Tuesday, September 16, 2008

License to Sin????

I am trying to read through the Bible. That has been a goal of mine for many years. I have read through the New Testament many times. However, if you are like me, getting through the Old Testament is very challenging. I have always found many parts of it dry and very hard reading.

I don't know if it is because I am growing up or what, but my experience this time has been much different. I am finding things in the O.T. that are interesting and are challenging me. That is very exciting to me.

I am using the Bible reader on my Palm Pilot to keep track of what I do. It has an interesting way of doing it. I read out of two different books of the O.T. and two different books of the N.T. each day.

Anyway, on to what is on my mind...

I honestly believe that many Christians almost view Christianity as a license to sin. I have actually found myself thinking at times that if I do __________, that God will forgive me anyway, so it doesn't matter. That is a sad fact, but unfortunately it is true.

God hates sin. The Bible tells us this. He does not want us to have this kind of thinking. He wants to have a relationship with us, and sin separates us from Him.

We, as Christians, know that. However, those thoughts still cross our mind.

So, that being said, what was it that kept Old Testament believers so in tune with Gods desire for us to live a sin free life? What is different that they were so distraught when they sinned. Here are a couple of verses out of the book of Ezra. Ezra had just found out that his people had sinned against the Lord...this was his response.

9:3 When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. 4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.
5 Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God 6 and prayed: "O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens

and

10:1 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly

I just think that is amazing. First of all, they were honestly remorseful. This was not a show. It HURT them that they hurt their God. Ezra pulled hair from his head and his beard...

OK...so the 'pastor' was remorseful. We should expect him to be, right? That is his job. But did you notice how the 'congregation' reacted? It said they 'WEPT BITTERLY'

What kind of people would we be if we reacted this way to our sin? What kind of churches could we have?

Just something to think about.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Raising Kids

I have always wanted to be a dad. Always. I remember as I was growing up thinking I wanted 5 kids. I dont know where that number came from, that is just what I wanted. I always thought that I was cut out to be a dad. I have always enjoyed being around others kids, so why not my own?

I now have 3 biological children and two step-children. Add them together, and that is 5. However, I never imagined what a challenge raising kids was.

I always heard from family and from other church members how challenging it was. I never understood it. What can be hard about it? You feed them, clothe them, and let them climb all over you. You make sure their teeth are brushed and they get baths. That is not hard.

Like I said, I now have 5.

I am blessed, don't get me wrong. I love them. More than I ever thought I could, that is for sure. When I am not with them, there is an uneasy feeling in my soul. I pray constantly for their safety and health. I am the "over-protective" dad that I always promised I would not be. I honestly always thought my parents were too strict with me, but now I realize that it was because they loved me. It is hard to let them be kids sometimes. I find myself worrying that they are going to flip off the monkey bars or break an arm from falling off their bike. I know that is part of growing up, but it still is not easy to accept when they are MY kids.

The hardest part though , to me, about raising kids, is relating to them on their level. I find myself, at times, treating them like they are adults. I expect them to behave ALWAYS and to be hyper only when it is appropriate. I find myself expecting them to not make a mess at the table. I wonder why they can't remember to turn off the light after leaving the bathroom. Or why cant they remember to take their shoes to their room instead of leaving them for me to trip over when I come in the door.

It is all because they are kids. No other reason.

I looked at Ethan tonight as he was watching his sister at cheerleading practice. He was crawling all over me (as is normal for my Ethan to do!), and I noticed his hand....his LITTLE hand...

My 'big' boy is still so little. He is still just a little boy. I need to remember that next time I start a sentence with "Why can't you remember to...."

I love my kids. With all of my heart! It is fun getting to know their personalities. I am enjoying Taylor as she is starting to get into music and is starting to think boys are cute (i am not enjoying that one as much...sigh). I am enjoying the fact that Ethan is loving me more and more and wants to spend lots of time with me. I am enjoying Kaleb as he gets his personality and learns his world. I am enjoying getting to know my "step-boys" and learning how to be their step-dad.

I love coming home and hearing "DADDY!!!!!!!!!" (Kaleb also runs to me, and I love that too!!!!!)

Yes, being a daddy is hard work. It is the hardest thing I have to do in life, but it is SOOOO worth it. I would be lost without my kids!

I pray God will make me a better daddy to them and will preserve their lives and keep them healthy!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008