Monthly Archives: May 2014

Teddy bear by wall edited

OF GOD AND GUNS

My husband, Brad Bright, is a guest blogger today!  I hope you are as challenged and motivated as I was by the article.  The recent killing spree in Santa Barbara is one more deadly reminder of the problem that threatens our children.  The question is:  What are we going to do about it?

OF GOD AND GUNS

“Take away the guns and they will use knives.”

Two months ago I made this statement while speaking to a group in Washington, D.C.  I pointed out that the same day Adam Lanza shot 20 school children in Newtown, Connecticut, Min Yingjun stabbed 22 children in a school on the other side of the globe in central China.

Eerily, twelve days after the event in D.C. Alex Hribal attacked 21 fellow students at Franklin High School in Pennsylvania—with a knife.

The culture we live in has never been so connected due to technology yet so alienated at the same time.  And alienated people are capable of doing terrible things, such as mass shootings—or mass stabbings.

The real problem is our alienation from each other because of our alienation from the holy God who loves us more than we love ourselves. It is a logical progression.  As a culture we are roaring down this path at breakneck speed.

No matter how many laws we pass our children will never be safe if we do not deal with the underlying alienation from God and each other that drives the savage behavior.

God, himself, is the issue: not guns or knives, not abortion, not same-sex marriage, not racism, not the economy.  Until we willingly chose to put God back at the center of our society and our churches our children will all be condemned to increasingly experience the inevitable consequences of our culture’s choice to exclude God.

The only question is, do we possess the courage to inject God back into the culture in the towns and cities where we live?  If we win this single battle we will ultimately win all the others. If we lose this battle we most assuredly will lose all the others.  Our children’s future is literally on the line. The choice has never been clearer—we must make the God who loves us the issue at all costs.  That is the only effective solution to alienation.

–Brad Bright

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God promises: You are what you think

The excerpt I’m sharing with you today from Bill Bright’s Promises caused me to do some soul searching…or maybe “mind” searching would be more accurate.  What consumes my thoughts?  Not what do I want to fill my mind, but what am I pouring in, mulling over and tucking away?

I grew up learning about the power of positive thinking.  I know it can work, but I’ve also become painfully aware of its shortcomings.  Positive thinking can only take you so far.  I wonder if the reason the church is overflowing with frustrated, disappointed, disillusioned Christians is because they are trying to “positive think” their way to the abundant (full and meaningful) life God promises.  I hope you’ll read this to the end.  The last sentence is the key and most of us miss it.

PromisesAs a man thinketh… by Bill Bright  copyright 1993

“Every day in every way I am becoming better and better,” declared the French philosopher Emile Coué.  But it is said that he committed suicide.

Positive thinking by a nonbeliever without a biblical basis is often an exercise in futility.  Though I agree with the basic concept of positive thinking, so long as it is related to the Word of God, there is a difference between positive thinking and supernatural thinking.  We do not think positively so that we can know Christ better; we come to know Christ better, which results in supernatural thinking.  The basis of our thinking is God’s Word; supernatural thinking is based upon the attributes of God.

When a man says, “I am going to be enthusiastic, by faith, as an act of the will,” or “I am going to rejoice, by faith, as an act of the will,” he is simply drawing upon his rights as a child of God, according to the promises of God.

In supernatural thinking, we apply the promises of God, knowing with certainty that if we ask anything according to His will, He will hear and answer us.

Some well-known Christian leaders emphasize “positive thinking” and “possibility thinking.”  They are men whom I admire and with whom I agree basically in this regard because the Christian life is a positive life.  “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.”  Proverbs 23:7

But I prefer to use what I believe to be the more scriptural definition of the Christian life—supernatural thinking, which includes—but goes far beyond—both positive thinking and possibility thinking.

 

Final thought from me…

Your view of God:  It always comes down to our view of God.  I’ve been a Christian for a long time and yet I can still allow my mind to be consumed with the wrong things, weighed down with problems and overwhelmed with trying to “fix” everything.  I’m learning to fix my eyes on who God is and think on Him first.  I’m seeing His promises become reality and problems become opportunities to see Him work…supernatural thinking!

Sleepy girl 2000

Promise: He never sleeps

What keeps you up at night?  Worry, problem solving, fear, anticipation…  Maybe you can relate to an experience a friend of ours had several years ago…

When everyone was investing in the dot com market he advised his clients to get out.  Following his own advice, he sold most of the company stocks and put it in cash.  His competitors laughed as the stock market soared and portfolios doubled.  Someone asked, in light of what many saw as a career-ending mistake, “Sir, how do you sleep at night?”  He responded, “Like a baby.  I sleep an hour–wake up and cry an hour, sleep an hour–wake up and cry an hour…”

Can you relate?  I can!  The next time sleep eludes you and worry, fear or heartache consume the night hours, I hope the excerpt from Bill Bright’s book, Promises, encourages you as it has me.

Promise:  He Gives Attention  (copyright 1998)

A mother and her 4-year-old daughter were preparing to retire for the night.  The child was afraid of the dark, and the mother, on this occasion alone with the child, also felt fearful.

After the light was turned out, the child glimpsed the moon outside the window.

“Mother,” she asked, “is the moon God’s light?”

“Yes,” replied the mother.

“Will God put out His light and go to sleep?”

“No, my child,” the mother replied, “God never goes to sleep.”

“Well,” said the child, with the simplicity of childlike faith, “as long as God is awake, there is no sense in both of us staying awake.”

God expects you and me—with that same kind of childlike faith—not only to live good lives but also to cry out to Him in our times of need, knowing that He watches intently and gives attention to our every cry.

Again we have that helpful imagery of guiding eyes, the eyes of Him who rules and reigns over all—who is concerned about each one of His children, and equally concerned about those who have not yet trusted in Him for He is not willing that any should perish.

For the eyes of the Lord are intently watching all who live good lives, and He gives attention when they cry to Him.   Psalm 34:15 (Living Bible 1971)

 

P.S.  The rest of the story:  When the dot com market did crash our friend was one of the few NOT crying through the night.

Girl talking to mom

Listen first, fix it later… maybe

I joke with my kids that if growing up with me has taught them anything, it’s that mom isn’t perfect!  I do wish, however, they wouldn’t so heartily agree with that statement!

After hearing a sermon on “Four things every parent should know” I asked my daughter what she thought of the message and if it related to us.  She smiled.  I knew what she was going to say.  FYI, if you don’t want to hear the answer—don’t ask the question!  She looked at me with a twinkle and said, “The part about listening and not trying to jump in and fix it.”  We laughed.  It’s sooooo me!  I’ve worked hard to listen but it hasn’t come easy.  Thankfully my sweet girl said I’m much better than I used to be, but what was left unspoken is… I still have some growing to do!

It’s so easy to jump in and “fix” whatever our kids are struggling with, hurting over or angry about.  Our kids may need us to step in and help, but first they need to feel heard.

Okaaaay”, my defensive self responds, “the fact that I’m trying to help solve the problem proves I heard what was said doesn’t it? “  Hmmm, I think I’ve had this conversation with my husband but the shoe was on the other foot…  I want Brad to acknowledge my feelings, empathize and ask how he can help.  I don’t want “fix-it” Brad when I’m bearing my heart, I want “listener, compassionate” Brad.  Our kids want the same thing.

When our kids are hurt the Momma Bear comes out .  When they struggle in school the Principle comes out.  When they make a stupid choice the Enforcer comes out.  We may need to put on one of those hats, but it might not be the first one we should pull out of our parenting bag.  First we need to listen, then ask questions—find out what’s going on the head and heart of our child— and THEN we take action.    Sometimes the “action” is to let them handle it.

It’s hard to stop and listen in the midst of a busy day, but I assure you your kids will remember the times their mom or dad stopped to listen and process with them far more than most anything else you do.  If you’re not sure if you need to stop and listen (or if it’s a situation that can be handled with a quick response) take a breath and ask the Lord for wisdom (He will help!) and do as He leads.  Let the laundry pile up, let dinner get cold, let the athletic practice be missed, let the other kids wait…  Stop, listen and then fix it…maybe!

 

Your view of God:  God is a great listener.  Do you need to take some of the burdens of your heart to Him?  Curl up beside Him, unload your fears, anger, worry and mistakes.  He will listen.  His Spirit will open up His truth and love to you and give you exactly what you need.

I love the LORD because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!        Psalm 116:1, 2  NLT

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God Promises: You will mature in faith if…

My Father-in-Love, Bill Bright, wrote a devotional he entitled, “Promises”.  I’ve enjoyed soaking in these nuggets and want to share some with you.  Each week I’ll post one of my favorites.

Would you be surprised to learn that at least 61% of the young adults who sit in church every Sunday and self-identify as committed Christians believe it’s okay to have sex outside of marriage.   Those same people often join the majority of Christians who quote Galatians 5:22,23 and bemoan the fact that they don’t experience the love, joy, peace, patience etc. the verse promises.   Mature Christians are becoming an endangered species…and we don’t even know it…

From Promises by Bill Bright:  copyright 1993

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives He will produce this kind of fruit in us:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.         Galatians 5:22, 23 NLT

One of my dearest friends had a 25-year old son who had never grown past the baby stage mentally or physically.  He had greeted the birth of his beautiful baby boy with great joy, but his joy turned to heartache and sorrow with the passing of years as his son never matured.

Martha, a new Christian, approached me with this question, “With all my heart I want to be a woman of God, but I do not experience the consistency of Galatians 5:22, 23 in my life.  What is wrong?”

Maybe you are asking the same question.  If so, it will be helpful for you to understand that the Christian life is a life of growth.  Just as in our physical lives we begin as babies and progress through childhood into adolescence, young adulthood and mature adulthood, so it is in our spiritual lives.

The Holy Spirit takes up residence within every believer at the moment of new birth.  The growth process is greatly accelerated when a believer consciously yields himself to the lordship of Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit and is faithful student of God’s Word, who has learned to trust and obey God, can pass through the various stages of spiritual growth and become a mature Christian within a brief period of time.  Some Spirit-filled Christians demonstrate more of the fruit of the Spirit in one year than others who have been untaught, uncommitted believers for 50 years. 

Closing thoughts from Kathy:

Today’s promise reminds us that spiritual growth takes time and effort.  Helping our kids grow to maturity can be a daily reminder that we, too, are in process.  Our kids need help in growing up; we need help to mature in our faith.  Our kids need discipline, healthy food, exercise, good relationships and increasing knowledge and wisdom… so does our spiritual growth.  What changes do you need to make to allow God to grow His peace, joy, love, patience etc. in your life?  As I write I’m thinking of a few things I need to change in my daily routine to help cultivate my relationship with God and make sure it continues to grow!  May it never stop!!!!