in baby steps. The older the child, the greater the responsibility that is required. If you start young, you’ll have less resistance as you increase the expectations.

Teaching Contentment and Thankfulness

This is an amazing quality that once learned will serve your child forever.

I’ll never forget talking to my middle child about her “glass half empty” outlook. She’d entered a whiny, complaining stage that frustrated me to no end. This amazing little talk really struck her and as a result, she now strives to view her circumstances with a “glass half full” optimism and thankfulness. Things, after all, could be much worse. And in our relative affluence to all those dying of hunger and poverty, we really need to underscore to our children the importance of contentment.

Having a Holy Ambition

If I do nothing else, I pray that my children grow up with a heart for God. Teaching responsibility in the above ways is a major inroad helping this goal of mine along. There’s no room for spiritual or physical laziness in a culture such as ours.

Consider what John Piper said to the children in his sermon entitled, Holy Ambition: To Preach Where Christ Has Not Been Named:

“But some day you won’t be a little boy any more. And one of the differences between being a little boy and growing up is that growing up as a Christian means you get a holy ambition. And that means the fun of guns and trucks and balls gets small and the joy of fighting for justice and salvation gets big. Growing up means getting a holy ambition to wield the sword of the Spirit mightily and drive a truckload of love to the needy and kick Satan’s rear end in the name of Jesus.” John Piper, August 27, 2006

Parents, raising your children to be responsible adults is your godly privilege. It’s your main contribution to a lost world.

Let’s take this one seriously.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

January 31st, 2007 Viewed 1979 times

jumpingman.jpgChances are good we’ve all known or worked with an adult who hasn’t quite “grown up” yet. The Real World orbits around this oblivious person who sells out for entertainment’s sake, until the black hole of a mid-life crisis forces them to take stock of their life.

And is it any wonder? In this “we just want to have fun” culture, anything that smacks of responsibility is avoided if at all possible. Kids fool their time away in college, graduating somehow with degrees they don’t use…failing at their relationships, expecting great things from everyone around them but never quite measuring up themselves.

This phenomenon really rears its ugly head at the workplace. Employees fritter away their employer’s time flirting with their cell phones, the internet and each other. If they put as much effort into the job as they do into the convincing lies they feed their boss concerning their sick days, just imagine the production rate. A job that used to require two hard workers now requires nine mediocre ones.

All the kidsandcomputers.jpgtime we hear, “Good help is hard to find.”

Could this be a result of an overindulgent childhood? A childhood so enjoyable that the responsibilities of adulthood seem dull and unappealing?

And what does the Bible have to say about it? Stay tuned as we explore some of the effects of our overindulgent society on children.

5 Ways to Keep Your Blogging Buddies Happy

January 30th, 2007 Viewed 3469 times

Five ways according to Mary, who admits that this perspective is based solely upon her experience as a blog commenter, not any hard and fast rules based on the growth of comments over at Home-steeped Hope. :dizzy:
1. Include YOU in your posts

It’s okay if you aren’t the main dish of your blog posts, you only have to refer to yourself or your child or your spouse a tiny bit in the beginning of the post to snag my interest, to make you more credible…more HUMAN. Then I’ll read to the end because you’re real and I feel I can possibly identify with you. Or maybe I’m just nosy.

If your blog niche doesn’t allow for this humanity to shine through in your posts, then when you visit my blog be sure to let it shine in your comments. (Oh, you have a daughter? Three of them? Cool. Me too.) It’s a connection, one I’ll probably follow up on by clicking your link.

2. Not too much YOU in your posts

Like I said, I’m intrigued by your personal experiences and learnings, but not in a “dear-diary-this-is-what-I-did-today” sort of way…unless you’re my best friend, family or live an amazing existence!

That said, I believe there is a lot to be learned by reading about how different people do different things, so there is a fine line between this and #1

3. Keep the conversation going in comments by replying to commentors

Am I talking to a brick wall here? Helloooo? I feel ignored when you don’t reply to my comment. (Comments other than “Great post!” that is)

There is community in ongoing comment dialogue. Not getting any comments? Check out: Ten Reasons Readers Don’t Leave Comments by Liz Strauss

4. Please! Your blog takes forever to download!

Blog Bloke calls it Hacking Your Blog to Death

It may have great content, but I’m not going to visit very often if I have to go fix a latte while I wait for your site to finish blowing its bells and whistles…

Same thing for your comment filters, I don’t mind entering a code once, but when it takes three times, it gets old. And if your blog host doesn’t allow me to comment unless I’m a member, such as Xanga and some Blogger blogs, I probably won’t be back. I’m a hands on/talking kind of gal.

5. Daily updates are addicting

I like starting my day at MInTheGap because there is always something new to chew on. Sometimes, maybe I shouldn’t admit this, I check here before going to my own blog. I really enjoy MIn’s mix of culture shocks and Biblical devos that are applicable to my life.

So, Blogging Buddies, what are your observations? Got any pet peeves or tips of the trade to share? I, for one, am very interested!

Pleading Guilty

January 30th, 2007 Viewed 2150 times

judgegavel.jpgMany instances are given in Leviticus 5:1-5 pertaining to instructions against sin and the subsequent guilt. I find the continual reference to guilt to be worth a second look. Though these Old Testament passages pertain to Mosaic Law, awesome truths often await our discovery.

Notice two things as you read the following passage from Leviticus. First, there are many mentions of two kinds of sin: known and unknown. Second, really think about the aspect of guilt. Haven’t we all confessed sin and continued to feel guilty? Years later? As a child, I would sometimes confess the same things over and over, feeling that I must not have “done it right”.

Guilt is the lingering effect of sin, but that’s our humanness, not God’s perfect plan. Romans 8:31-39 reassures us that God is the one who justifies, that no one can bring a charge against us, His Son intercedes on our behalf, and nothing shall separate us from His love. Yet guilt does its best to pull us down.

From Leviticus 5:1-5,

“Now if a person sins, after he hears public adjuration to testify, when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.

Or if a person touches any unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean beast, or the carcass of unclean cattle, or a carcass of unclean swarming things, though it is hidden from him, and he is unclean, then he will be guilty.

Or if he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort his uncleanness may be with which he becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty.

Or if a person swears thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, in whatever matter a man may speak thoughtlessly with an oath, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty in one of these.

So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned.”

So we see that God even provides for the fact that sometimes we sin unknowingly. But when we are aware of sin, we must confess it. The confession of sin deals with both sin and guilt. Being cleansed, in the 1 John 1:9 sense, means the guilt fades away. God even foreshadowed the necessity of dealing with guilt later in Leviticus 16:5-22 when He required a double sacrifice from His Old Testament people.

In this sin offering, two male goats were required. Aaron, the priest, cast lots as to which one would be the sin offering and which one would be the “scapegoat”…or guilt offering. The lot would fall, the priest would slaughter the one goat, and then verses 21-22 describe how Aaron laid his hands on the live goat and proceeded to:

“…confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness.

And the goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.” (emphasis mine)

goats.jpgThis scapegoat was provided to carry their burden of guilt…forever in the wilderness. We serve a just and compassionate God. A merciful and gracious God. He provided for the Israelites, and He provides for us. We can cast all our cares on Him, for He cares for us.

There’s a story that’s made its rounds through the email circuits about a mother who had her son pound many nails into a board. She told him the nails represented every time he sinned against someone. She then had him remove the nails one by one. The nails could be removed but the holes could not. They remained as lasting scars, reminders of the hurt.

Don’t let those holes drain your vision and faith, Christian. Let Jesus fill them up for you and restore you to wholeness. After all, He bears the real scars of your sin, and He’ll bear them for you into eternity.

Mary at Home-steeped Hope wants this post to be dedicated to her father, whose teaching on this subject is the basis for these thoughts.

Peter Days

January 29th, 2007 Viewed 1750 times

Are we hesitating like Peter who, though he wanted to walk on water, kept taking his eyes off Jesus?

Well, you might argue, at least he got out of the boat. Belongroad1.jpging willing and stepping out in faith…that’s half the battle.

God had great plans for Peter, as He has for all His people. Peter’s story is a great illustration of how we can fumble the ball time and again, repent, learn and grow from our mistakes, and in the end, come out glorious.

Look at the brilliant foreshadowing of God’s plan for Peter…we see it first during Peter’s second encounter with Jesus, when Jesus miraculously filled Peter’s nets with fish. Someday, Peter and the other apostles would be reaping similarly in men. And second, Jesus tells Peter in Matthew:13-19,

“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.”

But he had a lot to learn first. Don’t we all?

Peter was always willing and enthusiastic, but had a few lessons to learn about follow through God-style.

  • he repeatedly relied on and underestimated the weakness of his flesh (Luke 22:33, Luke 22:50-51)
  • he allowed sin and stress to distance him from his Saviour (Luke 22:54)

It’s usually through our weaknesses that Christ is glorified. Look how many times in the OT he used the weak to confound the strong (David and Goliath; Esther, Mordacai and Haman). Only by relying on Him in our weakest moments do we truly appreciate His strength. But we get our eyes off Him so easily and onto our seemingly hopeless circumstances. Then there’s the way we sometimes act as if we know better than God. If you study Peter, you’ll see him do this many times. But I digress.

In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus tells Peter that Satan has demanded permission to sift him as wheat. In verse 33, Peter responds adamantly,

“Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.”

Really? This is when Jesus has to break it to him that before the cock crows, Peter will deny Him three times. But the awesome part of this passage is what Jesus said in verse 32,

“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

crashingwaves.jpgOkay, Peter is converted, this we know. Jesus means: when all is said and done, and Peter’s faith is stronger, then he can strengthen other people. Survivors of miscarriage and infertility can minister hope to those in similar situations. Survivors of drug/alcohol addiction, of sexual abuse, of personal losses, can identify with the pain and hurt and healing and their testimony has impact!

The other beautiful thing about verse 32, is that Jesus is our intercessor. You may feel alone (like Elijah), but even if no one on earth is praying for you, you can trust that Jesus is. Jesus prayed for Peter’s faith even before Peter failed Him. He knows our future and prays specifics for us. Who else can do that?

John 17:9, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”

The second mistake Peter makes is distancing himself from Jesus. It begins when he cuts off the ear of the servant of the high priest, during Jesus’ arrest. He allows his impetuousness to overrule what Jesus would have wanted. Then he follows Jesus from afar. There’s that distance, and it got him in trouble. Not only did he distance himself, he planted himself with Jesus’ accusers:

Luke 22:54-55, “Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.”

His sins are piling up on him, despite himself. When his denials are complete he locks eyes with Jesus and runs outside to weep. What a lesson.

But restoration came to Peter. He was the first apostle that Jesus sought once resurrected (Luke 24:34). Interestingly, Jesus called him Simon (his original name, not Peter, his God-given name). Finally, at the Sea of Galilee, in John 21, Jesus grills Peter three times as to whether or not he loves him. (Three times for the three denials?) Then Jesus commissions Peter to feed His sheep.

And suddenly Peter takes off. He preaches at the Day of Pentecost and three thousand are saved, he heals the lame man, he’s miraculously delivered from prison despite being chained to two guards and under the watch of four squads of soldiers, he authors New Testament books… These are only a few Biblical glimpses into the man of faith that Peter became. Wow, he’s almost flip-flopped from the man he was before Christ’s resurrection.

He’s learned to let the Rock deal with the crashing waves of life. Oh the ripple effect our faith-walk has on those walking on sinking sands…

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power that strengthened Peter and can get you and me through whatever we’re commissioned to do for Christ’s sake.

That is power, the power of the blood.

Elijah Days

January 28th, 2007 Viewed 1767 times

longroad.jpgHow far will we go for His glory? Are we willing to be obedient, even if it seems we’re the only one taking a stand?

Elijah lived in dangerous times. One of history’s most villainous couples ruled the land–Ahab and Jezebel. Prophets of Jehovah were persecuted–rounded up and slain–unless they made their escapes to the hills, where they hid in caves.

Elijah’s stories appeal to us because like us, he was just a man wanting to do God’s will, but feeling alone in his culture. This one-man-mission was willing to risk everything to do God’s will. So that God could be glorified.

His first clash with Ahab came when he appeared to announce that until he prayed otherwise, there would be no rain or dew upon the land. Vengeance of God upon those who had declared war against Him.

For three and a half years, Elijah went from one refuge to another, till eventually, God led him back to Ahab. This time, he challenged Ahab and his prophets of Baal and Ashtaroth to a duel of sorts. Two separate altars. Two sacrifices. Two oxen offered. One God would light the fires that day, and it wasn’t Baal.

Elijah prayed the following from 1 Kings 18:36-37,

“Let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.” (emphasis mine)

God provided the fire and the people rejoiced, shouting, “The Lord, He is God.” Elijah had the 450 prophets of Baal slain, and prayed for rain. The drought was over. But the fight continued.

Discouraged and at times, angry, Elijah had his moments of defeat. At one of his lowest, loneliest points, he said in 1 Kings 19:13-14,

“I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Yet God answered him saying 7,000 still believed (1 Kings 19:18). He wasn’t a lone believer in an evil land, but he sure felt like it.

Where were all the other believers? Hiding in caves? Wherever they were, they were silent when Elijah needed encouragement and support. On the other hand, at least they hadn’t bowed to Baal.

So Elijah had God. I love what God did for Elijah. He provided rest and food for his man, and said,

“Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” (1 Kings 19:5-7)

The journey will at times be too great for us. Along with the peaks will come the valleys. God may ask hard things of His people, be we can rest assured He’ll be helping us each step of the way.

Keep your eyes off your circumstances, off the odds, and on the Savior. His mercy and grace await.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.