Defining Godless Morality

I stumbled upon this quote yesterday and found it very sobering in light of American history and the way our culture is heading down a godless track toward becoming a society of people determined to create and kow-tow to their own various codes of ethics.

From bondage to spiritual faith.
From spiritual faith to great courage.
From courage to liberty.
From liberty to abundance.
From abundance to selfishness.
From selfishness to complacency.
From complacency to apathy.
From apathy to dependency.
From dependency back again into bondage.

~Alexander Tytler, University of Edinburgh

For extra entertainment, go read the lively discussion over at MInTheGap’s. His post, Morals without Christianity is generating a lot of comments, especially garnering my attention. When someone claimed that “Christianity’s waning influence has had a positive effect on morality” I sat up and said, “Wha-at?”

Here’s what I really said:

“All you have to do is look to the public school system to see how the *mandated* absence of God has affected morality. Not to mention, morality is being redefined every second.

Some people consider it moral to put the elderly out of their misery by lethal injection. These types of “mercy killings” were popular during the Nazi regime, when the value of human life was determined by Hitler and backers of his twisted philosophy. If we don’t keep to a golden standard, let’s use the Biblical one for example, who’s to say what is acceptable and what’s not?

If the murder rate is waning, why have school shootings exploded en masse in the past decade? These aren’t crazed “Christian” kids doing the shooting.

Because we Christians strongly believe in right and wrong, according to the Biblical standard, we’re becoming extremely unpopular. I’m not saying Christians are perfect, just that God’s mandates are.

We’ve all been around children whose parents allow them to set their own standards for behavior. That’s where I think America is heading, and it’s toward a major disaster. That’s the problem…we’re not just human robots, capable of falling into a reliable set of “virtues”. From our early childhood we stumble and fall into trouble time and time again. If left to our own devices we’re pathetically headed down a dead end road of unhappiness and selfish ambitions. Where’s the morality there? Is it good for society? Doubtful.

There has to be a standard. I believe that God created us, and that life is precious and should be protected according to His Biblical mandates. If evolution is correct, and we’re all some highly-evolved species of animal, then that same life devalues pretty quickly according to whoever happens to be calling the shots (Hitler? Stalin?).

By all means, blame Christianity.”

Good grief. When I get going, I really get going. But honestly, this type of reasoning inflames me, when it should just move me to compassion. The sad thing is, no matter how many comment wars we engage in, I probably am not going to make a dent in their convictions. I wonder how big of a difference we actually can make online, when so much depends upon our words and no real-life interaction. That being said, who am I to limit God and His ability to work however He so chooses?

In the meantime, may God have mercy on America.

Learning from Loss

Today’s my day for posting at Writer…Interrupted. As my sister and brother-in-law’s loss is on my heart and mind, it’s no surprise I chose to write more on the subject. Head on over if you want to know what I’ve learned through this…a whole lot!

One thing I didn’t mention over there, is that I’ve decided I’m much more of a Martha than a Mary when it comes to crises. I work myself in a frenzy behind the scenes, trying to plan ahead for how best to meet needs…needs that often don’t even come my way. I wish I’d been there for my sister-in-law the minute I heard about the fire, but I rationalized myself away from the scene till later in the afternoon, keeping myself busy running to town to get supplies, making food for everyone and getting clean sheets on all the beds in case they decided to come our way for the night. Which, they didn’t. Hindsight, etc.

Well, there’s definitely a lot to learn through tragedy. Most of it not pleasant, but still good to grow.

May God bless you and keep you and your loved ones safe in His sovereign watch-care.

Burned to the Ground

What a day. My husband’s sister and her husband and three little ones live just down the country road from us. Today, their beautiful two-story 100 year old farm house burned to the ground. Firefighters are speculating that it started in the basement, but no one knows for sure. Thankfully my sister-in-law had just left the house to take her son to preschool, and my father-in-law, who works nearby, happened to see smoke and drove over to investigate.

You never know what the day holds. Our guys have been fighting fires every other night this week it seems like. High winds and fires don’t mix, let me tell you. My brother-in-law’s last words to my sister-in-law this morning when he left home for work were, “Call me if there’s a fire…” See, he’s a volunteer firefighter, just like my hubby.  He’ll drop everything and head home to help the local crew if there’s a need. Today it was his house.

Please pray for them. They do have insurance, and a fire box protected all their important papers. God is good, and His hand was all over this situation, protecting and providing. Still, not a walk in the park.

Thank you!

No Surgery

Hello all!

I thought I better update you friends on our situation with my seven year old daughter’s upcoming foot surgery. In case the details are fuzzy, here’s the quick long rundown:

In October she got a splinter in her foot from sliding down in our hallway–in sock feet even. Evidently there was a slivered section in our wood floor–argh! I got out an immense one-inch sliver here at home, and took her to the doctor to have him dig around for the rest of it. He thought he got it all. About a month later, she developed two purplish cysts further down on the bottom of her foot. So back to the doctor we went. Second painful experience with the doctor. He lanced the cysts and drained them, didn’t see anything to worry about. Hmm.

When the cysts refilled, we took her two different places. First to a podiatrist who ran a lot of expensive tests. A sonogram finally showed us that she still had over an inch long splinter in her foot. He recommended surgery.

For a more natural approach, we went to a Chiropractor who practices applied kinesiology and prescribes nutritional whole food supplement regimens. She assured us over and over that leaving the splinter in would be no big deal. It was walled off, encapsulated in the cysts, and this doc thought our daughter’s body was putting up a big enough fight against it on her own. So she put our daughter on a rigorous nutritional supplement routine to build her immune system up.

Still, that’s one big splinter and we weren’t feeling led strongly either way. So we kept asking for our friends and family to pray for wisdom and scheduled the surgery eight weeks out. Buying decision making time, essentially. I kept thinking about how sometimes you just have to step out and trust God to shut the door if you’re making the wrong move.

So this last Tuesday we had our second pre-op appointment, this time with the podiatrist. He went over the what-to-expects of surgery and we left feeling very unsettled. First, he didn’t think the hospital would allow one of us to stay with our daughter during surgery. Ha. Did they really think they could keep us out? Yeah right. Second, the anesthesia plan was to use general anesthesia, which means the whole tube in her throat route and someone pumping oxygen into her at the bedside. Oh, and he kept emphasizing that we would have no idea how she would react to the anesthetic, and talked about the possibility of death…right in front of our 7 year old!

Now, hubby was really getting second thoughts. Of the two of us, he’d been more inclined to choosing surgery. So he lined me out to make several phone calls to “trusted medical” friends…translated: they have the same natural philosophy that we do, while yet being well versed in the medical field. These people all advised us against surgery. They felt the scar tissue and nerve damage weren’t worth the risk, especially as the splinter isn’t causing our daughter any pain whatsoever.

So we’re following their advice. One of them was the MD that delivered our first two girls. She left the family practice clinic to pursue alternative health. Would you believe that she told me a story of a girl who stepped on a toothpick, and after digging around on the girl’s foot a few times, they decided to let it be. A few months passed and the toothpick worked its way out the top of the girl’s foot.

Thank you all for your prayers and for all your previous comments and emails concerning our daughter’s situation. We’d appreciate continued prayers for protection and eventual resolution of this stubborn splinter!

Have a Blessed Easter!

The croissants are bagged up, the scalloped potato casserole is ready to go…I’m so looking forward to our church’s Easter service, and lunch with all the family at my parent’s home, where we’ll enjoy my mom and two older sisters’ unsurpassed culinary skills!

I love the song by Bill Gaither, Because He Lives. Talk about perfect for Easter. I hope we sing it today at church. All yesterday it played in my heart. I can’t get over the fact that God sent His son to die for me! He had me in mind. He would have sent Jesus–and Jesus would gladly have come–to die for me, if I’d been the only sinner on earth that needed saving. Can’t fathom that kind of love. I think there is something deep within all of us that feels we have to earn or deserve love. But wa-ay back in eternity past God was thinking of me. Long before my daddy was even a twinkle in his daddy’s eyes…long before I could have done anything to earn or deserve such a sacrifice. Such a priceless gift with only one catch: We must believe.

Why would He give His most treasured possession for me? Love. A kind of love we’ll never understand till we’re in heaven. He knew we’d be lost forever without His son to save us. So He went out of His way, BIG time, to seek us out and offer us a way up out of this hard and painful world we live in. He knew that without Him by our side, difficult times would be impossible to endure. What protection, grace and favor we are granted through His presence in our lives! No greater love than this…

We serve a living and risen Savior! Rejoice with me, and I pray that God’s amazing love for you reaches out and squeezes on your life today, and always. Be blessed, my friends!

Happy Easter.

Because He Lives ~ Bill Gaither

God Sent His Son, They Called Him Jesus;
He Came To Love, Heal And Forgive.
He Lived And Died To Buy My Pardon;
An Empty Grave Is There To Prove My Savior Lives.

Chorus:
Because He Lives
I Can Face Tomorrow
Because He Lives
All Fear Is Gone
Because I Know He Holds The Future
And Life Is Worth The Living
Just Because He Lives

How Sweet To Hold A Newborn Baby,
And Feel The Pride And Joy He Gives;
But Greater Still The Calm Assurance:
This Child Can Face Uncertain Day Because He Lives.

Chorus

And Then One Day I’ll Cross The River;
I’ll Fight Life’s Final War With Pain.
And Then, As Death Gives Way To Vict’ry,
I’ll See The Lights Of Glory And I’ll Know He Reigns.

I Need Advice

Someone very special to me is in a serious dating relationship with a very controlling guy. He can’t stand for her to have happiness outside of him, to the point of getting angry at her and refusing to listen to her or support her having a “life” outside of him.

She is young and for whatever reasons, she loves him.

What would you do? What would you say? Do you have any personal experience that could be used to warn her of what a life spent with a man like this would be like? Is there anything anybody can say to make a difference, or is this something she’ll have to learn the hard way?

Thank you for your advice and prayers over this situation.

Tricia Goyer: Real Life Q & A

 

Advice is like snow;

the softer it falls,

the longer it dwells upon,

and deeper it sinks into the mind.

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I don’t know about you, but I like reading advice columns. I especially like the ones in the morning paper that deal with everything from “handling a cranky mother-in-law” to “telling someone they have stinky feet.” Sometimes I don’t agree with the advice given, but most of the time I do.

Do you ever wish you had a direct line to an advice columnist? I have a problem . . . can you help . . .

My baby won’t sleep in her own bed.

My husband won’t pick up his socks.

My parents still want to rule my life.

Then, when you opened the next morning’s paper, the perfect answer would be there?

Thankfully, God has placed people all around us who can offer good advice. Sometimes the advice is given without us asking. (Okay, many times!) In other instances, we seek people out. The key is knowing who to listen to . . . and when. Below are tips to help you do just that!

A, B, C’s of Getting Good Advice

A-sk away: It’s okay to ask for advice. No one knows it all!

B-e proctive: Remember, what you do (or don’t do) is your responsibility. It’s up to you to take the initiative and to make good choices. And remember, not making a decision is actually a choice too.

C-onsider your options: God brings people into our lives to help. Look around and consider: Who has God brought into my life to help me find the answer to this problem?

D-ecide who could offer the best help: Seek out different people for your various life issues. There are educational counselors, financial counselors, family counselors, employment counselors, legal counselors, and others, who are experts at what they do. Ask around and you can usually find help for free.

E-liminate extremes. Here are two: 1) being too independent, or 2) expecting someone else to be your complete authority. The only Person we should follow 100% of the time is God.

F-ollow God’s Word. The Bible provides great counsel. Check out the book of Proverbs. It’s a collection of good advice. Also skim through the last quarter of the Bible to find more good ideas.

G-ive special attention to those in authority over you. This includes employers, older adults, employers, and church or group leaders.

H-ope for success. One of the worst things we can do is let things slide instead of dealing with them. Put your hope in the fact that things can get better. Having this mindset will make all the difference in finding a successful solution.

I-nvite the input of several counselors for bigger decisions. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

J-udge whether your issue is a matter of right or wrong. Is it a moral decision or a personal preference? Always strive for “right.”

K-eep yourself from asking advice from only those who agree with you. Listen and weigh other opinions, especially ideas from others who have faced some of the same life experiences.

L-isten to your heart. Novelist Erica Jong says, “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.” Deep down do you already know the answer? Go with that.

M-ake sure you seek help from people who adequately know you and your situation. In most cases, it’s better to give more weight to the person who’s supported you for ten years, in comparison to someone you met last weekend.

N-ever rush into a decision you’re not comfortable with. Give yourself time to sift through all the advice and weigh your options.

O-pen your heart to God. God is the best counselor of all. He speaks through Scripture and through His Spirit’s inner voice. When it comes to seeking advice, go to God in prayer first.

P-ay attention. Does the person offering advice follow it herself? Does it work?

Q-uestion how your decision will effect your future. Ask youself, “Five years from now, how will I view this decision? What decision will I be most happy with at that time?”

R-equire mature advisors. Your kid brother or a crazy friend from college might not be the best choices to turn to for help!

S-eek advice from someone you’d like to imitate. Baby birds learn to fly by imitating their mothers. We can choose whom to imitate-and if choose the right people, we will soar!

T-rust the advice of those who strive to follow God. Christians won’t always have all the right answers, but they often seek God who does.

U-se common sense. Don’t ask for advice when your common sense provides an adequate answer.

V-isualize the outcome. What are the pros of someone’s answer? What are the cons?

W-eigh your motives. What’s the deeper issue?

X-pect that not everyone who gives you advice will agree. Different people have different opinions. It’s up to you to choose the best one.

Y-ield to “good enough.” You may not find the perfect solution right away, but work on a solution that’s “good enough” while you continue to search.

Z-zzzzz Zzzzz. Sleep on it. Your problems always seem bigger and more overwhelming when you’re tired. A good night’s sleep does a world of wonders!

© Tricia Goyer

By Tricia Goyer, author of Generation NeXt Parenting


Check out Tricia’s blogs for more information:genxparents.blogspot.com

triciagoyer.blogspot.com

mywritingmentor.blogspot.com
shoutlife.com/triciagoyer
myccm.org/triciagoyer/blog

Also…Generation NeXt Marriage: The Couples Guide to Keeping it Together is out NOW!

A Three Cannister Winter

I was spooning the last of the Swiss Miss cocoa mix into my 7 year old’s mug when we laughed to ourselves that this year rates as a THREE hot chocolate winter. Normally one family-sized cannister of Swiss Miss sees us through the cold months, but we’re on probably the third or fourth cannister–can’t remember.

**

My hubby heard that there was a chance for snow in the forecast last weekend and promptly began fantasizing his revenge. He says he’ll build a huge snowman and take it apart with a baseball bat. Or a stick of dynamite. Or run over it with his truck. And let the neighbors pay to take their own turns…

Oh please be kind. Remember my husband has to work out in the stuff from 6 A.M. on day in, day out. And he does know that God sends the white stuff…he just enjoys shocking me with his dark side.

**

We decided not to buy more corn for our corn stove…after all, spring is coming, right? So we’re burning wood in our fireplace, which has an insert with vents to blow out the heat. The living room temperature went from forty-seven Sunday morning (before wood) to eighty-four degrees Sunday night . Just like summer in here. I’m even wearing shorts.

What are your musings about this past winter?

Kitchen Adventures

Nothing like a kitchen fire to instigate a thorough spring cleaning!

Thursday morning dawned lovelier than predicted, so my girls begged for a morning outside. Since I had two batches of croissants to roll out and bake, I gave them the thumbs up. The living room needed dusted, our ceiling fan in particular, so I began attacking all the surfaces from top to bottom–taking breaks to brush the rising croissants with egg wash, etc.

Croissants are full of butter. You’re really supposed to bake them on baking sheets with sides, but I’ve a plethora of those flat Air bake cookie sheets, so of a necessity, I end up using a couple of those. Normally, I have no problems. But this time, on the very first pan, the butter oozed out over the sides and caused an oven fire. As the kitchen filled with smoke, I was blithely assembling the vacuum cleaner…thank God for the sense of smell!

Nothing major came of it, the croissants even survived, not a one blackened, though some tasted “smoked”…as in barbequed. But my kitchen! In a haze of smoke, I flipped the exhaust fan on and dragged the big oscillating fan down from upstairs. I opened a kitchen window in an effort to direct the smoke outdoors, not remembering till an hour elapsed, that it was a window with plastic over the screen outside. Sheesh!

And to think, the day before we’d had weather in the 70’s, and I’d opened all the non-plastic-covered windows to let in the fresh air. All for what??? So I opened them all again.

Eventually the kitchen aired out, the rest of the croissants were baked in a smoke-filled oven. Finally, I turned the oven on self-clean and washed all the curtains and windows and finished making two pans of Texas-style lasagna to go with the croissants and salad I’d made that morning. By this time, it was nearly 4 P.M., and the girls were still outside. I’d thrown together a “picnic” lunch for them and did manage to get three year old down for a nap…but I still needed to get to town to deliver half the food I’d made to a friend (the rest was for the next day’s Bible study/lunch with my parents), pick up dog food before the grainery closed, and get back in time to feed everyone and get to Bible study on time.

So after a quick shower I did all of the above, except for getting to Bible study on time. Here’s where I can blame dh…I called the girls in to supper and fed them, all the time wondering where he was…finally I hollered outside, asking him if he’d remembered about Bible study…um, nope! So we got a late start. But all’s well that ends well.

I did have to get up early early the next morning to get finished in the living room before my 9 A.M. Bible study guests arrived…and the girls had to double up on all their subjects since they’d missed the day before…

But at least my kitchen was clean!

Preventative Measures

We live in a crisis management society. We’re great at fixing problems, not so great at preventing them.

I think that’s why I have such high hopes about this new nutritionist the girls and I are seeing. Her passion for health and affordable prices are giving me hope that in the years to come, my family will be less in the hands of the medical community.

I mean, who wouldn’t rather go to someone who can teach us how to stay healthy vs. going to someone who relies on quick fixes that don’t address the root cause, not to mention the fact that their livelihood depends upon our continual illnesses?

Almost two weeks ago I was on the verge of pneumonia. I realized I had two choices. A) Go to the doctor, get X-rays done, and get on antibiotic. B) Go to the alternative doctor, and get adjusted and put on nutritional supplements and hope it works.

I went with option B. Dr. T gave me the best spinal adjustment I’ve had in a long time and did her applied kinesiology magic on me, and it was no surprise that all my weak points were in my lungs. So she put me on several nutritional supplements (22 a day for a month!) and two days into taking them I felt brand new!

I got to thinking about how it’s often the alternative approaches that get the most raised eyebrows. Most people are more comfortable going the traditional route, visiting the doctor and getting whatever prescription best suits their woes. We take our doctor’s word for it, because, of course, doctors know best. We’d rather let the doctor give us a qVegetablesuick fix, than implement healthy diets that require cooking from scratch and spending a little more money on organic fruits and veggies. And someday when it all hits home and turns into diabetes or heart disease, we’ll look back and wish we’d thought twice, and planned for our futures better.

There’s a great spiritual parallel in this line of reasoning. It’s much easier to go to God when we’re hurting and needy than when our lives are on auto-pilot.

When life is good, we concentrate on what most demands our attention. Often those things are material or relational. We think more time with our spouse would make us happy, or fewer financial worries, or less winter snow and mud! This just feeds the discontent; it’s a vicious cycle. Much like the overuse of prescription drugs wreak havoc in generating “smarter germs” with greater resistance to said antibiotics.

God is very often overlooked as the answer to our problems.

So how can we apply this? To me, the basic preventative measures we as Christians need to take boil down to this.

Daily Bible reading and prayer, implementing a Biblical worldviewFamily Group Reading

1. With our kids. Waiting till they are teenagers and full of rebellion is not the time to try to get their hearts back for God. Sure, there’s hope for those of us who are trying to reclaim that ground with teenagers, but the rest of us need to make the most of the time we have now…while their little hearts are ripe. It’s easiest now, believe me.

So talk to your babies about Jesus. Go down the line of “Mommy loves baby. Daddy loves baby. But who loves baby most of all? Jesus does!!!” When you go on walks with your little ones, point out the rocks and trees, the clouds and birds, and ask them over and over: “Who made these?” “God did!” Make Him such a part of your everyday life that your children look forward to night-time as a time to sing and pray together, and read the Bible, or listen to a special pastor on CD or DVD. Talk about how wonderful it will be to meet Jesus in heaven, to sit next to Daniel and hear first-hand his account of spending the night with all those hungry lions. Make it real to them by incorporating it into the minutes of your life.

Don’t make your faith a private thing. Your kids need to know what you’re praying for when possible, and how God has answered prayer.

I’ve mentioned before how important it is to have a “flight plan” in this life of unexpected twists and turns. It’s equally important that we prepare our children for the crises that will inevitably add turbulence to their paths. We won’t always be with them, but we can lay the godly foundation in their hearts, so that when their life is rocked, God is right by their side.

2. On your own and/or with your spouse. Good marriages aren’t luck of the draw. They take nurturing. They grow us up in the Lord like nothing else–well, maybe like child-rearing! Christian couples need to take their faith seriously. Every day, not just on Sundays. And yes, it’s hard. Satan doesn’t want it to be easy and our lives are hectic.

God has plenty to say about marriage, yes, even about spiritually unequal marriages. We need to be familiar with God’s take on these things so that when hard things attack our relationships, we’re anchored in truth! What happens to unanchored ships at sea? They drift further and further out, and when storms come, they capsize.

Surround yourself with like-minded Christians.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As Iron sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another.” Having close bonds with other families who share your values and ideals is so helpful. Our kids need those examples. My oldest told me that during her recent overnight at our friends’ house, she and her best friend spent some time alone, praying that God would help them to make daily Bible reading a priority, among other things.

If you need encouragement in homeschooling or homemaking or marriage, there are some great online Christian communities at your fingertips for instant encouragement. I love to recommend the Raising Godly Tomatoes website, especially their message boards. Let me know in comments if you want to use my info as your referral to join. And for marriages or parent/child relationships in need of restoration, there’s an awesome resource called Restore Ministries. Check them out.

Preventative measures. An “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We’re proactive about our rights, and our health, why not our spirits and those of the ones dearest to us?