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: