The Dreaded Christian “Legalists”

I sat down to type out a post about my thoughts regarding “legalism,” and how quick Christians are to cry legalism any time they are faced with standards set forth by the Bible that are not compatible with their lifestyle. I started doing a little research to find some Bible verses and sermons that I could quote and refer back to. Then I stumbled upon this Facebook status update from a church I have never heard of before. I was so pumped after I finished reading it! This pastor put to words every thought I have in my heart on the matter, and then some! Please take a moment to read this. He really hit the nail on the head!

The last quote is what summed it all up the best. “The “why” behind what you do will determine a legalistic attitude or motive.” Preach it, Pastor!

A Work in Progress

God has done a great deal of work in me in recent years, but I am frequently reminded of how much work he still has to do with me. In my heart, I am still truly an ugly person.

One of my biggest struggles is with forgiveness. If you have ever read my testimony, you know that I have been through a lot in my roughly three decades of life. Trust is something I do not give freely; but once when it is given, I am fiercely loyal. I will fight to maintain relationships… but I can only be hurt so many times before enough is enough. Once that threshold is crossed, I simply cannot turn back. Not without God’s strength in me. And even then, my decidedly human instincts seem to constantly get in the way.

The Bible says we are to forgive. God reminds us that vengeance is his, not ours. I do my best to remind myself of that, truly I do. I can even bring myself to a place where I think I have forgiven… but I can never, ever seem to forget, and that inability to forget plays a role in how I interact with that person from then on.

I need to continue to pray on this matter, and continue to strive for God’s heart. He forgives our sins no mater how many times we mess up. Somehow, I need to learn to apply that same forgiveness to those who have hurt me. I cannot do it on my own, but perhaps with time and God’s strength, I can learn to be more forgiving of others…

A Message from a Stranger

Earlier this week, I was at a Wendy’s with my husband and the kids for lunch. I had been feeling particularly good that day when out of the blue, the sickness I’ve been battling for 6 weeks suddenly came on very strong. A few minutes later, a random man walked up to me and said, “I just wanted to tell you to trust Jesus. I don’t know what you’re going through, but whatever it is, Jesus has it under control and he’ll take care of you. He’s working everything for good. Just trust him.”

Whoa. That absolutely HAD to be a God thing, right there! I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself and God moved that man to speak to me, to remind me that nothing is bigger than my God. I need to keep my eyes on him, not myself, and everything will be okay. I sure am thankful that my God is so big, so strong, and so mighty!

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

A Heart of Thanks on Thanksgiving

I’m going to shoot from the hip, here. I’m conflicted. God has been doing a number on my heart lately when it comes to the holidays we celebrate, and it’s not been easy. I am a person who likes to see things in black and white. I don’t like grey area, because grey is too confusing. When there’s a lot of grey, there’s too much left to interpretation; and honestly, my pathetically human brain will always interpret in whatever way is easiest for me. That’s just how I am.

After everything my husband and I have learned, we have been able to see holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween as pretty much black and white, with no grey area at all. They are pagan. The rituals are pagan, they were created for and celebrated by pagans long before Jesus, and they have continued to be pagan even though many Christians have attempted to given them a spiritual makeover. God states plain as day in the Bible that we are to stay away from pagan rituals, and knowing what I know, it’s pretty cut and dry. God says stay away, so we will stay away. I like that because it’s simple, and in my mind there really isn’t any room for interpretation.

But then there are the things that aren’t quite so cut and dry. I’ve been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving, and I see no issues with celebrating it, since it’s not of a pagan origin. In fact, I’d say that the Lord had a starring role in the original holiday! That said, I don’t feel good about how we celebrate Thanksgiving. Correct me if I am wrong, but the whole point of the day is for us to be thankful for what God has provided us with, right? Contentment with what we’ve been given, no? So it seems contradictory to me, to go out and spend tons of money on special, holiday-specific food and decorations in order to show thanks for what we’ve been given. How does that show contentment? I don’t know. Call me crazy, but somehow it doesn’t sit right with me. The thing is, I have no idea what to do differently! Our culture has dictated the way we’re supposed to celebrate the holiday (and all holidays, really). It’s not about giving thanks, it’s about companies making money. Sure, there are a lot of great memories and family get-togethers, but why do we need a special day to show our love for our family and to spend time together?

I guess the big conflict for me lies in finding a way to observe the holiday without reinforcing the very worldly ideals of laziness, gluttony, greed and excess. I don’t have the answers, but my family is praying about it. We’re hoping God gives us some understanding soon, and gives us the ability to see the holiday through his eyes!

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