Wednesday, December 23, 2009

RIghteous Anger: Not an oxymoron.

ANGRY: [ang-gree] (adjective) 1. feeling or showing anger or strong resentment.

Last night at CnC, Theo spoke on Ephesians 4:25-28. He spent quite a chunk of time on verse 26, and that is what I wanted to touch on in this blog post. It reads:

"Be angry and do not sin." [ESV]

Be angry AND do not sin?! When I was newer in my faith, I struggled with this verse because I thought being angry WAS a sin. That was until I realized that we serve a God who has emotion [ie, "grief:" Genesis 6:6 - "joy:" John 15:11 - "moved by pity:" Judges 2:18 - "pleased:" 1st Kings 3:10 - "distress:" Isaiah 63:9 - "sadness:" Luke 19:41, to name a few].

Having been created in the image of God, and because he calls us to be "imitators of Him" [Ephesians 5:1], we are to share the same emotions that God expresses. Sharing the heart of God's nature means feeling the same affections of God.

...and that includes anger.

When you think of being angry, what do you think of? Do you think of human, sinful anger? Or do you think of the righteous anger that God exhibits? Don't make the mistake of thinking that God is never angry. God is VERY angry, as Theo repeated multiple times last night. Yes, He is loving and gracious and good... but He is also very angry and very offended at the sin that is raging without remorse throughout the world.

"The word “righteous” has reference to that which is right, good, and holy. Specifically, it refers to actions performed to or among men. In that regard, God's actions performed among men can always be characterized as righteous in that they are always right, good, and holy ( Revelation 16:5). Man's actions, however, because of the problem of sin, aren't necessarily so. Only when man's actions conform to the Lord's will, are such actions right, good and holy and thus, righteous ( 1 John 3:7)."
[taken from an article by Kevin Cauly]

What is righteous anger? Righteous anger is the quality of being angry or having indignation toward those things with which God Himself gets angry. God cannot sin in his anger; however, for humankind, it is easy to allow our anger to take control so that we are tempted to sin.

Two questions Theo answered in his talk:

Why should we be angry? Simple answer: because we are called to imitate God [Ephesians 5:1].

How can we be [righteously] angry? By drawing close to God and being angry over the sin that runs rampant in this world. Being righteously angry at something means that you are angry at the sin that is directed at or is offensive to our Jesus, not something that is offensive to "you" [ie, "You're stupid"].

What are you righteously angry about? Are you even walking closely enough with Him that you feel that righteous anger? Maybe you can see the sin in this world, but it doesn't bother you, or you are indifferent about it. Why? Maybe it's because you haven't experienced new birth. If you have not been called by Jesus, none of this will make sense or is even applicable to you. But if you have experienced new birth and are a child of God, and are yet not angered by the things that God is angered at... it's time for some serious prayer on your face before your God.

Can't think of anything to be righteously angry about? Here's a list to get you started [some of the statistics are older, but they sure will give you an idea of what's going on today]:

-An estimated 9.5 billion is generated in annual revenue from all human trafficking activities, and each year, an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country each year is even higher, with an estimated 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into the sex industry.

-UNICEF reports that across the world, there are over one million children entering the sex trade every year and that approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years.

-From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions have occurred in the U.S.

-Homosexuality is becoming legal in many states, and the ELCA is now allowing homosexuals to have a leadership position in their churches.

-In 2007, there were 248,300 victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault [and these figures don't even include the victims who are 12 years of age or younger].

-The sexual victimization of children is overwhelming in magnitude yet largely unrecognized and underreported. Research indicates that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before adulthood.

-In 2003, the adult-film industry was  making some 6,000 movies a year and grossing more than $4 billion - roughly as much as the National Football League.

-In 2000, there were close to 5 million couples living together before marriage.

-Worldwide pornography revenue in 2006 was $97.06 billion. Of that, approximately $13 billion was in the United States. Twelve percent of all websites are pornographic websites. There are 4.2 million pornographic websites, 420 million pornographic web pages, and 68 million daily pornographic search engine requests (or 25% of total search engine requests).

-Of all known child abuse domains, 54 percent are housed in the United States.

...and that's just a few things. Do your own research and see what a corrupt world we live in if you are blatantly ignorant or are blinded to what is is going on.

My heart is broken... and I am angry. Are you?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ROMANCE VS. WISDOM // Made For Each Other

[posting a few things from my old blog!]


1. Romance says, "I want it now!" Wisdom urges patience.

Proverbs 19:11 says, "A man's wisdom gives him patience." Patience is important not only in waiting for the right time to start a relationship, but also in allowing it to unfold at a healthy pace. Impatience rushes everything. It urges us to skip the time and attention a healthy friendship requires and to jump right into emotional and physical intimacy.

2. Romance says, "Let feelings decide what happens." Wisdom leads us to pursue a purposeful relationship.

The Bible exalts the virtues of "love and faithfulness" (Proverbs 3:5). In God's plan the personal benefits of an intimate relationship- emotional or sexual - are always inseparably linked to a commitment to another person's long term good within the covenant of marriage. The most beautiful blooms of love can open only in a protected environment.

In Proverbs, foolishness is portrayed as a wicked seductress who lures her victim with the offer of romantic and sexual pleasures devoid of responsibility. "Come, let's drink deep of love till morning," she says, "let us enjoy our selves with love!" (Proverbs 7:18) This is how foolishness works. It calls us to enjoy ourselves without concern for the good of others. It seeks intimacy without obligation.

3. Romance says "Enjoy the fantasy." Wisdom calls us to base our emotions and perceptions in reality.

Proverbs 19:2 says, "It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way."

That verse could stand as a one line summary of Shakespeare’s tragic play, Romeo and Juliet and for many misguided romances in real life. To be passion about something if our passion is based on ignorance  or mistaken information invites disaster. Yet the very intensity of a romance can set us up for exactly that.

In the season of courtship, we have to fight the tendency to fill what's lacking in our knowledge of the other person with emotion based on fantasy, If we don't know something about him or her, we need to talk, ask probing questions, and discover who they really are; their values, their motivations, their goals. We need to move beyond typical, artificial dating activities and observe each other in real life settings- in families, in church life, with friends, handling pressure at work. Courtship is a time to see the good, the bad and the ugly in the one we love. Then our emotions and decisions about the relationship can be based on fact.
[from josh harris' book, boy meets girl]

Living to glorify God means doing everything...
for Him,
His way,
to point to His greatness,
and reflect His goodness.

Made for Each Other

How many times was Adam asked to retell the story? How many of his grandchildren (particularly his granddaughters), begged him to recount every detail of his first glimpse of Eve? Can we blame them? Wouldn't you love to hear the story from his lips? Surely Adam's single descendents couldn't resist pestering him for information. How could they help it? Who would be more qualified to answer their questions about love than a participant in the original "boy meets girl"? 

This is how I imagine one such conversation unfolding...

"When you saw her, what did you say?"

The old man's eyes danced. "I didn't say anything, not at first," he answered. "I think I tripped on a root and she laughed at me. She loved to laugh at me."

He let go of his young companion's hand to stoop and to pick up a smooth stone in the path. When he straightened he smiled. It was a far away smile. He was remembering.

The girl tugged gently on his arm. Her name was Elanna. She was a favorite out of his countless great, great grand-children. But now she was a young woman full of life and questions. "But eventually you spoke to her," Elanna said, determined to coax the story from him.

"I was flustered," he answered shaking his head. "My mind was on fire with curiosity and a new kind of happiness. Here stood a creature after my own kind. Her every feature comforted my senses and invited me nearer. Her eyes looked back into mine with soul-depth."

The old man paused his narrative. Elanna was wide-eyed. "You'll understand that moment better when you have it yourself," he continued. "When you meet your soul's match, what words are adequate?
Sometimes joy can almost choke you. When we first met I wanted to whisper and shout and laugh and dance all in one moment." "But instead you gave a speech," Elanna said playfully. Her grandfather or "First One" as people respectfully called him was known for his speeches. "Well, yes, you could call it a speech. I suppose it was. My first words in her presence must have sounded out of place. But the occasion demanded formality. It was momentous. The animals were gathering, and The Maker was waiting for my response."

Elanna slid her arm into her Grandfather's as they walked into a clearing, a natural cathedral in the forest that siphoned the sunlight and painted speckles on the moss-covered ground. "Well, when you describe it that way your first words are understandable," she said. "It was an inauguration." "Yes. It was a dedication of her, of us, to The Maker. I named her just as I named the animals but her name was an acknowledgment that the Maker had once again, and more beautifully than ever, done what was good-we were made for each other."

Then he stopped walking and stood straighter. His voice deepened as he recited the words spoken on that day so long ago:

"This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."
When he finished, neither the old man nor the girl spoke for what seemed a long time. The woodland sounds filled the silence. "That's beautiful," she finally said in an awed whisper.


"Yes, Grandfather?"

"You ask these questions because you yourself long to meet your soul's match. Don't pretend I don't know you, child. You have your First Mother's eyes. They looked just like yours do now when she was longing for the Garden. But you miss someone you've never met. You want to run through time and glimpse that first meeting. You want to know how you'll know him. But you need not fret."

"But it doesn't seem fair to me," Elanna said, the words born of frustration tumbling out. "It was so easy for you. The Maker brought Grandmother to you. She was the only woman for you. She was the only woman!"



"But here, now, it's so different-so, so confusing."

"It's not more confusing," he said gently. "It only seems that way. Our meeting was 'easy' as you put it, not because we were the only humankind, but because in those sweet days before we disobeyed we implicitly trusted The Maker to bring what was good." He reached out and with both hands lifted her head so her eyes looked into his. "My dear child what you must try to see is that nothing has changed. When the Maker brings you your husband, you'll be aware that it was the Maker who made you for each other and He who planned your meeting. And in that moment, just as we did, you'll want to sing a song of praise to Him."
 --preface taken from "Boy Meets Girl" by Joshua Harris

FAM // non-hormonal birth control

Here is a very personal blog post about FAM [Fertility Awareness Method]. I didn't really want to post this on FB, but I wanted to put it "somewhere" so I could reference people to it. If you don't want to read about fertility, sex or pregnancy, feel free to skip over this post. [/disclaimer] :)

FAM  is a natural form of contraceptive that is 99% effective when used correctly. FAM is NOT the rhythm method. It is very personal, and functions with the understanding that no woman's cycle is exactly the same. FAM consists of two major observations: daily temperature, and daily cervical fluid. By noticing the quality differences in cervical fluid throughout her cycle (sticky to having an egg-white consistency), a woman can tell when she is most fertile. By taking her temperature every morning at a consistent time, having at least 3 hours of sleep, a woman can tell when she has ovulated by observing a significant temperature "jump" in the second half of her cycle, in addition to noting her fertile cervical fluid.

FAM can be used to both avoid and achieve pregnancy. By actively paying attention to her fertile period, a woman can either avoid pregnancy by abstaining from sex or using a barrier method (condoms, spermicide, cervical cap, etc...), or achieve pregnancy by having intercourse on her most fertile days. In addition to avoiding or achieving pregnancy, women can use FAM to learn about their body, and catch any "problems" before many health care providers would be able to, simply by recognizing when something isn't normal for her (instead of the "average" woman). A woman avoiding pregnancy should not have unprotected intercourse using FAM until charting at least 3 cycles. The Fertility Awareness Method is a great method for any couple interested in achieving or avoiding pregnancy without chemicals or other "artificial" means. It is also great for an unmarried woman to learn about how God created her body to work.

Jake and I were led to use a natural "birth control" method after my being on a birth control pill [BCP] for 8 months into our marriage. I was put on a pill after my doctor recommended it for my debilitating cycles. Since I knew of nothing else, I took my doctor's advice and was on the pill for one year previous to marriage and 8 months afterward. Once I finally started doing the research on BCPs, I was shocked and vowed never to take them again. A friend led me to FAM, and I never looked back.

We really enjoy using FAM as our form of "birth control" because:

1. I'm not putting any hormones into my body.
2. It's cheap (basically free, minus the cost of barriers if you are trying to avoid pregnancy)
3. I can tell when I am ovulating each month (so I know that my body is "working"), and I can know in advance when my period is coming.
4. It is completely "reversible" with no side effects (meaning you can go from avoiding pregnancy to trying to conceive easier than if you are on a hormonal birth control pill [HBC], for instance).
5. We are conviction free, after doing much research on HBC, with using this natural method.

I love it because it is easy, natural, and non-invasive.

There is also charting software available to purchase for a one-time low fee. It is much easier [I personally think] than charting on paper. Here's an example of what that looks like below:

(click to enlarge)

To learn more about FAM, check out "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler, or visit For a Christian take on FAM, visit, [I'm a moderator on this website] or click on the badge on the side of my blog. Feel free to ask any questions!

Saturday, December 5, 2009 this the day I die? "Safely Home" book review

Someone asked me what the link to our blog, "Safely Home" meant. It's the title of an amazing book by a talented author and speaker [and founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries:], Randy Alcorn. It's the fictional story [although the events are real] of two college roommates who connect with each other after 20 years of separation. Ben, a prominent businessman, is blatantly ignoring God and living the so-called "American Dream," while his buddy, Quan, who lives in China, faces imprisonment, brutal torture and even death for living a lifestyle aimed to please Christ. Ben lets his relationship with Christ slip away as he climbs the corporate ladder... meanwhile, Quan wakes up every morning with one question on his mind: "Is this the day I die?" It was the question his father asked himself every day, and taught Quan that "one day, the answer will be yes, and on that day, you must be ready."

I've read the book twice, and plan to do so again. It changed my heart, from having a fear of death [although I am confident in my salvation], to anticipating with great joy the day I am called Home. The reality of persecution was brought more to my attention then ever before by reading this book. I can't recommend it enough. Safely Home will challenge your faith, give you a glimpse of Christians who know what having an "eternal perspective" truly means, and realize that there is a cost for living for Christ. He calls us to surrender our lives.


“Safely Home is not only a first-class story; it’s a bracing wake-up call about Christian persecution in China. You’ll be challenged.” -Chuck Colson

“This brilliant story mixes the warmth of a good novel with the harsh reality of the persecuted church.” -Dr. Tim LaHaye