Lust of the Eyes!

Recently I was scolded for being too protective of my teenage son. He had recently bought a football magazine and it had several pictures of cheerleaders showing most of what they had on top! I decided to color in a nice ink shirt for them. The point is not that I can protect him from the world, the point was to show him that things like that are not appropriate to set your eyes upon. He pours over those magazines for hours at a time, and if those pictures are in there, he will also be pouring over those pictures and is that something we should teach our children is ok to do?

Lust of the eyes! Many people don't even think about that anymore. Now days, a girl can wear almost anything, (or almost nothing)! My family recently went to see a Vikings game and I got to watch the cheerleaders. Back when I was a cheerleader, we wore longer skirts and full sweaters. Now, they have barely there skirts, and shirts that not only show the midriff, they barely cover the top! We were not allowed to dance provocatively, and now they can dance like they are strippers, in front of millions of viewers! On tv, young girls are taught to wear short, adult like clothes and we allow our children to watch this or even wear those outfits because it is the "in" thing to do. We are desensitized to it now. Everywhere we go, it's ok to show it off and it's ok to let everyone look and "lust" over you. Modesty is out the window and all we have left is the saying "the body is a beautiful thing." It IS, made by God, and is not meant to be used in ways to lure and cause sin.

The world wants us to think it's ok to stare longing at one another, to "lust" has become right instead of wrong and is now encouraged in the media, along with porn and other destructive ungodly habits. I draw clothes on those girls not only to protect my sons eyes, but show that God does not agree with what is being shown and that we need to make sure we are not allowing ourselves to fall into satan's web of lies. We also teach our son if an underwear ad comes on, or something inappropriate, to turn your head away and not allow yourself to dwell on what is being shown in this world. We can't hide our children in a box, but we can teach them how to protect their minds!

1 John 2:16 "For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world."


Being a Proactive Parent!

Have you ever been so tired that you don't care what your child is up to? Have you ever been exhausted from your day at work or from being awake all night with a screaming child that you throw whatever you can on the tv and just allow it to soothe them by giving you a little peace and quiet? What about when your child is older and you feel that they are old enough to decide for themselves whether something is worth watching? Do you really think they are off watching anything that would be good for them, and do you think there's anything actually good to be watching?

Let's take this conversation to our schools. Have you ever put your child into school and have no idea what curriculum they use? Do you know their teachers and their beliefs? Do you realize that teachers have the power to give your child any book they feel is appropriate to read in their rooms?

Now most parents are way to busy to look any further than dropping their kids off at school. They don't have time to get to know the teachers or even pay attention to what books their children brought home that day. We are in a world of busyness. Many times both parents work and on top of that we have sports activities, band, church, and million other things that can occupy our time. The devil loves this! We are too busy or exhausted to take the time to find out what our children are watching, or what their teacher is truly teaching. We don't know what curriculum is being used to teach our children at the schools and how young some subjects are truly being taught. If satan can keep us consumed with daily busyness to the point of not caring, then he is free to allow things to creep into our lives without us even realizing it!

Right now I am a stay at home mom, but I have also worked full-time while at the same time homeschooled my boys, and taken care of the home besides. I completely understand exhaustion, craziness, and busyness to the point of not caring. But...we as parents need to care! We need to be proactive parents! If our lives have become so busy that we no longer have time to fight for our children, then we need to reevaluate our schedules. Take the time to find out what your children are watching, find out what books your teacher has in her room that all children are free to read without your knowledge. Take the time to find out what curriculum is being used at your schools. Satan wants the world to become so consumed in life that we allow others to raise our children without us even realizing it's happening! If he can get us focused on our work, money, activities, and keep us moving, then we have no fight left in us.

A few years ago, the middle school had decided they wanted to change their sex education books. A few parents close to me that had middle schoolers at the time began to closely examine these books to find out how ungodly they were. Even though some of these parents were single moms fighting exhaustion and working alone to provide for their families, these parents took a stand. They fought and fought against it until the school chose to keep the old curriculum. They became "proactive parents". They could have easily not paid attention to what was being shown to their children and no one would have even noticed that the books were being changed.

I encourage all parents to be "proactive" in every part of their children's lives. Don't let the world raise our kids! Watch a movie before your young child is allowed to watch it, take the time to look through your child's school bag to find out what they are reading, and be a part of your child's school, getting to know their teachers and what is truly being taught. And...if you see something that satan is trying to sneak through, be sure to stand up against it and fight for our kids. Do you really think that satan or the world has our children's best in mind? If we don't fight for God and our kids, no one will!

1 Peter 5:8-9
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."


Oh Be Careful Little Tongue What You Say!

As a child, I remember going to this little Assembly of God church, and in a small Sunday School room, one of the mothers use to sit down at an old, wooden, upright piano and we sang "Oh Be Careful". The song goes like this, "Oh be careful little tongue what you say, oh be careful little tongue what you say, for the father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little tongue what you say."

The tongue, it is so small, yet can cause so much damage. In one swift word or tone, you can either uplift someone or tear them down. Many times we use the "just joking" trick. It's where you say something, realize it came out rude, and throw a quick "just joking" in there to appear that you didn't mean it, even though you did! In Matthew 12:34, it says, "...For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart."

My boys love each other, but let's face it...they are brothers! There are times when they bother each other, drive each other crazy, and say mean things. The "just joking" becomes a habit and so does the idea that we should pick each other apart in efforts to "make them a better person." There seems to be days when the verbal attacks seem to be greater than others. The parental reminder for us all is the often used phrase, "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all!"

One day my son had to memorize a verse for Royal Rangers. The verse is Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." That verse was a great reminder to not only the boys, but to myself that we need to be careful what we say. What good does it do to complain about others, tear them down and make them feel less than a beautiful person designed by God. We are all made by God and to speak cruelly about someone is saying that God makes mistakes!

Let us remember how we like to be treated and think before we speak. Each of us are imperfect and we have no right as sinners to say cruel things to each other. So, before those thought come creeping out of your mouth, stop and think about the affects that would have on another person. Does what you say praise and uplift God? Does it encourage you or anyone around you? Would you want the same thing said to you? So, as your anger grows and thoughts start to consume you about that one person that you struggle with, begin to pray and ask God to help you understand what they might be going through, and that you can begin to see them through God's eyes.


Are We Truly Sorry?

Have you ever watched a child take a toy away from another? They then get caught by a parent or teacher and are told to say sorry. The little child reluctantly gives back the toy, clenches his fist, scrunches his little face and forces out a quick, "sorry!" The child then runs away to go off and forget what he's done, and grabs the next thing from another child. The parent knows that their child wasn't truly sorry and wasn't giving back the toy willingly; he was merely following the instructions laid out by his parent, and there was nothing heartfelt about that apology.

As Christians we are taught from a young age that God forgives. Those who walk in the door of a church for the first time are also immediately taught that God can forgive anything from their past. John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." To many that sounds easy! All we do is sin all week, and run to church on Sunday and confess it all like a grocery list. After the service is over, they feel so much better and run off knowingly committing the same sins and thinking that next Sunday they can just come and do it all over again. Some people pray before they do it! "Oh, Lord, "I know you say not to do this, but I have to, so I ask that you forgive me for what I'm about to do!" If God's word says don't do it, then don't do it. Yes, God truly "forgives" when we are "truly" sorry! In the dictionary, the term "sorry" means, "feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence". In the modern "Urban Dictionary", the first definition talks about using it to make a person shut up! Oh, how times have changed. We don't say sorry because we mean it, we say it to just quick get people to stop bothering us about our sins and to just quickly move on, not truly caring about what we have just done. In the Bible it talks about people sinning and in Acts 3:19 it says, "Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away." The word "repent" means, "to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to 'CHANGE' one's life for the better; be penitent." In this verse you are truly saying you are sorry for your sins and you are turning away from them and turning yourself to God. You leave those sins and do your best not to repeat them. In John 8, it talks about a woman who committed adultery. People were trying to condemn her and Jesus said, "“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” People use this verse often to get out of what they did wrong, but aren't truly sorry about what they have done. They might feel a tad "guilty", but they are quick to say, "well, she did the same thing, so it's no big deal, we all sin." The part that everyone seems to leave out in this important chapter, is in verse 11 when Jesus says, "...Go and sin no more." He is telling her that if she is truly sorry then He has forgiven her, but she must not go back to the sin that he has just forgiven her from.

The point is we are all imperfect sinners, and yes we will do things against God and His word at times. We as Christians though, should be reading God's word and learning what we should and should not be doing. When these sins occur and we have realized what we have done, we need to come with a truly sorrowful heart, truly knowing and feeling sorry for what we have done. Knowing that we have offended God, our sorrow should be so great that we want to turn from the sin that was committed and "Go and sin no more." That is when we are honestly sorry, and then God sees and knows our hearts and grants that amazing forgiveness that is talked about in His word.