|Posted by Margaret Sleasman on June 17, 2016 at 11:10 AM||comments (2)|
I have been thinking for a long time why I would leave a church that I really liked, where I heard the Gospel and loved the people there. It seems foolish to just up and leave when it is a place that makes you happy. A friend of mine was having trouble with her husband and had been seeking council for several years, she seemed to be ignored and finally decided on a trial separation. Whether she was right or wrong or whether the husband was right or wrong, or whether her pleas were being ignored or not - none of this matters in this note (well, of course to her it did); but the situation woke me up to some things that I did not see because I only attended on Sundays and so was not very close to the people or took part in the other services.
I know that churches are made up of imperfect people who are sinners and trying not to be, I still love them dearly, and I am really trying to be neutral and not judge. I just want to explain why I finally left, not that anyone really cares, but I went back and forth with myself for over a year on whether I was being hard-headed about the whole thing. If I had stayed, I more than likely would have said some very unChristian things and caused a lot of hurt feelings because I was very angry.
Since I became a Christian (in a Pentecostal church, mind you) No there is nothing wrong with being a Pentecostal, but after becoming a Baptist I thought there was - anyway, this Pentecostal church used the King James and so that is the version I learned and loved. After becoming a Baptist, I learned that they believed that is the ONLY true version, and I am finally shying away from that belief. Also since becoming a Baptist, I believed ALL the other churches (even those that called themselves Christian, and believed the Bible), were not true Christians. That is pretty much hogwash. Sorry, but God knows the heart of a person and knows whether they are following Him or not and only HE is qualified to judge.
The little things that I did not notice, was that some of the people in the church (who go every time the doors are open, or who tithe the 10% and give out of their heart all the more like 50 or 70%, and who spend all their free time doing good works and going door to door witnessing and doing all the things we should all do, but don’t), did not socialize very much with some of the ones who only did a few of those things and less if they did none of those things. They were not quite up to their standards. I don’t think it was intentional snubs, but snubs they were, because that was the way they were taught.
Now as far as I can figure, I was not one of the ones who were snubbed, but maybe that is because I am old, or maybe I just didn’t notice the snubbings since I wasn't there for any of the festivities. I know that they always treated me well and I have no complaint there. Anyway, I left in the first place because I was angry, angry at how my friend was treated and made out to be the bad person - at the same time, she was actively seeking counseling and no one seemed to care - because she was the woman and she was wrong. I stayed angry for quite a few months, I felt very righteous in my anger - but I was wrong, it was not righteous anger, it was nasty anger. I took over a year off away from ANY church, wondering how I got to be a judgmental bible-thumper and why I turned on that church in the first place, maybe I wasn't even a Christian! I went to a few services at different churches to see if I would like this one or that one, but I was still torn - my beliefs were very fundamental Baptist and it is really hard to get away from believing that other churches were not Christian, so during this absenceI found that I knew less than anyone about Christianity or being a Christian - I was judgmental and probably did my fair-share of snubbing toward non-fundamental Baptists. It is really crushing when you find out you are a judgmental hypocrite, especially since you thought you were such a nice person.
A few times during that year, I would get visits from the deacons of the church and I would tell them I went here or there on a Sunday - right away, they would say, “but you are not getting the full gospel there.” I just wanted to punch them in the face; I have my bible and I can look up anything I think might be a discrepancy in their teaching (usually finding that the other churches were right and what I learned previously was wrong).
So after over a year, I found a little community church (that has been in my neighborhood forever), I think I will be happy there. They use the NIV, I don’t care because they still believe what the bible says and they still believe that Christ died for their sins and they still believe everything I believe in - minus the bible thumping - and I can live with that.
I read a humorous story on “if you believe (such and such) you may be an independent fundamental Baptist” There were 50 points... It was not so much funny as it was true... I think I believed every one of them most of my Christian life. What is sad is that most of those things were made up by man and not God - there is some truth to them, but not full truth. Filtering out which is true and which is not takes time spent in the Word of God; study and more study - prayer and more prayer. I have a lot of scales to shed and sometimes when I write I still sound like I am from the Westboro Baptist Church. Not that it is all bad (well mostly bad) - I believe those people are still saved - most of them, anyway; they just need to back up, show more love and lose the condemnation. Unfortunately, the majority of them won't find out that their judgmentalism is not what Jesus had in mind when he said, "Follow Me" until they stand before the Lord; and the result will be heartbreaking to them.
That is what I am trying to accomplish (being loving and kind and not judgmental); whether I ever will, remains to be seen. Life is getting shorter at this end and I would like to have done a few things right by the time I leave it; but I can do nothing more than try. I pray for a little wisdom, a lot of showing love and care, a lot of spending time in the Word, and a lot of being quiet and listening instead of mouthing off. The last part is not working as well as I would like, but baby steps... just baby steps.
|Posted by Margaret Sleasman on May 31, 2016 at 3:15 PM||comments (0)|
I kind of found where I wrote about “our incident.” It was hidden in my short “Meekness is Not Weakness” article. I did not find the actual whole explanation of what happened, so I will try to recreate it for those who never heard about it. Hubby has very little circulation in his right foot and leg due to smoking for 60 years and so at the time was waiting and waiting for surgery to correct the matter, but of course it would be another two months before there was an opening (according to his surgeon).
It was an ordinary evening, Hubby had gone to bed and I was finishing up my yapping on facebook. Kimber was lying beside me because she doesn’t like to be alone. Being that it was the middle of November (the 19th to be exact), it was dark out. Hubby had turned off the lights when he went to bed, so the house was dark except for my desk light and the computer screen in my computer room. I turned off the light, got up to go in the other room and forgot that Kimber was lying by my feet. I tripped over her, she jumped up and yelped as I went down (thank goodness she was quick or she would have been crushed). I grabbed the air and as I went down my face slammed in to the Quaker fireplace that was sitting next to the wall. This brought the fireplace and several old laptops that were sitting on it down on top of me. I yelled to Hubby to come and help me up... I waited, nothing... I yelled, “Where in the hell are you?” Just then I heard the tinkle of glass - does not sound good. I said, “Are you OK?” I heard a faint, “No.”
I thought he had tripped and fell against the China cabinet so I started moving the computers and the Quaker fireplace off me - I could not find my glasses at first, but finally found the bent frame with no glass in it - Ah well, I don’t have to read... I finally made it up, went in the living room and there sat Hubby in the middle of the coffee table (which HAD a glass top) like some cowboy in a bathtub in an old western movie (James Coburn comes to mind). So instead of being rescued, I needed to rescue. He said, “I think I am bleeding.” (First thought - ON MY RUG? - glad I did not say that out loud). I ran for paper towels, and blood was indeed pouring out of his rear hip (HA), which also had a large piece of glass sticking out (or in).... “Should I pull it out?” “Well, I don’t really want it in there,” he said. So out it comes and more blood pours out, so more paper towels were stuffed in the hole that was about an inch and a half square and actually pumping (creepy). I helped him up and sat him on a chair in the kitchen.
“I am going to call 911.” “No, call Amanda, she can bandage it,” he said. So I did, she came; she said, “I could bandage it, but by morning you will probably go septic and die; I am calling 911". Then the fun starts - Two very nice volunteer paramedics come in... “hmm, what have we here?” as they look at all the blood on him and me sporting a very black eye... Amanda, Hubby and I look at each other and start laughing because it looked very much like we had a knock-down, drag-out fight. Amanda explained, what happened, but we are not sure if they believed us. Anyway, they bandaged him up and asked if they could do anything for me, “No, I am fine.” Then they told Hubby he would have to go to the ER and have them stitch it up so that he doesn’t go septic - better be safe than sorry. They could take him in the ambulance, which would cost at least $500; or (looking at me), you can drive him. “Well, I can’t see to drive at night and now I have no glasses - so that is out.” Amanda said she would go home and send our son back to take him. The medics left after they pet and talked to Kimber (I know they were thinking that she was probably the only sane one in the household - I mean who gets all banged up and laughs about it?).
Hubby got to the desk at the ER and told the nurse he got stabbed in the ass, so they took him right in. They stitched him up and that was that. In 10 days he went to his regular doctor to remove the stitches and somehow during that time the doctor checked his foot (noticing that it was blue) and said that he needed surgery right away - or he would lose it. He called Hubby’s surgeon and told her to do the surgery NOW, so he was in surgery the next day (and spent Christmas in recovery) to replace the BIG vein from the heart to his thighs. (I know nothing medical, so can’t even tell you what kind of surgery it was except something vascular something).
Moral of the story: Enjoy your weird life. (Had I not tripped over the dog got a black eye and Hubby had not fell through the glass table, he would have lost his foot before his surgery - and we also got a good laugh out of the whole thing). Of course we may be tagged by the paramedics as “watch for: reduced mental capacity,” but hey, we are happy!
|Posted by Margaret Sleasman on May 17, 2016 at 4:50 PM||comments (0)|
Margaret Sleasman·Tuesday, May 17, 2016
I don’t know why I dislike hemming jeans; it takes all of 5 minutes, but I put it off as long as possible. An example would be the latest fiasco - Hubby has been after me for several months to hem his new jeans. I think I bought them in November and they have been just sitting around waiting to be cut upon. Finally, after Hubby’s continued nagging, I washed them in hot water and dried them in the dryer so that if there is any shrinking, it would be taken care of before hemming.
They sat for another month (I think until this past March), he put the pants on and wanted me to measure where to cut them. OK, a man with no feeling in one foot is going to climb onto a chair and stand there while a half-blind woman tries to poke pins into the jeans; not an ideal situation, but we managed. No bad incidents since we only have to do one leg because I measure the second leg with the first.
The jeans go back on the chair, it is late April, “I wish you would hem my pants, you never know when the ones I have on are going to tear - PEOPLE HAVE MORE THAN ONE CHANGE OF CLOTHES YOU KNOW!” “You have three more pairs of jeans in your drawer and a full closet of clothes, so you are hardly someone with one outfit.” “Do ANY of those clothes fit me?” I am guessing, probably not many, but say, “Sure they do; are you going somewhere that you need to wear a new pair of jeans, or am I just hemming them to put them in the drawer until you grow out of them?” “SILENCE...”
I was thinking that I would rather mow the lawn, but today he is out doing something on his tractor. A surprise is in order; I quickly hemmed the jeans and put them back on the chair (of course this is the middle of May so he has probably already out-grown them). The next time he asks me to hem them, I can say, “They have been done for awhile now.” Of course that could mean 15 minutes from now or in three months, it is up to him now.
The thing I am wondering about is this time, I only cut two inches off the bottom of the jeans instead of the usual four - did he grow or did China change the size measurements again? I probably measured wrong and they will puddle up on his shoes much like the Disney Dopey’s baggy clothes. I will say, “I guess you must have shrank a couple inches since we measured...” and he will freak out and make me cut and hem again; the good news is that I will have another six months to take care of that request.
|Posted by Margaret Sleasman on May 14, 2016 at 3:15 PM||comments (0)|
To everyone’s surprise, I am a creature of habit, all bad. Not so much bad as dumb; but I am old and change is not a good word for me. Many of you are aware of the trauma of having to get rid of my old shoes several months ago - I even had offers to buy me some shoes to replace them because they were so disgusting. I had new shoes, and another pair of shoes that were in decent shape, but could qualify as a replacements for my old shoes (they are sitting in my closet waiting for the day I throw the old shoes away).
I know, I told everyone I threw them out, I was going to and I tried, but hey these are really great shoes - they only look like a bear got a hold of them, ate them and spit them back out. They are comfy - except that the front of the soles are flappy (unattached) and there are no longer any insoles, but who doesn’t have a few issues? I could duct tape them, but then I would be admitting these shoes needed help. Hubby just shakes his head and I fully expect them to be gone one of these mornings when I wake up and go looking, but so far he is still a little bit afraid of me.
I don’t like shopping of any kind, especially for clothes. My idea of what is wearable, they quit making in the 80's and even Goodwill doesn’t carry what I like. So, I stick to grocery stores that do not sell clothes. The last clothes I bought for myself was 6 or 8 months before my 50th class reunion and I am sure that no longer fits - it is kind of eveningish and I don’t do evenings any more - I even have to forgo a quick trip to Denny’s in the evening for a super fudge dessert thing that I loved at one time when I could stay awake that long.
Anywho, off subject; back to it. The day is getting closer to when I have to throw the old shoes out; in the meantime, I have been having a bit of fun with them. Yesterday I took the grand-babies skating and in my distant mind, I remembered that we used to get our skates and toss our shoes under the bench (probably when I was 12) until we were ready to go home. This is no longer the case and your shoes fill the spot where your skates were until you return them. Not knowing that, I wore my old shoes because I did not want my new shoes stolen (mind you, they are three years old now, but I have only worn them 10 or 15 times - so still new).
I got my skates and the young man said, “I need your shoes.” OMG, I am thinking, this is going to be embarrassing! I handed him my shoes and said, “I thought we just threw our shoes under the benches" (if you look, there are no longer spaces under benches, but the benches go completely to the floor), "and I did not want my new shoes to be stolen so I brought my ‘farm shoes’.” Somehow, saying “farm shoes” sounded better to me. I am sure he is thinking, “Where have these things been?” But he takes them and puts them on the shelf like the gentleman he is and I go off to skate with the grandchildren.
Later, it is time for me to go home and when I took my skates up, the young man is mysteriously missing and a little high-school girl was there instead. She took the skates... “Oh the poor girl,” I thought. She came back with my shoes, she was not green, but pretty darned pale; what could I say? I just said thank you, took the shoes and walked away. Next time, I will bring my new shoes - or better yet, bring my own roller blades which have a separate soft shoe that the blades attach to - these were pretty fancy in their day and they have only been worn once or twice since being purchased 10 or 12 years ago along with my favorite old shoes.
|Posted by Margaret Sleasman on March 13, 2016 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
For the life of me I cannot understand why scammers post things on facebook when they do not get anything from it. Not sure if it is scamming, or just feeling the glory of seeing how far your post will go. Well, you can be sure that these are NOT all innocent posts, many of them ARE getting something from them. All of the rants and raves, the photos of dying children or big-eyed dogs or cats or stories of a crime and wanting you to sign a petition for this or that to protect someone from another country - how does that work?
All the lovely pictures with heart-felt sayings to tug at our “like” button or our “copy and paste, but not share” button. The posts that seem like they are written by your friend until it asks you to do something and you realize it is just another chain letter/photo. I am especially worried about the God ones that say, “if you believe God can do this, type Amen”. Of course you believe God can do this, or even if He won’t do this, He can if He so chooses, so you type “Amen;” I mean we all have faith in God’s powers and should never deny that because we could just go to hell. Threatening us to be faithful Christians... why?
The problem with all of the above is that these pictures usually have tracking (and not just from facebook), and unless you have a “do not track” program AND a “delete all history” setting, every click of your key is being tracked; usually by some third party or even fourth or fifth party. Yes, I am paranoid, but all this tracking is how shady people get a hold of your page, hack you, send you all kinds of stuff in your email (which is easily found in your profile - and if not found it can be hacked to find); and all kinds of scam and telemarketing calls to your phone number (which they also find on your profile); then of course if you are one to save your passwords on your computer, that is one of the first things that are hacked. Don’t EVER save your passwords, even if your virus program offers to do it for you - it is still not safe.
Then there are trojans, worms, or viruses that are also linked to some of the pictures or sayings and if you share them (especially by copying and pasting) or sharing, will embed themselves in your computer - BUT hopefully you have some good malware or virus programs installed so these will be caught. Not all programs will catch all malware or viruses, so when we say what you post “is out there” it is not just what you post, it is your entire life, private or public that is out there.
I am just as lenient at posting as most people, and sometimes (well most of the time) do not think before I hit enter. I have far too much confidence in the security of my computer; and am often lax. Any half-way decent hacker can break into any home computer, phone, or other device even with a good security system, so do be careful what you post, how you post, and what part of your life you share. If someone from another country or from this country wants to find your location, they can find you just by a photo you may have posted. They can track your IP number and many who post they are going out of town, have been robbed by a hacker (or even a friend of a friend) who knew the poster would be gone.
I don’t mean to scare you, but if you would not say something face to face or would not give your house key to a burglar or your bank account number and social security number to a stranger; be careful what you post because there are many strangers waiting for you to make a mistake. And do monitor your children and teens, they are not nearly as cautious with their posts. They will hate you for it, but better that than they meet up with a no-good stranger and you never see them again.
Now I will probably go on posting stupid stuff and thinking that my computer is secure, when it really isn’t as secure as it needs to be. Unfortunately, we do not learn from our mistakes and think that we are invincible.
|Posted by Margaret Sleasman on January 17, 2016 at 10:00 AM||comments (0)|
Recently (actually for awhile), we have had a fire and brimstone preacher and his followers on the streets in our town. This could be a good thing, but it isn’t. The message is true enough, but the presentation is so wrong. Don’t get me wrong, people need to hear about the danger of hell and sin; but condemning people because they do not see things your way is not going to bring them to the joy of the Gospel. Just think how many souls would have been saved had the Westboro Baptist church preached with compassion and love instead of hate and ridicule. Now, instead of being known as a church that serves Christ, they are known for their hatred and bigotry. Ask anyone that has observed their antics and they will say, they would rather go to hell than to be mixed up with those crazy people. And people say the same about the preacher and his group on the streets of our town.
No, I am not going all liberal, I still believe the bible and that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” John 14:6. Yes, I would still love to drag people into heaven because it is a wonderful place to go; but at the same time, I don’t want to push them into hell by telling them that they are evil and deserve it and will go there unless they listen to what “I” have to say. What I say is not that important, it is what God says that is important and we are tasked with showing what He says with all the love and kindness we can muster up. By this, I mean living it ourselves and not pounding them over the head with shouts of “repent or burn”.
Anyone that has been made fun of as a child, or had their parents ignore them knows that eventually, you will believe what others say about you and will seek others that show you attention. If you are told that you are going to hell enough, then why fight it. If you are treated badly, find someone that can fill that lonely hole and appreciate you and make you feel important, loved, and good. See, that is what is missing in the fire and brimstone preaching; they get so wrapped up in screaming and yelling how bad we are and how we deserve hell; that they forget to share the love of Jesus Christ. Even if they don’t forget and bring that in at the end of their yelling, you are feeling so worthless, that you miss out on the love part because God cannot love such an evil person. The bible says, “God hates sin.” So of course, God hates me, because the preacher just told me how evil I was. “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” ( Proverbs 6:16-19) That describes every one of us, even those that are basically good and even those who are preaching against evil.
In school, children can be so cruel to the children they do not like, but I have seen good Christians and good churches treat others worse than a bully in a school yard. The sad thing is, they don’t realize that is what they are doing. I love a good sermon, even the fire and brimstone kind; but when the sermons differ from the way people are treated, when they smile and say welcome, but act like you should not be in their midst, I have to wonder what is wrong with the message/messenger. When a church (or even a few in the church) are unforgiving or gossipers, that sends a message to those that are unsaved, that they are not welcome; yes, even to those that are fellow Christians who may not live up to the groups standards of excellence.
I know the church must have biblical standards and they must follow them; that is not what I am saying, but a little love and a little less condemning goes a long way in bringing someone to the Lord. And mentioning here, IF those that hear the gospel want nothing to do with it; do not condemn them with your words or actions. If you do your job by spreading the gospel with love, it is God’s job to save them and not yours. All we are to do is plant the seed, someone else will water, someone else will nurture, and God will harvest. If we browbeat someone into salvation, they may say, “OK” just to shut us up and not be saved at all; in that case, we are hindering the Lord’s tug on their hearts and could be the reason why they never come to the Lord.
There is a song (and I forget the name), but it is about a person who dies and gets to meet all the people that came to the Lord because of their witnessing or serving the Lord in various capacities during their life. It makes me wonder if we will see those people who we failed and were lost because of our actions during our lifetime. I cannot imagine the heartbreak to know that we were the ones who pushed them away from our Lord. I have done my fair share of pushing people away by my mistakes, by my sin, by my self-righteous preaching, by not showing love where I should have. I can only pray that the Lord in His Goodness allowed someone else to step in and encourage them and show them the Love that Jesus Christ has for them.
|Posted by Margaret Sleasman on November 10, 2015 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
"All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)"
Everybody stops and stares at me
These two teeth are gone as you can see
I don't know just who to blame for this catastrophe
But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as can be
All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth
My two front teeth
See my two front teeth
Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth
Then I could wish you, "Merry Christmas"
It seems so long since I could say
"Sister, Susie sitting on a thistle!"
Gosh, oh gee, how happy I'd be, if I could only whistle
We chuckle at the memories that we have of this song; I remember when Spike Jones sang it and then again when my girlfriend did a little act to him singing the song for a talent show in junior high (actually she may have mimed the Bubblegum Song) - she did a great job on whichever song she performed! Unfortunately, we grew up “wanting things” for Christmas. We still had the manger scene at practically every corner before it was regarded as obscene (or whatever people call it now), we still went to church on Christmas to honor the Lord’s birth, and still had a great Christmas dinner with family and friends; I remember our Croatian neighbors going house to house singing and visiting for several days lasting from a little before Christmas clear into the New Year. There was always an overload of Croatian pastries during that time and for the adults, much whiskey and wine. Being a little girl at the time, it seemed that everyone was so happy; and of course there was the promise of Santa coming to fill our stocking. We decorated the house and tried not to tell what the presents under the tree were so everyone would be surprised. This was very hard for a child to do, and sometimes the temptation was just too much, and we told. In those days we were still able to tell the difference between the Lord’s birth and the Santa Claus part of Christmas.
Now it has become a gigantic commercial endeavor; we still have manger scenes in our houses and in our churches; but heaven forbid if someone makes a public display because we might offend someone who does not believe in Christ. It is not that we are trying to be offensive, I don’t go stomping on other people’s celebrations and I wish they would not stomp on mine. This has nothing to do with church and state, it has to do with the fact that the devil hates Jesus Christ and that is the only reason there are objections to the manger scene or the 10 Commandments or anything else to do with the Christian celebrations. (I am off subject, but I needed to say that.)
What has evolved over a short amount of time and especially during the last 50 years was making Christmas a commercial holiday, and as stores do, they make every holiday into a commercialized endeavor so they can sell more items. For some reason, America fell for this tactic and every year they buy more and spend more and more to such a point that if you don’t spend a fortune on your children and whom ever else is on your list, you are a Scrooge and hate Christmas. From the time I was seven, all I wanted for Christmas was my dad (he died when I was six); many children in broken homes, just want their parents to be together again; the homeless and the poor, just want a roof over their head and some food for their children to eat; many adults just wonder what the hell happened to their lives and wish there was some way it could go back to normal. And since we cannot have these things, we over-compensate by purchasing things to somehow fill the gap of what is missing in our lives or to give the kids bigger and better toys each year until you are either over-loaded with debt or there is nothing bigger and better to give them.
The kids go to school after Christmas break (oops, winter break - don’t want to offend the school system), and they see that some kids got gigantic expensive things, while they got only a couple of small items. This makes them feel slighted and hurt and so now, people who can’t afford it purchase Christmas gifts on credit cards (usually running up several cards), so that their kids can keep up with the Jones's and not have their self-esteem smothered.
Personally, I find this a tragic situation and, as far as I know, this is an American situation. Other countries may have Christmas celebrations or may not; but if they do, it is an actual Christmas celebration and not a consuming desire to see how much we can get or how much we can give, almost - if not completely ignoring the poor or the reason for giving in the first place. Will it ever change? Probably not, we are too consumed with “things” in this country and unfortunately, have raised several generations to think that “things” are what makes them happy leading to an entire nation of “entitled” people. I know there are still many who give to the poor and care for the homeless and the hurting; but as those over 35 die out, there will be less and less care about the poor and more and more just plain greed. It is our responsibility to teach our children and grandchildren to care for others and not just what new toy they can put in their room and never play with because they have too many to get to all of them.
|Posted by Margaret Sleasman on September 20, 2015 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
This is a story of Lazarus, who was sick unto death and who died. Jesus purposely stayed away from His friend’s bedside so that he would die; and when He finally got to his house, Lazarus had been dead and placed in the tomb four days before. Martha heard that Jesus was coming down the road and ran out to meet Him. The bible puts it nicely, but I see her yelling at Jesus saying, “Why didn’t you come earlier, you could have healed him and he would not have died?” Jesus responded, “Thy brother shall rise again.’ Martha acknowledged that she knew he would rise again at the last day, but I am sure she was angry, because he was dead and gone and Jesus did not do anything to keep him alive. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.; he that believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” Martha answered, “Yea Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Then she left to tell her sister, Mary, that Jesus had come.
Verses 28 - 44 explains how Jesus called Lazarus from the grave and he came forth after being dead for four days. Wonderful miracle that that is; it is not included in this message. Instead, I am looking at how we react to serious illness, or any illness. We think all illness is bad and always pray to be healed; we forget the "why" of the illness; not that we just did not take care of ourselves, but “why did God allow this to happen to ME?” “I don’t have time to be sick, there is too much I have to do.” We forget that we are sick because God is showing His love for us - what? Yes, that is correct. He is not mad at us or striking us down to teach us a lesson; He is allowing the sickness to come because He loves us.
I have found that when I am sick, I spend more time visiting with the Lord than I do when I am well; it is a very sad part of life that we are too busy to spend very much time with Him, who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins. The Lord goes out of His way to grant us unimportant wishes that seem to be very important to us. This is a little gross, but one in particular, for me: I absolutely hate to puke and would rather walk on hot coals than puke. Looking back, since asking Him not to let me puke; it has been at least 40 years since I have puked - which includes the times during morning sickness. THAT IS SOME ANSWER TO PRAYER! Even now, when I feel sick to my stomach, I still ask not to puke, and He somehow calms my stomach. True I may get sicker for not puking, but the prayer is still answered. That is just one, unimportant, little request that He has answered time and time again.
God will ALWAYS heal us in answer to our prayers - sometimes He allows permanent healing, which takes us home to Heaven and sometimes, just temporary healing allowing us to stay here on earth.
I get such a kick out of the way David Hocking preaches. He mentioned David Brainerd (April 20, 1718–October 9, 1747), who was an American missionary to the Native Americans and had a particularly fruitful ministry among the Delaware Indians of New Jersey. He was a very sickly young man who would be rejected by the Missionary Boards of today simply because “he was not healthy enough and should just stay home under the care of doctors until he gets better.”
Needless to say, he was a praying man as the following quote from his biography illustrates: “Brainerd's first journey to the Forks of the Delaware to reach that ferocious tribe resulted in a miracle of God that preserved his life and revered him among the Indians as a 'Prophet of God.' Encamped at the outskirts of the Indian settlement, Brainerd planned to enter the Indian community the next morning to preach to them the Gospel of Christ. Unknown to him, his every move was being watched by warriors who had been sent out to kill him. F.W. Boreham recorded the incident:
But when the braves drew closer to Brainerd's tent, they saw the paleface on his knees. And as he prayed, suddenly a rattlesnake slipped to his side, lifted up its ugly head to strike, flicked its forked tongue almost in his face, and then without any apparent reason, glided swiftly away into the brushwood. 'The Great Spirit is with the paleface!' the Indians said; and thus they accorded him a prophet's welcome."
That incident in Brainerd's ministry illustrates more than the many Divine interventions of God in his life — it also illustrates the importance and intensity of prayer in Brainerd's life. Believe it — Brainerd prayed!” Anyway, back to David Hocking who said, “I know it was the will of God that David Brainerd die at a young age, rather than live a long life.” People ask me how I know; "I replied, simply: because he died."
Remember, people just don’t die because of an accident, a sickness, a stroke or a heart attack, or even by violence; they die because it is God’s will for them to die on that day, at that time, and from whatever cause. He is ready for them and that is why they died. In the case of the lost, they have made their final rejection of Him and He can do no more to convince them to be saved; if they live longer, they will only sin more and make their eternal punishment greater, so He is being merciful to let them die at that time.
Although I was not going to include it, this verse from John 11:37 is worth mentioning. “And some of them (the Jews) said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” We know this is a yes, and of course the next action in scripture was that of raising Lazarus from the dead. Believe me, Lazarus would have preferred NOT to come back, but he answered and arose when Jesus called his name.
In conclusion, our lives as well as our deaths and everything in between, are under the control of God. We still have the ability to choose what we do and whether we sin or not sin, love God or hate God; He will not interfere with our choices, no matter what we do or do not do. We are free to live our lives as we so choose, God does not interfere in any way, shape or form. He will gently guide those of us who want to be guided, and He will leave those alone that do not want anything to do with Him. Sometimes He brings serious illness into our lives as that may be the ONLY way we can see Him, His love and His care and thus bring us to salvation. He also brings people into our individual lives that will testify of Him to show us the way of salvation, but even though He loves a person with more love than we could ever understand, He will force no one to come to Him.
When our lives come to an end at whatever age, or time; we will reap the reward of what we have done with what He has given us. Please, be sure that you have chosen to follow Him. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
|Posted by Margaret Sleasman on August 17, 2015 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
Really, the last few months have been interesting and healing - or maybe destructive; I may never know. I will admit I have issues; I don’t doubt my salvation or the Bible, I just am reexamining methods. I woke up after a long sleep in legalism and began to see how much harm there is in that. Yes, I believe the bible literally and have no doubts there; my problem is with some who stick to one legality and forsake another legality which is just another way of saying, “I’ll believe what I want to believe and toss what I don’t like.”
My big issue is the mistreatment of women and/or others who are not “like” us in their beliefs. I am finding that what I don’t like about some people, I am not to worry about it, but leave it to God and just love them regardless. After all, isn’t that what Jesus meant when He said, “Follow me?”
Over the years (and I realize Scripture does say this), I have seen people put out of the church because of some sin they are guilty of, while others are accepted, even though they are guilty of sinning differently. All sins are the same to God, how can a deacon who abuses his wife be any less guilty than a church member who cheats on his wife? The funny thing about that is both of those men think they are in the right and the woman is in the wrong. How can that be?
If you have children and Tommy smacks his sister in the face with his toy truck, are you going to punish Tommy, or are you going to blame his sister for being in Tommy’s way? Are you going to Make Tommy or his sister (whichever side you are on) go live somewhere else until they straighten up? I see no love or understanding here and it is the same thing with how some churches treat their women - or people that don’t believe everything exactly the way they do. They will put someone out of the church until they forsake their sin instead of showing love and forgiveness so that the person would want to change. They will be unlikely to change if you put them out and more than likely feel, “well good riddance to you judgmental people” and may never come to salvation because of the way they were treated.
I just don’t understand when they preach, “husbands and wives are equal partners” and then turn around and keep the wife as more of a slave telling her that “I am the head of the household, you are to obey me as a service to the Lord.” Where is the love in that attitude? And to top it off, the wife - because she believes the bible, also believes her husband is correct and will take a beating willingly, since she must deserve it because ANY resentment toward her husband would be considered resentment toward God, Himself.
A pastor or a counselor can counsel someone until they are blue in the face about what is right, what God expects of them, and what is sin and what is not sin; but if they don’t counsel them with love and understanding - and by being an example in their own lives, their efforts are wasted. Everything they say, may be correct and biblical, but without love; they are speaking to a wall and the counseling will be fruitless.
I know I am going on a rabbit trail, but sometimes you have to stand back and take the blinders off to see what is actually biblical and what is extreme legalism. Many husbands and wives are guilty of not respecting each other and there are probably as many woman as there are men who abuse their spouse; maybe not physically, but certainly mentally. The sad part of this is that the children are watching and learning; they will grow up and treat their spouse the same way as their parents did - you have taught them right from wrong, as many bible verses as you could, brought them to church every time the doors were open, but left out love and respect (not intentionally, but by your actions). And so with the passing of time, the church becomes more judgmental and less loving, then they wonder why people don’t want to come through their doors.
Jesus never disrespected anyone, male or female; He treated all with love and kindness. His instructions to “follow me” should be to live as He did. He never sinned, but we will and this is why we need to treat EVERYONE with love and respect. You will find that most of those you meet have less sin than you do and because God gave you a chance to come to Him, you owe them the chance to come to God too. You cannot bring them to God by being judgmental and cruel, they will only come when showed the same love and respect to them as was offered to you by the Lord.
|Posted by Margaret Sleasman on May 2, 2015 at 2:30 PM||comments (0)|
I often wonder about judging; everyone judges especially if someone is different than they are. We don’t admit it, but we do. I was born and raised Roman Catholic and I firmly believed everyone who wasn’t a Roman Catholic was going to hell. In junior high I remember us Catholics and the Protestant kids fighting each other like crazy. Later after high school, I left the church and thought for sure God was going to smack me dead, but He didn’t. Then after a time, I went to a little non-denominational church and eventually became a born-again Christian. Life was good, I inhaled the Bible, could not get enough of it - then, just out of the blue, I became a judge again - everyone who was not a born-again Christian was going to hell. According to the Bible, that is true; but that does not mean if someone is going to a different denomination or no denomination at all, that they are not actually a born-again Christian. Only God knows the heart of a person.
I have been around and I have many opinions - some I stubbornly adhere to because I think they are right - they may not be, but for now; they are right for me. The truth being told, the only time I know for sure I am right is when I am quoting Scripture, all the rest is simply an opinion. (Got that quote from David Hocking, but it is definitely true). This whole conversation has been rather evasive to get to what I intend to say, but I wanted to mention a little about my background, if for no other reason; than to see I am human.
Anywho.... I have been praying for quite some time to have more compassion and less judgmentalism in my life. I wish I never prayed for that because I am not liking the results at all. There are a lot of tears, not just for friends and family, but for total strangers who are hurting.
Matthew 18:1-11 says: “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
Read those verses carefully; do you know that when God looks down, we are all as little children to him. Have you ever watched a child get mocked and see the total humiliation on their face? Have you seen them go into a shell and be bitter and unresponsive because they fear that if they speak there will be only more harassment? Or has that happened to you as a child - worse, were you one of the taunters? Some of these children are so emotionally damaged that they never recover. Sadly, these situations happen to adults too, and the adults, like the children feel that they must have done something horrible and deserve the treatment they are getting. After all, the abuser may be a parent, a person at work, a neighbor, a spouse, or even their church family; so of course they must have done something wrong and are being chastised for it - take the whipping and be a better person.
The Westboro Baptist Church is very controversial in their stance; much of what they say is correct, biblically speaking, but violence and name calling will not get people saved it will only make them hate and turn against God. It is the same in every day life; you cannot expect a person to listen to what you have to say if you are beating them to death being judgmental to their way of life. A sinner knows they are a sinner; they do not have to be told, they need to be loved.
We have a fight or flight instinct and sometimes we are just not sure which we should do in some situations. I don’t remember anywhere in the Bible where Jesus fought or fled, I remember Peter fighting a few times and getting into trouble. I remember Jesus showing compassion; yes, even when someone was totally in the wrong. He did not put someone out from His presence, He brought them in to Him showing love and compassion. When someone walked away, He was saddened but still loved them.
Sometimes when things go wrong in life, even in the lives of Christians, if they need to walk away; they should not be condemned for it, but should be respected for their decision. Personally (and this is the wrong way to feel), if my spouse abused me, I would leave; if he abused my children, I would shoot him; it takes a brave person to walk away from everything and start a new life, to be forgiving and to have to face life alone. God sees the mistreatment of His children by His children who think they are doing the right thing and is greatly saddened. Read Matthew 18:1-11 again; I don’t think I am wrong when I say that God would want someone to leave an abusive situation or would not want them to be submissive to such treatment in His Name.
I found the following article interesting and thought I should share: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2013/05/domestic-violence-in-the-ifb-church-movement/
Well, I have said enough for now, but I hope some really good people will stop and think about what I have said. Thank you for putting up with all my narrow-minded ways.