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Archive for July, 2012

Ever decide to take a road trip?

What did you do first? Determine your destination? Now that’s a dumb question, isn’t it. You need to know where you’re going. Consider the time factor and travel route?

I certainly hope so. Consult a map? Of course, unless you enjoy loosing the way you should go.

If we spend time and energy planning simple road trips, why would we contemplate embarking on the eternal journey of parenting without a plan? Without determining the destination? Without a route to travel? Without a road map?

Yet, that’s what most of us do.

We have grown up in this serendipity age of “whatever be, will be.” One day we’re single—then we’re not. One day we’re a couple—then we’re not. One day everything’s fine—then it’s not. And we find ourselves in the midst of an enormous crisis, wondering how on earth we got there.

And we got there because we raced out of the starting gate without giving a thought to our destination, our route of travel, and with no idea of when, where or how we would arrive at wherever we were going. Like Eve, deceived by the master manipulator, caught up in his whirlwind of lies about life, and facing the consequences of happenstance living.

We truck mindlessly up and down the winding roads of fads and traditions. My husband and I raised our children during the age of good old Dr. Spock. It didn’t take but a few chapters of Spock compared with the Word God to know which life map to follow.

Unless you read only Spock’s instructions. Which many parents did. And the battle accelerated.

Instead of God’s road map, we chose to take a detour down the dead-end road of time-outs with no consequences for a child’s unacceptable behavior. Ignoring God’s instruction, we have tromped into the quagmire of reducing father to a silly, laughable figure on prime time TV. Replacing him with the I am woman hear me roar wife.

Only roaring wasn’t what it was cracked up to be, so mom escaped into the fantasy of day and nighttime soap operas while dad turned into a workaholic who came home only long enough to change clothes for the gym, golf course, or hunting lease. Home became a war zone. The children took over and the family disintegrated.

Without God’s order there is chaos.

Left to themselves, children learned to play games too—mom vs. dad. While television, movies, social media, and the fashion industry turned up the volume. Get more, be more, do more. More toys, more work, more debt. Which equates to less. Less God, less relationships, and less contentment with all things.

The bombs of opposition to the truth of God’s Word explode every where we turn. Only the Word of God can dispel and heal the deadly radiation of these lies. But parents, if we don’t know this truth or are afraid to speak His truth to our children, these mini-wanna-be-adults, become casualties along life’s journey.

Just like those young women working at Red Neck Heaven, ambushed, lined up like lemmings, and targeted for destruction by the enemy of God. During the weeks since our unplanned visit there, I’ve found numerous establishments throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth area just like RNH. And, if those places are here, you can bet they’re in your town or city also.

Why should we be concerned? Let’s just sing louder ‘til Jesus comes. Whatever will be, will be? Nonsense. That’s how we got here. Maybe a few facts will shine the light of reality and sound the alarm. If you don’t believe me, check with your local Christian pregnancy center.

Our county in Texas, holds the dubious honor of having the highest per capita rate of teen pregnancies, STD’s, and abortions in the State of Texas. If you don’t understand about STD’s ask your doctor. This is a crisis among our school children. Yes, even at the elementary level.

It’s long past time to sound the alarm. We can no longer hide within the sanctuary, pretending we don’t see that our children and grandchildren have lost the way they should live.

Mom, Dad, you are their parent—not their buddy. He only gave them one mom and one dad. And it’s your job to train them in the way God says they are to go. If you don’t have the courage to stand for Christ with your teen now, how will you have the strength to stand for Him during the truly difficult times and events that are to come?

Next week: WHEN THEY ARE OLD

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The sign read Red Neck Heaven, but seated at a table surveying the scenery, I’d-a called it Red Neck Hell. From the parking lot it looked like a barbeque joint. But the place was Hooter’s on Steroids.

Tired and famished, my friend Lori and I turned into the Texas Roadhouse parking lot to grab a quick lunch. It was closed. However, the place next door was open and the parking lot filled.

Lots of cars equals good food. Right? We agreed a burger or barbeque sounded great, so we parked and went inside.

The waitress who greeted us couldn’t have been a day past high school graduation and wasn’t wearing much. Should-a been our first clue. But we resumed chatting about the weighty matters of the world while waiting for an open table.

When she ushered us to a table, we realized something we should-a noticed before. Besides the waitresses—all very, very scantily clad—Lori and I were the only women in the place. Second clue.

Our idea of weighty matters of the world took on a whole new dynamic.

I gasped for air and breathed, “Oh Lord, what now? Stay or flee? Which would attract more attention?”

Whether a good or a bad decision, we sat down and ordered a burger.

Multiple TV screens hung around the top of the room flashing pictures of these little feminine replicas of Daisy Mae. And let me tell you, that cartoon country gal was dressed for winter compared to these precious girl-children. The mother in me screamed, “Does your mama know where you are and what you’re doing? Get out-a-here.”

And none of them could have been a day over twenty. I was embarrassed for them, for myself, for my friend, and yes, even for the men making idiots of themselves. Men of all ages, cultures and dress—from business men to cowboys—from Marines to construction workers.

Lori groaned and stared into her water glass, “I don’t know where to fix my eyes.”

“On the food when it comes,” I instructed, “… and eat…fast.”

The burgers and onion rings were great, but following my own advice, I gulped them down and my digestive system rebelled.

We ate fast and left faster.

One man exited the restaurant behind us and made a point of commenting that tomorrow would be A.B.C. Day, Anything But Clothes Day. He said the line to get in would extend around the building by 9 A.M. In broad daylight.

But the real shock to my system was the memory of these young women sashaying about in little but their imaginations, gaudy belly-button jewelry, and cowgirl boots— trailed by the unveiled lust of men—numerous men—leering at them.

Why would these girls be willing to trade God’s promises of blessings to those who are pure in heart for a meager salary and smutty attention from men? Where had they found the brazen ability to make themselves the object of gawking stares and lewd advances? Somebody’s daughters, sisters, friends. Do you care? Does anyone care?

How did we get here?

Parents, do we bear any blame for this ghastly display? Could we be responsible? Have we encouraged our children—boys and girls—to embrace this behavior and call it good?

Mom, could we be desensitizing our little girls by placing them in that first bikini? At age 3? Maybe 5? Training them through the years that it’s okay to expose as much skin as they dare? Is this immoral immodesty one of the consequences of the absence of the Word of God? Or direct opposition to it?

And Dad, lest you say “It’s her mother’s fault. She buys the stuff.” Don’t you realize, whether you believe it or not, you will stand before God, to give an account of your actions protecting the safety and well-being of each member of your family? You are required as the God-appointed head of your family to see and say NO to present and future dangers.

I’m not suggesting a return to the behavior and dress of the 1800’s. But where do we draw the line? How much is too much and how little is too little? We’ve turned our back on modesty and plunged head first into the cesspool of provocation and shame. And, there’s not much difference in behavior and dress inside and outside the church.

The truth is we are here.

But the urgent question is: Do you have the courage to seek to know what God says about this issue and then stand for His revealed truth?

What do you think? Are you living in a houseful of teens who want “to be like their friends?” Let’s discuss this.

Next week, Part Two In The Way They Should Go, we’ll explore what we all have allowed our children to witness and participate in. Is it too late to shut the barn door?

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I got nothing from the sermon this morning. Should have stayed home. The music was loud and consisted of fifteen words, repeated over and over. And not a soul spoke to me.

Hmm, ever thought that?

Come on now, ‘fess up. I have.

Last week a friend of mine loaned me a book she bought at a garage sale. The title of the book was In His Steps, by Charles M. Sheldon, published by Moody Press in 1956. This powerful book has caused me to rethink and refocus on the object of worship. And the conclusion is clear. . .

Worship is not about me.

What? That statement begs the question, then who or what is worship all about? What I get out of church? Me feeling good when I leave church? Me hearing the pastor give an acceptable sermon?

Or is my purpose to sit at Jesus feet to learn to become more like Him? Only the Spirit can accomplish that in me—my part is to be quiet, to listen, and then obey. Scripture tells me I am to “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and come into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4 KJV).

Worship is for God and about God—not what I get, but what I give to Him.

And to be truthful, if I’m not worshiping before I reach the church building, chances are I’m not going to worship once I’m inside.

So why do I go to church? Several thoughts spring to mind: To hear the pastor’s message and read God’s Word? To sing and listen to the special music, and enjoy the company of friends who believe as I do?

But is that worship?

No. Worship convicts me when I humble myself and recognize my traditions and self-righteousness are like filthy rags before God. I realize the vast chasm between a holy God and a sinner like me, then acknowledge and accept that Jesus paid the debt for my sins and gave me life—eternal life. And I am thankful. Grateful.

Jesus commended the tax collector who stood outside the tabernacle, wouldn’t even look up toward heaven and beat on his breast, crying out “God be merciful to me—a sinner.” But He condemned the Pharisee who said “God I thank Thee that I am not like other people…even like this tax collector,” (Luke 18:11-13 NAS).

I don’t recall thinking, “Lord, be merciful to me. I’m a sinner,” as I’m racing through the church doors before the first song or prayer. I don’t even remember spending those moments in the car driving to church contemplating my desperate need for Him.  

Rogets Thesaurus lists the verb worship as “adore, cherish, respect.”

Who? Him?

Have I? No. It’s been all about me.

Is it any wonder I leave church in worse shape than when I arrived?

Are you tired of sitting in church every Sunday, singing a few praise choruses, reading a few scriptures, praying, then continuing with business as usual Monday through Friday? I wonder if our lives would be changed if we committed to ask Jesus what He would do each day, in every circumstance of our lives—relationships, finances, business?

In this book, In His Steps, the pastor and his congregation found themselves asking that same question after an unsettling experience during a Sunday service brought them to question the core of their worship. They chose to surrender to the power of the Spirit of God. As a result the preacher, the congregation, and their town was changed.

Those believers did not take their commitment lightly, nor should we. When we seek answers from man we receive only what man can provide. When we ask God, we receive wisdom, power, and understanding from the The Lord God Almighty.

But the battle ground camps in our hearts and minds. Our sinful nature shouts it’s  all about me. And that’s the deception we’ve bought into. But when we make the choice to worship God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and we choose to follow In His Steps victory is certain.

I ask you to search for a copy of In His Steps. Read it, ask God to speak to your heart about worship, then share with us what He says to you.

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I’d like to introduce my friend and Margie Lawson editing partner, Janet K. Brown. Janet’s novel Victoria and the Ghost will be released July 25th.

Janet, tell them a little about your journey writing this book.

 

Thanks DiAne.

Like my character, Victoria, I discovered the deserted town of Clara, Texas. A church, a rectory and a cemetery mark the town’s once great promise of greatness. I walked the cemetery plots and felt a peace among the memorials. Flat plains with dry grass, crops, and cows stretched across the landscape as far as my gaze could see. There, with the tombstones and flowers that had been planted or placed on graves, I determined to know more about Clara.

A story turned over in my mind of a girl who feels a mother’s rejection, a father’s unreasonable requirement, and the loss of friends and familiar landmarks. When I heard about the legend of the ghost of Colonel Specht, called the baron of Clara, I decided this girl and this ghost bore common problems. They needed each other. Along the ride, the reader will meet a colorful German pastor’s wife, a good-looking cowboy and a redheaded jerk who would tempt any Christian to revenge. Come learn with Victoria. Watch out for intrigue, romance and chickens. Through the sad story of a displaced German who loved Clara, Texas, Victoria will learn about reality, love, and truth.

I began this story fifteen years ago, but my job and obligations kept me from finishing it until after I retired as a medical secretary and coder here in Wichita Falls. I dove into learning the writing craft. I wrote short stories and books and submitted them. Five years of rejections papered my study’s walls before the story of Victoria and the Ghost caught the publisher, Vivian Zabel’s attention. In 2011, she offered me a contract. The reality of this book releases July 25, 2012. I am beyond excited.

Join Victoria and me on a horseback ride across North Texas plains and a chauffeur-driven limousine ride through North Dallas. I hope you enjoy the book.

With God, hope rises.

Janet

To preorder: http://tinyurl.com/4RVStore

Janet K. Brown

http://www.janetkbrown.com

 

 

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