Friday, July 10, 2015

When did parents lose their right to parent/choose/raise their children?

Children are a gift from God.  Actually, no, that's not quite accurate.  They are a tremendous LOAN from God.  We all ultimately belong to God, even our children.  He simply entrusts them to us while they are here on earth, with the hopes that we will remember our job and raise them up so they will one day return to Him in Heaven.

There are things happening in this world making our job as Christian parents harder and harder to do well.  People thumbing their noses at God by passing laws that go against His commands and purpose for creation is one thing.  NOW though, well now these people who think God and His laws are a big joke are taking their disdain for His directives and bringing them to our schools so that our children will start to believe, or rather, NOT believe just like them.  There have been a few stories in the past week that have come to my attention that leave me extremely worried about our future in this nation.
The first story is about a school district in Seattle, Washington.  This school district is allowing students as young as 13-years-old to consent to having an IUD implanted for the purposes of birth control WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT.  What?  What?  Since when were 13-year-old children able to make a decision like that on their own?  Since when did parents lose control over the healthcare decisions of their children?  As a Christian parent this involves so much more than just a healthcare decision to me, but at the very least, someone who doesn't believe as I do can see that this is a big decision to make without our input or even KNOWLEDGE as parents. You can find the story I read here:  IUD's in children.

Oh come on, I am not naive enough to think that some children aren't having sex at that age, but that is beside the point.  The point is, we are responsible for raising our children and helping them to make decisions that are not only in their best interest, but that fall in line with the values we are trying to instill in them.  This is crazy!  And before you go and tell me that this is a biased story that skews the truth I'm one step ahead of you.  I searched many sites to see if this was a bit exaggerated and wasn't able to find anything to assuage my outrage.  As a matter of fact, when I landed on Snopes I learned something else I didn't know.  Snopes was quick to point out that some of the "facts" in the story may not be quite so factual- as in, "IUD's... can act as an abortifacient by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg", which is debatable but again not the point. The point of the story- that this can happen without parental knowledge- is totally true.  Additionally, Snopes pointed out that 26 states and the District of Columbia allow minors (12 and over) to consent to contraceptive services without parental knowledge or consent.  Unreal.

The second story has to do with teaching our children about gay marriage as well as oral and anal sex in school.  Much of this curriculum may be structured in such a way that parents cannot chose to opt their children out if this does not fit the values that those parents are trying to instill.  Here is a video that talks about this: new curriculum for the times.  Again, whether this is actually happening yet or not is BESIDE THE POINT!  Why are these things even being considered?!?!

Now, for those of you who feel that including same-sex couples in curriculum about marriage, or that somehow discussions about being transgendered and gender non-conforming identity is a positive and long overdue step in our schools, LISTEN UP.  God is VERY VERY clear about these things being against Him and his intent for us. If my children are going to be exposed to a conversation about these things it will be on MY terms with MY Christian faith as the basis for those discussions, and NOT under any circumstances by someone who does not share my faith or belief in God.  Period. This isn't math, people!  This stuff is changing the very fabric of our society and moving it away from what God intended, and as a Christian my children will not be taught that this is OK because with God is it absolutely not OK.  I realize I will be very unpopular and likely vilified because of these statements, but what popular culture dictates or what man thinks of me holds no sway over what God commands of me.

"If you will fear the LORD and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the LORD, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God. If you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the command of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers. “  1 Samuel 12:14-15

"Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them." Numbers 14:9

"The fear of man lays a snare; but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe."  Proverbs 29:25

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

Look, I love you, I really do.  I believe that God calls Christians to love EVERYONE. Judging a person's behavior and choices is God's job, not mine.  Mine is to reflect the love and grace that God gave me with the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ through my interactions with the world. My purpose is to praise His name and share the Gospel with everyone in the hopes those who don't believe will have an opportunity to reconsider and be saved.  This is not a commentary on how you choose to live YOUR life.

That said, I will not allow anyone to teach my child in a setting that is supposed to be educational about something that is not based in facts according to God's truth.  When a child learns something in school, that child believes what he or she learned is the truth.  It is fact.  It can be trusted, otherwise why would the school, a place we willingly send him or her, teach it?  A child does not have the ability to discern the way an adult does.  When we decide to change or spin the "facts" to fit an agenda, we are harming our children tremendously.

At the end of the day, even if you are A-OK with all this because it falls in line with your personal beliefs on the matters of gay marriage and gender confusion, I have to ask you a question.  Why in the world are you OK with our children being taught things or exposed to things without parental consent?  You may be OK with this stuff because it falls in line with your beliefs, but what about when something doesn't fall in line with your beliefs?

If you aren't a Believer then you probably aren't OK with God "stuff" being taught to you children, right?  Well, what if positions were reversed and you were being told that schools will start teaching the Bible and you couldn't do anything about it.  You'd be mighty pissed, right?  Oh, wait.... you already won that battle and the Bible can't be taught in public schools. Heck, you won that battle so handily that we can't even say Merry Christmas in schools anymore.  So you must understand what I'm saying.  Parents should be allowed to raise their children based on their values and beliefs.  ALL parents, even ones that disagree with you.  As long as those beliefs don't involve teaching children to hurt others, themselves, or commit crimes, then it should be up to the parents.  Why, then, is this OK with some people?  I just don't understand, and it's things like this that have me so worried about the future of our nation.  Just watch, it will start here, but once the government is given such mighty power over us, it will turn on even those who are in support of all this power.

Don't give up our rights as parents to raise our children, even if that means some parents will raise their children differently than you will.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Good News

Jesus. What a man. What an incredible Man. What incredibly good fortune for me and you that this amazing, holy Man lived, suffered, and died in roughly 33AD. SUFFERED and died. Suffered horribly. Suffered torture and unimaginable pain both physical AND emotional, and on top of it suffered terrible humiliation. Think about that. Stop and let it sink in for a minute.

I want it to sink in, because, for me, finally getting that through my thick skull has made all the difference in the world to my faith and my love for Jesus Christ. For 40 years I believed Jesus died, but it was just a story of something that happened long ago. A story, without much detail. A story I believed happened, but that I never thought too much about. I have never seen The Passion of the Christ partly because I didn't want anything to tamper with my rosy view of Christ's sacrifice. I didn't want any real images to disrupt my ability to continue to deny that Christ's death on the cross was really anything more than a story told to Christians to explain that Heaven is a place we can go to when we die.

Then, lightening struck. God finally and forever took hold of my being, my soul, my heart, my mind, and my life, and I have never been and never will be the same. The story of Christ's sacrifice now became the ultimate testament of God's love for us. Jesus Christ became a REAL man to me, and as a REAL human His sacrifice became almost too much for this wreck of a human to bear. When I first started to truly believe, I really was a wreck. I cried during every church service I attended for the first two months. I started listening to Christian music, and often was reduced to tears during certain songs.

To this day- when we sing Forever in church, I cry. Every single time. Christ's sacrifice is that powerful, and deserves that much emotion, in my opinion.

Why do I share all this? What is my point? Here it is- God sent his son Jesus to live on earth as a man. To experience what we experience as humans, and then to suffer and die so that we could have a place in Heaven. So that we, as sinners, who would never ever have been able to earn a place in Heaven on our own, wouldn't have to. If you do not believe or cannot see the magnitude of what Jesus did for us, then you will struggle with everything else that has to do with fully believing in God and believing His word.

God is love. True story. God loves us so much, so much. God sent His only Son for us. God wants a relationship with us, and to prove it, as long as we are alive God will never abandon us. God forgives us when we ask Him over and over and over. We never run out of chances with God- as long as we are alive. The Bible tells us this many times:

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

Acts 3:19
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

Daniel 9:9
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him

Colossians 1: 13-14
For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

God, though, is also a judge. God created us to be in relationship with Him. He made us; we are His. BUT- He wants us to CHOOSE Him. He gave us free will because the ones He wants in Heaven with Him for all eternity are the ones that CHOOSE to be with Him. Now I understand, you may not like this part of God. You may not want to accept that God put us here on this earth in order that we may prove our love for Him. The wrathful, vengeful, jealous side of God may not fit your vision of a God that you want to follow. A God that is only about love and goodness. The blessing and the curse here is- you may feel however you choose about it. You do get to choose.

We are all equals here. You, me, Paul the Apostle.... it doesn't matter who we are. We are all humans in God's eyes, all sinners, all have the potential to go one of two places- Heaven or Hell. God has done everything short of taking away our free will to help us get to Heaven. He gave us his Word in the Bible. He gave us His Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we wouldn't have to pay the price for them ourselves. He pursues us every single day. You can choose to ignore all of this, or you can choose to open your mind to the possibility that through my words, God is reaching out to you right now.

Look- I am no better than anyone. I am no better than you. I have sinned; man have I sinned. I have even stopped believing for a time. I deserve Heaven no more than anyone else. I truly mean that. I deserve punishment for my sins; for my weak, cowardly behavior. But God will not let me suffer because I have taken the one step that I needed to take to be saved. I believe. I believe with all my heart. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus died for my sins. I believe that I am a sinner and that I need to repent. I have asked God for forgiveness, and I do so again and again, whenever I fall short. I do not fill my life with good works. As a matter of fact, I wish I could say that I give lots of time, talent and treasure, but the truth of the matter is, I don't. God loves me anyway. And God loves you no matter where you happen to be in your journey today. You can scream and rail against God all you want to. He still loves you and will still love you even if you go against Him.

Friend, if you are reading these words right now, you still have time. You still have a chance at salvation all you have to do is put your trust and belief in God. Don't be too proud or too smart to see that God is reaching out to you. You are sitting right here right now for a reason. Open your heart and your mind to the possibility that God is speaking to you on this page. Not Denise. I could never write these words without God. Never. Heck, I couldn't even say the name Jesus out loud 3 years ago. I was so far away from a relationship with God that it is truly a miracle I am here right now typing these things. Anyone who knows me knows it is true. Look at my Facebook page pre-2013, you will not find writing like this anywhere on my page. Now look at how I've changed. GOD HAS DONE THIS. GOD. Not me.

I can still say I haven't seen The Passion of the Christ, but now the reason is that, as a new Believer, I don't think I could take it yet. I will see it, though, because I believe that Jesus deserves to have his entire story told and the tremendous sacrifice he made understood. He has earned our commitment to face what he did for us head on, no matter how uncomfortable it is. I promise I'm working my way up to it.

What inspired me to write all this today? Well, today a friend of mine posted a video that just tore through me and made me stop in my tracks. For those of you who are inspired by the spoken word of others I encourage you to take less than 9 minutes to watch this video. If you are a believer, this will reinforce what you already know to be true. If you are a non-believer watch it anyway. What do you have to lose? Don't let your pride over being a non-believer prevent you from at least considering that there is another way to look at things.

Heaven. Hell. You