Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit ~ Self-Control

Self-Control: The ability to control one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior.

Titus 2:11-14
     "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."

Tis the season for self-control, fa la la la la la la la la..... Ok a little fun and games but seriously this is the season that most people think of "me me me",  "what can I get for Christmas?" and "what are you getting me for Christmas?". "Oh I would love that!", "Here is my Christmas list." I thought that self-control was the perfect way to wrap up our Fruits of the Spirit. I don't know if God wanted us to have an extra emphasis on self-control, however self-control is something that in this day and age and in our era of "me me me" is impossible. It needs to be not just well taught, but also learned and worked at, and you have to ask God over and over again and pray for self-control. This time of year I think is the hardest. Every time that you go into the store you see all these beautiful things and you want them and it is just temptation every time. I really don't know how you can avoid it. It is right in your face the second you walk in the door, on the radio, "Look what you can get for $5!", "Oh this weekend is a sale!". My favorite Christmas's growing up were always around family. Don't get me wrong I'm the type of person where if you give me something and I don't even care if there is anything in the box I just like to shred the wrapping paper. You can ask my family, I literally destroy Christmas gifts. My mom has combatted this with teaching me patience, which is something that I definitely need to work on and another fruit of the spirit. She decided that it would be a great idea to have us go in order from youngest to oldest, including her and dad, which put me right in the middle. It was horrible. That is how we opened our Christmas presents, one     at      a      time.  So my sister would go first than my brother and than I would destroy my gift and like it for all of five seconds and then be really irritated the entire time that everyone was going, while I would be slowly opening my present. I had no self-control whatsoever. Still to this day, I do admit, on Christmas morning my husband is sometimes embarrassed by how I act. I am the three year old in the group

Now I really do know what Christmas is all about and that is Jesus. I believe that a lot of our sin and the reason why Jesus had to come be our savior is based off of a lack of self-control. It can be seen throughout the Bible. Let's start at the beginning.

Eve: God told her to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil but Satan told her that she should and instead of having self-control and saying "God told me not to do this, I think I should listen to Him." She was like "yeah you know what? That does look pretty tasty." and she ate it. Genesis 3:1-6

Than we move on a little further and we have Cain and Abel and Cain is mad and everything would be a lot different if he had simply had self-control and realized that his anger was the cause not Abel. Who knows what this world would look like if he hadn't raised that rock? Genesis 4:7-8

We can also take a look at Noah's time. No one had self-control. Jesus said in the end of days it will be as Noah and the flood. I am not seeing self-control in the near future, so obviously self-control was not something that Noah's time had.  Luke 17:26

Abraham: God told Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son, and Abraham and Sarah both didn't have the faith or the self-control to wait and instead Sarah gave Abraham Hagar, her maidservant. Abraham also not having self-control to say "No, you are my wife and God said that we would have a son not our family that includes Hagar." So he gave in and we have Isaac and Ishmael. That in itself has caused problems that we see today in the middle east. There is a reason why they have been in constant war. Genesis 16:2-3 

Moving forward to David, this is a big one and it is lust. Lust is a major lack of self-control. When you get married you say "for better or worse for richer or poorer". Everything in that is self-control. You are giving yourself to that person and they are giving themselves to you. They expect you to think of them as your only person, your complete soul mate. They expect you to have self-control around others and to stay within the boundaries of marriage that God put forth in the beginning, and David stepped outside of these boundaries. David saw Bathsheba bathing and he not only had a lack of self-control for himself but he also violated Uriah's because Uriah kept himself just for Bathsheba and David took her from him. 2 Samuel 11:2-4

Throughout the Bible you see all these examples of what a lack of self-control is and what does it show you? It shows us all of our errors, sin, death, disobedience and adultery. All the sins that one can commit against God spur from a lack of self-control. You need to refrain from temptation and refrain would be to control your self. It is not easy. Being a Christian is not easy. It does not have many rules but the general concept is being faithful to God and living a righteous life. Two general rules. If you are not doing either one of these than you are breaking all of the commandments. It is like Jesus said "Upon these two all the law hangs." Jesus' life was complete, it was love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All of his acts were for others and to glorify God the Father.

So this is something to think about during the holiday season, and don't get me wrong during this time of year you can still enjoy getting the gifts that friends and family have found for you. But you should remember that we already have the greatest gift of all. The gift of salvation and eternal life. What other gift do you want or need? So enjoy this time by giving to others who need it. Enjoy this Christmas with self-control.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit ~ Gentlenes

It has been a while since I could write because of limited internet due to the storm this last week. On the positive side, I was able to spend quality time with myself and the word. I took up coloring this week (yes like a four year old) and it is so relaxing. But to move forward with the fruits of the spirit.

Gentleness: Considerate or kindly in disposition, tender, to make less severe or intense, to soothe.

The past year I have been learning about parenting by watching my cousins three year old little girl. I don't have any kids so each day is an adventure and a learning curve for the both of us. I have come to understand that gentleness is far better for discipline than threats or punishment. Now some of her actions call for more punishment than others but most of the time she is not doing things to be bad, but she is doing them because she doesn't know they are wrong and is learning just like me. We continually learn through our mistakes during life, and sometimes simple advice is all we need to correct our mistakes. The same goes for children. Gentleness and explanations can accomplish more when talking to a toddler than a spanking or time out. Asking "Would you like it if that happened to you?" or explaining that their actions can hurt others can be just as effective.

James 3:17
     "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy."

I believe that Jesus wanted us to do the same. He used parables to offer advice instead of stating what was wrong. He was gentle with His approach and that is what draws people toward Him. Gentleness is another way to love someone. It shows that you genuinely care and are willing to put effort into showing them an alternative way, instead of simply stating what is right and what is wrong. Learning right and wrong is easy, discerning the grey areas are what is difficult. I constantly ask myself, is this the loving way to do something. Not always is it easy, but it is rewarding.

Proverbs 15:1
     "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Gentleness is the key to a happy relationship with others. You may need love but without gentleness you will not show your love they way Christ displayed His. So ask yourself when giving advice to children and to others, "Is this out of love? Am I being gentle?"

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit ~ Goodness

Goodness: moral excellence, virtue, the essence of something or its strength; integrity and honesty.

This week I took some time to reflect on life. To see where I have come from; the goals I have accomplished and looked excitingly toward the future. And in that I realized in order to stick to your goals and remain not only true to God and being a Christian, but also to yourself, you have to maintain your morality. You cannot compromise your integrity or your goodness, and not compromise your future. Goodness in the bible is accounted to ones character, and uprightness in what they believed. To Abraham, his goodness saved him.

   Genesis 15:6
      "And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness."

   Romans 4:2
      "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God."

Abraham was not saved because of offerings but because he believed in the Lord and His promises to him, and did not compromise his belief because of others. His goodness and morality did not waver. Now this is not to say that men are perfect once they believe. Abraham knew God promised him a child, yet he thought his plan was the way. God brought the Jews into the world through Isaac, not Ishmael. Yet God fulfilled a promise to both sons to become great nations. Abraham compromised his future here, and it changed not only his life but the world.

One's goodness is what maintains them. Their reputation is what people remember of them and reputation can change based on one's moral compass. So the fruit of the spirit is not just telling you to be a "good person" but rather to be upright, virtuous and grounded in God.

The word good is considered a dead word in society. That means we use it to explain beneficial things without true explanation or description. Instead of "That was a good meal" we would substitute with excellent or obedient  for "He is a good child." But the biblical meaning is much more. It is not a dead description or rotten fruit. It is something to strive towards, a standard to obtain. We pray for goodness, and to obtain goodness you need peace and patience.The fruits of the spirit go hand in hand. Goodness is not being perfect. We saw Abraham was not that, but he trusted in God as we should, and he was faithful and true to God.

   Psalm 23
      "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit ~ Kindness

Kindness: The quality of being friendly generous and considerate.

The use for the word kindness over time has drastically declined in the last 200 years. Why is that? Have people become less kind? Or do we not know the true meaning of the word and use others in its place? Kindness, I believe, is often replaced with the word nice. However, nice simply is to be pleasant and agreeable. Nice is not generous, nice is not considerate. Nice is tolerant.

   Ephesians 4:32
      "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."

God's act of forgiveness wasn't nice, it was kind. He did not have to save us, we are dirty rotten sinners to the core, and some of us still reject His kindness. His mercy and grace upon us is what has saved us, not His ability to be nice, but rather His ability to be kind.

   Psalm 117:2
      "For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord."

You can walk down the street and smile to people that is nice, but is it kind? Kindness would be asking a stranger how they are doing; helping another person when in need.

   2 Peter 1:7
      "to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love."

In my opinion this is a difficult fruit. One that renders the need for several others before you can truly be kind. Kindness comes from love. Love for one another, for the greater good of society. Kindness is telling someone the truth about Christ and his grace towards us. Kindness is giving from yourself and enjoying the look on someones face as they receive a gift of love, or peace, or hope that they have never seen before. Kindness is more then generosity. You can give and not give of yourself. Kindness requires the giving of yourself, your time, and your abilities.

   John 3:16
      "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

This is God's act of kindness. What is yours?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fruit Of The Spirit ~ Patience

Patience: (Longsuffering) the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without complaint; steady perseverance, even-tempered care, diligence.

The fruits of the spirit are something we work toward as Christians. When you accept Christ into your life you are not a perfect person overnight. In fact we can never be perfect ourselves. Only through the grace of God can we become perfect in Christ. Now all of us our born with inherent qualities, yet none of us are born with all of the fruits of the spirit. The qualities we are lacking take time, trials, and work to obtain. I for one lack patience. "Patience is a virtue." My mother said this to me more than I can count. It is so instilled in my mind that whenever I find myself lacking, I remind myself that patience is a virtue.

In the bible I believe patience means more than waiting in line quietly or respectfully. Patience is the understanding that time will bring pleasure, however the amount of time is unknown and will not go any faster if you plead for your reward. It is the willingness to delay happiness. To be slow to anger and to give others a chance before becoming frustrated. 

    Luke 8:15
      "But the ones that fell in the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, kept it and bear fruit with patience."

This verse is not talking about trees or bushes, but rather the hearts of Christians who understand that by grace through faith we have salvation in Christ. That we are willing to wait for our blessed hope while doing Christ's work in the time we have, serving others with humility and love. 

    1Thessalonians 1:3
        "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father."

We need to demonstrate in our lives what the Holy Spirit has done for us. How He has given us new life and an ability to help others without expecting a reward in return. Our reward is undeserved salvation. We should be more than willing to wait for a gift we could never earn nor repay. 

   1 Timothy 6:6-7
       "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."

   1 Timothy 6:11
       "But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness."

In this day and age patience and contentment are bygones. Everything is for the here and now. You can buy things on credit; no wait and no money down. Get the new version while the old works just as well. We live in an age that only cares about today and it shows. People are unwilling to wait, they think only about themselves, and when they do think about others it is only for self-reward. We lack patience and contentment. Do we really need a new car? Yours might be out of style but does it get you from A to B? Will a bigger paycheck solve all your problems? Or maybe some of our needs are really wants and our problems and inflicted due to our lack of patience. 

   James 1:4
      "But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

By having patience, we are not denied anything. God is a loving and generous God. He is more than generous to those who love Him. He wants us to have everything we could possibly imagine; but some things cannot be bought. They are immaterial and in order to be obtained trials, or a lack of material items, are necessary for us to understand and obtain things such as patience and the fruits of the spirit. 

There is a saying, "The longer the waiting the sweeter the reward."

I believe heaven, when we have longed for it with patience, at first glance will be more mesmerizing than we ever could have imagined. 

   Colossians 1:10-11
      "That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fruit Of The Spirit ~ Peace

Peace : Freedom from disturbance or violence; quiet, tranquillity and serenity. 

Peace in the bible is often used to help calm someone or something. It is a product of God and His will for us to have no worries. 

  Philippians 4:7
     "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

This verse often helps me when I am unsure of the future. I know God's plan for my life is the best however, not knowing the intimate details of that plan worries me. Why should uncertainty get me so flustered? God did not give us a spirit of fear. That is not a fruit of the spirit! I am starting to learn that my anxiety is an indication for prayer. Often I realize that prayer for guidance brings overwhelming peace into my life. Jesus gave us a beautiful depiction of how allowing the Holy Spirit to have complete control and surrendering fully to the Lord can benefit your life. 

   Mark 4:37-39
     "And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm."

To me this story show what happens within our hearts the moment we put God in control. Before we may try to fight our battles as best as we can in our own way; even if we know there is a better plan laid out for us. All we need to do is simply ask for help. 

  Matthew 11:28
    "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

When we do this God steps in and calms all our storms. There may still be difficult waves ahead but they will he met with assurance that God will lead us through. 

   Psalm 119:105
     "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

By consistently reading God's word we prepare ourselves, and by doing so we receive peace. Peace that makes the greatest fears seem like mere trifles. Peace that brings clarity to life. Peace that calms storms.

Many in this world ride the waves of storms and never see a placid sea. To those souls, peace is unattainable and they would give anything for it. But when you say to them all that is needed is complete surrender; peace becomes something that you can have but are unsure you need. It is when all other options flee. When there is no light ahead. That is when you call for peace. Then God will be your lighthouse and His light will never go out. 

   Deuteronomy 31:6
     "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

White As Snow

I know right now I am in the middle of the Fruits of the Spirit, however, with recent conversations I finally grasped the concept of white as snow. It might seem weird to some that I didn't fully understand because how could you get a better description than white as snow? You can't, but you can not fully understand just how white snow actually is until you have seen it first hand. I have seen snow before, I grew up in Idaho, but I had never seen snow like this.

Recently Ethan and I took a trip to Alaska to visit family. We had a great time and took many excursions on our trip but the most memorable adventure was a glacier landing on Mount. McKinley.
Now we had an amazing time but as you can see in this photo, we are surrounded by snow. Beautiful, untouched, perfectly clean snow. I had never before seen something so perfect in my life. This wasn't the kind of snow that sits in your driveway and slowly accumulates dirt until it melts in spring. It was breathtaking and is still difficult to describe how vast the snow extends in these mountains and how the mountains are so tall; yet we were seeing them exactly as God intended. Untouched by man or animal; in the state that they were created. This is where I understood why God said He would make us as white as snow. 

    Isaiah 1:18 
      '"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."'

The guides for our mountain tour wouldn't let us go up without sunglasses, and we thought it was because it was a nice, warm sunny day and it would be a little bright with the snow. We were wrong; completely wrong. It is not just bright; it is blinding! I took my glasses off for a brief moment to see how bright it would be and my eyes had an instant headache. It was too white to look at with my bare eyes. It was as if my eyes were seeing a color that they couldn't comprehend. I had never seen something so amazing in my life. I don't know if there ever will be such an eye-opening look at the perfect picture God gave us to demonstrate how perfectly clean we, as believers, appear to Him. 

 These are just a couple photos to show the crystal clear brilliance of the snow. The first photo is edited to take out the glare, but the second is the raw picture of just how bright it was.

Psalm 51:7
  "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow"

Another image that has really resonated with me throughout my life is a story that my mother told me when I was a teenager. She told me about a time she went hunting with a friend and he was extremely dirty. After he had made his kill he was using the blood to clean his arms from the dirt and grime. At first it sounded so gross, (I am not against hunting in any way it is something I was raised on, however I don't know of anyone who openly enjoys being covered to their elbows in blood) but then she explained how she understood what a beautiful thing that God did by using Jesus' blood to cleanse us from our sins. That after her friend had washed the blood off with snow, ironic, he was perfectly clean. Perfectly Clean.

   Acts 3:19
     "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."

God gave us images in this world so that we could understand what He has done in the spiritual. He has used blood, something that stains and is difficult to clean, to be the cleanser for our souls. By so doing He has made us blindingly white as snow.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit ~ Joy

Joy: A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

Throughout our lives we experience moments of pure peace. Moments that are embedded in memory our entire life. One's that we access when in need of happiness or when remembering those who have passed. These moments are known as joy.

Joy when a baby is born. Joy when two people get married. Joy when exchanging laughter with close friends and family. Joy, a word that is often misunderstood. The definition doesn't even explain the true meaning of the word. Its a word that is used when nothing else can describe what you are feeling. It is happiness, euphoria, and pure pleasure and thankfulness.

   1 Peter 1: 8-9
     " Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

As Christians we should live our lives for the eternal. Life is so short, we should be wanting to share with others so they can live with joy; knowing that we have salvation from our sins. The basis of our faith allows us to hope. Knowing that through grace we have hope for a joyful future, without which life has no meaning.

    Romans 15:13 
      "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit ~ Love

In Galatians 5 we find that there are several fruits of the spirit and that without them in our lives there is no law. Written by the apostle Paul for the Galatians, a group of several churches in Galatia, Asia Minor. Seeing that they had abandoned a faith based gospel to a works based, Paul wrote hoping to show them the error in their ways. Here is where we find the fruits of the spirit. Faith based on works yields nothing for the believer, yet faith based on grace from Jesus Christ, changes a persons behavior, and the works they do because of their faith yield great blessings to themselves and others. I am going to go in depth on each fruit starting first with love.

   1 Corinthians 13:13
       " And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Now Paul is not talking about the type of love that we have grown accustomed to lately. He is describing a love that exceeds all belief. A love that is unconditional, irrational, one that never stops. He is describing the true love that we all seek. A love that many never find. It is the greatest gift we can receive and also give to others. We reserve this love for only those close to us and even then sometimes only giving it fully to the person who means most to us in life. It is a sacrificial love. Giving and expecting nothing in return. It is fully devoted to another with an unselfish concern. It is Jesus.

Jesus did all things out of love, even in His anger, it was for the benefit for others. When He cleansed the temple he made possible for people who were afflicted to come to the temple to be healed. Jesus was willing to become the lowest to serve others. In Jewish culture the servant washed the guests feet. Feet that had walked in dirt, and mud, and feces throughout the day. Only one who was willing to give unconditionally would humble himself to a lower position. In this same way Jesus loved us so much that He humbled Himself into the image of a man. Lowering His position, yielding His power to serve His Father, and us. Even in His death there was love. So much in fact that He was willing to die not only for those at the time but for all who had been and would ever be.

    John 15:13
      "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."

Do you think God, Jesus, expected much from us in return? He knows our nature. We are selfish, undeserving, and ungrateful. He would have laid down His life for one if needed. The Lord said He would save Sodom if He found ten righteous living within the city.

   Genesis 18:32
     "...And He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of ten."

The love Jesus showed was so great. He was willing to die to save the lives of few or many, His life was given to show the ultimate gift, the gift of love.

     John 3:17
       "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved."

By giving Himself up and demonstrating true love to those close to Him, Jesus instilled in the disciples the need to share what true love represents. By the disciples sharing their stories with others and demonstrating a faith that changed the world, we are able to love like never before. To be unconditional, and steadfast through all adversity. Because we know that our friend Jesus, laid down his life and ultimate love was given to us so that we could love others without consequence or worry. Without love, life and the fruits of the spirit would simply mean nothing. You cannot have joy or peace without love. Kindness, goodness and gentleness are nothing without love. The need for self-control and long-suffering would be void. The purpose of faith would be meaningless without love. Love brings all things together.

      1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
           " Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails..."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Staying in the Word

     I am finding it difficult to read my Bible.
Personally I think this is something that people run into quite often. As Christians I think we believe that we need to read our Bible daily or as often as possible. However, for myself I go in spurts. Now I might read a couple verses here and there for support but not always an in depth study. I do notice that my mood changes when I am not reading my Bible. That is why it takes me some time to get back into a regular reading habit. Here are my tips to getting back into the word.

  1. Keep verses on your refrigerator. Read them over and over. You'll be surprised to see how much they impact your outlook on the day. 
  2. Find blogs or pages on Facebook to like. These give you inspiration for the day. 
  3. Schedule time in your day. I like mornings after breakfast with my coffee.
  4. Set a goal. Reading one chapter a day.
  5. Listen to Christian music. 
  6. Best for last: Don't stop in the first place.
When you are regularly reading, praying and communicating with God life changes. You sleep better. Your life is more peaceful. These are all side effects of God's word. It is a wonderful thing He gave us. It gives us hope and direction for our lives even when we cannot see through the mess life creates. Ever open your Bible and the passage before you answers all your questions that day an helps with your troubles? I believe the more you're in the word the more it gives you. Through all our trials in life the one place to never quit is in your Bible. God made it for us and gave it to us so we could find direction. To find meaning in life when we can see none. Never stop reading your Bible. 
      Romans 10:17
  "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"

Monday, August 17, 2015

Rant Rant Rant...

      A Regular Day: You complain about getting up early to go to your job that doesn't pay you as much as you believe you should earn. You are nice there but every time a customer asks you a question you wonder why they don't understand and how could people, in general, be so stupid. You are irritated with the fact that you only get a one hour lunch instead of two so you can go home and sit on the couch. You are then irritated you have to go back to work after lunch to finish your shift. Once you finally get off, after watching the clock for the last hour and your work productivity went down, you head home. During the drive you think on your day and spin it over and over in your head until you are so irritated you can't wait to get home to tell someone else. You get home and the first thing you do is ask your husband how his day was, he says fine, and then you let in about yours. Complain, complain, complain. When you finish he says sorry. You think about it some more and continue to rant randomly the rest of the night and every little thing reminds you of something that bothered you during the day. Finally you go to sleep only to dread waking up in the morning. And the cycle continues.

People complain a lot. I notice this in my own life and have to remind myself that my life is really not that bad. If you think your job is miserable and causing problems in your life. Change it. If you are constantly ranting to your husband about your life. Change it. Your life is not as bad as you think it is. Yesterday I saw a homeless man and thought to myself. I just bought groceries for the week and if I got stuck in traffic and my milk spoiled, I could turn the car around and go get a new gallon without feeling any different. (I ended up buying that man a sandwich) The best way to change your outlook on life is to change what you do. Read your Bible more. It will change your life. It has changed mine.
The verse that impacted me the most this week was Proverbs 29:11. I loved it so much and knew it needed to be in my daily life, I wrote it on a sticky note and put it on my fridge. Now it is memorized.

   Proverbs 29:11
      "A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back."

Be wise. There is an entire book in the Bible dedicated to being our handbook for wisdom. Proverbs. I have read this book multiple times, and each time I see something else to work on. Right now my work is on ranting. Has ranting has ever made a situation better? No, it has not. I have noticed that it causes me to only see the bad in situations and my husband doesn't need to hear me complain as soon as he walks through the door. If you still have a job and made money at the end of the day, you are doing good. If you don't enjoy your job, do something that makes you happy. Ranting will not solve your problems. It will only cause you to ponder the same over again and you will not gain wisdom.

   Proverbs 2: 6-11
     "For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He strokes up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you,"

This is what I've notices since I started working on my ranting. My relationship with my husband has gotten better. We now have conversations about our day and focus on the good instead. Our lives seem to be full of blessings and not worries. We see opportunities in our day instead of focusing on the past and yesterday. We are trying to become wise, trying to become more like Jesus. Stop ranting, it will give you no benefits. See the blessings in your day and be thankful for your circumstances, they can always be worse.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thankful For Ants

Ants. Little black creatures that diligently work no matter the circumstance. To me they are both marvelous and disgusting. We were told in the Bible to study them and see how they work.
   Proverbs 6:6-8
       Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wiseWhich, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.

I however, have been seeing plenty of ants working diligently to close for comfort. My husband and I are currently renting a double-wide that has some problems. One for example is ants. We had a decorative beam separate from the ceiling and it caused a gaping hole into the roof line. Low and behold there are ants nesting there. This shouldn't bother me too much because it isn't my house. We informed our landlord right away however we didn't have all the facts. Later in the day I came home to find small oblong sacks on my carpet. I first thought maybe the dog had one on him and brought it into the house. I was wrong. They were falling from the crack, and by the end of the day I had cleaned up seven or eight ant larva. Ants however are so diligent that a grown adult would climb down the wall to retrieve the fallen infants. Never being able to rescale the wall I ended up finding many adults and needing to "relieve them of their duties". 

Throughout this ordeal I was struggling with Philippians 4:6-7.

    Philippians 4:6-7
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

I was worrying about the ants. It was as if my home was being overrun by tiny creatures and until the rental agency sent out an exterminator I was stuck. I would pray for the ants to go away, yet in the morning there on my carpet would be another one or two larva. I had no peace. Prayer seemed to be not working and making things more stressful because they were still there. And I knew they would continue to be there no matter how long I closed my eyes. Finally, after a week of living with the invaders, Ethan and I came up with a plan. We bought spray foam from Home Depot. The rental agency didn't mind since it was easy to remove, and after the landlord found out that he would not only need an exterminator but also had to replace the roof if he wanted to permanently solve the issue at hand; he thought the foam was a great solution. 

You must be thinking are there still ants living in the roof? Answer...yes, yes there are still ants living in the roof. However, I rest easy knowing that there is no possible way for them to get back out and onto my carpet. Sometimes I believe you have to meet God half way. Not exactly sure yet where he met us but he was there, and he wasn't going to magically get rid of our problems in one fell swoop. He allowed us to handle the matter and then be grateful that it hadn't been worse. God allows for trials in our lives. The way we look at them and deal with it determines whether the trial strengthens or harms our relationship with God. We must always put our faith first and remember that everything happens for a reason even if we cannot see it.  I have to remember that our living conditions are better than most of the world's. Ethan and I have learned a great deal from living in our rental. To live without and to take things in stride. We have learned to be thankful for ants. 

Monday, August 10, 2015


I find that God prepares us for certain instances in our lives before we even realize that he has. Last summer my husband and I were driving back home from Seattle and we were discussing the spirit world. No not the one from Avatar but the actual one with angels, demons and our souls. We were discussing various theories and thinking that it would be so cool if we could physically see souls leaving the body. The creepiest thing that came to mind however was war. Would it be comforting or disturbing to see fellow soldier's souls leaving their bodies? Anyways, throughout the entire drive all I could think about is how I needed to re-read Heaven is For Real and The Screwtape Letters. It was so pressing that I was driving Ethan insane with all the references and bringing up related topics to have thorough discussions on each one.

As soon as we got into town we drove straight to my car. I was so excited because I had parked across from work which happened to be a bookstore parking lot. Running in I knew exactly what I needed. After spending some quality time looking through all the books in the area, pondering on which style and addition I should take home, I made my purchase. Walking out to the car all I was looking forward to was starting Heaven is For Real while sitting in a much needed bath. However, my night had other plans and neither one of those was going to happen. While on the drive home I was in an oncoming car accident with a drunk driver.

In that split second and the days following, my outlook on life drastically changed. Not only had I survived but I also received minimal injuries. Stitches to my head and major bruising was all I took away. I should be dead. It was a true miracle that I wasn't. That thought rang in my head for days and even weeks after the crash. Sometimes now I still think on it and how I am going to make the most of my second chance. I truly believe this is a second chance for my life. Not that mine was to messed up or that I had a rude awakening, but I live differently. I seize opportunities and enjoy the little things, like the flowers blooming in spring or sitting on my porch just looking at the clouds and the wonderful shapes they create. I truly believe that God was at the forefront of my life that day. That the Holy Spirit was working in my heart and preparing me for the day ahead. By thinking about the spirit world and Heaven in depth that day made me realize how unprepared I was to die. Odd as it may seem to be "prepared" but as a Christian you shouldn't be scared to die. You can be sad because of the people who will be left behind but you shouldn't be scared for yourself. Death won't be horrible, it may be longer for some than others but as soon as your eyes close, your soul will be with Christ. That doesn't sound so bad.

John 11:25 
    Jesus said unto her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Out of Love

People can get quite familiar with the phrase "I'm doing this out of love". Sometimes this however is not used in the proper context.
It is one thing if you tell your three year old "I'm doing this out of love" to explain why they are getting a punishment, it is another however to say this to your adult child to get them to conform to what you believe is right.

Proverbs 22:6
     "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

However, if you allow your child to do this and that, and not give him proper instruction, he will depart and choose his own way. On the other hand some children are given all the attention and instruction needed to become high functioning adults yet once they reach adulthood they depart. These are two scenarios in which people use the phrase "I'm doing this out of love"; but what if the child uses this sentence on the parent?
When does an adult need correction and are their grown children a viable option? I believe yes, if you do not have another person that they either trust or respect.
People tend to stray one way or another over time and sometimes this can take families by shock. Just as when children make decisions that are harmful to themselves and need correction with explanation, occasionally adults need the same from their relatives to lead them back on a straight path. Usually it is on a more gentle scale. Instead of giving option A or B to a child, an adult is given  multiple opinions, and ultimately will need to choose the option, that they believe, will work best for them.

Proverbs 12:15
        "The way of a fool is wise in his own eyes: but he that harkeneth unto counsel is wise."

By receiving wise counsel from those who you not only respect but also respect you, the advice given is made "out of love". However, no matter how wise the option you must always pray and ask God for advice, and to seek His plan for your life.

Proverbs 19:21
     "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand."

To do things "out of love" is the ultimate sacrifice. Whether you are giving advice to a child, friend, or adult, always give counsel that will better them and that which is given through correction in Christ. They may not always choose your opinion to guide them but you must love them regardless and continue to show Christ's love to them. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What You Want to Be

This morning in my Bible study through the book of Proverbs, it was giving instruction on the type of person God wants you to be. One of the verses that struck me the most was Proverbs 22: 24-25
      "Make no friendship with an angry man. And with a furious mane do not go. Lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul."

Now I don't know any one who loves an angry person, but I think this verse could be applied in so many other areas of our lives. They way I look at this is what does God desire for our lives. Just looking though the chapter we are told to have:

Not to Borrow

These are just the main items in the chapter. So how does the original verse apply to these traits? I think if you replace the words angry and furious with an antonym from any word in the list you see who you should not include in your circle of friends. People become like those they surround themselves with. If you want to be a more generous person you surround yourself with generous people. You learn their traits and how to apply them into your life. Better to have a few close friends than many whose qualities are those that you don't want involved in your life. 

Friday, July 10, 2015


What goes around comes around? As a Christian I find myself in conflict with this ideal of Karma. The reason why I am writing on this topic is this week my family was at a ball game and the little kids were there. We were playing with them and sprinkling water at each other. My mother-in-law went to get me, missed and hit the man behind us. Later on in the evening my two year old cousin spilled water all over my mother-in-law. After this occurred I said "That's Karma for you". That got me thinking. What is karma and how is it actually involved in our lives? Is it just a term we use or does it actually have meaning? Now karma itself, is a Hinduism and Buddhism term and idea fundamental to the religion. However, most people do not fully understand its nature and just assume it means what you do to others will be repaid to you. This is incorrect. Karma's definition is -the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. This is part of reincarnation, which is not biblical and, in my opinion, is a way the Devil persuades people away from Jesus and the truth. 
So where do I find the conflict? If I believe this is not biblical why do I find myself even entertaining the word? Culture and misunderstanding is the answer. In general I believe in the concept of "what goes around comes around" and for years that is what I thought karma really meant. I had no idea that it related to reincarnation and a religion based on works rather than grace. Hinduism is a religion based on works and how YOU can make yourself good. This is incorrect. Only by grace through faith are we saved. People in general are inherently bad. No matter what we do even if we are a "good person", without God, we are never selfless, never "good". However if we look at this from a Biblical standpoint, what goes around does come around. 

      Luke 6:27-31
            “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

These were Jesus' own words; the ones in red in your Bible. When I see the red words, this to me screams "I am really important, listen to what I say!" Everything Jesus said was always in love, even if it was correction; it was correction in love for those who were at fault.  Jesus told the disciples that faith without works is dead. 

        James 2:14-26
            "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?  And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.  You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
We do not need works to be saved. However, if we are saved and call ourselves Christians, it should show in our lives. 

        2 Corinthians 5:17
   "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

We are new creations, born again. Shouldn't that be evident in our lives?

God bestows blessings onto those who are righteous in His ways. You cannot fool Him. He knows if you are doing selfless acts for Him or acts that appear to be selfless, but are truly for your self. God knows the nature of the heart. 

      Galatians 6:7
          "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap"

You cannot go around doing good trying to earn your way to heaven. An old Sunday School song, Oh You Can't Get to Heavenaddresses the many ways you cannot arrive in heaven. They are all by trying to work and earn your way. You can only go to heaven by believing in Jesus Christ and accepting Him into your heart as your savior. Even the demons believe there is a God and tremble. However, they do not believe He is the savior of the world. There is a reason why Jesus died for our sins, because we could never atone for them ourselves; we could never be sinless. So do unto others as you would have them do unto you; or better yet, do unto others and Jesus would do unto them. What goes around does come around. Be faithful to Christ and He will always be faithful to you. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

A First Home and Newlyweds

Ethan and I decided that when we got married we didn’t want to pay rent and loose the money every month, and not get anything in return. So what did we as wise young newlyweds decide? To build, that's right, to build our first home. Now some of you may be thinking how did they have the money or resources or that was a very poor decision. Actually it was and wasn’t. 

A little background:

Ethan and I are both children of construction workers. So we are spoiled. Yes, but not in the way most people would think. Sure we did get extra things from our parents because they are both successful business owners but more we are spoiled in the knowledge of homes and accessories. Both of us lived in pristine homes throughout our lives. Now I don’t mean with all the bells and whistles, though the last home my parents build did have some bells, I mean in the sense that the layout was extremely functional and no wasted space. When you have lived like this and looked at thousands and thousands (no exaggeration here) of house plans, you're spoiled. I didn't even realize I was until Ethan and I were looking for a plan for our first home. We had certain perimeters we had to meet; the plan had to be under 1200 square feet and a single story home. Simply because we couldn’t afford any more. Now looking back we couldn't afford any of it but if you want to know why Dave Ramsey has that covered. No need to preach his sermons. Anyways, I quickly realized that everything I looked at didn't meet any of my criteria for a home. I wanted a functional layout with space, storage, and most importantly not a “cookie cutter”. That last one was the most important to me. I looked instantly at the resale value. I didn't want to have the exact home as everyone else in the neighborhood. I wanted unique. Well unique is expensive and I had to swallow that fast. So I narrowed my perimeters slightly and we found the perfect plan. Ironically it met all our needs that we originally couldn't find. Funny how God worked that out for us. We wanted it a certain way, and couldn't find it. Then we prayed for just about anything and boom, there was the one we wanted to start out with. Plenty of storage, the layout was great and my kitchen wasn't the new style of living room, kitchen and dining all together. I HATE THAT! I got a nook and it was awesome. In the end we got a three bedroom two bath place and love it so much. The entire experience was amazing. Picking out the colors, cabinet styles and interior design was exactly what I wanted. We were in bliss mode and on cloud nine until the week off closing. 

Since we were first time home buyers, we decided on the government program. I will never do that again nor will I recommend it to anyone. It was a miserable experience. Remember how the government shut down in October of 2013? Yeah, two days later I wouldn't have cared at all. We were supposed to close the next day. I cried my eyes out when the loan officer told us that it was suspended. Then I cried again when the builder said he couldn't wait longer than a week to close. I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, not even a flicker. Then my amazing husband who had only been married to me for a month came up with an idea, that I hated at the time, but the alternative I dreaded even more. He asked the builder if we could rent our home, yes as messed up as it sounds, until we could close on the house. Well to make a long story short, he went for it and we ended up renting our house for six months until the government was back online and our loan could be processed. 

Now you are probably wondering what does this have to do with God and marriage. I’m getting to that. People told us, and it’s very commonly said that the first year of marriage is the hardest. In our case that couldn't have been more correct and yet completely wrong. They say you fight the most and have to figure everything out, so it is stressful. Yeah, it wasn't like that for us. Our first year was hard because of what was going on in our lives however our marriage was amazing. We had the house looming over our heads, not knowing when or if ever we could close and call it our own. I was in a car accident, and after we closed on the house only four months later we moved. What they moved? All that for nothing? No, we moved and kept our home, but that is beside the point. 

Our marriage was amazing because we loved deeply and were there to help each other get through the hard times. I could come home from work, stressed about the house and know that on the couch waited my best friend who could give me a hug and kiss and say it was all right. We prayed about things constantly and it brought us closer together and closer to God. The song Blessings, by Laura Story,  was my life. I didn’t know what God’s plan for the house was and I was really worried that it would be for us to not get it. We had poured a lot of money and equity into the home that we not only didn’t want to loose but we loved our little starter. Every time I heard that song I was reminded that God’s plan would be a blessing even if it was at the moment bad news. Sounds silly but it was a trial of faith. Thankfully Ethan and I pulled through and we own our home today. It is in a quiet neighborhood with a park at the end of the street. 

So when the going gets tough, the tough get PRAYING. My mother-in-law once told me, “nothing is more powerful than God”, and I am thankful for that because he can pour his blessings on you if you only place your faith and worries in him. 

     Matthew 11:28 
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Small home front with landscaping

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jupiter and Venus

I will do a post in further detail later either this week or next after much research, however, I thought this would be something that people would like to see.

This week there is an astrological event taking place that hasn't happened in about 2000 years. Now these to planets have come close to each other during that span of time, but they have never been this close. Some believe this is the star of Bethlehem. It occurred during the time of the birth of Christ, and I can tell you from looking last night it is beautiful and bright! I can only imagine how gorgeous it would have been so long ago. Please look at the planets tonight. They appear approximately an hour after sunset in the west. They are extremely bright almost as bright as the moon. 

            Psalm 19: 1-3
Victory 91.5's photo.
         1. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. 2. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Article from Victory 91.5
Star of Bethlehem returns:
The time has finally come. The next week offers us what is probably the grandest pairing of two planets in our lives. It also is a near-replay of what some scholars believe was the most spectacular appearance of the Star of Bethlehem.
The most important night is June 30, for that is when the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, come closest of all to each other in the sky. They come almost as close to each other Tuesday as they did on June 17,2 B.C., when Magi in Babylonia or Persia would have seen the two merge into one single blazing light as the pair descended to the horizon in the exact direction of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
How close in the sky? Even if Tuesday night isn't clear, Venus and Jupiter will be amazingly close together for the entire week that start tonight. No close pairing of these brightest planets in our lifetime has been so prolonged. But how close is close, in the sky?
To answer that question, we must talk about "angular measure" in the sky.
Your fist at arm's length is about 10 degrees wide, your thumb at arm's length about 2 degrees wide. Venus and Jupiter will be less than 2 degrees apart all the way through the Fourth of July.
When and where to look each day? Look above where the Sun went down each day and you'll see the two planets. Venus is so bright now that you should be able to see it easily with the naked eye even quite a while before sunset, say 8 p.m. Jupiter is less bright, so you may not see it first glimmer into view until about 8:45 or 9 p.m.
Monday: Venus and Jupiter are close enough for their globes to be in the same telescopic view. By amazing coincidence, the two globes have almost the exact same apparent size these next few days, when they are closest in the sky. But Jupiter is fully lit while Venus is less than half lit (though far more radiant in surface brightness). 
June 30: The climax - conjunction day. A "conjunction" is a temporary pairing of heavenly objects. On this day of the actual conjunction, the planets are separated by only a third of a degree - that's almost seven times smaller than your thumb held out at arm's length. The two planets, Jupiter just upper right of Venus, will almost appear to have their rays touching on this incredible evening.
July 1: Venus and Jupiter still only a bit more than ½ degree apart.
July 2: Venus and Jupiter 1 degree part and most nearly side by side.
July 4: Planets 1.9 degrees apart.
July 5: Planets less than 2½ degrees apart.
July 6: Planets 2.7 degrees apart.
Fred Schaaf is a local author and astronomer. He can be reached at:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Orange is the New What?

My husband and I do not have regular TV channels, we only have Netflix. It is that time of year where Netflix starts adding on seasons to their shows that have previously been on television. Currently the one plastered all over the spotlight section is Orange is the New Black. I’m sorry but what does that even mean? Apparently after some research it is a fashion term. When did orange jumpsuits become fashionable or even okay to wear? 

Orange Jumpsuit: 101 ways to make this fashionable
Halloween is the only thing that comes to mind. 

Hello, you have to go to jail to get them! Just my thoughts on this, but I personally don’t want to go to jail and I’m pretty sure my friends don’t either; not even to try a new fashion. It seems like in our culture something that we would consider shameful is easily reconfigured in television to make it “OK”. Think I'm joking? Just this week laws have been changed to force society into acceptance. How many of you watch a TV show that displays sex outside of marriage? (Marriage being God's definition of one man and one woman.) I know I am guilty of this. However, if this happened in our actual lives we would have a field day. Some of the most popular shows have the most sex in them for example: Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Grey’s Anatomy.  I’m going to make one up but I’m sure there is an actual version of this. 

The show you are watching is about a husband and wife. They are having problems, but the script paints the wife as the cause. The husband tries everything to gain her love but it just isn’t working. The husband is a very attractive man and meets the woman of his dreams. He knows he shouldn’t get involved but his friends tell him that his wife doesn’t treat him as he deserves. So he gives into his desires and starts dating this girl on the side. Throughout the show you have a double life being led; one with his wife and one with his girlfriend. The more you watch, the more they paint the wife as the villain. The husband is of course sweet, and caring; and the new girlfriend is perfect. By the end of the series you are ok that he leaves his wife and starts a new life with the other woman. 

Da da da! What just happened? Slowly but surely over time you got accustomed to the idea. Now I personally have a lot of friends who watch Orange is the New Black and even after reading this won’t change their mind. Part of it will be that we (millennials) cannot stop watching something after we have started. We get into the plot and can’t turn it off. We lye awake at night wondering about the next episode and how the script will use the latest turn of events. Now why does Orange is the New Black bother me? It promotes and idolizes a lifestyle that is harmful. Yes, I am pulling the same sex card. I think as Christians this is something we do not know how to deal with. Our parents, although having knowledge on this topic, are not well versed enough today. They grew up in an age where this was something people didn’t talk about. Now it is on every magazine, social media page even television, and we aren’t allowed to have a say. Why? Because we don’t accept it and in today’s society you must accept everything and everyone, even if it goes against your belief system. The most common thing I hear is "How does this affect your life?" First, if you are posing this question then you are proving that it does. Just because I am not part of this lifestyle or condone it, doesn't mean I can pretend it doesn't exist or become tolerant. How am I supposed to tell my children about society now? Most of us learned the harder things of life and sin once we were old enough to understand them. My husband and I will need to tell our children about controversial and difficult topics before they are in middle school. This scares me, and yes affects my life. However, as a Christian I believe we are to answer people with love, as Jesus did. He never sugar coated life to make sin tolerant. He used scripture and love to inform and change the hearts of those caught in sin. Here are two verses I think help me with this ideology. 

           Jeremiah 29:11
 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

          Hebrews 13: 1-5
“1. Let brotherly love continue. 2. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. 3. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also. 4. Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. 5. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

There is a lot to take in, but I think this is what we should apply. God is saying that he has a plan for our life that has not been revealed to us; but it is a future with hope! That sounds really good to me. Hope is a powerful thing. It drives people to do wonders. If God has a future for us, that is not of evil but of peace, why then do we do things outside of his boundaries? Because we are human, that simple. Now also notice that God tells us to love continually. This means even those who’s lifestyle is not acceptable to Christ. If you think about it why would someone consider coming to church or even entertain the thought of Jesus if Christians, who are supposed to bare the image of God, do not display love? To quote Alan Jackson, “Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us, but the greatest is love.” So how can we display love, if you read a little further it says to remember the prisoners as if we were chained with them. People in this lifestyle are prisoners to it and the sin created. We must remember them. Not every person struggles with the same things in life but before you were saved, you were a prisoner in some fashion to sin. Jesus didn't pick disciples that were pillars in the community; He picked ordinary men, with sin in their lives, and showed them ultimate love. 

              1 Corinthians 13: 1-6 
      "1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

                James 2: 14-17
        "14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."

Want to be more like Jesus? Be there for those who don’t know him yet. 

Is it a wonder today that our generation has a high divorce rate, or is making headlines in sin? No, I believe it is just a product of our culture. We have allowed this through social media, television and other outlets. If you don’t want to enable this movement, make a difference in your life and the life of others by looking at what you bring into your home. It is cliche, but what would Jesus do? I don’t see him pressing play.