Don’t you know?

Don’t you know there are consequences to every choice you make? If you choose to eat junk food all the time you will find your energy level and your weight will bear the consequences of that choice. If you choose to love alcohol, your liver will show it. If you choose to smoke, your lungs will show the results.

I see a couple men who are reaping the results of their life choices. One is dying slowly of AIDS. He is not at death’s door yet, but his energy and strength are low and he cannot do a whole lot. He made many bad choices in life. One choice was to marry a second wife whose first husband had died of AIDS.  What was he thinking?  Now his family is suffering taking care of him. He is not worth a whole lot to anyone right now because he cannot work and needs people to give him food to eat.

Another man left his wife and kids for another woman. She was young a beautiful. They decided not to have kids since he already had children from his first marriage. Now he is at death’s door and the kids whom he left are leery to help him. His wife will be alone and her step-kids are loyal to their mother. Some may visit but not often.

Another man decided to love alcohol and came home daily drunk. He began to abuse his wife and kids. He quit working and would steal food from the house which his wife and children had gathered in order to buy more drink.  Eventually his wife had enough of the abuse and left. His kids talk to him only cordially, but he has no one and no home. He is living on the floor at a friend’s home but he has nothing to call his own.

These men had some years of joy, but in the end what do they have. They are cared for by those they hurt because these loved ones are obeying God. But they made wrong choices and they eventually caught up to them.

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Single and ignorant

  Are you single?  Are you in ministry at your church or an organization, either at home or overseas?  Are you dedicating your time to serving God? Are you involved in your local church?

  We should be all that and more. We need to be part of community. We need to be helping out when we see a need. We need to be dedicating our time to serving God in various ways.

  If you are self-seeking, looking for friends and a good time, then you are ignorant.  As a Christian we need to seek the Lord.  Not only singles but everyone, needs to be seeking the Lord and how to serve Him. 

  There is another ignorance that I want to discuss here.  Are you aware of your surroundings?  Are you aware of who are you influencing?  Are you aware of who you may be hindering? Are you listening to authority in your spiritual walk?

  We sometimes understand the first point and throw ourselves whole-heartedly into serving the Lord. Helping in our churches. But then we forget the second part.  We are blind to the fact that we are hurting families. We are blind to the fact that we are hurting marriages. We will work hard in a ministry right alongside the pastor, youth pastor, associate pastor, worship pastor, or whomever may be in charge of the ministry. We are ignorant to the looks we receive from others. We need to be careful.  We can cause rumors to be spread about these men in leadership. We can even cause them to stumble. We must be aware. 

  Yes, throw yourself into ministry. But don’t be alone in the same office with a man. No matter how old or in love he is with his wife.  Don’t joke with him as a brother, no matter how much you have no intentions for him.  Many ministries are hurt by single women not being aware of how it looks.  They don’t mean to hurt a marriage. They don’t mean to break up a church. They never mean to fall in love with someone else’s husband.  But then it happens.  Being alone together, working on the same goal, you like each other. You depend on each other, and then you fall for each other. 

  Single women: Don’t be ignorant of this potential pitfall.  You may have pure intentions, but in the end it causes pain on so many levels.

  I have seen missionaries leave the field, divorce, church leaders crash, churches split, and families hurt, all because of single women not being careful about boundaries.

Gossip

In the village of Africa, it doesn’t take time for word to spread.  In a very short time everyone knows about a funeral and comes to mourn. That is a plus side of the village grape vine.   The negative side is that in a couple days, everyone knows that someone had an affair, or is expecting, or has AIDS, or had a fight with their wife, etc…

In the church, we must handle discipline situations.  There are times when someone sins and they must be disciplined.  The pastor and elders usually deal with such things and very little is done publicly. But too often the congregation wants to gossip. We love to talk about fellow siblings who have fallen into sin. 

Too often, when the issue has been dealt with and finished by the elders, the gossip keeps it fresh.  Shame on us for not letting things drop. For not trusting the elders to handle the situations. We are all nosey little busy-bodies. We want to know more, we want to be informed of every little detail.

Rather than letting a situation work itself out and healing take place, we keep digging into the wound over and over again.

Don’t you know?

Don’t you know there are consequences to every choice you make? If you choose to eat junk food all the time you will find your energy level and your weight will bear the consequences of that choice. If you choose to love alcohol, your liver will show it. If you choose to smoke, your lungs will show the results.

I see a couple men who are reaping the results of their life choices. One is dying slowly of AIDS. He is not at death’s door yet, but his energy and strength are low and he cannot do a whole lot. He made many bad choices in life. One choice was to marry a second wife whose first husband had died of AIDS.  What was he thinking?  Now his family is suffering taking care of him. He is not worth a whole lot to anyone right now because he cannot work and needs people to give him food to eat.

Another man left his wife and kids for another woman. She was young a beautiful. They decided not to have kids since he already had children from his first marriage. Now he is at death’s door and the kids whom he left are leery to help him. His wife will be alone and her step-kids are loyal to their mother. Some may visit but not often.

Another man decided to love alcohol and came home daily drunk. He began to abuse his wife and kids. He quit working and would steal food from the house which his wife and children had gathered in order to buy more drink.  Eventually his wife had enough of the abuse and left. His kids talk to him only cordially, but he has no one and no home. He is living on the floor at a friend’s home but he has nothing to call his own.

These men had some years of joy, but in the end what do they have. They are cared for by those they hurt because these loved ones are obeying God. But they made wrong choices and they eventually caught up to them.

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Are you my friend ?

Being a missionary is often a lonely calling.  Some of us are fortunate to live in a great community of other missionaries, others work in a place where they are alone.  But to be alone is defined in many ways. I can be alone when I am surrounded by a crowd of people. I can be alone because there is no one like me for 100 miles. I can be alone because I am fighting a spiritual battle and have isolated myself from others.

A missionary is always alone in some way or another because very few have experienced what he/she has experienced.  Whether in their homeland or their “other” home, they are different than most people around them.  But we need friends.

We need support from coworkers, our agency, nationals, and supporters. We need friends that are there for us not just praying but also asking questions, even when they cannot understand the answer.  I ran across a great article from A Life Overseas That One Safe Friend.

I wish I had known this before. I wish I could share this with everyone that comes out here. I wish I had that friend. Since being in the middle of no where, I had friends that Have come and gone. I have some I made while they worked alongside me, but when they left the communications faded. Others have moved into authoritative roles which means I cannot bear my heart out to them like I used to. Others have faded away because life has taken them away from the Lord.

I had friends that used to ask the hard questions, but somehow this role I have has changed that. I am too far away, communication was so little for so long that we lost touch, they don’t like to write (I hate that excuse because it is the only way I can communicate!).  Some think I am a spiritual leader and they are not so they cannot ask me those tough questions. – Hey I’m human!!!

All my friends have now gotten married and I am still single. They have lives with kids and husbands and we have so little in common anymore. It is all excuses.

Anyway, I can go on and on, but I recommend you read the article and find that friend. I will be searching for my “safe friend”.

The baggage we bear

I have read and heard several people in the past couple weeks talking about our sin and our spiritual journey.  It has me thinking and trying to figure out how I can act on what I’ve learned.

We are all sinners and when we are saved, the Holy Spirit indwells us.  Once we have the Holy Spirit we are a “new creation” with a new nature.  Our old nature has been crucified with Christ, yet we constantly are trying to resurrect it. We have a constant spiritual battle within us between our old nature and our new nature.  We must continue to feed our new nature and starve our old nature so that we can win this battle within. The Holy Spirit within us helps us to defeat that old nature. 

I have heard some blame Satan for their bad actions, but that isn’t always fair. He may send influences but our old nature is winning when we feed it.  It isn’t about keeping Satan away but rather about feeding the Spirit so we can win against our old nature.

Lust leads to sin.  Our old nature has lusts and we must conquer these lusts by filling our mind with whatever is good.  When we give into our lusts we allow that old nature to be strong. 

One thing that keeps popping up in these articles and speakers is that our lust is not easy to be rid of. It is a constant battle. Like that of an addict we must make daily choices to say, “No!”  Some people are saying that they can give into their lusts before marriage and that marriage will cure them of it.  What a lie! If you give into your lusts before marriage you will have trouble keeping them in check in your marriage. 

They think that once in ministry they will be able to keep their sin nature in check.  Yet, when we go into ministry we need to be prepared spiritually and pure spiritually because the battle field is stronger than before. If we cannot control out sin nature when we are in training, how much harder will it be to control it when in the midst of a great battle? 

So, then the question arises—are you actively preparing to fight this battle? Are you striving to purify your thoughts, actions, and speech? Are you avoiding people, situations, entertainment choices, and places that would feed your sin nature? Are you in the Word each day so that you can use your Sword of the Spirit?

Or are you complacent and noncombatant?  Are you sitting there thinking that someone else will fight the big battle and you can just encourage them?  Are you looking at other Christians around you and seeing their failure in battle and considering that to be the new norm?

Let us fight that spiritual battle! Let us take a stand against things that will draw us into pleasing that sin nature!