Saturday, April 17, 2010

While You Were Sleeping....

Check out this horrific news story (source is in the link above)

Chinese family planning authorities have detained 1,300 people to sterilise as part of a crackdown on parents who violate strict birth control rules.
Authorities in Puning, a city in southern China's Guangdong province, have detained the men and women against their will in cramped offices, according to state media.
There they are being forced to listen to lectures on laws limiting the size of families.
Officials in Puning last week launched a 20-day campaign to sterilise 9,559 women or their husbands who they suspect of planning to have a second or third child.
State media said that half of that number have so far agreed to comply.
The Nanfang Countryside Daily reported that those detained included parents who refused to undergo a surgical sterilisation procedure and their 'relatives'.
Among those held are the elderly parents of those who have tried to evade the family planning authorities. The newspaper claimed that on April 10 some 100 people, mostly old, were seen inside a 200 metre square building at a family planning centre.
The newspaper reported: 'There were some mats on the floor, but the room was too small for all the people to lie down and sleep, so the young ones had to stand or squat. Due to the lack of quilts, many cuddled up to fight the cold.'
An employee at the Puning Population and Family Bureau told the publication: 'It's not uncommon for family planning authorities to adopt some tough tactics.'
Among those being held was the 64-year-old father of Huang Ruifeng, who already has three daughters.
Mr Huang told the Global Times: 'Several days ago, a village official called me and asked me or my wife to return for the surgery. Otherwise they would take away my father.'
China launched its 'one couple, one child' rule in the late 1970s. The policy has some exceptions for groups including rural farmers whose first child is a daughter and ethnic minorities.


Recently, our daughter became a victim of sexting in the form of nude photos of a young man. I choose the word victim because this was something that was not encouraged and was a complete shock for her. Sexting has become somewhat of a hot topic in the news, with 48% of teens having received a sext message in one form or another. This is an appalling problem, but that’s not what this blog is about. What concerns me the most is the reaction of our daughter’s friends, brothers & sisters in Christ. They laughed. Even when they knew she was upset, they still laughed. Some even began telling their own sexual exploit stories and jokes (immediately following Wednesday night church services, mind you). What dreadful times we live in!
Granted, I have a few select friends that I have enjoyed a crude joke or two with and for that I am presently ashamed to admit. If you ever catch me laughing at or saying something inappropriate (which is easy for any of us to fall into in this present age), PLEASE STOP ME! Just hold up your hand and remind me to live Ephesians 5.
Our culture is completely saturated with sexual innuendos and coarse jesting and it is wrong…..sometimes funny, but WRONG. We have become so comfortable in the world that we are not even aware that we have become just like them. Honestly, how many of you out there have either said or laughed at “that’s what she said”? Come, on. Raise your hand. I know you’ve done it. I don’t even watch the show (The Office), and I’ve caught myself saying it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about at this point, be glad.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” How often do we fall short of this? This isn’t a new problem either. Colossians 3 tells us to put away obscene talk for our mouths.
Some of you reading this, think this is no big deal, but if you read Ephesians 5 very carefully, you can see that it is not only shameful but that you need to be sincerely searching your heart to discern whether or not your heart & life are truly surrendered to God.
Ephesians 5
5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Okay, so if you’re still with me, we’re agreed that this is a problem. We’ve admitted it, confessed it, and perhaps apologized for it. Now what? How can we stop this from reoccurring, especially given the prominence of it among those we come into contact with? The best way to get rid of a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. So for starters, we can apply Phil. 4:8-9 to our lives;

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Okay, but what about dealing with our friends who are still participating in this? If you’ve confronted them privately and they still will not repent, your first reaction should be one of prayer. Pray for your friend. Some of them will laugh and joke their way right into a life that is completely desolate and without hope or peace. Your second reaction should be to walk away. Don’t make a scene or walk away with a pouty attitude, just quietly leave. There is nothing more to say. It is important for us to remember that we are the temple of the living God. Read II Corinthians 6:16-18:
What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
We are to be separate, holy, a royal priesthood. I’m not talking stuck-up, Pharisee-like behavior. I’m talking humble (knowing how easy it is for us to be tempted) and prayerful obedience to God. I’m talking about striving to humbly walk worthy of the robes of righteousness that our Lord Jesus Christ died to place upon us. How about it? Who’s with me? Who will help me stand?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Turn Signals and Life in the Fat Lane

This past Sunday, I heard a wonderful sermon illustration that caught me completely off-guard. (Don't you just love those!) Tim Tinsley was going up the ridge cut in the left lane and found himself suddenly behind a driver who seemed to be having difficulty making it up over the ridge (haven't we all been behind someone like that?!). This driver had their right turn signal on, so Tim figured that as soon as the driver in front of him was able, he would move over to the right lane. WRONG! Isn't that totally frustrating? How many of us do that in our day to day lives....and, no, I don't mean while driving. For instance, for years I have been "indicating" that I am going to lose weight. Guess what? I'm still in the fat lane. I have claimed for years that I want to have a gentle spirit, and yet, time and again I find myself doing just the opposite. Why do I cling so tightly to my sin, all the while saying that I am going to change. Jesus, I need Thee every hour....

Thursday, April 08, 2010

I don't agree with 100% of this video, but I do agree with the principles behind it.

Set Standards Against Foul Language


This open letter responds to Her Highness Anonymous. At #885 she asked: “How does one go about setting standards such as ‘not using foul language’? I think if I were to ask someone not to swear in front of me, they would think I am crazy (I’m in college).”

The secret is: Don’t ask. Don’t expect to change the world. Expect to change yourself to preserve and protect your female sensibilities. These suggestions may help:

1. Retreat from words and behaviors that offend your sensibilities. Until you can do so courteously, purposely ignore spouters of filth or whatever and then move on without comment. Not easy in college life made outrageously boisterous with newfound freedom from authority figures.
2. Straighten out your own mind. Determine what’s of value to you and commit yourself to upholding it against everything and everybody. You first have to learn to be offended, to be turned off by vulgarities and offending behaviors. If not quite there yet, upgrade your expectations.
3. You needn’t tell someone not to be vulgar in front of you. Simply break off from the situation with no more than a courteous goodbye or dismissal. Don’t stimulate a confrontation. Don’t complain, don’t explain. Let them, especially men, figure you out. Mystery always helps females, because it earns masculine respect. When men conclude their vulgarity offends you, they will quit or tone down proportional to their respect for you and your presence. (Men love to fulfill ideas and conclusions drawn from figuring out some mystery.)
4. Quietly and unpredictably depart their company when people turn vulgar. It puts you in control of your life, which discourages depression. If you accept without contrary action the standards to which you’re exposed in college, people will automatically assume you have no higher standards. In effect, you’re just like them, and they’ll expect you to never deviate from their opinions. Do you want to be like them or someone else you admire more, such as yourself?
5. When you’re called crazy or worse, it takes guts to persist with extreme loyalty to yourself. However, think long term. Persistence earns respect, and more respect for you reduces vulgarity and name calling by others.
6. If your need to be accepted or popular overrides your personal preferences for civility, courtesy, and pleasantness, then your standards and expectations will decline. We all become like those with whom we associate.
7. People who shape opinions and influence others often appear crazy at first. If you purposely avoid appearing different, being called names, or finding things up to which you will stand against others, then you turn yourself passive for life.
8. Accept loneliness as companion to your soul even if not acceptable to your worldly self. College life is all about avoiding or escaping loneliness, and you should be able to find other ways than having your sensibilities attacked.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Elsewhere in this blog you’ll read that girls civilize boys and single women settle men down to help fulfill female hopes and dreams. For five decades American girls and women have progressively declined to do so. Teen and college males spread ever more offensive, tasteless, foul, gross, vulgar, ill-mannered, rude, and crude language and behaviors. With the supervisory role of females abandoned especially on campus, men later in life show little regard for female- and family-friendly values.

Obama, Addiction, and Red Priest

What do the above three things have in common? For me, one each one led to the next. Am I totally insane? Well, yes, but......I better explain. I have always had a strong dislike for the news & politics. All that changed during the last presidential election. Sure, there have been presidents that I have loved, liked, and couldn't stand, but all in all who was president didn't have a huge impact on my day to day life. When Obama ran for office, however, I took notice. A socialist running for president??? Had the country gone mad??? I suddenly found myself voluntarily turning on Fox News and began regularly listening to the Glenn Beck show. Anytime the tv or car radio was on, it was usually turned to the news; after all, this is scary stuff. I didn't realize that I had become such a Fox News junkie....well, except for when our daughter would teasingly roll her eyes at me sometimes when I turned on the tv or radio. This week, I finally woke up and realized that I had a problem. On Tuesday night we attended a chamber music concert. Granted, it was Red Priest, but it was the first classical music performance that we had been to in a very long time. As the music started and I began to feel my soul being soothed and calmed, I realized how long it had been since I had chosen to listen to music at home or in the car. How awful!!! There is nothing wrong with watching the news, but, as with anything, there comes a point where it can consume you if you allow it. Watching or listening to the news 24/7 will do the country less good (a WHOLE lot, nil) than will time spent on our news in prayer. Will I still watch the news? Yes, but I am presently making a concerted effort to pray more for our country and to fill my mind with "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise." (Phil. 4)